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[graphic] Hunt-Morgan House
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[photo] Hunt-Morgan House
Photograph by David Huntsman, courtesy of the Blue Grass Trust for Historic Preservation

The Hunt-Morgan House, historically known as Hopemont, was built by John Wesley Hunt in 1814. Hunt was known as the first millionaire west of the Alleghenies and earned his fortune from the mercantile business shortly after Lexington was established. Other notable personalities have also resided at Hopemont. Hunt's grandson, General John Hunt Morgan, was a dashing general in the Confederate Army who gained the nickname "The Thunderbolt of the Confederacy" through his many raids and daring military feats. John Wesley Hunt's great grandson, Dr. Thomas Hunt Morgan, was born in the house in 1866. Dr. Morgan became famous for his work in genetics and is one of a very few Kentuckians to have won the Nobel Prize. The Hunt-Morgan House is a Federal style residence with specific emphasis on the geometric phase of the period. The building has many fine architectural features including a Palladian window with fan and sidelights that grace the front fašade, as well as a large spiral staircase in the front entranceway.

[photo]
The Morgans at Hopemont, c1870
Courtesy of J. Winston Coleman, Jr., Collection, Transylvania University Special Collections

In 1955, the Foundation for the Preservation of Historic Lexington and Fayette County was formed to save the Hunt-Morgan House and the neighboring Col. Thomas Hart House, which was demolished for a parking lot that year. The Hunt-Morgan House was saved and the name of the Foundation was changed to the Blue Grass Trust for Historic Preservation. The organization restored the home to its 1814 appearance and the house is now an interpretive museum illustrating the lifestyle and culture of early 19th-century Kentucky affluence. The home is also the site of the Alexander T. Hunt Civil War Museum, which contains many Civil War artifacts and is a great resource for Civil War researchers and enthusiasts.

The Hunt-Morgan House is located in the Gratz Park Historic District at 201 N. Mill St. The house and Alexander T. Hunt Civil War Museum are open to the public, with a small admission fee, from the first of March through mid-December. Tours are offered Wednesday through Friday and Sunday from 1:00-4:00pm on the hour. The house is open for tours on Saturday from 10:00am-3:00pm with tours starting on the hour. For more information call 859-253-0362 or visit the Blue Grass Trust for Historic Preservation's website.

 

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