Location: Charlottesville, Virginia
Original Architect: Thomas Jefferson
Textile Workshop Period: c. 1775 - 1778
Stables Period: 1769 - 1826
National Historic Landmark
The stone building known today as the “Textile Workshop” was built between 1775 and 1778 to house workmen then building Thomas Jefferson’s first house at Monticello. Early in the 19th century, this structure came to be called the “Weavers’ Cottage.” The building was enlarged late in the 19th century and later adapted for offices in the 20th century. Investigations revealed that the stone walls, the ceiling joists, a window frame, a paneled soffit over the front doorway, and much plaster remained. A floor plan and front elevation in Jefferson’s papers provided further evidence for the building’s original appearance, and archaeology confirmed many details of the interior arrangement, including the brick paving and interior floor level. The original joist ends and other Jefferson buildings on the mountain supplied details for classical adornments on the exterior.
In 1808, Thomas Jefferson’s workmen commenced construction of a new stable. Two stone cells, sole remnants of the old stable, were investigated for evidence of the building’s original appearance. The masonry revealed original floor levels inside both sections, and the different elevations at which the wooden super structure had been were supported in each case. Stone jambs at the two doorways preserved impressions of wooden sills and door frames to which the stones had been laid. The narrow space between the two structures, long been protected under a roof between them, preserved the original mortar joints and their troweled finishes. This established the original appearance of the stone work, inside and out. Based on these clues, and on documentation of Jefferson’s building practices elsewhere on the mountain, new doorways and a framed upper story were designed, while external adornments were detailed according to the classical conventions Jefferson followed so assiduously.