National Geographic : 1956 Apr
Washington Street since the early 1800's. Though I've often passed the front door, I did not consciously see it until 1955. Alex andrians say it was built by Anthony Caze nove, affectionately remembered as the last gentleman in town to wear knee breeches. Dinosaurs Lived at Oak Hill The place where I least expected to find dinosaur tracks was at Oak Hill in the vicinity of Leesburg. I saw them in stones quarried locally for the garden terraces and walks of this estate. They indicate the presence of three-quarter-ton reptiles in Virginia some 170,000,000 years ago. Since 1948 Mr. and Mrs. Thomas N. De Lashmutt have owned Oak Hill. The august building was erected in the early 1820's as a country home for James Monroe, fifth United States President. While resting here in 1823, he formulated what became the Monroe Doc trine (page 478). In the mansion I admired two exquisite white-marble mantels. General Lafayette sent them to Monroe from Europe in appreciation of hospitality received at Oak Hill in 1825 (page 480). Mrs. DeLashmutt pointed to where a Union trooper, with pistol butt, chipped souvenirs from one of the mantels. A visit to Montpelier, imposing Orange County home of James Madison, recalled happier times between wars. It is not diffi cult to picture the gay life enjoyed at this estate by the retired fourth President of the United States, especially with such a popular and socially gifted wife as Dolly (she spelled it "Dolley") Madison, easily the country's most bountiful hostess. Those were the days when 90 guests sat down to lunch. Madison personally saw to it that every dinner in his home was a formal ceremony, the dishes profuse but proper, the champagne rightly iced. To the pleasures of the dining room he gave thought and care, because he particularly liked entertaining at a table that brought good food and good company together. A prodigious collector of books, Madison finally found himself crowded right out of his library by the mounting stacks. But then he could go to the extensive gar den, which, some say, Lafayette planned. Ap propriately, the topiary boxwood and formal plots were manicured by a French gardener. With his own rheumatic hands, the slightly built Madison planted the mighty cedars of Lebanon now towering over the lawns.