Lynn Beebe, Longtime President of Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest to Retire Next Year -
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Angela H. Lynch
September 26, 2011 Director of Communications
Lynn Beebe, Longtime President of Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest to Retire Next Year
Forest, Virginia - Lynn A. Beebe, President of Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest, has announced her plan to retire from her position as leader of Jefferson's retreat in December 2012. Beebe was hired in 1986 as the first president of the non-profit Corporation that had been formed to lead the rescue of Jefferson's retreat in Bedford County, near Lynchburg, Virginia. She has served in that role for more than 25 years.
“Lynn Beebe has made an outstanding contribution to the rescue of Thomas Jefferson’s retreat,” said Board Chairman Robert Clark. “She has built this project from scratch into an organization that is recognized by the preservation community nationwide as a premiere restoration. Lynn has played a key role in developing every aspect of this endeavor. Her successor will have some ‘very big shoes’ to fill.”
“It has been an extraordinary experience to work with the founders of this rescue initiative from the beginning,” said Beebe. “We have made tremendous progress toward the goal of preserving this major national legacy for all future generations of Americans.”
The nonprofit Corporation for Jefferson's Poplar Forest began the rescue in January 1984 with the purchase of the first piece of property-- Jefferson's house and 49 acres. The board, led by the late George T. Stewart, hired Beebe as its first president two years later. She recruited a professional staff, organized the opening of the retreat to the public for the first time, and led the start of the archaeological excavation and architectural restoration.
During Beebe's tenure the exterior restoration of the house has been completed, interior restoration has begun, archaeology has been yielding a wealth of insight into Jefferson's ideas and life at his retreat, landscape restoration has started, the first stage of educational programming was created, more than 600 acres have been acquired, and a foundation has been laid to establish an endowment to safeguard Poplar Forest's future.
“I am proud of the terrific accomplishments that Poplar Forest's team of board, staff, donors, and volunteers have made possible during my 25 years of service,” Beebe said. “It has been a thrill to achieve the rescue and protection of so much of the heart of Jefferson's retreat. And I am proud of the world-class, state-of-the-art restoration that is underway here.”
“I am grateful to the exceptional team of people who gave me the opportunity to work with them on this once-in-a-lifetime project,” Beebe said. “It is a huge undertaking to rescue 'from scratch' a major American landmark that is on a par with Mt. Vernon. I admire the courage, passion, and extraordinary perseverance of each member of Poplar Forest's team as together we tackled each step along the way toward the goal.”
“I look forward in the coming year to accomplishing yet more progress for Poplar Forest, as we set the stage for the exciting work ahead to complete Poplar Forest's preservation and to develop its full potential to serve all those who seek greater insight into Thomas Jefferson.”
When she retires in December 2012, Beebe will spend more time with her family, and after some initial time off plans to do limited consulting work.
Beebe is a native of Forest Hills Gardens in New York City. She holds a B.A. in history from Vassar College, an M.A. in architectural history from the University of Virginia's School of Architecture, and an MBA from George Washington University. She began her career in historic preservation at the New York State Historic Preservation Office, rising to leadership of the state survey and National Register of Historic Places program, and subsequently was chosen to join the National Register's headquarters staff in the Department of the Interior in Washington, D.C.
About Poplar Forest
Poplar Forest is Thomas Jefferson's secluded plantation and retreat home, a National Historic Landmark and recently added to the U.S. nomination list to become a World Heritage Site. Undergoing award-winning restoration and archaeology, Poplar Forest is open seven days a week, March 15 through December 15 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Closed Thanksgiving Day. Visitors to Poplar Forest each year come from all 50 states and over 30 countries. Call (434) 525-1806 or visit www.poplarforest.org for additional information and to plan your visit.