Central Virginia Artisans Preserve Monticello's Iconic Tulip Pop - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Central Virginia Artisans Preserve Monticello's Iconic Tulip Poplar Trees

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Monticello's poplar trees are not a thing of the past just yet.

Over the past few years, wood workers have been sculpting home goods from the trees that were taken down from Thomas Jefferson's property. But the wood from those famous trees is running low.

The debate over whether the poplars on Monticello's lawn were actually planted by Jefferson has been going on for 100 years. When the trees were brought down, science proved they are trees from Jefferson's time.

Thomas Jefferson's iconic trees, the two tulip poplars that framed his home's west lawn were removed in 2008 and 2011, but they're not completely gone. Central Virginia artisans are preserving the tree's wood in the form of bowls, spoons, compasses and more.

Museum Shop Manager Susie Fulmer said, "To hand craft these products, it just brings so much more meaning to what we're selling. You're really taking a piece of history home, when you're taking something that's made from product here on the property."

Artisan Fred Williamson said, "I had admired that tree when I was much younger, bringing my family up here, it was enormous."

Williamson is one of the artisans who makes the goods sold in Monticello's shop. When the trees were taken down, he reached out to the Thomas Jefferson Foundation.

"I just wanted a bit of Monticello myself,” said Williamson.

Buyers often tell shop manager Susie Fulmer they aren't purchasing items just for themselves.

"It's something they plan to pass down, really because it's something that will last a lifetime and longer,” said Fulmer.

But these goods will not be in the shop much longer. The supply of wood from the trees is running out, and soon there may not be any pieces of Thomas Jefferson's beloved tulip poplars left.

"It wasn't until after the trees were taken down, that science proved that they did date back to Jefferson's time and so that makes it even more significant and more special,” said Fulmer.

There is much more information about the poplar trees, and the goods, including detailed artisan videos on the Monticello website.

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