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It would seem that the folks working at the James Monroe Birthplace project have become busy little bees. During the June and July meetings, Bill Thomas of the James Monroe Memorial Foundation had arrived to give some much-needed updates on the project, especially after it nearly replaced Chandler’s Mill Pond as the county’s running joke of incompletion. 

This month, Thomas showed up again to deliver another update during the public comment section, and it was big news indeed: the heart-of-pine flooring had been finally laid down in the birthplace, the stairway was finally finished properly, and the trim was in the process of being installed.

“Once the installation is complete,” Thomas explained, “We’ll have our plaster ready to go in there this month.” 

The birthplace, which remains free for the public to enter, hired Chris Rogers of River City Plaster to do that particular job, and will have that taken care of this month as well. According to Thomas, Rogers has done work at Stratford Hall and Mount Vernon, making him exceptionally qualified for the plasterwork at the James Monroe Birthplace.

Additionally, a landscape artist by the name of Ralph Higgins was tapped for the site plan to assist with drainage around the house, a rather important consideration when the elevation is only 31 inches above sea level. This also prompted the basement to be waterproofed and a sump pump installed. Higgins is also designing a wheelchair-accessible entrance on the side of the building facing Monroe Creek.

The other bit of good news regarding the birthplace came in the form of two truckloads of donated furnishings, courtesy of Jeff and Missy Fisher, who had come to the area nearly 70 years ago from New Jersey and fell in love with the region.

“We’re gonna try to finish this as soon as possible,” Thomas concluded. “We’ve been averaging 45 to 50 visitors per weekend, and we could not have done it without our volunteers. You’ve supported this project for many years now, and I think you’ll be proud of the result.”