Kenwood: Home of the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies
Kenwood is the home of the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies. Situated on 78.5 acres of land (once owned by Jefferson), the main Kenwood house was designed by the New York architect William Adams Delano and was built between 1939 and 1941 for Major General Edwin M. Watson, a senior military aide to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Watson's wife, Frances Nash Watson, a noted concert pianist. Roosevelt adopted Kenwood as his Camp David during his presidency and retreated here on several occasions. The guest cottage -- once called "the Little White House" by Life Magazine -- was built in 1940-41 for Roosevelt, though he stayed there on only one occasion, preferring the social activity of the main house. On subsequent visits, including four days in June 1944 awaiting the Normandy invasion, he slept in the front bedroom of the main house. Mrs. Watson bequeathed Kenwood to the University of Virginia, which in turn has leased the property to the Thomas Jefferson Foundation. The new Jefferson Library, which was designed specifically to match the style of the main house, sits on the Kenwood property.