|The front entry to Ash Lawn-Highland. This is a later addition|
to the house and is known as the Massey House.
|James Monroe as painted by Samuel|
Morse circa 1819. The painting hangs
in the White House
Monroe is perhaps one of the more under appreciated of Presidents. His resume is extensive including being a U.S. Senator, he served as a minister to England, France, and Spain, he served as Governor of Virginia, and served terms as Secretary of State and Secretary of War in addition to being a two term President. Monroe played a vital role in negotiating the Louisiana Purchase of 1803 for which Thomas Jefferson is so well known. He is also famous for the "Monroe Doctrine" of 1823. This foreign policy dictate has served as a basis of American dealings with European countries for nearly two centuries.
In the years following Monroe's sale of the property it changed hands many times. Owner John Massey who purchased the property after the Civil War expanded the house to it's current size. Ash Lawn-Highland was first opened to the public in 1931 by owners Jay Winston Johns and his wife Helen Lambert Johns. The Johns bequeathed the estate to The College of William and Mary in 1974. The college reopened the home in 1975. The college continues to research and restore the home. At over 500 acres the estate is a self sustaining project that is able to contribute revenue to the college. As a still working site this is a vibrant and active destination with everything from vegetable and flower gardens to being a supporter of the arts, to having a large number of special events open to the public, and the ability for the property to be rented out for weddings and other special occasions.
With it's great views and abundant history Ash Lawn-Highland is a nice place to visit that when we were there was empty when compared to the more famous and close by Monticello. If visiting I recommend the President's Pass. This pass is good for admission to not just Ash Lawn-Highland but also to Monticello and Michie Tavern. With this pass you will get a lot of history bang for your buck.
*The property was renamed Ash Lawn after Monroe passed away. Today, both names are associated with the property.
|James Monroe burial site|
located in Hollywood Cemetery,
|Some of the gardens. You can just see the top |
of outlying buildings on the property. In the background
notice the unobstructed mountain views.
|Statue of James Monroe|
in the garden area. The large
base is approximately 5 1/2 feet tall.
|Bedroom inside main house|
|Outlying buildings including Overseers Cottage and |
Be sure to visit the Ash Lawn-Highland Facebook page.