NewsCovering Kentucky


Fund created to help revamp historical Scott County mansion

Ward Hall needs donations to help restore the estate
Posted at 7:09 PM, Jul 02, 2024

GEORGETOWN, Ky. (LEX 18) — A 19th-century home in Scott County needs a major update, including some much-needed air conditioning in this summer heat. A non-profit is asking the community to help it preserve its history.

The mansion, built in 1857, is on 40 acres in Georgetown. It has three floors and 12 bedrooms, including a completely intact servants' corridor in the basement. Now, it needs a historical facelift.

"Ward Hall is the largest Greek Revival mansion in Kentucky. It covers 12,000 sq ft. It was built by Julius Richard Ward, who was native of Scott County, Kentucky," explains Ron Bryant, who is the last standing original board member of Ward Hall Preservation Foundation, a non-profit that dedicates its time to preserving Julius Ward's mansion.

"The work is going on but there's still so much more work that needs to be done. A house like this is constantly needing to be repaired because of its age of course. But it's a labor of love," says Bryant.

The home has seen decades of families either entertaining guests or themselves during the summertime. The rich history within the walls and floorboards of the estate seeps through the cracks and swirls around you with each room you enter.

"One grand ball after the other was held here and if you had an invitation to Ward Hall, you know you socially arrived, so it was the center of entertainment. It was center hospitality," Bryant describes.

Everything, from furniture to flooring to paints and antiques, is original and kept in pristine condition after all of these years. Fine china graces dining room tables, while Tiffany silverware is kept locked away in a box only for viewing. Paintings of each owner and their children are hung on different walls to respectfully nod at each person who added a touch of character to the home.

The biggest renovation project on its agenda is restoring the original limestone, which is the entryway to the home and also what the house sits on. However, the limestone costs $500,000 in addition to everything else that needs to be restored.

Now, it needs the community's help to keep it all preserved.

"The floors have to be redone of course in many ways and the wood work in the house, all the wood work around the door facings is black walnut that was cut from trees here," explains Bryant. “Electrical systems need to be updated. We want to finally get central heat and air in here. Not only for the comfort of our guests but for the many artifacts in the house.”

Bryant says you can't just slap some paint on the house and call it updated.

“You have to do the minutiae of everything. It’s like we even go to the old architecture books they used when they were building this house. We even use as much of the original materials that we can to put it back," says Bryant. “And one of our purposes is to make sure that the history of everyone associated with Ward Hall is told and of course, the people who worked here are very important to us because without their labor, this house would not exist.”

Bryant plans to put everyone's name who helped preserve Ward Hall in a book for all visitors to see: "I don't care to be remembered myself but I will just be happy when I die to know this place was saved, so that's my purpose."

You can donate through their GoFundMe link or visit their websiteand Facebook page for more information.

Bryant says anyone can also donate items and materials to help restore the estate. Just give them a call to determine whether or not the item will be needed.