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Front View of the Conrad-Caldwell House Mansion
Photo Courtesy of Conrad-Caldwell House

The Conrad-Caldwell House Museum

1402 St. James Court

Louisville, Kentucky 40208

Written by Julie Greiner
The "Conrad's Castle," which it is often referred to - is a magnificent Richardsonian Mansion situated on St. James Court in the heart of the neighborhood of Old Louisville. The Conrad-Caldwell House Museum is the
most outstanding and stunning of the Old Louisville houses. This neighborhood was the former site of the Southern Exposition of 1883.

History of the Conrad-Caldwell House

The house was originally built for Theophilus Conrad, a Frenchman who made his fortune in the tanning business. The original cost of the house was a sum of $35,000. The Caldwell family purchased the house in 1905, after Mr. Conrad's death. The Caldwell family occupied the residence for 35 years. For the following 40 years the property served as the Rose Anna Hughes Presbyterian Retirement Home.
View of the Conrad-Caldwell House Mansion Stairwell
Photo Courtesy of Conrad-Caldwell House
In 1987, the St. James Court Historic Foundation purchased the home, restored it and now operates the mansion as a museum.

Interior of Conrad's Castle of Old Louisville

A walk around the exterior of the Richardsonian Mansion gives one a view of all the gargoyles, swags, massive arches and fleur-de-lis. Inside the mansion one may view the butler's pantry where everything needed for food service was kept and the safe which is hidden behind the door where the family's silver was stored. In the formal dining room there is a gas fireplace and the furnishings display what a formal lifestyle of that period was observed. The parlor
is the most elegant room in the house and the woodwork is of birdseye maple. The chandelier is original to the room and was wired for electricity and plumbed for gas lighting. The magnificent front stairway has elaborately carved woodwork including the hand-rail and skirting along the stairway and balcony.

Southern Exposition of 1883 and St. James Court Art Show of 2002

The Southern Exposition was the World Fair of its time and it was held annually from 1883 - 1887. The Exposition proclaimed the rebirth of Southern industry. Thomas Edison personally turned on the switch to light the
View of the Baby Daisy Bellows Vacuum at the Conrad-Caldwell House Mansion
Photo Courtesy of Conrad-Caldwell House
Exposition - the largest lighting display of electric lighting outside of New York City. Upon the end of the Exposition the neighborhood of St. James, Belgravia and Fountain Courts were established. This neighborhood has earned its place in the history of Louisville as the most beautiful and recognizable area of the city.

The St. James Court Art Show - now one of the largest open air art shows in the country is held in this neighborhood during the first week-end of October. Over 700 artists exhibit and sell paintings, sculptures, textiles, art glass, pottery, jewelry and much more. This event draws several hundred thousand people each year - to enjoy the magnificent Victorian architecture and fantastic fall colors. The Conrad-Caldwell House is open for public tours. For information on tours and local events call: 502-636-5023.

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Last Updated: September 23, 2015