Restoration Plan for the Montpelier Front Lawn

Abstract: The purpose of this landscape restoration plan is to provide an overview of the goals for restoring the front lawn of James Madison’s Montpelier to the period of significance (generally, the 1820s, or Madison’s retirement years). Archaeological excavations of the mansion grounds at Montpelier have revealed well-preserved remains of the early 19th-century landscape features installed by Madison just prior to his retirement years (1807-1817). Since 2002, the Montpelier Archaeology Department has conducted research and excavations to gain an understanding of the layout and elements of this part of the grounds to allow for both the interpretation and restoration of this landscape. For the past three field seasons (2005, 2006, and 2007), the Montpelier Archaeology Department has been studying the layout of the carriage road, front gate, and fence for the front lawn of the mansion. The goals of this research endeavor have been met and more than sufficient information has been obtained to allow for restoration of these landscape elements. This document defines the broad scope of these restoration goals, the known history of the Montpelier landscape, and more immediate plans for restoration work, in particular, the restoration of the gate and carriage road complex.