It's always fun to look inside illustrious older homes during the holidays, and not only for the history. The furnishings and holiday decorations are often worthy of a tour themselves.
On Sunday, the annual Scott County Arts Consortium's Tour of Historic Homes will take visitors inside some of Georgetown's most famous homes. Scott County historian Ann Bolton Bevins gives their history:
917 Cincinnati Road. Owner: Janet Freeman
This was first the settlement period home of Elijah and Sophia Bradford Hawkins. The couple deeded the house and 222 acres in 1830 to Thomas H. Bradford, who represented Scott and Bourbon counties in the Kentucky Senate in 1844-1846. The Hawkins home included the two-bay, two-story rear ell of the present house.
It was enlarged into an Italian Villa by attorney and Civil War veteran William Sharp Darnaby. He acquired the house in 1878. He and fellow attorneys Henry Viley Johnson and George Viley Payne divided the 200-acre farm, and Darnaby elaborated his renovation with a tower (no longer existing) on his 66-acre share of the Dry Run vista that the trio of defending lawyers were said to have earned as a legal fee.
Kent and Betty Boggess Hollingsworth bought the farm in 1963. Hollingsworth was editor of The Blood Horse from 1963 to 1986 and was author of numerous works on Thoroughbred horses and racing. Hubert and Elizabeth A. Collet, who purchased the farm in 1989, sold it to Mark P. Freeman Jr., now deceased, and Janet W. Freeman in 1999.
The Colonial House of Beauty
301 North Hamilton Street. Owner: Cathy Towles
W.S. Elgin was the original owner of the three-gabled dwelling that has housed Cathy Towles' The Colonial House of Beauty since 2003.
Elgin was Georgetown's druggist as early as 1869. He purchased the lot from the heirs of Henry and Elizabeth Clarke, owners of an outlying small farm on the east side of North Broadway and Hamilton streets. He sold the house and lot in 1883 to Susan Finley, wife of Benjamin Franklin Finley, who sold it in 1883 to their daughter, Lillian. Lillian sold it in 1889 to Nat S. Offutt, who then sold it in 1890 to Laura M. Rankins.
Elgin, who bought the lot for $500, sold it to Finley for $3,200. She sold it to her daughter for $2,800, and she sold it to Nat S. Offutt for the same amount. Offutt sold it to Rankins for $3,500.
Offutt fought during the Civil War with Captain James E. Cantrill's cavalry company of John Hunt Morgan, rising to the rank of captain and thereafter listing himself as "Captain Nat S. Offutt." He was a partner in a distillery near town, a real estate agent and auctioneer, attorney, farmer and police judge.
Renovation of the house was a project of the late Charlie Bevins.
George O. Bryan House
405 West Main Street. Owners: Nora Koffman and John Erdtmann
The house was originally owned by George O. Bryan. Koffman and Erdtmann bought the circa 1892 Queen Anne-style house in 2006. It had considerable damage resulting from its use as rental property.
The elaborate dwelling and the very similar house to the east, briefly the home of George Bryan's brother, Dr. Francis F. Bryan II, occupy lots carved from the former farm of attorney James Y. Kelly, circa 1891. George Bryan sold his house and lot for $5,000 in 1892 to his mother, Mary E. Bryan.
In 1913, after their mother's death, Bryan, his wife, Bettie F., and George O. and Mary Jett Bryan sold the house to Ella Bryan Rogers, who the same year sold it to Belle Carl Cook, wife of B.F. Cook.
William A. and Lela M. Abbott owned the property for 52 years after their purchase in 1920, and later it was owned by George L. and Frances A. Sallee and their family.
Dr. John E. Pack House
356 North Broadway. Owners: Nan and Neal Morris
The Dutch Colonial Revival-style 1924-25 dwelling was the home of turn-of-the-century physician Dr. John Emison Pack and his wife, Laura Stevenson Pack. She bought the large house on the lot in 1888 from doctors R.T. and F.F. Bryan for $4,000. She died in 1896, leaving the home to Dr. Pack and the couple's daughter, Sarah, and her children and grandchildren. Pack enlarged the house several times before replacing it with the present home after a fire in the mid-1920s.
Pack was a son of Dr. Richard F. and Sarah "Sadie" Emison Pack; the city of Sadieville was named in her honor. After the death in 1896 of his first wife, Pack married Caroline, one of the three daughters of famed nineteenth century horseman Alexander Keene Richards.
In 1936, Grace Barlow purchased the home. She and other family members owned it for 40 years until 1976. James R. and Janie D. Lewis were the next long term owners, purchasing the property in 1975 and selling it 25 years later to Julie and Robert Shadur, who sold it to the present owners in 2010.
Former Jailer's Dwelling
117 North Water Street. The Arts & Cultural Center
The restored Italianate-style dwelling was built in 1892, along with the Romanesque Revival jail. It's now home to the Arts Consortium, which offers exhibits and programming for the community.
The Gallery & Gifts Holiday Market has works of local and regional artists, fine art and handcrafted gift items.
Proceeds from the tour will be used for the continuing Arts Consortium programming and renovation and expansion of the former county jail complex.
Sharon Thompson: (859) 231-3321. Twitter: @FlavorsofKY. Blog: flavorsofkentucky.bloginky.com