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The Brennan House Historic Home and Gardens


"Recently voted one of Louisville's top 10 favorite buildings by the Courier-Journal (Nov 14, 2004)."

A return to a style of living... that is no more.

Brennan House

In January 2008, after months of study, the Board of the Brennan House Historic Home voted to change the mission of the organization following recommendations from the National Trust for Historic Preservation and local stakeholders, and to add the role of preservation advocacy to our mission. Although our mission has expanded, we will continue to act as a Heritage Center and to preserve the Brennan House along with the original family collection. In June 2008, the Board chose the name Preservation Louisville, Inc. to reflect the importance of historic preservation to this expanded mission and our community. Preservation Louisville’s new mission:
“Protect and promote the cultural, architectural and environmental heritage of our community.”

For more information please visit:

The Brennan House (1868) is a Victorian mansion in downtown Louisville that is filled with an entirely original family collection and is listed on the National Register. Preservation Louisville, Inc. (DBA The Brennan House Historic Home and Gardens) is a 501 (C)(3) non-profit organization. Educational and group tours of the Brennan family home and collection are available by appointment.

It was a time when horse-drawn carriages clip-clopped their way around downtown. When the stage of the old Macauley's on Walnut played host to some of the country's finest artists. When Fifth St. was lined with homes reflecting the grace and ease of the times. This was Louisville in the 19th century.

Today, the Brennan House remains virtually untouched since that Victorian era, an authentic keepsake of the 19th century.

Occupied as late as 1969, the Brennan House dates from 1868. Thomas Brennan, a native of Ireland and a prominent inventor of the day, moved into the six-bedroom house with his wife, Anna Bruce, in 1884. They had nine children, eight of whom survived into adulthood and grew up in the house.

The Brennan family was extremely close-knit. The center of activity was always the family home, but the Brennans also mingled with Louisville society and travelled widely. In fact, there was hardly ever a time when some member of the family was not in Europe. Souvenirs of their trips are still very much in evidence all through the house, from furniture to bric-a-brac.

photograph from the turn of the century
Original Brennan Photograph

Two of the sons became doctors. One of them, Dr. J. A. O. Brennan, added a waiting room, office and examining room as a north wing to the house in 1912. Others moved to New York, including one son who became treasurer of the New York Yankees. By 1962, only four Brennans remained, two having returned from New York to live with Doctor Brennan. Out of eight children, three married and they were all childless. The last Brennans moved from the house in 1969 and it was presented in the family's name to The Filson Club.

Doctor's office
Original Brennan Photograph
photograph from the turn of the century
Original Brennan Photograph

Elaborate crystal and etched-glass chandeliers are to be found in the house, as well as a signed Tiffany lamp. (The Brennans were among the first in Louisville to have electric lights). Stained-glass coats-of-arms by Louisville artist Bernard Alberts, massive hand-carved dining room and bedroom furniture, ornate silver service. a collection of family portraits, steamer trunks containing memorabilia of world travels and a library containing richly-bound volumes are just some of the many treasures awaiting the visitor to the Brennan House.

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