Montpelier’s Big Reveal, Finally

cover_so08_300.jpg After five years and millions of dollars, U.S. president James Madison’s house has finally been restored. This Virginia home is where Madison, father of the Constitution, spent most of his youth. This residence will reopen September 17. What makes it particularly unique is that so many restorations honor Jefferson or Washington, but not Madison. Historians have made painstaking efforts to recreate the house that our fourth president knew. “It’s been a mountaintop experience to witness the revelations as the house gives up its secrets,” says Mark Wenger, an architect formerly on the staff of Colonial Williamsburg now working with the restoration firm. For example, researchers punched more than 300 tiny holes into the walls to find faint outlines of long-gone chair rails and stairs. We’re thinking that this renovated house, along with the new nearby Center for the Constitution, will be worth seeing.