|by Beth Collins||Landmarks and Monuments, Virginia||1|
James Madison lived at Montpelier—an estate in Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains—for most of his life, yet until recently the fourth president of the U.S. wouldn't have recognized the place. That's because the house changed hands several times after his death, and each owner had a different vision for the mansion.
"It was a home, but it wasn't the Madisons' home," says architectural historian Mark Wenger, who was part of Montpelier's recent five-year, $24 million restoration. Today, you can see the property in its original 1820s glory—and watch conservationists at work in the Archaeology Lab.