Jefferson's retirement retreat restored

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Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest plantation retreat has unveiled its $6 million, 20-year architectural restoration to the third president's original vision as a private place to read, think and spend time with his grandchildren after he retired.

The octagon-shaped neoclasssical home painstakingly designed by Jefferson had been converted to a typical farmhouse some years after Jefferson's grandson sold it in 1828. Now visitors can view it as Jefferson did when he began his sojourns there 200 years ago, after the end of his two-term presidency, visits that would continue until 1823.

Two centuries later, the property now is partly surrounded by subdivisions, land and homes that the Corporation for Jefferson's Poplar Forest wants to gradually acquire so it can restore the area around the home. It has spent $8.5 million to reclaim more than 600 acres since 1984, and hopes to continue to create more open space, according to Lynn Beebe, the nonprofit's president.

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