Filson Historical Society

Urban Attractions

The Filson Historical Society
The finest example of Parisian Beaux Arts architecture in Louisville, now the home of Kentucky’s oldest privately supported historical society, founded in 1884, collecting and preserving Kentucky and the Ohio Valley region’s significant stories.

Designed by William J. Dodd, who also designed the Seelbach Hotel, began in 1901 and was completed in 1905. The interior features the use of wood and damask paneling along with sculpted marble and bronze mantelpieces. The second floor features a set of Tiffany lamps in the form of dragonflies.

Around the turn of the century in Louisville, when the average mansion cost about ten thousand dollars this home was considered one of the most expensive, at about one hundred thousand dollars. Ferguson was able to build his lavish residence because he was a successful entrepreneur and the founder of the Kentucky Refining Company. Ferguson sold the mansion in 1924 to the Pearson Funeral Home. The Pearsons kept the mansion in its original condition, with the exception of the removal of the grand staircase. In 1984 The Filson Club purchased the mansion at auction along with some of its original furnishings and décor.

The attached Owsley Brown II History Center opened in the Fall 2016.

Due to campus expansion, as of summer 2016, the Ferguson Mansion is currently not open for tours.

Research hours remain 9 am – 5 pm, Monday – Friday.