William Tarr House

William Tarr House Foyer

The William Tarr House, the homestead of A.J. Hitt and William Tarr, is an abandoned antebellum near Millersburg, Kentucky.






A.J. Hitt, an operator of a flour and grist mill in Millersburg from 1865 to 1866, 1 constructed an elaborate Federal style residence south of the city. It featured fine Flemish-bond brickwork and extensive wood paneling. Circa 1877, William Tarr, a farmer, distiller, and an astute businessman, purchased the Hitt residence and renovated it to incorporate Italianate styling. Tarr, who had worked with Hibler and George C. White in the Chicken Cock Distillery in nearby Paris in the 1860s. By 1877, Tarr was the proprietor of the Ashland Distilling Company in Lexington.

The William Tarr house was occupied until circa 1985. 1






Further Reading


Sources

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  1. Langsan, Walter E., and William Gus Johnson. Historic Architecture of Bourbon County, Kentucky. N.p.: Historic Paris-Bourbon County, Inc., 1985. 99.

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36 Comments

  1. This home is not too far gone to save, but it soon will be. Fine architecture, impressive details. This was not an ordinary ‘farmhouse.’

    Its survival is remarkable. Grand empty buildings are always magnets for vandals, and some architectural antiques dealers – who knowingly buy stolen architectural treasures, and arsonists.

    I’ve talked business people into the purchase of empty and significantly deteriorated historic structures. You must present a plan, and provide the support that a buyer or buyers require to move forward. A fine building may have a glorious past, but if you cannot present a viable future, then photographs are all we’ll have.

  2. i seen one abandoned home(the ouerbacker house) in a little bit better condition and the person wanted 3 million for it abandoned that it.it would cost more than that to fix it..this one would definitely cost some money to fix may take years to do it..i would love to find something cheap and wont take the life out of me to fix.im 60 years old i left ky in 67 moved to florida with my adopted parents 7 yers ago when my real mom passed away i met my other brothers and sisters all 10 of them i never knew about..i was born in detroit but sold in kentucky back then they did that if you needed help on your property and yes im white i was 3 mos old when i was sold me and my sister which she went to winchester ky to live with her adopted family but we were only worth $3,ooo a piece my other siblings went into orphanges because noone wanted to buy them so we were split up or i was from them i left ky came to florida which i donot like.i miss animals like chickens,cows,gardening having fresh butter and fresh jam every morning for breakfast but one thing i never forgot red eye gravy so hard to find it anywhere down south so im starving for it lol..anyway i miss kentucky and hope i can come back one day i really really call it home..

    1. William Tarr was my 2nd cousin 5x removed. I am building my family tree and William is the grandson of Charles Tarr who was born in Snow Hill, Maryland the great great grandson of John and Rachel Tarr who landed there from Somerset England in 1654. If anyone can share any information about William or his beautiful home, I would really appreciate it! From what I understand so far, William became a very successful distiller (Old Tarr Whiskey) and branched out into mortgages (maybe???) which got him into financial trouble in the late 1800’s and caused him to go bankrupt… I believe he died penniless in 1911 but any further information would be wonderful!!! I would also love to visit his home and part of his distillery is now a bar in Lexington. I look forward to hearing from anyone with more of this fantastic story!

  3. Kevin,
    I have a whole bunch of totally unbelievable exciting information on the history of this house and land it sits on. If you knew what I knew about Mr William Tarr and his unbelievable legacy of his life and the world he created and what this man accomplished in his lifetime is just amazing.it would blow your mind and I have to be able to get from you where this is located as I am currently working on a project related to this property and would like to visit it this spring.I will share alot of the information with you if you care. But I have paintings from the 1840s -60s showing what this property looked like then and charcoal drawings of the plantation and other buildings and the railroad that used to run through the 700 acre parcel .please email me if you could directions from the nearest town or hwy.
    Thank you
    Scott mcleskey
    Stampmaster@aol.com

  4. Historic Architecture of Bourbon County Kentucky. This book was published several years ago but it provides great information about older properties in the county.

