Liberty Hall Historic Site

Historical Marker #1653 interprets Liberty Hall, a house museum in Kentucky's capital.

Located in downtown Frankfort on the banks of the Kentucky River, Liberty Hall Historic Site was the home of the Brown family, one of Kentucky's most important families. Four generations of Browns lived at the five-acre site for more than 150 years. The site contains formal and informal gardens and two homes: Liberty Hall (1796) and the Orlando Brown House (1835).

The Browns were leaders in politics, community, business, literature, and education. John Brown, the patriarch of the family, was from Virginia where he had studied law with Thomas Jefferson. In 1783, he settled in Danville and established a law office. By 1784, Brown was representing Kentucky in the Virginia Legislature. In 1787-1788, he was a member of the Continental Congress. He represented Kentucky in Congress beginning in 1789 and during that time, he presented a petition to Congress to separate the county of Kentucky from the state of Virginia. In June 1792, Kentucky became the fifteenth state, largely due to Brown’s efforts. Brown served as one of the first U.S. senators from Kentucky and served from 1792-1805.

Brown married Margaretta Mason of New York City in 1799 and they moved into their Georgian style home in 1801. In 1819, Margaretta established a Sunday school for girls only. She also wrote poetry and religious tracts such as "Food for Lambs" and "Brown's Catechism." The Browns had five children, but only two, their sons Mason and Orlando, survived to adulthood. Mason inherited Liberty Hall and, in order for Orlando to have an equal inheritance, a new home was built on the property. Senator Brown hired Gideon Shryock to design a Greek Revival style home.

Liberty Hall was named after Liberty Hall Academy, the school Brown's father, Reverend John Brown, oversaw in Virginia. It later became Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. Liberty Hall Historic Site is a private museum owned by Liberty Hall, Inc. and the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the Commonwealth of Kentucky (NSCDA-KY).