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Overview of Mulberry Row

Mulberry Row, named for the mulberry trees planted alongside it, was the center of plantation activity at Monticello from the 1770s until Thomas 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, ironworking 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 was temporarily retired from public office, there were seventeen structures along the 1,000-foot-long stretch of Mulberry Row. These included dwellings for black and white workers, woodworking and ironworking shops (including the nailery), a smokehouse and dairy, a wash house, storehouses, and a stable.

Comments

bsawyer's picture
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.
Beth Sawyer

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