history with holidays
and music bring the holidays
to life at Louisvilles Locust Grove
Helen E. McKinney
LOUISVILLE, Ky. The sights and sounds of a
long, forgotten era await visitors to Locust Grove in eastern Louisville.
In the tradition of the original owners, the circa 1790 home welcomes
visitors to participate in many holiday events that accompany the hanging
of the greens.
of the Clark and Croghan
families prepare for the holidays.
The house is decorated for early holiday times,
said program director Aileen Novick. Candles and fruit add a touch of
simple elegance to fresh greenery draped throughout the Georgian-style
Candlelight tours are scheduled for 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday and
Saturday, Dec. 9-10. Guests will witness members of the Clark and Croghan
families as they prepare for the holidays, said Novick. Re-enactors
will interact with each other and guests to tell the story of the two
families and their life at Locust Grove.
William Croghan, an Irish immigrant, came to Kentucky as a surveying
partner with future brother-in-law, George Rogers Clark. Croghan married
Clarks sister, Lucy, and began constructing the home a year later.
During the last nine years of his life, Louisville founder, Gen. George
Rogers Clark, lived at Locust Grove.
There is a lot of activity during the tours, said Novick. This event
has been well attended in the past, and visitors can tour through the
home at their own leisure. Singing and dancing take place in the third-story
ballroom, and guests are invited to participate in these activities.
Such gala occasions are not new to the home, since it was once a center
for political and social figures of the period.
Cookies and cider will be served in the Visitors Center. Tickets are
$6 for adults, $5 for seniors and $3 for children ages 6-12. Period
correct woodworkers, cooks and farm managers will be on hand to demonstrate
and answer questions at other sites on the property.
At 1 p.m. on Dec. 7, Locust Groves Wednesday Lecture Series will
conclude for the year with a performance by the Louisville Dulcimer
Society. The society gives an annual performance in the Visitor Center
at Locust Grove every year.
Fifteen members of the Louisville Dulcimer Society will perform holiday
and folk tunes. Its always very festive, like a tea,
said Novick. Refreshments will be served before the performance, and
a small admission price is charged.
Although this program is not a lecture, performers will talk about the
Christmas music they will be playing. Its a festive way
to start the season, said Louisville Dulcimer Society member Janey
Robertson, who writes the societies newsletter and helps maintain the
website, joined the group several years ago because she wanted to play
Christmas music. Having played other stringed instruments, she decided
she would learn to play the dulcimer.
Formed in 1978, membership in the society is based on family membership.
There are approximately 150 family memberships, said Robertson. Each
one may consist of one to three people or more. There are 30 to 50 active
Everyone wants to play at Locust Grove, said Robertson.
She remembers a past performance where a snowfall blanketed the grounds
and made the surroundings so picturesque.
The Louisville Dulcimer Society will perform a broad spectrum of American
and European Christmas music, said Robertson. Tunes will be performed
from pre-Christian times to the present, with the exception of copyrighted
The final performance of the Chamber Music Concert Series will take
place at 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 11 in the ballroom, the scene of many festive
nights for the Croghan family. Light refreshments will be served at
5 p.m. and reservations are required.
Wit and Mirth: Or Pills to Purge Melancholy will showcase
portions of a larger selection of songs from 1698-1720. The selection
is taken from the works of popular composer, musician and poet Thomas
DUrfey, and will be presented by a group of individuals comprised
of Tom Gerber (keyboard), Allison Edberg (violin), and Phil Spray (violone).
DUrfey wrote more than 32 plays and 500 songs.
The Chamber Music Concert Series consists of four concerts a year in
January, February, October and December. Ticket prices are $15 for each
performance and can be purchased in advance by subscription. They also
make great stocking stuffers.
Locust Grove changed hands and left the Croghan family in 1878 to become
the home of riverboat Capt. James Paul.
The next owner, Richard Waters of Hermitage Farm in Oldham County, bought
the property in 1883. In 1961, Waters sold Locust Grove and 55 surrounding
acres to Jefferson County and the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
It took three years to renovate the historic home back to its former
grandeur and open it to the public. In addition to the main house, the
original smoke house and eight other stone and log supporting farm buildings
are maintained on the property, located at 561 Blankenbaker Lane.
For more information call Aileen Novick
at (502) 897-9845 or visit: www.locustgrove.org.
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