Living History Home and Garden Tour

By Jean Henry/The Garden Club of Frankfort, Published:

The eighth annual Living in History Home and Garden Tour, sponsored by The Garden Club of Frankfort and the Frankfort/Franklin County Tourism Commission, will be held from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday.

Also included in the day’s events are a luncheon, and a boutique and antique appraisal fair, at the Frankfort Country Club. The luncheon is from 11-2 and the boutique and antique appraisal from 10-3.

The proceeds from these three events go to help fund Frankfort beautification projects, such as the Wilkinson Boulevard median improvements and the Frankfort Cemetery Chapel.

Tickets for the tour of homes and gardens are $15 and the lunch is $15. They are available at any of the homes, the country club, or at the Frankfort Tourism Center.

Here’s a look at the homes and gardens on the tour.

301 West Third Street

Susan Turner’s Queen-Anne-style home was built in 1892. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is two and a half stories with a mix of clapboard and shingle siding. The property is known locally as The Jillson House.

Jillson was director of the Kentucky Geological Survey in the 1920s and ’30s and served as the first commissioner of Kentucky State Parks.

As a geologist and historian he wrote more than 60 books and 500 articles — many of them while working from his office in the attic of this home. There is still to be seen the original elaborately carved oak woodwork said to have been produced in Battlecreek, Mich., and shipped by boat to Frankfort. It includes massive oak doors, coal-burning fireplaces and many stained glass panels original to the home. 

115 Shelby Street

Susan Coblin’s two-and-a-half story weatherboard Colonial Revival-style home is on a tree-lined street along the Kentucky River. Flooded repeatedly in the past it is now protected by a floodwall. The family presently living here represents the fifth generation in residence and the many flood stories have become a part of the family tradition.

The home is bright and airy with many windows and a spacious floor plan. The current owner’s grandfather was an architect and had a special fondness for stonework and arches. One of the unique features in the home is his design of the freestanding fireplace in the family room.

The walls are adorned with paintings from well-known local artists as well as family members. Visitors will also be interested in studying the landscaping blueprint plan for the back garden as it begins to take shape.

3 Weehawken

Marcey and John Paul Broderson’s home is located in a secluded cul-de-sac just outside the entrance to the Frankfort Country Club. This small neighborhood of homes is on land once part of a large estate known as Weehawken.

The Brodersons’ traditional American-style brick ranch was built by Lawrence W. Wetherby, governor of Kentucky from l950 to 1955. When his term expired he had this house built for his family. The current owners also moved into the house after they retired from active careers.

Visitors will view from the glass-enclosed porch the playhouse for the grandchildren, a fishpond with Koi, beehives and a variety of plants that attest to the owners’ interest in nature and the environment. 

103 Hay Avenue

Don Yancey has been gardening at his home for 25 years. His backyard landscape reflects his enthusiasm for growing things and creating welcoming spaces. Visitors will follow a path leading them past white trellises decorated with a selection of clematis and through a gate into a charming world of color and variety.

The centerpiece is a large Koi pond fed by rainwater that is brought from the home’s gutter and downspout system to a fountain and then channeled under a small bridge to finally arrive at the pond. The many containers accenting the separate areas utilize begonias, mandevillas and other flowering annuals to bloom all summer while the flowering focus of the perennial beds varies from week to week.

503 Murray Street

Marie and Bill Cull’s home in the South Frankfort Historic District was originally built by Circuit Judge Ben G. Williams in 1905. That home was in the Queen Anne style and was three stories.

It burned in 1933 and was restored to a one-story Colonial revival home after a complete redesign by Leo Oberwarth Architects. The four tall chimneys remain as a reminder of the height of the original home. Since they’ve owned the home the Culls have, among other things, opened the second floor, enlarged the kitchen, enclosed the sleeping porch, added a deck and continued the gardening efforts of previous owners.

221-223 St. Clair Street

Amy and Craig Potts purchased the Duvall Building in 2010. This commercial building was constructed in 1889 in the Italianate style. The building’s façade retains many of the hallmarks of Italianate design including a bracketed cornice with decorative pediment, ornate window hoods and one largely intact storefront with period details such as prismatic glass transom windows.

The upstairs had been the offices of the public defender for a long time. In the rehabilitation those offices were moved to the first floor and the upstairs was redesigned into a spacious two-bedroom residence for a family of four.

The results are a marvel of ingenuity, artistry and practicality reflecting the owners’ vision. Features include an open concept living room and kitchen, a rear porch addition and rooftop gathering space, hardwood and marble floors, decorative trim work and 9-foot façade windows that provide outstanding views of the Franklin County Courthouse.

Period details have been preserved as part of a thoroughly modern reinterpretation of space that accommodates modern living with the convenience of urban life.

505 Murray Street

The imposing home of Brig. Gen. (ret.) Jim and Stacey Shane was built in 1905 by Cornelius E. Collins, a co-owner with a brother of a saloon and hardware store in downtown Frankfort. Located about two blocks from the Governor’s Mansion, its backyard overlooks the Kentucky River and has a view of the Frankfort Cemetery.

The old home was left vacant for several years until 1988 when it was purchased by David and Sharma Klee. The new owners undertook a monumental restoration effort to renovate it back to its original state. Large, multiple porches, high paneled ceilings, wooden pocket doors and spacious rooms all speak of the designs popular in the early 1900s.

100 Old Georgetown Road

Andrea and Mike Mueller’s home is on 20 acres of land that originally belonged to one of the owners’ grandparents. The current owners maintain their business (Inside Out Landscape & Hardscape Design) as well as their home here. The business itself is part of the family legacy as the owner is the daughter of Charlie Wilson, who started Wilson Nurseries more than 30 years ago.

The split-level contemporary home, landscape and nearby office building reflect the owners’ commitment to the philosophy of sustainability and attention to the environment. The home features concrete floors, high ceilings and soaring windows. The use of natural materials such as cork, maple, beech, walnut and cherry wood give the interior a feeling of warmth.

The earth-berm office building features a vegetative roof, solar panels, geothermal heating and reclaimed and repurposed interior furnishings. Outside, young plantings of native grasses, perennials, sedums, and succulents, provide a natural, yet modern landscape.

The driveway is of permeable pavers. There is also a green-roofed hen house, a small section of raised vegetable beds and an establishing blackberry and grape tunnel as the family works to provide their own food.

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