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In 1806, while he was president, Jefferson himself assisted the masons in laying the foundation for this dwelling on what was then a 4,819-acre plantation and the source of much of his income. He designed the octagonal house to utilize light and airflow to the maximum in as economical a space as possible. It became his escape from the parade of visitors at Monticello, a 3-day carriage ride away. Today, his final architectural masterpiece is again a work in progress, as it is being slowly restored to the way it looked in the early 19th century. Outside, archaeologists try to discover how Jefferson landscaped the gardens. You can see artifacts from the buildings and grounds as they are brought to light and exhibited. Like James Madison's Montpelier, this is a restoration in progress, not a furnished historic home. My prior visit to Monticello's museum helped me understand Jefferson's architectural intentions here.