Riverside, the Farnsley-Moremen Landing

Historical Marker #2141 commemorates Riverside, the Farnsley-Moremen Landing in Jefferson County.

Standing on a rise overlooking the Ohio River, the Farnsley-Moremen House is the centerpiece of this nearly 300-acre historic site known today as Riverside, the Farnsley-Moremen Landing. The 1837 house is a testament to the important role that the river played in the early history of Kentucky. During the nineteenth century, the Ohio River was one of America’s superhighways and Riverside was a natural rest stop. From about 1820 until 1890, an active riverboat landing on this farm allowed people traveling by river to stop to trade goods, take on fuel, and rest. In addition, a ferry operated from the landing carrying people and goods back and forth between Kentucky and Indiana.

The house is named for two families who lived there at two different periods: the Farnsleys and, later, the Moremens. Gabriel Farnsley was responsible for the construction of the two-story, brick "I"-shaped house with its beautiful Greek Revival portico that still stands today. Farnsley operated a 300-acre plantation with the labor of fifteen slaves. He lived there until his death in 1849. Soon after Farnsley’s death, his property was described as "a certain tract of land in Jefferson County about 14 ½ miles below Louisville fronting on the Ohio River … having upon it an excellent brick house, and other good improvements. Also, an excellent apple orchard of about 300 bearing trees of the most choice quality."

Alanson and Rachel Moremen purchased the house and original 200-acre tract in 1862. Eight years later, the family increased the farm to nearly 1,500 acres. The Moremens named their farm "Riverside." During their tenure there, they also gave the riverboat landing a nickname. According to family tradition, it became known as "Soap Landing" because Rachel Moremen made lye soap which was one of the many products sold from the landing. Agricultural Census records from 1870 show that the Moremen livestock holdings included nine horses, eight mules, seven dairy cows, three oxen, twenty cattle, forty sheep, and 170 swine. Their crops and other farm products included winter wheat, rye, corn, oats, barley, potatoes, sweet potatoes, wine, butter, hay, beeswax, and honey.

The historic house remained in the Moremen family until 1988 when it was sold to Jefferson County to be restored and preserved. The restoration of the Farnsley-Moremen House was completed in 1993 and Riverside opened to the public in October of that year. On-going historical and archaeological research adds new and interesting information to the unfolding story of all the people who lived and worked there.