About Locust Grove

The ca. 1790 Georgian mansion, restored and furnished to its original appearance and situated on 55 rolling acres just six miles up river from downtown Louisville, tells the story of its builders, William and Lucy Clark Croghan. William Croghan (pronounced "Crawn"), an Irish immigrant, came to the Kentucky territory as a surveying partner with his future brother-in-law, George Rogers Clark. Lucy Clark and William Croghan were married in 1789 at her parents’ home, Mulberry Hill. Construction at Locust Grove began the following year. Here, as early settlers, the Croghans reared their family and farmed their land with the assistance of some 30 to 45 enslaved African-Americans. In 1809, they made welcome General George Rogers Clark, founder of Louisville and conqueror of the Northwest Territory, who lived at Locust Grove the last nine years of his life.

Major Croghan’s standing in the community and General Clark’s presence made Locust Grove a gathering place for political and social figures of the period. A neighboring farm, Springfield, was the boyhood home of future President, Zachary Taylor. President James Monroe and General Andrew Jackson were guests of the Croghans in 1819, and Jackson returned for a visit in 1825 with his wife, Rachel.

In an attempt to gain support for the establishment of a separate colony west of the Mississippi, Vice-President Aaron Burr traveled throughout the Mississippi and Ohio River valleys. Among other places, he stopped at Louisville, meeting with General George Rogers Clark at Locust Grove. General Clark, however, did not become involved in the plan. Artist John James Audubon was acquainted with Major Croghan and became friends with his sons. In 1841, Locust Grove was the site of a duel between the fiery Kentucky statesman Cassius Marcellus Clay and Robert Wickliffe. William Clark, younger brother to Lucy and George Rogers Clark, concluded his famous expedition through the Louisiana Territory with fellow explorer Meriwether Lewis in Louisville in 1806.

Of the houses built in Jefferson County in the late eighteenth century, Locust Grove was one of the finest. The Croghan family sold the property in 1878 to river boat captain James Paul. In 1883 Richard Waters, of Hermitage Farm, bought Locust Grove and it remained in the Waters family until 1961 when the site was purchased by Jefferson County and the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Following extensive restoration the historic house was opened to the public in 1964. Today the site includes the circa 1790 Georgian house, the original smoke house and eight other stone and log supporting farm buildings, formal quadrant gardens, herb, perennial and annual beds, woods and meadows. The house is furnished with some of the finest examples of Kentucky-crafted furniture, portraits, prints, textiles, domestic objects and select artifacts originally belonging to the Clark and Croghan families. Locust Grove, a National Historic Landmark, is a unique example of early Kentucky architecture, craftsmanship and history.

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Locust Grove facts
William Croghan served in the British army before joining the 8th Virginia Regiment to fight for independence.
William and Lucy’s son John Croghan received medical training from Dr. Benjamin Rush, who also had instructed Meriwether Lewis in preparation for the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
John Croghan owned Mammoth Cave from 1839 until his death in 1849 and the family held the property until the 1920s.
The reproduction shingles on the house and some of the outbuildings are made of concrete, not wood.
The property survived the 1811 New Madrid earthquake and sustained minimal damage during a tornado in 1883 that struck the northwest corner of the house.
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