Owings House

Historical Marker #1193 in Owingsville notes the history of the Owings House and it original owner, Thomas Deye Owings.

Before the town of Owingsville was founded, most of the surrounding land was owned by either politician Richard Menefee or local iron foundry owner Thomas Deye Owings. Owings moved to the area from Maryland in 1800, after his father purchased a nearby iron furnace. Owings oversaw the Bourbon Iron Works and became one of the few ironmasters in the state.

Both Menefee and Owings offered to donate parts of their land for the town. Each, however, insisted upon naming it. Unable to decide who should have the honor, the men came to an agreement. They decided that the man who built the most opulent house in the shortest amount of time would have the privilege of naming the town.

Owings recruited noted architect Benjamin Latrobe from Washington D.C. for the construction of his home. The building process began just as the United States entered the War of 1812 against Great Britain. Due to the ensuing conflict, Owings requested that his mansion function as a fortress should the town be attacked. The walls stood four feet thick and heavy wooden shutters were placed on the exterior for extra protection. The structure was finally completed in 1814. Latrobe was responsible for the reconstruction of the national capitol building after it was burned by the British later that year.

With the completion of the mansion, Owings received honor of designating the town as his namesake. The Owings House saw a multitude of famous visitors, including the then secretary of state, Henry Clay. Owings hosted a grand ball at the location in 1826 to honor Clay, his longtime friend. Owings himself enjoyed a successful career in politics, serving four times as a representative in the Kentucky General Assembly.

After Owings died, the mansion was sold and converted into a tavern and inn. For many years the Owings House stood as a stop along the stagecoach route from Lexington to Washington D.C. Today, the Owings House still stands and serves as the location of the Owingsville Banking Company.

Images

Owing House

Owing House

The Owings House in Owingsville was constructed by architect Benjamin Latrobe beginning in 1811. Courtesy of the National Park Service. View File Details Page

Owings House

Owings House

This historic photograph of the Owings House shows the building before being altered. Courtesy of the National Park Service. View File Details Page

Owings House

Owings House

The beautiful spiral staircase in the Owings House is pictured here. Courtesy of the National Park Service. View File Details Page

Henry and Lucretia Clay

Henry and Lucretia Clay

Henry Clay, pictured here with wife Lucretia, was a famous visitor to the Owings House. Courtesy of the Kentucky Historical Society. View File Details Page

Benjamin Latrobe's Capitol Building

Benjamin Latrobe's Capitol Building

This image shows Benjamin Latrobe's design for the U.S. capitol building in Washington D.C. Latrobe served as the architect for the Owings House. Courtesy of the Library of Congress. View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Katie Crawford-Lackey, “Owings House,” ExploreKYHistory, accessed July 24, 2017, http://explorekyhistory.ky.gov/items/show/474.

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