Overview of Mulberry Row

Named for the mulberry trees planted along it, Mulberry Row was the center of plantation activity at Monticello from the 1770s to Jefferson's death in 1826. Jefferson's original plan for the site was a 400-foot-long row of shops and yards joined structurally so as to look like a single building. There, iron and woodworking facilities and areas for raising poultry and slaughtering livestock would serve as a link between the plantation at large and the domestic operations, like kitchen, dairy, and smokehouse, that Jefferson planned for the dependency wings attached to the main house.

Thirty years, passed, however, before Jefferson was able to execute his wing plans for Monticello, so that Mulberry Row became the site of an assortment of mainly temporary structures serving both the 5,000-acre plantation and the house. In 1796, when Jefferson had temporarily retired from public office, there were seventeen structures along the 1,000-foot-long Row. These included dwellings for black and white workers, wood and ironworking (including the nailery) shops, a smokehouse and dairy, a wash house, storehouses, and a stable.

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It's sometimes easy to forget that Monticello included more than just Jefferson's house. Mulberry Row is a clear reminder of the slaves who not only labored in Jefferson's home, but also worked in various industries to keep the plantation running. From shoeing horses to smoking meat to housing slaves, the structures on Mulberry Row were an integral part of the plantation.

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