Historical Marker #718 in Scott County marks Cardome, the home of Governor James F. Robinson, who led the commonwealth through one of the most difficult periods in its history. Robinson was a true Renaissance man who farmed, practiced law, and served as president of the board of trustees at Georgetown College, all the while engaging in Kentucky state politics.
Robinson was born on October 4, 1800, in Scott County. He graduated from Transylvania University in 1818, became a lawyer, and practiced law in Georgetown. While dabbling behind the scenes for years, Robinson did not run for public office until 1851, when he was elected to the state senate. In 1861, he was reelected to the same position during the gubernatorial term of Beriah Magoffin. Because of political discord in the state, Robinson rose to the position of speaker of the senate; upon the resignation of Governor Magoffin, Robinson succeeded him, becoming Kentucky's twenty-first governor in 1862.
Robinson's time as governor was marred by political strife and turmoil associated with the Civil War. Kentucky's unique geographical and political position placed Governor Robinson square in the middle of the conflict. A Unionist himself, in his 1863 State of the Commonwealth address Robinson spoke of the delicate balancing act he faced as governor. He only served out the remaining time of Magoffin's term. He then retired from politics. Today, Robinson is remembered for displaying judgment, firmness, and sense of justice during what was arguably the most contentious period in Kentucky’s history.
In his free time, Robinson enjoyed life at his home, Cardome. Built in 1821, the home was called Acacia Grove until the Robinson family purchased it in 1844. The Robinsons renamed it Cardome, taken from the Latin words "cara domus," or "dear home." Robinson spent much time farming the three hundred acres surrounding the home. After Robinson's death there in 1882, the property was bought by the Sisters of the Visitation in 1894. They converted the property into Cardome Visitation Academy, one of Kentucky's most popular boarding schools in the twentieth century. The school graduated more than six hundred students before it closed in 1969.