Demolition Update: Historic Handy House, Cynthiana, Kentucky

It’s been awhile since I checked in on the demolition status of the Historic Handy House, also known as Ridgeway, in Cynthiana, Kentucky. It was hard to find any news coverage of its last days, but this ad for “unique keepsake pens made from salvaged wood from the flooring of the historic house” from the local Chamber of Commerce popped up in my internet search. Kind of a kick in the gut, especially since I believe they joined in the calls for demolition from the start, rather than supporting any of the historic preservation options.

Available in the Cynthiana Harrison County Chamber of Commerce Gift Shop: Ridgeway (Handy House) Wooden Pens – “unique keepsake pens made from salvaged wood from the flooring” of the historic house – $30.
Photo: Cynthiana Harrison County Chamber of Commerce

The Ridgeway (Handy House) was torn down in Harrison County in 2018. Ridgeway, also know as the Handy House, was originally owned by US congressman and 1812 war veteran, Colonel William Brown. It was built in 1818 by Brown. He was also an attorney and close friend of Henry Clay. Colonel Brown’s wife, Harriet Warfield, was the sister to Dr. Elisha Warfield who delivered Mary Todd Lincoln. The Brown family moved in the 1830’s to Illinois, where they emancipated their slaves. (Slaves might have been kept in the basement of the Handy House.)  Brown’s son, James N. Brown, fought alongside Lincoln in the same unit during the Black Hawk War, an 1832 conflict with Native Americans in Illinois.

Joel Frazier bought the house in 1848, a Union Sympathizer, he allowed a federal army camp on the farm’s western edge in 1861-62, known as Camp Frazier. In the 1880’s, W.T. Handy owned the farm and named the house Chestnut Hall. He raised trotting horses on a portion of the farm. After his death, the house became known as the Handy House. The house was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005.

The wood used to make these unique keepsake pens was salvaged from the flooring of the historic house.

And for them to then trot out the history of the demolished building to help sell the pens on their website was really too much for me.

Cynthiana Harrison County Chamber of Commerce

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