Edwin Hite Ferguson (1852-1924) was a Louisville industrialist who made his fortune in the cottonseed-oil business. His company grew to be the 2nd largest of its kind in the world. Ferguson commissioned the Louisville architectural firm Cobb and Dodd—the same firm responsible for designing the Seelbach Hotel and the Kentucky capitol building—to design his home in 1901. Construction of the mansion took four years (1901-1905) and $100,000, approximately ten times the cost of the neighboring Victorian homes. At the time, the mansion was the most expensive home in Louisville. In comparison, the home would cost an estimated $2 million today, which doesn’t include the difficulty or cost of the intricate craftsmanship found throughout the building. Since 1986, the mansion has been the home of The Filson Historical Society.
The mansion originally housed nine occupants: the three members of the Ferguson family: Edwin Hite Ferguson, his wife Sophie Fullerton Ferguson, and their daughter Margaret, in addition to six servants. Unfortunately, in 1907, not long after the mansion was completed, Ferguson was ousted from his own company. From that point on his fortune began to dwindle, eventually forcing him to sell the mansion in 1924.
The Pearson family purchased the mansion, and it served as Pearson Funeral Home until the mid-1970s. The mansion also provided the headquarters for John Y. Brown, Jr.’s successful 1979 gubernatorial campaign. The mansion became the headquarters of The Filson Historical Society in 1986 as part of The Filson’s centennial celebration.
The images in this gallery were taken in 1912 when the Ferguson family still lived in the home. The images show the lavish lifestyle of the family and the fine craftsmanship that went into building this Beaux-Arts style mansion. To see all the Ferguson Mansion images check out our online Photograph Database.