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Famo Famous homes in Kentucky
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P. O. Box 537
Frankfort, Kentucky 40602-0537 A

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é Ten houses, chosen because of historical significance and as
examples of the types of architecture in vogue at the time they were ~
built, comprise this group of famous homes in Kentucky. The models
which this monograph accompanies, each built on the scale of one—eighth i
` of an inch to a foot are as exact replicas of the houses at the time
of their original construction as could be made from available research
y data. i
V Davis Buckner Home E
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i Fayette County, Ky. j
g One of the best examples of British Colonial architecture in Q
§ this country, in the opinion of many prominent architects, is the y
{ Buckner house, Rose Hill, at the corner of North Limestone and Fifth '
E streets, in Lexington, Kentucky. Named originally after its builder,
l John Brand, this old residence was modeled on the English farm—house · p
K style and was built about 1820 on the Government highway which ex-
Q tended from Pittsburgh to Georgia. It was erected on the outskirts (
i of Lexington but the location now is in the heart of the developed l
§ city. The present owner is Dr. G. Davis Buckner. ·
Q The Buckner home is a one—story building with exterior walls 4
g of solid brick, resting upon a foundation of native stone. A brick L

A Page 2 i
Q walk, framed with lilac bushes forming an archway, leads from the iron
_ gate at the street to the doorway, which is decorated with detailed A
carving of unusual design. On either side of this doorway is a group A
of columns supporting the fan, or window light, above the cornices. .
These columns, together with the broad base—boards, express the ideals y
and magnificence of the old world designing. The entrance hall is ?
_ square, with a living room on the right and a bedroom on the left. Low, `
white doors open into these rooms. Straight down the hall from the F
4 front entrance, wide double doors lead into the dining room, which is :
A made rich by its fine paneling and comfortable by its wide log fire- f
f place. The library is entered from the living room and above the door t
y between these rooms are arched fan—lights with leaded panes, similar in [
; design to the lights of the outer door. The interior partitions of ¥
{ the house are brick and frame, plastered; the floors are wooden, random ~
A width ash; and the roof is of frame construction, covered with wood I
‘ Several additions have been made to the original structure and ‘
§ variations from the first plan of the house have resulted. The original A
§ kitchen was a separate building and was not indicated on the old plan
d of the floor. The slave quarters near the northwest corner of the house, T
§ opposite the old kitchen, were removed to make way for an addition. The
§ old ice house, on the west side of the building, also has been dismantled. { l
T The side lights of the original main entrance evidently were divided `
g by lead muntins, or arches, as markers on the present glass indicate
y the design has been changed. ‘
2 4 ,
i John Brand, the original builder, was a native of Scotland,
§ coming to America about l800. He had been a prosperous manufacturer in K 2
$ Glasgow, Scotland, but became deeply involved financially after suffering | l
§ reverses and came to the new country to recoup his losses. Trading in j
é tobacco, cordage and hemp, he met with such success as to enable him to 1 I
i return to Glasgow, arrange an elaborate dinner and present to each of his
{ guests — who had been his creditors — an envelope containing a check for €
Q the amount of each debt, with interest added. Returning to America, he 3
§ contined his business success and, as a hobby, turned to the beautifying .
_§ of his new home, deriving rare pleasure from the importation and installa- §
é tion of tasteful furnishings. , ‘
Ci —

Q Page 3. 1
§ Castlewood I
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‘j Castlewood, designed by Gideon Shryock and built in l825 by ‘
James Estill, Junior, is located on Big Hill Road, five miles from ‘
_ Richmond, Kentucky. From an architectural standpoint, it is one of
_. the most interesting houses in the state. It is of late Georgian style, 1 i
¥‘ which was very popular at that time. The long central hall flanked by I I
g rooms on either side and the small wings built on both sides of the
’ main structure are features found frequently in this type of building.
é The house was erected on a part of the original tract of fifteen E
Q thousand acres of land surveyed and owned by Captain James Estill, a .
