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Thomas Jefferson’s Hidden Chemistry Lab Discovered

The University of Virginia (UVA) was founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819. He designed the curriculum to be heavy on science, and also designed the school’s rotunda. The rotunda is undergoing a renovation, and Matt Scheidt of the historic preservation firm John G. Waite Associates made a peculiar discovery.

"I was laying on my back looking up inside this little space. I saw that there was a piece of cut stone which is very unusual to have in this location. You could see that there was a square cut in the stone and that there was a finished space around that with plaster and painted walls," Scheidt said.

Upon further investigation, he realized he uncovered a piece of history. A chemistry lab designed by Thomas Jefferson and built in the early 1820s, toward the end of the Rotunda's construction.

The lab was bricked up in the 1850s, and then forgotten until now. There were few academic chemistry labs in existence in the 19th century, and even fewer of them survive today. Read the history and description of the lab, and see pictures, at UVA’s website.  -via Buzzfeed

(Image credit: Dan Addison/UVA)


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