From 1844, when Dolley sold Montpelier, to 1983, the property changed hands six times. Starting in the late 1850's, most of the families made extensive changes to the house. The National Trust for Historic Preservation acquired the house and 2,650-acre estate in 1984.
Photo 2: Montpelier, 2012.
In the early 2000s, the National Trust debated what to do with a very modified Montpelier. It could keep all the additions and alterations to the house or it could make the house look like it had when the Madisons lived there. Historians and preservationists studied the house's physical structure and evolution, and looked at documents from the Madison era that described the house. They discovered that the Trust could restore the house to look like a building that James Madison would recognize. Restoration finished on Constitution Day, 2008, but experts continue to study the house and its history.
Questions for Photo 1 and Photo 2
1) Compare Photo 1 and Photo 2. What similarities can you find? What differences? List them.
2) What reasons can you think of to not restore an old, modified historic house like Montpelier?
3) What can places like Montpelier tell us about our past?
4) Do you think it is important to take care of historic places such as Montpelier? Why or why not?