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Cooling Monticello

Greenhouse at Monticello

Cooling Monticello was no easy task in Thomas Jefferson's time, although the mountaintop could be a little cooler than the surrounding landscape. Windows and doors could be opened to encourage air flow through the house, and family and visitors could seek relief from the heat on the shaded porticoes. Jefferson also built what he called "Venetian Porches" on either side of the house, which feature wooden blinds.

There are also two references to fans in Jefferson's papers. While in Philadelphia in 1791, he paid 6 dollars "for mainsprings for fan."1 He also designed a fan for the Dining Room table, although Monticello researchers do not know if it was ever built.2

Further Sources

  • Green, Kevin W. "Passive Cooling." Research & Design: The Quarterly of the AIA Research Corporation vol. 2, no. 3 (1979): 4-9.


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