From Grandeur to Ghostly: The Evolution of the Hanger House Estate

Explore the architectural significance and historical legacy of Kentucky’s abandoned Hanger House, designed by pioneering architect Matthew Kennedy, and its enduring impact on the Bluegrass region’s architectural heritage.

Nestled in the heart of Kentucky, the Hanger House stands as a testament to the architectural work of Matthew Kennedy, a visionary whose work helped define the Bluegrass region. This storied residence, dating back to around 1840, was once part of the sprawling Hanger estate, a property that was hailed for its fertile land and boundless potential.

Kennedy, a Virginia native who settled in Lexington at the age of fifteen, was a pioneering architect who quickly made a name for himself in his adopted home. By 1800, he had begun his career in earnest, honing his craft and perfecting his take on Federal Revival architecture.

The Hanger House was one of Kennedy’s works. Its brick construction, with its raised basement and hipped roof, is a testament to time, while its five-bay facade – featuring Flemish bond brickwork and pilasters that support a pediment with a tympanum – is a testament to Kennedy’s mastery of his craft. The pediment itself is a work of art, showcasing a blind arch with a wooden, fan-shaped lunette that captures the eye and holds it spellbound.

But the Hanger House is more than just a beautiful building – it is a window into a bygone era, a time when the Commonwealth was young and the promise of the American dream was just beginning to take shape. As one of Kennedy’s most notable works, it shares many of the same architectural traits as other homes he designed, such as Blythewood, Brighton, and Bronston Place.

Despite its long and storied history – and the many names it has been known by over the years, including Greenwood, Greeneville, and Old Chase Manor – the Hanger House now stands abandoned and forlorn, a silent reminder of the past.

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