About Liberty Hall Historic Site
Liberty Hall Historic
Site is a premier destination for visitors interested in Kentucky
history, 19th century life, 18th and 19th century American political
history, beautifully restored historic homes, and lush gardens.
It is conveniently located in Kentucky's Capital, just 30 minutes
from downtown Lexington and one hour from downtown Louisville.
Located in historic downtown Frankfort on
the banks of the Kentucky River, Liberty Hall Historic Site was
the home of one of Kentucky's most important families. The site
contains two houses: Liberty Hall (1796) built by John Brown, one of
Kentucky's first United States Senator and the Orlando Brown House
(1835), designed by Gideon Shryock,
and owned by Senator Brown's second son. Liberty Hall is a
National Historic Landmark.
In addition to the
houses, Liberty Hall Historic Site has grounds that include extensive
boxwood and perennial gardens, which lead down to the Kentucky River.
Benches are located throughout the garden for those who wish
to enjoy a quiet moment among the beautiful plants and flowers.
The mission of Liberty
Hall Historic Site is to educate the public by interpreting the life and times
of Senator John Brown and his descendants. The site will collect,
document, preserve, conserve, and exhibit the social, domestic, and
horticultural aspects of Kentucky life, beginning with 1796 at Liberty Hall and
1835 at the Orlando Brown House.
Liberty Hall Historic
Site is a non-profit organization owned and operated by Liberty Hall, Inc., and The National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the
Commonwealth of Kentucky (NSCDA-KY).
Liberty Hall Historic Site
history of Liberty Hall Historic Site can be traced back to 1786,
when General James Wilkinson purchased much of the land that is
downtown Frankfort. Wilkinson laid out the town of Frankfort, naming
the streets for friends, famous people and places, and even himself.
Some of Wilkinson's original streets, Wilkinson, Wapping, and
Montgomery (now Main) form the boundaries of three of the four sides
of Liberty Hall Historic Site. Wilkinson ultimately sold the tract
that includes Liberty Hall to Frankfort resident Andrew Holmes. In
1796, Holmes sold the four acres to Senator John Brown.
began construction of a home on the property shortly after
purchasing it, though he was often away in Philadelphia. The
architect of Liberty Hall is unknown (John himself may have done
some of the design) but it is clear that someone with great skill
and understanding designed the Federal style home. One of the
earliest brick homes in Frankfort, the bricks were fired locally
from clay dug from the cellar. The construction continued until 1800
when the house was substantially complete, lacking only the glass
windows, which were added in 1804. In 1801, John Brown moved into
the home with his wife, Margaretta Mason Brown, and infant son Mason.
addition to the main house, John Brown built several dependent
structures on the property, including a kitchen and laundry,
smokehouse, a privy, stables, carriage house, and slave quarters.
Eventually a set of stairs was installed from the garden level to
the river level and a boat landing was created. Ultimately, a fence
was built around the property. After this, Liberty Hall
remained substantially unchanged until the early 1830's.
order to give his two sons equal inheritance, in 1835 John Brown
divided his property. His elder son, Mason, would inherit Liberty
Hall. For his younger son, Orlando, Brown hired Gideon Shryock,
designer of the Kentucky Capitol, to design a new house. Constructed
Greek Revival style, the Orlando Brown House was built by local
contractor Harrison Blanton. The entire project cost just $5,000.00.
In the 1870s, Brown
family members sold a parcel of land between the two houses. William
Chinn built a house on the property, which was later sold to the
Sutterlin family. The Chinn-Sutterlin House stood until the 1960s, when it
was razed to reconnect the Liberty Hall and Orlando Brown
properties. Three more lots, on the Wapping Street side of the
Orlando Brown property, were sold near the turn of the 20th century.
These properties remain privately owned and separate from the
Liberty Hall Historic Site property.
1934, Mary Mason Scott, John Brown's great granddaughter and the
last resident of Liberty Hall, passed away leaving Liberty Hall to
her brother, John Matthew Scott. He sold Liberty Hall to a group of
concerned citizens who had formed Liberty Hall, Inc., a nonprofit
organization. They opened the house as a museum in 1937. The Orlando
Brown House was occupied until 1955. At her death, Orlando Brown's
last remaining descendant, Anne Hord Brown left the house to the
National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the
Commonwealth of Kentucky (NSCDA-KY). The Dames opened the house as a
museum shortly thereafter.
Hall Historic Site
Frankfort, KY 40601
or toll-free 888-516-5101