Located on the banks of the Kentucky River, Liberty Hall Historic Site was home to the Browns, one of Kentucky’s most important families who were leaders in politics, community, business and education and also appreciated fine art and architecture. The two homes located on the site, Liberty Hall and the Orlando Brown House, are both architecturally significant and contain many of the families’ artistic treasures.
John Brown, one of the first U. S. Senators from Kentucky, and the patriarch of the family, began construction on Liberty Hall in 1796. The architect of Liberty Hall is unknown (Brown himself may have done some of the design) but it is clear that someone with great skill designed the Georgian style home. One notable feature on the home is the Palladian window on the 2nd floor.
In 1801, John Brown moved into the home with his wife, Margaretta Mason Brown, and infant son Mason. Their second son, Orlando was born shortly thereafter in 1801. In addition to the main house, John Brown built a kitchen, laundry, smokehouse, privy, stables, carriage house, and slave quarters.
In order to give his two sons equal inheritance, in 1835 John Brown divided his property. His elder son, Mason, inherited Liberty Hall. For his younger son, Orlando, Brown hired Gideon Shryock, architect of the Old State Capitol, to design a new house in the Greek Revival style.
The Brown family were also art collectors and commissioned portraits by artists such as Matthew Harris Jouett, Louis Morgan, Trevor Thomas Fowler, Theodore Sidney Moise and Oliver Frazier, as well as works by Paul Sawyier and Robert Burns Wilson.