When the Founding Fathers weren't out fighting wars, drafting important documents
like the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution, or helping to
found a country, they were at home with their families and businesses. Here are the
places the Founding Fathers called "home," and some interesting facts about each man's
The first president of the United States and Revolutionary War General was born and
raised in Virginia, and this is where he made his home. His estate, known as Mount
Vernon, is located on the Potomac River just outside of what is now Alexandria,
Mount Vernon was a familial estate, in the family since 1674, and it passed down to
George in 1754. George Washington constructed the mansion itself (seen above) in
stages from 1757-1778. It would become his eventual place of burial.
After falling into ruin throughout the later part of the eighteenth century and for most of
the nineteenth, the mansion was restored by the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association and
continues to this day as a museum.
The fourth president of the United States, like Washington, was also a Virginian, and
grew up on a plantation near Orange, Virginia called Montpelier. The sizable estate
covers approximately 2,700 acres of land.
The original name for the plantation was "Mount Pleasant," and the Madison family had
moved there in 1732. James Madison became the sole proprietor in the early nineteenth
century, when he was able to retire from public life and spend his time expanding the
mansion. He renamed the estate "Montpelier" because he liked the French word, which
loosely translated means "Mount of the Pilgrim."
Upon Madison's death in 1836, he was buried in the family cemetery on the estate, and
his widow Dolley moved to Washington D.C. and sold the property. In 1894, the
National Trust for Historic Preservation took charge of the estate, and opened its doors
as a museum.
To Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States, his home was more than just
a home, it was a passion - and most of the time an absolute obsession. Also a Virginian,
Jefferson spent a great deal of his youth, when he wasn't reading or studying politics,
law, mathematics, languages, and literature, learning about architecture and
engineering, and trying to apply it to practical living. This fascination resulted in a
lifelong commitment to his estate Monticello.
Jefferson would never complete the mansion to his satisfaction during his lifetime.
Many of his own personal accounts, and the accounts of his slaves, describe how he
would finish one part of the home, only to tear it down and do it again. Many people
though it was the operation of a madman, others knew it was one of the ways for him to
cope with the death of his wife. But Jefferson would not only construct Monticello, but
he would also design the University of Virginia, and his summer home Poplar Forest,
just outside of Forest, Virginia.
Crowds gather around a Fire Eater at the Poplar Forest Fourth of July Festivities, Photo by Joey Phoenix Photography
Second President of the United States, John Adams bought his estate in Quincy, MA,
just outside of Boston, at the end of the Revolutionary War. Two loyalists owners had
abandoned the home when things in the colonies began to heat up. John and Abigail
Adams, who had just recently returned to the States from London, wanted a place of
their own. They called the estate "Peacefield," although John affectionately referred to it
as "My Little Farm," in his many letters and journals, and many other people simply call
it "Old House."
The renowned statesman and Founding Father, Benjamin Franklin, was a well-travelled
man who spent much of his time abroad in Europe. Although he lived in many homes,
the last surviving residence of the great man is in on 39 Craven Street in the heart of
London, where he lived for sixteen years.
Hamilton, who was born in the West Indies, moved to New York in 1772. His success in
politics and law allowed him to commission architect John McComb Jr. to design a
"country" home on his 32 acres of land in upper Manhattan, in what is now called
Hamilton Heights in Harlem. Hamilton named the mansion "the Grange" after his
grandfather's estate in Scotland. Hamilton was only able to enjoy the house for two
years before he died in the fateful duel against Aaron Burr in 1804.
The house has been moved twice in the last two centuries, most recently in 2011 after a
major renovation, but according to the National Park Service, it will remain on its
current site for some time to come.
Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons under the Creative Commons Share-Alike License 3.0