W. Curtis Thacker (1898-1979) was Superintendent at Monticello from 1950 to 1970.
Curtis Thacker was born in Albemarle County on December 1, 1898. He attended Virginia Tech for two years before returning to Albemarle County, where he worked as a manager of buildings and grounds for the Stone family at Morven from the mid-1920s until 1947. In that year he was hired by the newly established Keswick Country Club to be their first buildings and grounds manager.
At the January 1950 meeting of the Monticello Board of Directors, Fiske Kimball suggested that the Thomas Jefferson Foundation employ Thacker to oversee the maintenance of Monticello's equipment and buildings because the present gardener was unsatisfactory, and because Winston Taliaferro, Monticello's Resident Agent, was away on a six-month medical leave of absence. He noted that Thacker was "a qualified carpenter, a registered plumber, a competent gardener and altogether a very intelligent and capable man." William Hildreth supported Kimball's recommendation, stating that he had known Thacker for 20 years and that he had "the reputation of being the best gardener in the county." Hildreth was authorized to offer Thacker the position of "Superintendent of the Grounds and Buildings."
Thacker accepted the position and, in the summer of 1950, he and his family moved into the Weaver's Cottage on Mulberry Row (now known as the Textile Shop). Kimball noted of Thacker's early work at Monticello that he "is a jewel, and is keeping everything in fine shape." In 1966, Thacker was made Treasurer in addition to his position as Superintendent. He retired from Monticello in December of 1970.
As Superintendent, Thacker was responsible for the grounds, the grounds employees, and the physical properties of Monticello. He was also responsible for counting ticket sales, making deposits, and the employee payroll. In addition, he initiated the packaging of seeds from the flower gardens and the smoking of hams in the parking lot barn, which were then offered for sale to visitors.
In addition to his work at Monticello, Thacker was involved with the Fraternal Order of Police and served as a Special Police Officer for Albemarle County in 1965. He was also active with the local Chamber of Commerce. Following his retirement, he assisted his son in the latter's local construction firm. Curtis Thacker died at the age of 80 on February 14, 1979.
- Anna G. Koester, Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation Archives: Collection Guide and Catalog, October 1998, 22-23.
931 Thomas Jefferson Parkway
Charlottesville, VA 22902