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Bringing Back Mulberry Row

Mulberry Row

Building upon more than 50 years of archaeological investigation and documentary research, Monticello staff is now in the process of interpreting and restoring Mulberry Row.  Lined with more than 20 dwellings, workshops, and sheds, Mulberry Row was the constantly-changing hub of the 5,000-acre Monticello plantation.  Although it was essential in Jefferson’s time, its buildings have all but disappeared—only the remains of four structures survive.   Without most of the buildings, how can we effectively convey the sense of the place and the stories of the scores of people—enslaved and free--who lived and worked there?

A team of archaeologists, curators, educators, and historians is planning the interpretation and restoration of Mulberry Row, which will take place in phases over several years.  Our findings and research will be presented on this blog.  We invite you to participate in the process by sharing your ideas and reactions.  Follow our posts and let us know what you think.  Your feedback will help us shape what we do as we design an on-site exhibition, web site, computer animations, and ponder the re-creations of buildings.

Over the next year, this blog will present the ideas and issues we’re grappling with:

  • Mulberry Row’s people—the weavers, spinners, blacksmiths, tinsmiths, nail-makers, carpenters, joiners, gardeners, stablemen, and domestic servants,
  • the organization and function of the Monticello plantation,
  • Jefferson’s efforts to make money through agriculture and light industry,
  • the results of archaeological investigation,
  • how Mulberry Row changed over time and why, and
  • the restoration of existing structures and the re-creation of others

Next post: Mulberry Row and the larger Monticello plantation.

Our work is generously supported by an award from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Fritz and Claudine Kundrun Foundation, and private gifts.


Charles Morrill's picture
Interesting how-high tech Mulberry Row became in terms of textile technology. As I understand it, Jefferson had a flying shuttle loom sort of like this one on you tube: ....and even a spinning jenny like this one: So you've really got all the elements of a small factory, at least in terms of textiles on the later Mulberry Row. Seems to me it developed quite a good way beyond just a spinning wheel and the traditional loom wherein one quietly passes the shuttle back and forth. Here you've got all the spindles of the Jenny humming away and the shuttle slamming into the shuttle boxes at either end of the loom every half second or so. It was all human powered, but the place must have hummed...
Charles Morrill
arthur's picture
Great links and a very evocative description of the sound!
luisdoportoalejandre's picture
That Murberry Row is so beautiful. I'm really impressed and amazed.
Luis Doporto Al...
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Mulberry Row


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