Kentucky Mansions | Community | bgdailynews.com
When Rosemary Clooney of Maysville in 1954 recorded her No. 1 hit “This Ole House,” she couldn’t think of the beautiful historic homes in the state. His song has reached the top of the charts in the US and UK.
Some may recall the lyrics to the song, which spoke of an old house in such disrepair that it first had to be demolished or collapsed. “It’s a preparation to meet the Saints,” his song concluded.
Some of Kentucky’s finest homes are open to be visited and enjoyed. At one point they might have needed some serious attention, but not anymore. Today, they are more than beautiful structures. Some are living history lessons.
Communities large and small across the state are realizing that Kentuckians care about the stories these homes have to tell. And now, with fall upon us, it’s a great time for a few mini-tours through Kentucky to discover some of them.
Several houses offer period-clad guides who guide and weave stories relevant to the history of the house. Others allow self-guided tours with interpretive panels. In either case, it is suggested that the opening hours of each individual house be verified prior to the visit.
Federal Hill, better known as My Old Kentucky Home, in Bardstown has long been the state’s most publicized home visit. However, there are others with interesting and colorful stories about the families who lived there.
One of Kentucky’s most colorful politicians lived at White Hall in Richmond.
Cassius M. Clay was an emancipator who served as Minister of Russia under President Abraham Lincoln. The 44-room Italian-style mansion was built in 1799 and renovated in the 1860s.
The 16th Governor of Kentucky, William Owsley, lived in Lancaster in a beautiful Federal-style house called the Pleasant Retreat. The house has been restored and visitors can see the portraits of the Owsley family as well as the original French wallpaper from 1812.
Liberty Hall in Frankfort housed the first United States Senator from Kentucky, John Brown. Listed as a national historic monument, the house now interprets early American politics and daily life in the young state capital. The gardens surrounding the house are open all year round.
Historians consider Riverview in Bowling Green to be one of Kentucky’s finest examples of Italianate architecture. The house, which was built between 1857 and 1872, offers a glimpse into the Victorian lifestyle of a prominent local family. The house is on the John Hunt Morgan Trail.
Whitehaven in Paducah, which was built in 1860, is considered the only historic house in America that has been restored as an interstate tourist welcome center. The house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and its second floor features memorabilia from Paducah native Alben W. Barkley, who served as vice president under Harry Truman.
The Conrad-Caldwell House in old Louisville St. James Court depicts the upper-class Victorian way of life. The mansion is architecturally significant for its exterior stonework and interior wood carvings, parquet floors, and magnificent stained glass windows.
Adsmore House & Gardens, a living history museum, sits on a four-acre estate in downtown Princeton, western Kentucky. This elegantly Victorian house describes life as it was in the early 1900s. Adsmore is a year-round attraction that offers eight different interpretive settings throughout the calendar year.
All of these historic homes have admission fees with the exception of Whitehaven in Paducah.
Here’s where they are:
Whitehaven, Paducah, 1845 Lone Oak Road. Telephone: 270-554-2077.
White Hall, Richmond, 500 White Hall Shrine Road. Telephone: 859-623-9178.
Federal Hill / My Old Kentucky Home, Bardstown, 501 East Stephen Foster Road. Telephone: 800-323-7803.
Riverview, Bowling Green, 1110 W. Main Ave. Telephone: 270-843-5565.
Governor William Owsley House, Lancaster, 656 Stanford Road. Telephone: 859-792-2500.
Liberty Hall, Frankfort, 218 Wilkinson Street Telephone: 888-516-5101.
Conrad-Caldwell House, Louisville, 1402 St. James Court. Telephone: 502-636-5023.
Adsmore House & Gardens, Princeton, 304 N. Jefferson St. Telephone: 270-365-3114.
Among the other mansions to visit:
Dinsmore Homestead, Burlington, 5656 Burlington Pike. Telephone: 859-586-6117.
Waveland, Lexington, 225 Waveland Museum Lane. Telephone: 859-272-3611.
There is no excuse, get up, get out and go!
Historic Kentucky Homes
• Whitehaven, Paducah, 1845 Lone Oak Road. Telephone: 270-554-2077.
• White Hall, Richmond, 500 White Hall Shrine Road. Telephone: 859-623-9178.
• Federal Hill / My Old Kentucky Home, Bards-town, 501 East Stephen Foster Road. Telephone: 800-323-7803.
• Riverview, Bowling Green, 1110 W. Main Ave. Telephone: 270-843-5565.
• Governor William Owsley’s House, Lancaster, 656 Stanford Road. Telephone: 859-792-2500.
• Liberty Hall, Frankfort, 218 Wilkinson St. Telephone: 888-516-5101.
• Conrad-Caldwell House, Louisville, 1402 St. James Court. Telephone: 502-636-5023.
• Adsmore House & Gardens, Princeton, 304 N. Jefferson St. Telephone: 270-365-3114.
Among the other mansions to visit:
• Dinsmore Homestead, Burlington, 5656 Burlington Pike. Telephone: 859-586-6117.
• Waveland, Lexington, 225 Waveland Museum Lane. Telephone: 859-272-3611.