On a sizable corner lot in Old Seminary Square, the Ashbrook announces itself not just by its stately presence, but by its name, etched into a massive stone sign visible from the street.
The large Italianate was built in 1860 for William Ashbrook, a Kentuckian whose early life reads like something out of a Western. Having taken an interest in his father’s stockyard business as a child, Ashbrook moved to New Orleans to buy and sell cattle before returning to Northern Kentucky, where he was twice elected Kenton County sheriff.
During the Civil War, Ashbrook put down roots in Covington. He spent the rest of his life there in public service, serving on city council, then as waterworks commissioner, before his death in 1882. Eventually, the 5,300-square-foot family home became a lodge meeting place for the Prince Hall Masons, Freemasons of African descent.
Today, the Ashbrook is one of the city’s residential landmarks, occupying a cushy lot in a neighborhood defined by a stunning concentration of Italianate homes that some claim is among the highest in the country. Recent owners carved out a separate entrance to an attached one-bedroom apartment that’s been used as an Airbnb.
While the new abounds, it’s the old that makes the Ashbrook truly special—and the owners of this century were thoughtful in their preservation work. Ornate molding crowns 12-foot ceilings and, remarkably, all six (count ’em: six!) fireplaces are operable, a detail owners of historic homes can tell you is exceedingly hard to come by. The simple and spacious kitchen is one of the only rooms in the house that has been renovated top to bottom, but even there, the pops of whitewashed wainscotting and wood floors help the space retain that historic charm that makes the home sing.
See more photos of the home in the gallery below: