In March, I noticed a classified ad for the absolute auction of a farm in Mercer County. The photo showed a beautiful Greek Revival Mansion. I saw this as a unique opportunity to experience a seldom seen historic site. I went to the open house the weekend before the auction and found a large throng of curious visitors roaming through the house and grounds.
Glenworth was built in 1848 by Robert Mosby Davis on land deeded to him by his uncle, Robert Mosby He was the namesake of his uncle. It was given to him for taking care of his uncle in his old age. The land was originally owned by the Robards family. Lewis Robards married and lived here with Rachel Donelson Robards, later Mrs. Andrew Jackson. Her father Colonel John Donelson was the founder of Nashville, Tennessee. There was a bigamy scandal when Andrew Jackson married Rachel Donaldson Robards before a divorce was finalized and Andrew Jackson was dogged by political gossip throughout his career. The land passed to Robert Mosby through his marriage to Lewis Robards’ sister.
Glenworth is an excellent example of a high-style Kentucky Greek Revival plantation house. It bears a similarity to Fayette County's Waveland. It is a two story brick house with a full entablature divided into an architrave and frieze. The entablature rests on paired brick pilasters. It is surmounted by a hipped roof topped with an observation deck enclosed by a cast iron cresting.
Like Waveland, the façade is divided into three parts with each bay being divided by the paired pilasters. From the four central pilasters projects a pedimented portico with paired Ionic columns. The first floor windows and doorway echo the tripartite theme of the façade with triple windows on each side of the doorway also in three parts.
The doorway features Ionic columns in antis between pilasters supporting an entablature, forming sidelights and a triple transom. In the frieze are stylized anthemion decorations. The triple windows have simple lintels over them.
The second floor windows are framed by Greek shouldered architrave moldings crowned by cornices above. This is different from Waveland where all windows on the façade are triple windows.
A two story gallery with square brick piers ran along the back of the house with an exterior stair. It was later enclosed. Behind the gallery is a one story brick ell.
The ice house, shown in the photograph of the rear of the house, is cylindrical with a conical roof like Ashland and many bluegrass estates. The ice house is one of many original outbuildings at Glenworth.
The interior is divided by the central hallway with a pair of rooms on each side. The interior doorways also have anthemion moldings and shouldered architrave moldings. The staircase has a magnificent newel post and ornament from later in the 19th century. An opening with engaged Ionic columns divides the two parlors on the right side of the house. Also visible is the bracketed mantel, more indicative of the style ten years later. The house had minor updates throughout the remainder of the 19th century.
The auction was conducted on March 31, 2012. The house, buildings, and approximately 108 acres sold for $810,000. Hopefully, the new owners will preserve the house, farm and outbuildings for future generations to enjoy.
Only a few of the many photos of Glenworth can be found on this page. For more photographs of this beautiful Greek Revivial, check out these photographs on flickr.