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Northern end of house foundation.

McConnell’s Homestead

Site ID: 15Bb75

Kentucky Archaeological Survey
Unless specified, we cannot provide site location information.


​​​​​​​Cultural Resource Analysts investigated the McConnell's Homestead site in 1998 prior to an upgrade project for U.S. Highway 27/68 (Paris Pike).  William McConnell migrated to Kentucky from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania as early as 1781. In 1788, he bought 1000 acres of prime Bluegrass land.  He built a stone house that year on a​​ hill next to a spring for his large family of nine children.  At his death, McConnell's daughter Elizabeth and her husband, John Ardery, inherited the house and 112 acres.  

After John Ardery’s death in 1853, Lafayette Ardery - Elizabeth and John's son - took over farm operations. Lafayette and his family lived in the old stone house until the 1870s, when they moved to a newer, more fashionable brick building on an adjoining farm.  Shortly thereafter, the old stone house burned down. It was replaced by a tenant house that stood for about 40 years. 

Archaeological investigations at the McConnell's Homestead site focused on the main house. In addition to exposing the house foundation, research recovered thousands of artifacts.​​​

Southern half of the house, showing the cellar.  Note the triangular fireplace along the interior of the west wall foundation.


​The family residence at the McConnell's Homestead site was a stone house made of roughly dressed dry-laid limestone rock. It had two main sections.  

The north half was a discontinuous limestone foundation that measured 42 by 18 feet.  It contained a hearth and chimney foundation.  

The south half had a stone-walled cellar that measured 36 by 24 feet and a hearth surrounded by a brick floor. A cellar also was along the eastern wall.  Archaeologists recovered large amounts of animal bones and ceramics from this cellar.  Also of note was a triangular fireplace, which is a traditional Pennsylvania Dutch feature.  This shape allowed one chimney to service two ground-floor rooms and usually a second-story room as well.

The McConnell and Ardery farming operations generated enough disposable income that the families could buy fancy tablewares made by English and East Coast potters.  In fact, the large amounts of decorated pearlware and whiteware ceramics recovered during the archaeological investigations - serving vessels in particular - reflected the McConnell and Ardery families' wealth and prestige.  This show of wealth was particularly relevant during social calls with peers, which frequently involved offering tea and coffee, along with food. 

The prominent and highly visible stone house was constructed by the McConnell and Ardery families.  The house was built along one of the more important transportation routes through central Kentucky at that time.  The house may be another example of the families' desire to present their success to others - in this case, through architecture.

Handpainted pearlware (top left); transfer-printed whiteware (top right), and shell-edge whiteware (bottom row).

William McConnell's house foundation, looking southeast.

What's Cool?

​Bottles in a Builder's Trench

Investigators recovered a clear glass prescription medicine bottle and a clear glass brandy bottle from the bottom of the builder’s trench associated with the tenant house. The house builders had probably thrown the bottles into the trench after consuming their contents. 

Features of these bottles indicated that both had been made after 1875. Their recovery from the trench shows that the house was built no earlier than 1875 and no later than the 1920s.​

Bottles recovered from the bottom of the tenant house builder's trench.

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