Wetherby House

Posted: May 15, 2009

Weatherby House

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.