Oxford Tree-Ring Laboratory - Virginia



James Monroe’s Highland, Charlottesville, Virginia (37.982732, -78.456166)

(a) Primary House Felling dates: Winter 1814/15, Spring 1815, Spring 1817, Winter 1817/18, Spring 1818

(b) House 2nd Phase (Reused Timbers) Felling date: Winter 1810/11

(c) House 3rd Phase Felling dates: Winter 1855/56, Winter 1856/57

(d) Veranda Felling date: Winter 1846/47

(a) Collars (3/5) 1817 (¼C, C), 1814; Rafters (3/5) 1817 (C), 1816; Joists (1/2) 1817 (¼C); Tiebeam (1/1) 1816 (¼C); Corner post (1/1) 1817 (¼C); Studs (3/3) 1814 (¼C, C), 1817 (C).

(b) Joists (1/3) 1810 (C); Trimmer (0/1).

(c) Rafters (5/7) 1855 (C), 1856 (C), 1808, 1806; Joists (0/2).

(d) Joist (1/1) 1798; Longitudinal beam (0/1); Bottom plate (1/1) 1846 (C); Crossbeam (0/1); Rafter (0/1); Offcut (0/1)1822.

Site Master 1694-1856 HIGHLAND (t = 7.62 HQFx5; 7.17 HQFx; 6.85 DC-AREA2).

James Monroe, the fifth president of the United States, owned the plantation of Highland in Charlottesville, Virginia, from 1793 to 1826. A later owner changed the name to Ash Lawn; more recently, the property was known as Ash Lawn-Highland. Today it is known as James Monroe’s Highland.

The primary house is a three-bay, one-story frame structure with later additions, including a veranda on the west side of the primary house. An English basement extends underneath the primary house.

Dendrochronological analysis has resulted in the successful dating of Highland. The eleven dated timbers used to construct the primary house were felled in winter 1814/15, spring 1815, spring 1817, winter 1817/18, and spring 1818. One dated timber from an earlier structure re-used in the second phase of the house was felled in winter 1810/11. The three dated timbers from the third phase of the house were felled in winter 1855/56 and winter 1856/57, while the single dated timber from the veranda was felled in winter 1846/47.

Worthington, M J, and Seiter, J I 2016 ‘The Tree-Ring Dating of James Monroe’s Highland, Charlottesville, Virginia’ , unpublised ODL archive report 2016/8.

Link to The College of William and Mary's webpage for Highland here




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Contact Information

Oxford Tree-Ring Laboratory

Michael Worthington
Jane Seiter, Ph.D

25 E. Montgomery St.
Baltimore, MD 21230