Saturday, June 2, 2018

Historic Homes Tour opens eyes of visitors, locals

The residence at Southern Equine Farm, formerly Parrish Hill, shone in the bright Saturday sun.

Story and photos by Sarah Ladd
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media

“It’s like a dream,” Chip Guillot said Saturday.

The balcony at Southern Equine Farm
He was referring to the beautiful grounds at Southern Equine Farm where he lives and works. Guillot manages the farm and gets to see the farm’s beautiful house every day. He was mixing a drink in the pool house and listening to jazz when I spoke to him. He said running such a large farm is a lot of work, but the result “is like a small slice of heaven.”

Southern Equine was the first stop of the Midway Woman’s Club’s inaugural Historic Homes Tour Saturday, and crowds of people came to get their first glimpse of the luxurious home filled with antique items, a winding staircase, elephant-skin walls, hand-painted stencil ceilings and rich history.

The swimming pool at Southern Equine Farm
The home is a Georgian Revival style architecture built in 1906 by James Ware Parrish II and his wife, Lily May. It sets atop a hill overlooking the grassy valley of Lee Branch and the town of Midway.

The farm produced racehorses Midway and Rolled Stockings, and the home reflects a love of the Kentucky Derby and thoroughbred horses. Throughout the home, pictures of racehorses and the derby are displayed.

The home also produced the first Head Start class in Midway, where Ruth Roach taught kindergarten in the basement when the home was still called Parrish Hill.

The front porch at Southern Equine Farm
Susan Shewmaker and Carrie Jackson said they have toured many houses, mainly in Charleston, S.C., but had no idea that their own town had such historic homes. “It’s amazing to have something like this in Midway,” Jackson said, adding that though she drives through town every day, she didn’t know about the homes.

“They’re all so beautiful, all so diverse, all so unique,” Shewmaker said of the homes on the tour. “We’re so grateful to Midway Woman’s Club and Midway for this opportunity.”

Jackson said she was impressed with how the owners of the homes have balanced the antique architecture and modern d├ęcor. “That combination is amazing,” she said. She said she felt the owners had remained true to the history of the homes while still incorporating modern vibes.

Porter House is a familiar sight in downtown Midway.
The tour’s second stop was the Porter House, a Federal/Greek Revival styled home built in 1840 by Midway’s first doctor, Dr. Thomas Jefferson Iles. Adele Dickerson of the Woman’s Club said that when the home was first built, Iles used the basement as his medical office, a space is now used as the kitchen. From 1883 to 1901, the home was a hotel called The Porter House. Later, in 1980, a dentist’s office ran out of the first floor.

The home featured a rare look at an antique bathroom, an exposed-beam ceiling and beautiful hardwood floors. It was included in the Midway Historic District and the National Register of Historic Places in 1978 and is at 113 North Winter St.

Dickie and Marsha Jones said they enjoyed looking at the homes. He was raised in Midway but lived elsewhere for years. The couple recently moved to Midway after several years of trying to find a home. “We love the tour,” she said. “I loved it as a newcomer, and he loved it as a native.”

Second Christian Church dates to the early 1830s.
Dickie Jones said though he was raised in Midway, he had never stepped foot inside the Second Christian Church, one of the tour stops, and didn’t know about a lot of the homes, except for Southern Equine, where he attended some parties growing up. Marsha said they enjoyed watching children sleigh riding down the hills last winter.

Other tour stops were the Parrish Home Place, Parrish Place, Village View Cottage, Pinkerton-Rouse Place and, for those who bought a lunch ticket, Hermosa. All have a connection to the Parrish family, which held a reunion the same weekend.

The building of Second Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) at 309 Smith St. was constructed in 1906 for a congregation founded in the early 1830s. Thought to be home to the denomination’s oldest African American congregation in Kentucky and possibly in the United States (the denomination was founded in Kentucky in 1832), the church is 112 years old and the congregation is in its 185th year. James Ware Parrish Sr. was a donor for the building.

Parrish Home Place, also called Dearborn, is east of town.
It is located on the Dearborn tract of Darby Dan Farm.
Parrish Home Place, also called Dearborn, at 1234 Weisenberger Mill Rd., two miles east of the center of Midway, is a Georgian styled home with a Greek Revival reface built in 1810 by Bird (also known as Byrd) Price. This home was the first home of the Price family, two daughters of which were married to James Ware Parrish Sr. Both marriages, one to Martha Ann and one to Mary Philemon Price, ended in the death of the wives.

Parrish Place is now home to a veterinary clinic.
Parrish Place, at 5745 Midway Rd., just south of the city limits, is an Italianate style home designed by Adam Hibler and built in 1860 by David Lehman. It was occupied by Charles Ware Parrish and his wife, Catherine. It is now home to the Midway Small Animal Clinic, but despite its use for an active business, its historic character is maintained, and the furniture is well preserved.

Village View Cottage is not in its original location.
Village View Cottage was originally on the grounds of Southern Equine Farm but was moved to 337 S. Winter St. in 1916  after a murder in the cottage made it uninhabitable in its original location. It has kept its original trim, moldings, fireplaces and most of its original doors. Built in 1895, the cottage was home to a Midway mayor, Owen C. “Skip” Rouse Jr.

The Pinkerton-Rouse House is owned by Midway University.
Pinkerton-Rouse Place is a Greek Revival style home built in 1845 by Dr. L.L. Pinkerton and is the home of Midway University’s president. Its original use was a female boarding school alongside Pinkerton’s living space. He later co-founded Kentucky Female Orphan School, now Midway University, with James Ware Parrish.

Hermosa, now called Holly Hill Inn
Hermosa is a Greek Revival, Gothic Revival and Italianate style home built in 1845 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Known as the restaurant Holly Hill Inn since 1979, it was home to local farm owner Isaac Parrish in 1903.

Genie Graf, president of the Midway Woman’s Club and co-chair of the Historic Homes Tour, said she was pleased with the turnout and estimated the event raised around $5,000 for the club, which will be used to help the community. “We were just so pleased to be able to provide this,” she said, adding that the club is grateful for the “generosity of all the homeowners—they all said ‘yes’ right away.”  She said they will hold another tour next year.


Diana B. Ratliff said...

Many thanks to the Woman's Club for this great opportunity!

Unknown said...

My name is Virginia Harper Ida Kenny Harper's granddaughter I just wanted to see if it's feasible to be able to put my grandmother's house on a historical societies list peeing as its 160 years old and was in the family for over 80 years I have no clue or idea of what the process might be but I'd love to have me Mommy's house he called the Harper House officially if someone could contact me I certainly appreciate it my email is Virginia Harper @ yahoo.com thank you and have a blessed day