Q Revolutionary soldier who came west from Augusta County, Virginia, and .
j who enacted an important role in the development of Kentucky. He was
$8 killed in an encounter with Wyandotte Indians on March 19, 1782, near ,
Q the present site of Mount Sterling. After his death, extensive litigation
§ over his property was instituted and no definite settlement was agreed
Q upon until forty years later, when eighty—five hundred acres of land were W
Q given to his five children. Castlewood was erected on a share of this _ .
§ inherited land. V
g The structure is a two—story brick, with unfinished attic and a
ga basement, resting upon a native stone foundation. The interior partitions
E are brick and frame, plastered. The roof is of frame construction and ;
£ evidently was covered originally with wooden shingles which have been re-
f placed with tin. Floors throughout the house are random—width, yellow
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é pine; but the basement flooring is merely hard pressed earth, an arrange- ‘
{ ment common in houses built around 1800. The kitchen and servants' ‘
Q quarters are in a separate building close to, but detached from the house. ‘
i The original smoke house, made of logs, is in good condition.
§ The interior of the house, although bearing the signs of age, L
E shows its early elegance. It was furnished by a resident cabinet—maker
~ who fashioned most of the pieces from designs brought over from England. ;
F The hand—carved woodwork probably ranks with the best found in Kentucky. .
, Each principal room is equipped with a fireplace, but no two mantels are E
f alike, indicating the skill of the craftsman who carved the graceful sun- ’
* bursts, leaves and other ornamentation. The ceilings are unusually high f
{ and this feature is accentuated by the lack of cornices. The walls in .
E each room are bare, relieved only by a wood dado, or wainscot, of paneled _
Q design, a few feet above the floor. T
5 Gideon Shryock, architect for the dwelling, was born in Lexington, _
§ Kentucky, November 15, 1802, the son of Mathias Shryock, a builder and -
§ contractor. At the age of twenty—one he went to Philadelphia to study ‘
i under William Strickland, the most noted architect and civil engineer in _
g the United States at that time. Shryock gave to Kentucky many beautiful i
{ buildings which rank in design with the national capitol at washington
g and other noted structures. \ °
, Henry Clay Home
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{_ On the Richmond Pike, one mile east of Lexington, is Ashland, the
g picturesque home originally built by Henry Clay, Kentucky's brilliant
i" statesman and orator. Erected in l806 on a six hundred acre tract of
g land, the house was dismantled after having been occupied nearly fifty A
§ years but was reconstructed a short time later. Lathrobe, the English _
§ architect, designed the original structure while L'Enfant, the landscape l
i engineer who drew the plans for the nation's capitol, planned the land- .
E scaping. Clay's choice of the name Ashland probably resulted from his 1
Q selection of the building site, which was almost surrounded by ash trees. Q
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§ Ashland was built on the plan of a large house connected by narrow 1
Q halls, or galleries, to lower wings. The main structure was two stories Q
Q in height, with one—story wings. It had six chimneys, a distinctive feature
§ of most of the big houses built before the Civil War. Brick was used in I
g the exterior construction. The interior displayed woodwork fashioned from `
§ ash trees growing on the estate. Many of the rooms, including the master's `
Q study, were octagonal in shape. The old slave cabins, carriage houses, ,
Ԥ bath houses and ice house are still standing.
