The Ferguson Mansion

Whether visiting the Filson Historical Society to do research or just to tour the building, the most frequent remark made by patrons tends to be something along the lines of “wow, you are so lucky to work in such a beautiful place!”  This “beautiful place”, known as the Ferguson Mansion (named for Edwin Hite Ferguson), draws people in with its lavish structure and design and often sparks an interest in its history.

Tiffany dragonfly lamp

Shortly after The Filson Historical Society (then known as The Filson Club) purchased the mansion in honor of the club’s one-hundredth anniversary, a detailed account of Ferguson and the mansion’s history was written by George H. Yater and published in the October 1984 issue of The Filson Club History Quarterly (1). In this article entitled, “Edwin Hite Ferguson and the Ferguson Mansion,” Yater outlines Ferguson’s life in Louisville and describes how the mansion came to be. According to Yater, the design work, (done by William J. Dodd who also helped design the Seelbach hotel) commenced in 1901 and construction was completed in 1905. It is considered a fine example of the Parisian Beaux Arts architecture featuring the use of wood and damask paneling along with sculpted marble and bronze mantelpieces. Also, a small area of the second floor houses a set of unique Tiffany lamps in the form of dragonflies.

Ferguson Mansion Dining Room

Around the turn of the century in Louisville, (when an average home cost about ten thousand dollars) the mansion was considered one of the most expensive residences, valued at about one hundred thousand dollars. Ferguson was able to build this kind of lavish residence because he had become a successful entrepreneur, as the president and founder of the Kentucky Refining Company. However, his success was fairly short lived and Ferguson eventually sold the mansion in 1924 to the Pearson Funeral Home. For the most part, the Pearsons kept the mansion in its original condition, with the exception of the removal of the grand staircase. Finally, in 1984 when the Filson purchased the mansion, some of its original furnishings and décor was also purchased in an auction. For more information regarding Edwin Hite Ferguson and the mansion please feel free to visit The Filson Historical Society Library to see the quarterly article in its entirety.

_____________________

[1] Yater, George H.. “Edwin Hite Ferguson and the Ferguson Mansion.” The Filson Club History Quarterly 58. 4 (1984): 436-457. Print.


Filson Historical

Leave Comment