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[photo] Hopemont
Photograph by David Huntsman, courtesy of the Blue Grass Trust for Historic Preservation

Hopemont, also known as the Hunt-Morgan House, 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. Hopemont 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.

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 Hopemont and the neighboring Col. Thomas Hart House, which was demolished for a parking lot that year. Hopemont 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.

Hopemont is located in the Gratz Park Historic District at 201 N. Mill St. Visit the Blue Grass Trust for Historic Preservation's website for information on tours.


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