I haven’t been inside Latrobe’s Pope Villa yet. The Villa was purchased in 1987 by the Blue Grass Trust after an arson fire revealed it to be Benjamin Henry Latrobe’s work. It’s not open to the public at present as restoration is ongoing. At least once a year, though, the Blue Grass Trust opens the house for tours.
Pope Villa was built in 1810-11 by Benjamin Henry Latrobe, America’s first professional architect. He is best known as the architect of the United States Capitol building, as well as for designing parts of the White House. The Villa was built for U.S. Senator John Pope and his wife, Eliza. Eliza was the sister-in-law of John Quincy Adams.
“It is one of only three extant Latrobe residences in the United States. As one of Latrobe’s most avant-garde designs, the Pope Villa has national significance for its architect and unique design.” Wikipedia.
“The Pope Villa is Latrobe’s best surviving domestic design. Its plan is unique in American residential architecture: a perfect square, with a domed, circular rotunda in the center of the second story….Latrobe’s fusion of classical sources and Picturesque theory places the Pope Villa among the most important buildings of Federal America.” Blue Grass Trust for Historic Preservation.
2016 marks Benjamin Latrobe’s 252nd birthday and the 203rd year of the house.
“I believe it’s no exaggeration to say that the Pope Villa is one of this country’s greatest treasures,” said Richard Moe, President of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “By saving the Pope Villa, preservationists are making sure that an important chapter in Kentucky’s and America’s story doesn’t get erased.”
If you’d like to learn more about Pope Villa’s history and restoration, you can visit the Blue Grass Trust’s website. Be sure to click on the link to download the excellent brochure for even more information.
The Villa is located at 326 Grosvenor in the Aylesford Historic District of Lexington, Kentucky. Aylesford has a mixture of Victorian, Craftsman, and Colonial Revival homes from the turn-of-the-19th-century. The University of Kentucky is just a short walk from the Villa.