James Monroe Birthplace
President Monroe's First Home

In 1976 the College of William & Mary began the archaeological survey of the James Monroe Birthplace and uncovered the ruins of the Monroe Family Home. Unlike George Washington, whose Westmoreland birthplace is a now a National Park, Monroe did not leave the family farm at three years old. James Monroe spent his entire youth working the farm until he left for his education at The College of William & Mary. The archaeological team uncovered a 20' x 58' house foundation which coincided with the known 1845 etchings of the birth home. The archaeological study clearly indicated that James Monroe's beginnings were humble. The family resided in a small four room, rough cut wooden farm house with few outbuildings on a 500 acre farm filled with wetlands.

In 2001 Susan Nelson-Warren Byrd Landscape Architects of Charlottesville were commissioned by the County of Westmoreland, Virginia to prepare a master plan for a multi-phase development of James Monroe's Birthplace site. The county's desire was to create a unique, economical, and attractive park that celebrates the birth and life of our nation's fifth president under the 2nd U.S. Constitution, James Monroe, while providing passive recreation for the local residents.

In order to meet these desires, the county wanted the master plan to provide general design strategies for the construction of a roadside parking area, installation of interpretive signs, archaeological interpretation, the development of bicycle and walking trails, and any other improvements deemed necessary and desirable. An outstanding Master Plan was developed by Susan Nelson-Warren Byrd Landscape Architects in October 2001, and much of the text and illustrations shown below are drawn from that 2001 Master Plan.

The site and the restoration of the birthplace, now part of a new master plan, was brought to the attention of the James Monroe Memorial Foundation's President G. William Thomas. Laurence Gouverneur Hoes and his wife, Ingrid Westesson Hoes, established the James Monroe Memorial Foundation (JMMF) in 1928. Laurence Hoes, the great-great-grandson of James Monroe, had always hoped for the JMMF to acquire the farm and reconstruct the Monroe Family Home, barn and outbuildings as an interpretive venue highlighting the modest beginnings of a great U.S. President. On April 4th, 2005, the County of Westmoreland signed a 99 year lease with the James Monroe Memorial Foundation which will allow the Foundation to restore the Birthplace farmhouse, establish an educational visitor center, and remain the faithful steward of the Birthplace farm.

The reconstruction of the James Monroe Birthplace farmhouse and related buildings will cost in excess of $500,000. The James Monroe Memorial Foundation is currently raising the money for restoration of the farmhouse.

4460 James Monroe Highway
Colonial Beach, VA 22443
Map & Directions
Trail Map
The Founders