Historical Sites

Middletown Historic Museum
The Middletown Historic Museum is located at 11700 Main Street, 502-254-4303 and is open Thursdays 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and Saturdays 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

If anyone wants to volunteer to work at the museum, give us a call we would love to have you.

Middletown To Dedicate Historical Marker For Governor Wetherby
The City of Middletown is pleased to announce that it will hold a Dedication Ceremony for a new Kentucky historical marker honoring former Governor Lawrence W. Wetherby, one of Middletown’s most famous sons, on Thursday, March 27th at 10:00 a.m. at Middletown City Hall, 11803 Old Shelbyville Road.

The governor accomplished a great deal in his tenure and has been described as a courageous visionary. He established the KY Youth Authority, created the KY Department of Mental Health, advocated for civil rights and directed the construction of the state’s interstate highways.

The late Governor, the only elected governor from Jefferson County in the history of Kentucky has not been properly honored and remembered in his native city of Middletown.

Mayor J. Byron Chapman and District 19 Council Member, Jerry Miller recognized this need and applied to the Kentucky Historical Society for a marker to be sited at City Hall on the grounds of Wetherby Park. On November 27, 2013 the historical society approved the addition of the marker. The city then applied for a Neighborhood Development Fund grant for the cost of the marker which was approved with the help of Councilman Miller.

Historic Gas Station

When Sam Tucker went on the Historic Commission in 1992, one of his first projects was to press for the renovation of Middletown’s dilapidated First Gas Station. About 1998, a federal grant in excess of $30,000.00 was approved. Renovation began, but went very slowly. Work on the station finally ceased completely after Sam left the Commission in the year 2000. The lighted outdoor Aetna sign, grease pit, interior walls, fixtures, lexan protective covering to protect the new windows from rock-throwing vandals, interior and some exterior painting was left undone. Immediately after Sam was elected to the Middletown City Commission in 2002, he began pressing to complete the gas station renovation. The Mayor supported Sam and the job was finally finished in June, 2003.

War Memorial

Shortly after World War II, on a part of the land it had purchased in 1943 for a firehouse and alarm answering center, the Civic Club erected a War Memorial on the southeast corner of Shelbyville Road at Madison Avenue to honor the service persons who served in the war and who gave their lives for the country.

In later years, heavy traffic and absence of parking discouraged viewing of the memorial. In 2003, the Civic Club and the City of Middletown cooperated in the moving of the Memorial to the Wetherby House Park on the East side of the Wetherby House. A rededication ceremony was held on Veteran’s Day, November 8, 2003, with many of the veterans in attendance whose names were on the memorial. Middletown VFW Post participated in the memorial service.

Text used by permission from the book “A Pictorial Tour of Middletown” by Sam Tucker.

Wetherby House

Built in 1796, The Wetherby House/Davis Tavern is located at 11803 Old Shelbyville Road (Main Street). It is a two-story structure with solid brick, two-foot-thick walls and 23 rooms. Stuccoed in 1922T it was the homestead on a one-hundred acre tract that was originally owned by Esquire William White.

Purchased by Susan Davis in 1841, it operated as Davis Tavern until the 1870’s. The tavern and hotel was a stage coach stop on the trail that opened the “West” and had a 50-stall horse barn southeast of the tavern. Portions of the barn floor can be found today where the barn once stood. Guests included Henry Clay, Breckenridge and France’s LaFayette who was said to have visited the tavern during his American tour of 1824. The July 23, 1822, Louisville Herald Newspaper commented on the high quality cheese that was served at the tavern. The Wetherby House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

In 1860, Dr. Luther Paris Wetherby stopped at the inn for a night’s rest. He liked Middletown, met Hattie Brown, the innkeeper’s daughter whose family owned the tavern, courted her and they ultimately married. Luther and Hattie continued to live at the Inn where all five of their children were born. Thus, the Davis tavern became known as the Wetherby House. Dr. Wetherby was born in Moira, New York in 1838, graduated from Vermont’s Castleton Medical College in 1857 and from Louisville School of medicine in 1858. He served as a surgeon for the Union Army during the Civil War. After his discharge in July of 1862, he returned to Middletown where he continued his medical practice.

When Dr. Wetherby died, his son Luther Paris (Lupe) Wetherby (1867-1956), who lived across the street, became the owner of the Wetherby House. The Wetherby family retained ownership of the building and about three acres of surrounding land until the City of Middletown purchased the house in 2000. The other acreage had been sold for development. As Lupe Wetherby’s farm and shipping point for Middletown’s strawberry growers, 6,500 crates of berries were shipped from the Wetherby House front yard in 1938.

Historic Wetherby house has since been renovated and is now Middletown’s City Hall.

Text used by permission from the book “A Pictorial Tour of Middletown” by Sam Tucker.

© 2020 City of Middletown, KY