  5. I have been in love with this house for since I was a little girl. I have taken many pictures of this house in the last few years. The last time I was there was in August and they now have No Trespassing signs up that were not there before. I would love to have a history on this house, just because I love it so dearly. If there is anyone that can give me any information, I would really appreciate it. If anyone has any history on the house, if you reply to this message, I will give you my email. I love this Abandoned site. One of my favorites. And thank you for all the beautiful pictures of this house.

  6. Such a beautiful house to be left to fall down to a pile of rubble. I know that it would cost to much to restore it now! But wonders why it was not taking care of b4 it got this bad. Such a shame to see history of this fine house to be Nutting but a pile of bricks

    1. I’d like a crack at this place. I’m also involved in the resurrection of the Tarr Distillery in Lex.

      Check out this project on Houzz – http://houzz.com/projects/2263167

  7. Margaret Ellen (my daughter) and I passed his house two weeks ago on our way to Carlisle. and I could not believe the further deterioration that has taken place in that once-beautiful and proud country home. I have paid close attention to the on-going decline of this home over the years, and I would say to myself “How could they?” The farm that can be seen from the road appears well kept, and mowed regularly, and the barn in good shape. How could the owners not love this beautiful structure, renovate it and live in its grand interior. If they did not love it, they could have at least torn it down before it died a slow painful death? Where is their pride? At one time it looked as if repairs were going to be made, but alas, that too fell apart. At this point, the items in the interior that can be saved and sold or given to those who love the history of Kentucky architecture, should be done so. No more do I wish to drive to Carlisle and witness this home falling to its knees begging for help!

    1. I love Mrs. Ott and she was a dear friend of mine for over 30 years. My father owned Bourbon Hills Farm and she quickly became a huge part of my life. So, so sad about this house. I tried to buy it from the new owners but they wouldn’t accept any offer…

  8. Approximately 20 years ago I would visit with Mrs. Ott. She was the farm secretary. The farm office was located in the front of the house. At that time the rest of the house was vacant but still in very good shape. It is always sad to see homes when their heart broken. The home was spared by the road expansion but the elements have not been very kind the past couple of years as the back sections has suffered a continual collapse. Millersburg Rd (aka US 68 N) has seen many fine homes fall to neglect. My wife and I own a home in Millersburg (James Batterton House) which we are trying our best to restore. I must be honest it isn’t easy.

  9. Absolutely love this place, I live just a few miles away and it has mesmerized me for as long as I can remember. I was told that the City of Paris tried to buy the house to restore it and was turned down by the owner. If that’s true it is a shame, that place is gorgeous. Can you imagine the memories in that house? I’d love to see pics when it was in it’s full glory!

    1. Luckily the highway is missing the house. I have passed by this house my entire life and until I looked at the pictures above, I have never seen inside it. I LOVE this house, always have. It breaks my heart to seen it in this state.

  10. it actually is threatened by development. I expect that this once elegant homestead will soon be razed for the 4 lane highway coming from Paris to Millersburg. I travel this road daily, and wince every time I pass by, remembering the pride it brought to the area in the 60s. Truly a shame.

  11. What a sad thing it is indeed when the beauty and perfection of such a once proud home is documented and appreciated only now, when it is left deteriorating and falling apart, nearly forgotten about by uncaring owners and caretakers. In the end, it's everyone's fault for being shortsighted and complacent; refusing to demand that such places be cared for and kept for future generations to appreciate and take awe in as we surround ourselves with cheap, disposable junk. How unfortunate to think that this will probably become another uninspiring Wal-Mart, Meijer, CVS, McDonald's or Speedway site in the future.

  12. This house and surrounding 700 acres comprised Bourbon Hills Farm from 1963 through 1993

    and was owned by Dr. Wallace S. Karutz.

  13. Hello,

    I want to go, I want to go, I want to go. Please take me with you on your next adventure. I will carry your equipment, fetch you water, whatever. I absolutley love this website. I discovered it this morning and I am hooked. I am very saddened and intrigued by the Church's and the horrible condition that they are now in and how this came to be. I love my Church and it is no where near the architectural beauty that some of these abandoned church's are and I would be very sad if in the future my church was abandoned. Please continue do photograph and document for my enjoyment and remeber if you need an errand Lady to go with you I will be more than happy to.

    Best regards,

    Melissa 🙂

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