The Vest-Lindsey House, located in Frankfort's historic Corner of Celebrities neighborhood, is clearly one of Frankfort's oldest homes, possibly dating from 1800 to 1820. Owners of the property made important changes to the house over the years. Originally constructed in the Federal style, the Vest-Lindsey house took on many Victorian features as did many homes of the time. The Commonwealth of Kentucky obtained the house in 1965. Since then, two major renovations have occurred and have returned the house back to an approximation of its original appearance. The Division of Historic Properties is responsible for the preservation, conservation, and cyclical maintenance of the Vest-Lindsey house and works in accordance with the Secretary of the Interior Standards, upholding our agreement to manage our resources wisely, as a steward of the Commonwealth's historic treasures.
Although there have been over a dozen owners of this property, the house is known today by the names of two of the families who lived there. It was the boyhood home of George Graham Vest. He represented Missouri in the Confederate Congress and in the United States Senate. An attorney, Vest is remembered for an 1870 case in which one man sued another for shooting his dog. Vest's eloquent courtroom speech carried the day after he pointed out to the jury that a dog is man's best friend.
Thomas Noble Lindsey became the sole owner of the house in 1846. Among his eight children was Daniel Weisiger Lindsey, who formed a regiment of Union soldiers at the outbreak of the Civil War. He became Adjutant General and Inspector General, in charge of all Kentucky Union Army forces. Lindsey supervised the 1864 defense of Frankfort against an attack by Confederate raiders. His massive report on the services of the Kentucky Union soldiers, published in 1866, remains a standard genealogical resource. Despite Daniel Lindsey's pro-Union sentiments, the Lindsey's owned several slaves, as had the Vest family before them. Later distinguished members of the Lindsey family include: Lillian, a founder of the Frankfort Public Library; Cornelia, an organizer of the Frankfort Woman's Club; and Maria, a music teacher trained in Europe.
Notable authors and artists were frequent visitors to this house. Robert Burns Wilson used the house as the setting for his 1900 Gothic novel Until the Day Break. John Fox, Jr., is believed to have stayed here-absorbing "local color" later made part of his novel Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come. Maria Lindsey may have suggested the subject and setting of the novel to Fox. Impressionist artist Paul Sawyier often painted in this neighborhood.
Concerned preservationists and community leaders saved the house from threatened demolition in the 1960s. In recent years the house has served as the State Meeting House, and as offices for the Executive Branch Ethics Commission. We are happy to announce the Vest-Lindsey House has returned to its use as a State Meeting House as of November 1st, 2008. Please contact the Division of Historic Properties, at 502-564-0900 or email Dalaina.Bean@ky.gov, for scheduling information.
The Vest-Lindsey House is located at:
401 Wapping Street
Frankfort, KY 40601-2607
Please call the following phone number for more information: