Still in Bardstown, we went to the 'My Old Kentucky Home' , preserved in time and history as a State Park since 1923.
The Federal-style mansion was originally named 'Federal Hill' but was later renamed after the song 'My Old Kentucky Home, Goodnight!'
Stephen Foster (who wrote the song) was a cousin of John Rowan's (owner of said property). There are many famous songs we know by Stephen Foster, he wrote 200 during his short life, passing away at age 37. He composed two that became state songs, this and one for Florida.
We had a beautiful rendition of 'My Old Kentucky Home' by our first tour guide Miss Kelby. Miss Jillian took us around the upstairs portion of the house.
No photos were allowed inside the mansion unfortunately. The home is decorated to what would have been 'pleasing to the eye' in the early 1800's. Gorgeous rich in colour and pattern carpets, wallpapers, drapes and furnishings. All reproduced and updated every 30 years, the carpet that is, and possibly the wallpaper, didn't quite catch whether they re-did that as well but assume they may so it matches in.
They had rooms done as winter rooms and summer rooms, difference being curtains and bedding, on your four poster!
Seventy five percent of the furniture and items in the house are original to the house. They are currently restoring other furniture to have placed in the home as well. Notable pieces – the sugar cutting implement and sugar cabinet, the cigar storage box, the decanter box, the side table with hidden door for the bourbon – it was not cool to have your liquor on display then – the chamber pot chair, sewing box, the twins crib and so much more!
The mansion and its surrounding acreage was owned by Judge and US Congressman John Rowan and subsequent family members thereafter.
He was known to like whiskey, gambling and a good argument. One 'out of court' argument over a card game with the towns doctor almost ended his life. The doctor had challenged John to a duel. They took it out to the city limits and actually had a duel, the first shots missed each other, the second round the doctors missed Rowan but Rowans hit the doctor in the chest and two hours later the doctor was dead.
The property behind the mansion once had around 39 other cabins and homes on it, for hired help and slaves etc. John Jr. was later part of the abolishment of slavery and disengaged them from Federal Hill.
Onward South to Hodgenville to check out more Lincoln Heritage. A quick stop to look at Lincolnshire boyhood home at Knob Creek.
In downtown Hodgenville is the Lincoln Heritage Museum. A really good setup with all the history and their much claim to fame in the town plaza is THE first memorial statue of Lincoln before anything in the east.
It was about now that we are realising we don't have time to see any more of Lincoln – it just dawned on us it's Thursday! We need to be in Arlington, TN – TOnight!
On the road again quick!
P.S. We made it! 😉