ABOUT "Loudoun House "
DESCRIPTION: The National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places. WOW! This Gothic Revival, truly glorious 1850 mansion is well worth the effort to visit! It really is a stunning example of Gothic Revival architecture, with influences from the Romantic Movement which was so popular during the 1850s. Loudon House is on The National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places, and is owned by Lexington, who leases this lovely mansion to the Lexington Art League. When we finally found and traveled down Castlewood Avenue, suddenly it appeared on the right. Loudoun is made of brick painted white, dusted and covered with layers of sand and paint to resemble stone. It is quite impressive with its length and Gothic Revival architecture, presenting a mansion that is uniquely different, and must have turned heads throughout its long existence. The mansion is long, shallow, and two storied, with lovely castle-like towers framing its grand entry way. The "crenellated" tower on the right of the main entrance is bigger, and probably holds a study at the top, because there are four large, rounded stained glass windows, adding beauty to both the outside appearance and for the room inside. The rounded window arches above the long, rounded at the top rectangular windows are made of limestone, and the roof is a handsome slate. The roof line is interesting, with all its turrets, "parapet" walls, and pinnacles on the important gables. Peeking in the windows of the closed mansion, one sees large rooms for serious parties/assemblies, now used for events sponsored by the Lexington Art League. The woodwork inside is all walnut. Francis and Julia put the best in their home, from the stencil-painted medieval designs on the ceilings to the enameled glass panes, plasterwork, marble mantels and custom-made furniture from New York. HISTORY: Francis Key Hunt, one of the sons of John Wesley Hunt, was the driving force in Loudoun House's construction, a real labor of love. After having an education at Transylvania University in Lexington, which was close to his father's home, and the Episcopal Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, Francis became a lawyer. After returning to Lexington to practice law, Francis married a local, wealthy socialite, Julia Warfield. Her parents gave the young couple a wedding gift of 60 acres on the Bryan Station Pike, located next to the Warfield Estate. When John Wesley Hunt died suddenly of cholera in 1848, Francis inherited nearly a million dollars. Francis hired a local Lexington architect, John McMurtry, to build a castellated Gothic Revival villa using a custom design of one of the house designs found in a published 1838 catalogue of blueprints, "Rural Residences", by prominent New York architect Alexander Jackson Davis. Planning between Davis and Francis was problematic, as it was done long distance though the mail, which drove up the cost. Francis planned on spending $10,000 - $12,000 dollars. The final price tag was $30,000! Finally, in 1852, Francis and Julia had their dream villa, distinctly different from the common Greek Revival homes usually built by Lexington's well-to do. It was called Loudoun, after Julia's favorite song, “The Bells of Loudoun.” Both Francis and Julia loved their new home and lived together, raising their family in it from 1851 - 1879, when Francis died. In 1884, Julia sold Loudoun to Colonel William Cassius Goodloe and wife, and moved in with her daughter and son-in-law, Maria Hunt Dudley and Dr. Benjamin Dudley. The Goodloe family enjoyed living in Loudoun House from 1884 to 1921. J.F. Bailey was the next owner, but he only lived there a few years before he sold it and its property to the City of Lexington in the 1920s. Lexington transformed this beautiful building into a community center, and the home's extensive grounds into Castlewood Park. In 1984, Loudon became the home of the Lexington Art League, an organization who actively promotes the arts through shows, classes and events held here. The city still owns the property, but leases the building to this fine organization. HISTORY OF MANIFESTATIONS: Two female entities from the 1900s don't want to leave just yet, and choose to spend their after-life in the home which they loved. I suspect that one of the entities may be Julia Hunt, who may have had to move out before she really wanted to do so. For some reason, she had to sell their beloved home, which had so many good memories. I'm guessing that either she didn't have the funds to keep the home and estate, or perhaps her health wasn't good. For some reason, she needed to move into her daughter and son-in-law's home, and didn't just buy a smaller place, more suited for a single woman. Perhaps the other female entity could be a former servant, still waiting on dinner guests, or a lady of the house, being the model of hospitality. Someone's kitty suffered a quick demise and didn't know what hit him or her. Still thinking it hadn't used up its nine lives, the kitty hangs around. MANIFESTATIONS: An entity of a woman, dressed in Victorian attire, has been seen in the western part of the mansion. An entity of another woman, also dressed in Victorian attire, has been seen in what was the formal dining room. A black cat has made appearances all over the mansion. Sensory paranormal activity: The light scent of an 1900s floral perfume has been noticed by the living in one of the upstairs bedrooms, now used as a studio. The living have heard disembodied voices and soft, background music, played at 1900s balls and events. STILL HAUNTED? Probably, as it is listed as a haunted site on several sources. They are gentile and polite, and must appreciate all the events that the Lexington Art League hosts in this mansion.
209 Castlewood Drive, Lexington, Kentucky, 40505

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209 Castlewood Drive, Lexington, Kentucky, 40505
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