History of Whitehall Mansion
Whitehall, thought to have been built circa
1855 by John Marshall, began as a modest two-story brick house in the Italianate style popular during the mid-19th century. It sat on twenty acres of land that had been part of the original Spring Station tract owned by Samuel and Norborne Beall, and Bealls Branch, a tributary of Beargrass Creek, ran through the property. The house consisted of eight rooms, four downstairs and four upstairs; a very narrow and steep staircase was featured in the center hall. A back door in the center hall could be opened to coax a cool breeze during a sweltering Kentucky summer day.
John Marshall sold the house and 20 acres to Richard Isaacs in 1860. In 1866, Isaacs then sold the house and acreage to Judge Henry J. Stites (1816-1891). Judge Stites had been elected to the Kentucky Court of Appeals in 1854, and after practicing law with Judge Joshua F. Bullitt, he presided over the Jefferson Court of Common Pleas from 1867 until 1886. Judge Stites was the uncle of John Stites, the well-known banker, who came to Louisville from Hopkinsville in 1873 to live with Judge Stites and to study law. John Stites’ son, James W. Stites, like his great-uncle, also served as Chief Justice of the Kentucky Court of Appeals.
After Judge Stites died, ownership passed through various owners until it was purchased in 1909 by successful horseman and entrepreneur John Middleton and his wife Betty Summers Middleton. Renovations to the home made under the supervision of Mrs. Middleton fashioned the Southern-style Greek Revival mansion we know today as Whitehall. A wing was added to each side of the house and one in the back; also added were the iconic portico, columns and circular driveway in the front of the house.
Whitehall House Additions
Numerous changes were made to the interior, including the removal of a wall between two rooms on the east side of the house on the first floor, and the addition of columns to provide needed structural support in this newly elongated parlor. Although there was no central heat, fireplaces once present in these two rooms were removed to create a more formal interior setting, and as a means of compensation, a grand fireplace was built in place of the back door in the center hall. The original twelve foot ceilings on both the first and second floors were altered, raising the first floor to a much more impressive fourteen feet in height, but lowering the second floor to ten feet. But perhaps the most dramatic change made was the dedication of an entire room from the original house for a staircase, opening up the center hall with an effect that is both light and airy. Many of these changes were somewhat atypical to Victorian architecture of the period.
The next significant era of the house began in 1924 with the purchase of Whitehall by Hume Logan, Sr. and his wife Susan Helm Smith Logan. Mr. Logan, Sr. was president of the Logan Company, a fence and steel products manufacturer. Hume Logan, Jr., the middle son of the Logan's five children, purchased the home shortly after the death of his father in 1948, and lived in Whitehall until his death in 1992 at age 94. The house, gardens and many of the unique furnishings were bequeathed by Mr. Logan to the Historic Homes Foundation so that the public would always be welcome to enjoy this special home. Whitehall was extensively refurbished in 1994 under the expertise of local design firm Bittners as that year's Junior League of Louisville Historic Showhouse.