Monticello, Thomas Jefferson was an American statesman, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, author of the Declaration of Independence. He served as the third President of the United States (1801–1809). In 1768, Jefferson began constructing his primary residence Monticello (Italian for “Little Mountain”) on a hilltop overlooking his 5,000-acre plantation near Charlottesville, Virginia. Construction was done mostly by local masons and carpenters, assisted by Jefferson’s slaves. He moved into the South Pavilion in 1770. Turning Monticello into a neoclassical masterpiece in the Palladian style was his perennial project.