The Restoration of Montalto

Montalto is the “high mountain” adjacent to and overlooking Monticello. “On March 24, 1771, Thomas Jefferson recorded in his Memorandum Book that he was to receive from Edward Carter “as much of his nearest mountain as can be seen from mine, and 100 yards beyond the line of sight…” The 483 acres of the High Mountain that he was eager to acquire adjoins Monticello to the south-southwest and, at an elevation of 1280 feet, towers above it by 410 feet. Jefferson Italianized the local name, as he did with his own “little mountain,” and called it “Montalto.” (William Beiswanger)

The Thomas Jefferson Foundation acquired Montalto in 2004 and engaged Matthews Development Company as its representative in assessing the possible uses for the existing 25,0000 square feet of structures, gaining entitlements, then managing the design and restoration of Montalto.


  • Rezoning of the mountain for the intended uses
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Team Assembly
  • Design Process Management
  • Conservation Easement on 100 acres
  • Local approvals and entitlements
  • Philanthropy support
  • Construction Project management




330-Acre mountaintop scholarship and retreat center


After the Thomas Jefferson Foundation’s visionary act of preservation to acquire Mr. Jefferson’s “high mountain” and reunite it with the Monticello property, it engaged Matthews Development Company to study, entitle, and restore the property for use as the Upper Campus of the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies.

Services include participation in the selection of the architect and consultants; team leader for rezoning and entitlement work; consulting and pre-development planning for the new visitors center and administration campus; evaluation of newly acquired real estate assets.


Glave & Holmes, Richmond
Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects, Charlottesville
Draper Aden Associates, Charlottesville
Martin Horn Contractors, Charlottesville

All photos courtesy the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, Inc.