i Sixty varieties of trees, many of which Clay planted, spread their [
{L foliage about the estate. Myrtle, planted by Mrs. Clay, fringes the walks A
Y` of the grounds. Trailing ivy, honeysuckle and Virginia creeper cover the
Ei masonry. Above the doorway, which has full length windows on either side, { i
{{ is a small balcony with wrought—iron railing. This front entrance opens
C into an octagonal hall with a stairway at the right and a study on the
it left. An entrance to the drawing room is directly opposite the main door. (
In the hall, with its original, ash woodwork, the doorknobs and hinges are
ji silver. The walls are a deep red and most of the rooms are in keeping ` Z
;C with the rich decorations of this entry. The narrow arched windows have I
~I shuttered blinds. In the wings are two bedrooms and a billiard room, ·
» also the kitchen, storerooms and servants' quarters. Four bedrooms and J A
I a bath open off the hall on the second floor. “ 3
[T Many famous people have been entertained at Ashland, among them
{ LaFayette, Daniel Webster, the Earl of Derby, President Van Buren, Gen- j
{ eral Bertrand and Abraham Lincoln. Clay, prevented from spending much E
L time there because of the demands of his political career, evinced a 4 j
i keen interest in the social activities centered in his home and main- '
i tained a close contact by correspondence. ;
j After the death of Clay, his widow went to live with a son, John I
Y M. Clay; and Ashland was neglected. In l853 the house, with three hun- 4 ‘
dred and thirty—seven acres of land, was offered at auction and was i
5 purchased by another son, James B. Clay. Because parts of the house were ·
fp in need of repair and considered unsafe for use, the old home was torn
k down and rebuilt on the original plan, with brick and other material _
if salvaged. j
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E Closson Home ‘
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· The Closson House in Ludlow, a suburb of Covington, Kentucky, is
V a fine example of the Greek Revival form in architecture. Located on ( ·
s a plot of terraced ground which extends north to the Ohio River, the old
residence is an imposing sight when viewed from boats passing along that 1 ¤
waterway. Purchased twelve years ago by the Unity Lodge of Masons, today I L
. » _ it serves as the Ludlow Masonic Temple but is hemmed in by more modern 3
? buildings which occupy space formerly belonging to the Closson property.
O The structure is a story and a half in height and has a basement.   Q
The foundation and exterior walls are of brick construction. The interior
Z partitions are brick and frame, plastered. Wood shingles used in the
T original construction of the roof have been replaced with standing—seam f
[ tin and composition shingles. The wood flooring is composed of tongue- ;
and—groove, white pine, in six and seven—inch widths, laid alternately.
Q On the south side of the house, a porch one hundred and twenty feet long
g extends the entire length of the building. A smaller portico occupies the ,
g central portion of the north side. The design of both the north and south l .
V portals is in keeping with the general architectural pattern. The front
{ of the building was originally at the north and faced the river. It be-
Q came the rear as the result of a city street—construction. V
jj Originally built as a summer home, located in the center of an ;
y expansive plot of ground and surrounded by flower beds, the house pre- z
{ sented a lovely aspect. On the terraced north lawn a walk, bordered by M

 { Page 7. _
5 shrubs, led from the entrance to the river bank. The property formerly j
C extended to what is now Elm Street on the south, to the Ohio River on the
Q north and to Kenner Street on the east. There is no road along the western
y side of the plot. A space near the south side of the property, at the l
i eastern extremity, was occupied by a small, summer house, where, before ,
g the Civil War, part of the cooking was done.
3 The interior design of the house provided for a central hall with 1
two large rooms on either side. These rooms were each twenty—two feet long, f
_ eighteen feet wide, and had ceilings fifteen feet in height. Plaster E
3 cornices in the hall and ornaments decorating the ceilings of these large 1
Y rooms were done in Greek Revival style and add to the interesting character j
¢ of the house. Two smaller rooms adjoined the main structure and opened on `
j the south porch. One of these, to the east, formerly was used as a dining j
g room while the other, at the west side, served as the kitchen. The base- ~
5 ment, which formerly provided living quarters for the slaves, was dry and ’
S airy, with wood floors.
é The building was erected in 1832 by a man named Kenner, of Baton A
§ Rouge, Louisiana, who called the place Somerset Hall. Mr. Kenner retained _
8 ownership only a few years, however, for many of his slaves yielded to the ’
T- temptation of escaping to the beckoning, free country on the northern .
