Montpelier, Va., and William DuPont
By Beryl Frank
Montpelier was a gracious home for the Madison family from 1723 to 1844. James Madison, the fourth president of the United States, was born in 1751 in Virginia. He had a very active political life but Montpelier was the home to which he returned whenever he could.
The estate was 2700 acres with more than 130 buildings, and it is said that President Madison called the property "A squirrel's jump from heaven."
Here, our history of Montpelier jumps to 1901. That was the year William Dupont purchased the estate. By that time, rail travel was established and Mr. Dupont wanted to keep his private rail car on his property. (The Southern Railway main line ran through the estate.)
Mr. Dupont requested permission from the Southern to keep his private rail car on his estate. The Southern refused permission because there was no train station on the property. Southern's regulations were that no private cars could be kept where there was no station.
William Dupont had an answer for the Southern Railway..
He said," Send me your plans and I will build one."
The train station was completed around 1902.
Trains no longer stop at the Montpelier station. Meanwhile, the nearby Montpelier Mansion is being restored to the period of James and Dolley Madison's time.
A view of the Montpelier Station looking north. Note the decorative windows on the second floor. [Photo by Bill Hopkins]
Looking south, one can see the wooden bridge leading to the mansion about 1/4 mile away. To the right of the structure is the door to the post office after the trains no longer stopped. [Photo by Bill Hopkins]
Another view of the Montpelier Station clearly shows the green shed where the private car and supplies for it were stored by William Dupont. [Photo by Bill Hopkins]