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The Architecture of Jefferson Country: Charlottesville and Albemarle County, Virginia
by:K. Edward Lay
The great architectural significance of Albemarle County and Charlottesville, Virginia, rests, not surprisingly, on the continuing influence of Thomas Jefferson. Not only did Jefferson design the State Capitol in Richmond, his home Monticello, his country retreat Poplar Forest, and the University of Virginia; after his death, master builders continued to...
The great architectural significance of Albemarle County and Charlottesville, Virginia, rests, not surprisingly, on the continuing influence of Thomas Jefferson. Not only did Jefferson design the State Capitol in Richmond, his home Monticello, his country retreat Poplar Forest, and the University of Virginia; after his death, master builders continued to construct important examples of Jeffersonian classicism in Albemarle County and beyond.But what is less well known are the many important examples of other architectural idioms built in this Piedmont Virginia county, many by nationally renowned architects. At the turn of the twentieth century, the renewed interest of wealthy clients in eclectic architectural styles attracted some of the finest Beaux Arts architects in the country to the Charlottesville area. Grand new buildings complemented and competed with the Jeffersonian models of a hundred years earlier. In addition, throughout its history Albemarle County has seen construction of a great variety of public architectural landmarks: mills and churches, movie theaters and hospitals, gas stations and taverns.For many years K. Edward Lay has been teaching, guiding tours of, and writing about this rich architectural legacy. Here at last is his definitive treatment of a topic that has been his life's work, presented in an elegantly illustrated volume. Following a general introduction by John S. Salmon, Lay divides his book into six chronological chapters: "The Georgian Period," "Thomas Jefferson and His Builders," "The Roman Revival (1800-1830)," "The Greek Revival (1830-1860)," "Beyond the Classical Revival," and "The Eclectic Era (1890-1939)." He discusses over 800 buildings, from a Sears house to grand estates, the Abell-Gleason house and the Albemarle County Jail to Wavertree Hall and Zion Baptist Church, with 26 color photographs and 369 black-and-white illustrations complementing his text. A final chapter discusses the University of Virginia. Maps of the area allow readers and visitors to trace the locations of individual buildings and to recognize trends of settlement and construction in the area.As an elegant giftbook or reference, The Architecture of Jefferson Country gives architects, historians, visitors, and residents an unprecedented view of the wealth of buildings in Charlottesville and Albemarle County.
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