shore of the Ohio. He sold the estate to William Ludlow and later it was I R
·A purchased by a Cincinnati jeweler named Jenkins. The house assumed its
present name in 1885 when it was bought by A. B. Closson, Junior. _
. ( `
% Liberty Hall ` `
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Q Franklin County, Ky. ·

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?{l Liberty Hall in Frankfort is a splendid specimen of Georgian
ji architecture. The house was designed by Thomas Jefferson and erected
AQ in 1796 by John Brown for use as his home. It occupied an entire block
lf in the section of Frankfort laid out by General James Wilkinson, a
Qi pioneer military and political leader of Kentucky. The main structure ‘
{J was rectangular in shape and two stories in height. A two—storied ell
5] extension, lower in elevation, adjoined the rear of the building. There i
lr was a finished attic and a basement which originally provided quarters
 =< for slaves. Q
 ] Erected three years prior to the marriage of its builder, Liberty »
t_; Hall first served as a home for the parents of John Brown and was named
wx after a school over which the builder's father had presided in Virginia. j
Qy Following his marriage to Margaretta Mason, of New York, Brown threw
ig, wide the doors of his home which since has been ranked with the most
fgY hospitable of Kentucky's countless mansions. Num- •us and famed were the
. guests upon whom this hospitality was bestowed. Thomas Jefferson James
Q Madison, James Monroe, Aaron Burr, Andrew Jackson, and General LaFayette
{ were included in the list, and various incidents associated with the
g visits of these callers have been retold with pride by Brown's des- T
F‘ endants. For example, the cup from which LaFayette drank his tea while
E‘ a guest at Liberty Hall has remained in the china cabinet of the Brown y
,Y* family, a treasured heirloom. LaFayette visited Kentucky during May,
{i 1825, and was the guest of honor at a dinner served in the Public Square
1  ri at Frankfort. The meal was followed by a pretentious ball. Drawing away
E, from the press of this elaborately staged affair, the French general re- ‘
QT laxed for an hour at Liberty Hall, where he was received by the hostess,
¥ Mrs. Margaretta Brown. i Q
j The visit of Aaron Burr to Frankfort preceded but shortly an j
Q accusation of treason against Burr. A reference to this visit is con- ;
5 tained in an excerpt from a letter written to his daughter by Burr, i
i wherein he stated that he had been "magnificently lodged at the house of 1
Q John Brown." T
xy The first bedroom on the right at the head of the stairs is a
‘j§ spacious room with a very high ceiling and long windows. This is called I
ff the "Ghost Room." The origin of the expression is as follows: A Mrs.
Q; Vareck of New York was visiting at Liberty Hall and died there quite
i suddenly. A daughter of the house, returning from finishing school, y
‘‘_  later occupied the room in which Mrs. Vareck died. Sometime afterward {
?i· the girl, in the dead of night, ran screaming from the room exclaiming
4; that she had seen a ghost in the form of a "Lady in Gray,“ as she
‘} described her, and to this day the legend is still connected with Liberty
if Hall.
ji The exterior walls of the building, of solid brick, stand on a .
> f brick foundation. The brick were burned on the site. The major partition
Bt walls of the interior are also of brick; but the cross partitions are
Vp, frame. The original plastering of these walls remains intact except where

 J Page 9. {
j alterations required its removal. Random width oak flooring was used -
? on the first and second floors, although the beauty of this was hidden
g for many decades by luxurious carpets which extended over the entire
ip floors. The original roof was of frame construction covered with white r
p poplar shingles. Later these were replaced with shingles of cedar.
Q Some of the window glass originally used still remains. This was brought `
Q from Philadelphia over the Alleghany Mountains by pack mule. _
é The entrance to the house is sheltered by a portico, the two l
g columns of which are particularly attractive because of their fine carving. ·
§ Above the portal is one of the most handsome Palladian windows in Kentucky. ·
Q Within the house is a central hall, lighted by a fan—shaped transom and j
g spanned by a classically designed arch, customarily employed in Georgian `
§ houses. The width of the hall, with its large, flanking, drawing rooms, C
E library and dining room, provided ample space for dancing that punctuated A
§ the formal entertainment for which Liberty Hall was best known. Elaborate
5 accessories were on every hand and of these remaining are the finely carved
Q woodwork, the quaint mantels, the andirons and the heavy brass fenders. .
