This cool find has people in shock

Most people know very little about James Monroe (1758-1831) other than the fact that he was one of the first presidents of the United States, if that.

A recent discovery proves that the fifth commander in chief lived in much higher style than historians and history geeks previously thought.

Indeed, the modest residence once touted as Highland, Monroe's estate near Charlottesville, Virginia, is now being classified as a mere guest house.

So where did Monroe live?

It turns out that the well-preserved foundation of what is being described as a "free standing and sizeable house" was discovered in the front yard of what was believed to be Highland for so many years.

Archaeologists unearthed stone foundations, charred planks, a
a chimney, and a wealth of artifacts, suggesting that a fire in the mid-19th century destroyed a considerably large and imposing structure.

Tree rings visible on the wood in the house that still stands indicates it was cut down around 1815, 16 years after Monroe and his family moved to Highland.

In a letter to Thomas Jefferson in 1797, Monroe described his home as a "cabin castle." But considering the plantation once encompassed over 3,500 acres, one has to wonder whether Monroe was in fact being a tad too modest.

Perhaps he thought it still didn't hold a candle to Jefferson's majestic Monticello, the eventual third president's 5,000-acre plantation in Charlottesville.

Mired in debt during and toward the end of his presidency, Monroe eventually sold Highland for $20 per acre.

How much did you know about Monroe before reading this article? Would you ever visit the estate?

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