Looking at the rear, or east, elevation of Montpelier after the renovations of ca. 1797, you notice an odd sight: two porches that lead to two separate entrances. Houses almost never feature two porches on the same elevation and when it occurs it undoubtedly means the house has an unusual architectural history. This is also true of Montpelier and its architectural development was unusual for a Virginia plantation house. However, once you learn how the Madisons used the home it becomes clear why they needed two porches.
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