Saturday, November 18, 2017

Visiting Mary Todd Lincoln's Girlhood Home

Hello Everyone!  So glad you stopped in for a visit today.  We were recently visiting with family in the amazingly beautiful city of Lexington, Kentucky and of course, if you have visited Sweet Southern Days before, you know how I love to try to capture beautiful moments in life with my camera.

There is so much to see and do in this lovely old Kentucky city.  To help us decide what to see we went looking for the Visitor's Center,  which is located right in the middle of the downtown area.  While there we were told that the Mary Todd Lincoln home was located about two blocks away and was open on this day for tours.  My husband and I both love to visit and see the history associated with old homes so off we went ...

Mary Todd Lincoln House
578 West Main Street
Lexington, Kentucky, USA

If you ever wish to visit this home, take note the home is not open year round.
The home is open during the months of March 15, through November 30.

The house was originally designed as an inn and was built in 1803-1806 using handmade bricks.  Mary's father Robert Todd bought the 32-acre estate in 1832. The 14-room house was considered very modest, compared to many of Lexington's antebellum mansions at the time.

Come on let's go inside ...

As we entered into the hallway,  this picture on the wall caught my eye. This is a view of the inside hallway before renovation took place in 1976.  It is a little bit hard to see with the hall lights reflecting on the glass.

And in the below photo we see the hallway as it is today.  Photos were allowed in the home. However, our guide requested no flash.  As a result many of the photos we see here are a little on the dark side.  

Also, in the hallway we see this very early painting of Mary Todd Lincoln.
In many of her photos or paintings she is seen with roses, which were her favorite flowers.

The Foundation restoring this home used an estate-list left by Robert Todd and found many of the original family furnishings donated by the Lincoln-Todd families. The below photo shows the wallpaper in the hall, matching sconce lights, and this beautiful old mirror.  

As we left the hallway we moved into what was called the family drawing room section
of the house where the family received and entertained guests.

The elegant simplicity of the Mary Todd Lincoln's early home shows
the charming taste of a southern aristocracy .

Beautiful matching vases seen on each side of the fireplace mantel.

A very antique looking lamp on the table, another wall sconce light and a horse and rider photo
depicting the character of Lexington horse country.

It seems like our tour guide said the below picture is of Mary's father.

The flooring seen in the photo below is called Kentucky Ash which is a native hardwood.
Our guide told us the wood seen in the home was original to the home.

And across the opposite wall we see this old antique secretary.

As we walk into the family dining room and see the table all set for guests it is easy to imagine the aristocratic circle of friends joining the family for dinner in this room.  We were told the candelabras  on the table were from the Lincoln White House and on display in this formal family dining room.

This beautiful old curio cabinet was located on the wall next to buffet.
Notice the silver pitcher on top of the curio ...


I had to reach way up to snap a photo of this beautiful old silver pitcher.  I was trying to show the beautiful monogram on the front of the pitcher.  With the lights from the room reflectig on the silver the monogram is hard to see.

In the below photo on the left we see the traditional "mint julip" cups which are a traditional symbol for Kentucky.  And according to Mr. Google these handmade sterling silver cups have been cherished and collected by the influential and powerful in Kentucky since the early 1800's.

Crossing the hall we enter into what was once the ballroom of the original building  To accomodate the family when they moved into this home, Mr. Todd had the ballroom converted into twin parlor rooms.  The room on the right shows a beautiful fireplace, a piano on the right and also very nice matching bookcases.

I love all the old furniture seen in this room and this very pretty lamp seen below.
If you look closely, sitting on this table are a couple more mint julip cups.

Another photo of the right side of the room.  The person reflected in the mirror is our tour guide.

This was such a beautiful cranberry dish displayed at the end of the piano.

And looking to the left we see an almost matching adjoining parlor room.

All of the furniture in the below photos have a very authentic 1800's look.

As we leave the twin parlor rooms, we turn to the left to continue the tour.  
Our tour guide invited guests to go upstairs to see the rooms on the second floor.  

In the below photo we see the handrail for the staircase ... This is the original handrail for this staircase and it was used by Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln so long ago.   

In the below photo we see the upstairs hallway with the bedroom doors on each side of the hall.

And we enter into one of the bedrooms.

An antique wash basin.

A writing desk seen in this room.

I have seen rockers just like this one below and they are called "The Lincoln Rocker."

I have a pink one in my living room and it is called a Lincoln Rocker from an amazing old victorian furniture store many years ago.  It is a treat to see their furniture even if you do not care for that particular style.   If you would like to see some of their furniture you can click on the site below:

The room seen below looks like it may have been the bathroom.

The Lincolns were the parents of four boys ...

1.   Robert the first son, was born 1843.  He was the only son to live to adulthood.
2.   Edward the second son, was born 1846.  He is said to have died at 3 years old of diphtheria. 
3.  William the third son, was born in 1850.  He is said to have died at 11 years old of typhoid fever.  
4.  Thomas the fourth son, was born in 1853 died at the age of 18 of tuberculosis.  

The Lincoln family photo seen below.

We see another bedroom below.

And, another family photo.

And, another bedroom.

Some of the personal items used by the family.

And, another bedroom.

Our tour guide called this room below the master bedroom.

In the below photo we see the tea service Mrs. Lincoln used when she lived in the home.

Wikipedia tells us that on October 15, 1860 a few weeks before Lincoln was elected President, an 11 year old girl sent him a letter urging him to grow a beard to improve his appearance.  Lincoln responded in a letter on October 19, 1860, making no promises.  However, within a month he grew a full beard.

Seen below is a photo of Abraham Lincoln in the days before he grew his beard.

And in the master bedroom, over the fireplace we see another painting of Mary Todd Lincoln.
Again we see her favorite flowers in her hair.

Mary and Abraham Lincoln met when Mary went to visit with her sister Elizabeth in Springfield, Illinois.  Many things brought them together, including a love of poetry, literature and a keen interest in politics.  They were married in her sister's home in November 1842.  Thus began their long and interesting life together.

In the master bedroom across from the fireplace, we see the picture below sadly depicting the assassination of our 16th president of the United States,  Abraham Lincoln on April 14, 1865.  

Of course, it is not hard to imagine the grief Mary experienced in life at the loss of her three precious sons,  all before the age of 18 and now this,  the loss of her husband after 23 years of marriage.

Mary lived 17 years after the death of her husband.  Life was difficult, because of this shock from which she never recovered.

It was a very nice experience to walk in the same rooms the Lincolns had been a
part of and feel a little bit of the history associated with the middle 1850's.

As we came downstairs we were directed out to the back of the house and onto the back porch.

As we walked down the stairs from the porch we could envision what the family
garden we see on the left must have been like so many years ago.

Growing in their garden today we saw some pretty flowers.

These hydrangeas must have been beautiful when in full bloom.

Thank you for visiting today and coming along with us to see
 this old historical home on this beautiful day in Lexington, Kentucky.

In some future posts we will be seeing some more interesting places in this lovely city.

This next week will be a wonderfully busy week as we all prepare for the special time of Thanksgiving Day.  I do hope you have a very nice weekend and a very special week of Thanksgiving.

Wishing you many blessings wherever you may be. ❤️