|The Botherum - Lexington, Ky.|
It was here, in the middle of the nineteenth century, that lawyer and banker Madison C. Johnson, that "the fascinating residence known as Botherum ... [was] erected by local builder-architect John McMurtry." Like many Lexingtonians of his day, Johnson was a "cultivated man" whose interests varied greatly. An amateur astronomer, Johnson incorporated into the design the wrought iron octagonal parapet from which he could view the heavens.
|Drawing Room at Botherum|
Despite his own personal touches, McMurtry was not commissioned to build Johnson a temple for himself. Rather, the Botherum was built to honor the memory and Johnson's love for his wife who had died some twenty-three years earlier in childbirth. The story parallels that of the grief stricken Shah Jahan whose love for his wife, who also died in the delivery of a child, inspired the construction of India's Taj Mahal.
|Bohemian Glass Doors|
Johnson collaborated with Henry Clay (their friendship enough that Clay gifted Johnson with the massive gingko tree now in front of Botherum) and became a confidant for Abraham Lincoln. It is said that Johnson even rejected an offer by Lincoln to serve as Secretary of the Treasury for his fear of joining the Washington social scene was too great.
|Floor boards covering a possible root|
cellar beneath the basement floor.
|Dale Fisher, one of the new|
Given its impressive stature and romantic inspiration, it is almost a footnote to recall that prior to McMurtry's architectural additions, the home was a simple, three-room farmhouse. From its humble beginnings, Madison Johnson remembered and honored the legacy of his deceased wife with a beautiful home which draws crowds to this day.
|Botherum - Lexington, Ky.|
Additional photos of the Botherum are available on flickr.
Also, here are a few pictures from the Historical Buildings of America Survey (1940).
Source: NRHP (Botherum); NRHP (Woodward Heights)
The Bluegrass Trust for Historic Preservation hosts a monthly deTour for young professionals (and the young-at-heart). The group meets on the first Wednesday of each month at 5:30 p.m. Uniquely, and because of our nation's celebration of independence, our next meeting is MONDAY, July 2 with more details on Facebook! You can see Kaintuckeean write-ups on previous deTours by clicking here.