Restoration puts James Madison back into Montpelier





Restorers have lopped off two wings, obliterated 14 bathrooms, re-created two staircases and, overall, reduced by more than half the size of Montpelier, President James Madison's lifelong home here in the lush foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

On Wednesday, the scaled-down Georgian mansion two hours southwest of Washington will be ready for its close-up.

The five-year, $24 million restoration has returned the stately home to the way it appeared during the fourth U.S. president's retirement years. Proponents of the project say it is a fitting tribute to a Founding Father who lacks a national monument, despite being considered the principal author of the Constitution.

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