an 18 acre historic site in Louisville, Kentucky
, was once the center of a hemp
plantation owned by John and Lucy Speed. The 14-room, Federal-style
brick home possibly based on a design by Thomas Jefferson
and has several Jeffersonian architectural features.
The Farmington site was part of a military land grant given to Captain James Speed in 1780. His son, John Speed, completed Farmington on a tract of land in 1816. Built in the Federal architectural style, the house is based on plans by Thomas Jefferson
, which are now in the Coolidge Library
in Massachusetts Historical Society
Speed built the house for his wife, Lucy Gilmer Fry, daughter of Joshua Fry and granddaughter of Dr. Thomas Walker, the guardian of Thomas Jefferson. Her aunt and uncle's home in Charlottesville, Virginia was called Farmington and had an addition designed by Thomas Jefferson.
Their son, Joshua Fry Speed, was an intimate, life-long friend of Abraham Lincoln. While courting Mary Todd, Lincoln spent three weeks at Farmington in 1841 while recovering from mental and physical exhaustion.
John and Lucy's son, James Speed, was appointed Attorney General of the United States by Lincoln in 1863.
Farmington consists of a single story above a raised basement. The building is roughly a square shape, measuring wide by long. There are 14 rooms of living quarters on the first floor, with servant's and children's rooms on the basement floor. The first story is about five feet above ground level, with the basement windows completely above ground. All rooms in the basement are finished except one under the front hall, which has a dirt floor. A basement kitchen is connected to the first floor dining room by dumbwaiter
A simplified classical cornice under the hipped roof helps give the house its pleasing, proportional appearance. The front entrance is a tetrastyle portico (porch) with slender Doric columns, reached by 11 steps. The porch's gable features a semi-circular ventilation window.
The front door opens into a central hall which has a door at the back leading to a rear hall. These two halls give access to all rooms on the first floor, as well as stairs to the basement and attic. The stairs are hidden, which is a common feature of homes designed by Jefferson.
A notable feature of the first floor are two wide octagonal rooms, another distinctive feature of Jeffersonian architecture. One of the octagonal rooms is a dining hall, the other is a parlor. Other rooms on the first floor are two bedrooms, a study and a family sitting room.
Farmington has been restored as a tourist attraction and a re-creation of a 19th century plantation. The house itself had been altered little at the time it was purchased by the Historic Homes Foundation for preservation in 1958. The only substantial change in its interior or exterior appearance since construction was the installation of a tin roof in place of the original wood shingles, which was done for fire safety reasons.
As of 2007, Farmington is open to the public for tours.