§ The polished brass doorbell now in use bears the inscription, "Liberty
§ Hall, 1796." g
g The garden at the rear of the house is extensive and beautiful.
g A central walk leads to that section known as the "Limberlost," a haven * .
§ for songbirds. The flower garden extends to the very edge of the Kentucky
Q River and contains a wide variety of shrubs and plants. _
E John Brown, the builder of Liberty Hall, was born in Staunton, *
E Virginia, September 12, 1757. He was the son of John Brown, a distinguished , V
i Presbyterian minister. The younger Brown had entered Princeton just prior C
§ to the outbreak of the Revolutionary War. Putting aside his text books, he { i
Q joined the army to serve under General Washington and later as an aid to { *
g LaFayette. After the war he enrolled at William and Mary College, graduating * i
g from that institution. He read law with Thomas Jefferson after leaving g
i college. 1 f
E Brown held the following public offices during his life: Q
G Member of the Virginia Senate for the 1
Q. "District of Kentucke," 1784-1788 ;
Q Member of the "Kentucke District of
Y g Virginia" to the Continental A
A Congress, 1787-1788 <
; Elected from Virginia, "Kentucke District," y
{ to the First and Second United States
` Congresses, 1789-1792.
J Member of the Committee that formed the
g State of Kentucky. »
United States Senator from Kentucky,
J 1792-1805.
is President pro tempore of the U. S. Senate
5, L from October 17, 1803 to January 23, 1804.

 di Page 10. E
lj The Hentucky Historical Society ascertained that Mr. Brown was the last
1; surviving member of the Continental Congress when he died at Liberty
A Hall on August 29, 1837. ‘
il _ Uninterrupted generations of the Brown family made their home
1 in the old mansion for one hundred and thirty—nine years, until one of ’
L the last owners died in 1935. The original furnishings have been re- l
· tained, largely, and funds are being raised to purchase and perpetuate `
i the historic house. 1
1 Marshall Home C
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Q Mason County, Ky. E 1
5 The Marshall House, built about 1802 by Captain Thomas Marshall,
i Junior, in the village of Washington, Mason County, Kentucky, has been
§ the residence of generations of this illustrious family. The old brick ”
’ home is owned and occupied, at the present time, by Miss Louise Marshall.
aw Built when the region west of the Alleghanies was practically an
I unbroken wilderness, the house must have assumed palatial proportions at _
3 that time. Erected on a native stone foundation, with solid brick ex-
` terior walls strong enough to withstand a siege, the building served not
? only as a frontier fortress but also as a meeting place where loyal patriots I
E assembled to gather and impair news and to swap yarns. Captain Marshall, 1
. host at these gatherings, had been a Revolutionary soldier and is reputed
f to have been a sparkling conversationalist. John Marhsall, a brother of

 i  T
ig Page ll. E
§‘ the builder of the Hill, as the place is known locally, served as Chief c
l? Justice of the United States from 1801 to 1835.
l§» The house is two stories in height, with a finished attic and a
,g- basement under part of the building. The inner partitions are brick and
i, frame, plastered. The floors are random width ash except in the basement, -
 § where the flooring is earthen. The roof is of frame construction, covered
§ with galvanized iron, a comparatively recent improvement. Originally, the °
gg roof was covered with pine shingles, all of which were hand split. Some of i
§§` these shingles have been found under the pediment, or low arch, on the west j
li slope of the roof, indicating this pediment has been added to the old roof. _
f A porch across the east side of the house evidently has replaced a former f
lj one and a similar change has been made on the west side. The building of ~
li a porch on the west side probably was an attempt to repair, or conceal, a s
lg settling of the wall which occurred soon after the house was completed. Q
1, The entire structure is in bad repair and boasts no modern conveniences _
lg _ other than electricity and a warm air furnace, recently installed.
