Belle Mont is one of Alabama's most distinguished houses, an outstanding example of Thomas Jefferson's influence upon the architecture of the early American republic. Characteristics of the Palladian or "Jeffersonian Style" are an accent on high-quality brickwork with contrasting wood trim, a preference for hilltop building sites, and designs that show Mr. Jefferson's reverence for the neoclassical architectural ideas of the Italian Renaissance architect, Andrea Palladio.
A raised, two-story central section with flanking one-story wings is typical of both Jefferson and Palladian architecture in general. So is the U-shaped floor plan in which the side-wings project to the rear to embrace a courtyard. Belle Mont's floor plan mirrors these elements. A very similar plan is preserved among Jefferson's drawings housed at Harvard University.
It is not known who designed Belle Mont. A current idea is that one member of the large circle of craftspeople and builders who fell under Jefferson's influence during the construction of his home Monticello, as well as the nearby Charlottesville campus of the University of Virginia, may be the designer.
A long-term, phased restoration by the Alabama Historical Commission to preserve Belle Mont's history, beauty, and architecture for the enjoyment of future generations is underway.
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