i The kitchen extension was built prior to the erection of the main `
Q structure and it may have been part of a former building occupying the site. l
‘ The brick work of the kitchen differs in pattern from that of the house and
i the window frames also are different in the two structures. The old kitchen Q
i had a large fireplace but when the present house was built this fireplace
yi was used in the dining room, the same chimney serving also the fireplace in `
ti the bedroom over the dining room. The original chimney was built inside but
yi later was relocated and set outside.
lg Captain Thomas Marshall was the son of Colonel Thomas Marshall. He
Q was born in Fauquier County, Virginia, October 27, 1761 and died at his ‘
é Mason County home March 19, 1817. His parents, who had come from their '
yl place, Buckpond, in Woodford County, to make their home with the son when y
Q the latter built his new house, also are buried there, in the Marshall y
 § burying ground.·
 § Ephraim McDowell Home 2
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i Danvi e, y.

 · Page 12. 3
Q The house occupied by Dr. Ephraim McDowell when he performed the
Y world's first ovariotomy stands on Second between Main and Walnut Streets,
" in Danville, Kentucky. For years after Dr. McDowell's death the house
2 was used by negro tenants and reached a dilapidated state. Rescued by
the Kentucky State Medical Association, it has been restored to the con-
. dition in which it was left by the world—famous surgeon. C
The house is typical of the home built by the man of moderate D
means during that period. It is a two—and—a—half story frame structure .
without ornament and bespeaks the simplicity of its former owner, when "
` he was a struggling, medical practicioner. The original furnishings
of the house and office are being returned as they are acquired. Many of
the old surgical instruments will be on display. The brick additions to h
the building, probably added at different dates, were used during his .
occupancy of the house. ‘
On December 25, 1809, Dr. McDowell performed the world's first
surgical operation for the removal of an ovarian tumor. His patient, Mrs.
Jane Todd Crawford of Greensburg, had been visited at her home by Dr.
McDowell and her condition convinced him that an operation alone could
save her life. In his own account of the accomplishment Dr. McDowell said,
"Having never seen so large a substance extracted, nor heard of an attempt
or success attending any operation such as this required, I gave to the
unhappy woman information of her dangerous situation." Bravely, Mrs.
Crawford agreed and soon after arrived at the McDowell house in Danville, p
used then as office and home by the physician. Removal of the growth,
which weighed in excess of twenty pounds, was accomplished within less
than half an hour, with a few simple instruments. After the operation, V p
accomplished without anesthesia, she convalesced rapidly and after remain- p
ing at the McDowell house twenty-five days returned to her home, sixty V
miles distant, as she had come, on horseback. Mrs. Crawford lived for
thirty—two years afterward. l
Ephraim McDowell was born in Augusta County, Virginia, March ll, J i
1771, the son of Samuel McDowell. He was brought to Kentucky at the age
of thirteen and received his early education at Georgetown. He then went I Q
_ to Virginia to enter the office of Dr. Humphrey, as a medical student, j
and remained there two years. In 1793 and 1794 he attended lectures at
“ the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. Chemistry absorbed his interest at l
q the outset but later he concentrated on anatomy and surgery. He is quoted
A as having referred to medicine as "more of a curse than a blessing to the V
I human race." McDowell left Edinburgh without a degree but this was not
unusual at that time as attendance at college was based upon the idea of A
~ securing knowledge. Upon leaving the University, chiefly because of a lack
? of funds, and in accordance with the custom of the day, McDowell became the A
2 pupil of John Bell, a Scotch surgeon. The discourses of this instructor
Q apparently made a profound impression upon him, particularly during that .
Q portion of the course in which Bell lectured on the diseases of the ovaries A
{ and dwelt upon the inevitable death to which those so afflicted were
i doomed. A mere suggestion of the possibility of success attending an
g operation for the removal of these organs was, in all probability, the

 I Page 13. ·
` incentive for McDowell to attempt the operation which led to his fame.
Upon his return to Danville in 1795, McDowell at once entered
upon the practice of medicine and surgery and soon attained a reputation
as thehrankingtmimber of his profession in the community. Within a few I
years is repu a ion extended until he was recognized as the leading
surgeon west of Philadelphia. He continued active practice until his i
death, his greatest a