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Bluegrass Land Conservancy’s First Conservation Easement in Louisville Region

Bluegrass Land Conservancy’s First Conservation Easement in Louisville Region

Bluegrass Land Conservancy worked with Donna and Jim Ludwig to permanently protect their Henry County farm

When they were ready to move away from city life, Donna and Jim Ludwig knew they wanted a place that would not be too far outside the comforts and conveniences of Louisville, but would also have ample space for animals, and they wanted their new property to have an “old, historical home.” They found everything they were looking for in Henry Country with a property just west of Smithfield, previously known as the Callaway-Goodridge-Robertson Farm.

Donna and Jim renamed the property to Springstone Farm. But they have restored the Calloway house with such care for its historical significance that remaining descendants—many of whom have turned up from Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, and Washington—continually express heartfelt gratitude for the life the Ludwigs have breathed back into the home while remaining so true to its original design and structures.

With prompting, Donna shared some of the early restoration projects of this historic Henry County house. One of the first renovations they undertook was to replace the windows. This came about thanks to the first winter after they purchased the farm. To alleviate the ill-fit of the windows along the northwest side of the house, they had to stuff old magazines into the gaps to serve as makeshift insulation. The trick did  help to lessen the winter wind from whipping through the

house, but it was not able to prevent snow drifts from mounting in the dining room and an upstairs bedroom.

There was also the rubbered backed carpeting that had been glued down over ash floors, which took a team of workers a number of weeks to remove by hand. Not to mention the discovery of cloth covered wiring throughout the entire second floor of the house, all of which required a full update.

Rather than succumbing to panic over all there was to be done, Donna and Jim took a practical approach, asking: what do we need to do? Donna surmises, theanswer to this question led to a robust education to plumbing and electricity. But historical restoration is not called a labor of love for no reason; old historic houses hold history, and, while pulling up no less than four coverings over the kitchen floor, Donna discovered Courier-Journal newspapers circa 1916-1918 that had been used for insulation.

When asked for the defining characteristics that make this 200-year-old house so special, Donna did not talk about the rounded bricks fashioned on site crown arches above the windows, the meticulously restored front entry way which still has a hook where a lantern hung before electricity, the remodeled kitchen ceiling that includes salvaged wood from an old barn, or the servants cabin that has been repurposed into a place to  extract honey from bees, which the Ludwigs now affectionately refer to as the “honey house.”

Donna spoke about the people who love this house and property so much that they return for visits year after year. They walk through the house and around the farm, talking and sharing pieces of the past: stories of childhood mischief that include beloved family members. And while some of the starring characters of these stories are no longer here, the memories of those held dear are easier to recall when they are in the place that Donna and Jim have not allowed time to erase.

“Bluegrass Land Conservancy is excited to be working on 18 active projects, consisting of 2,704 acres, in eight counties across our 23-county service area. The greater Bluegrass Region’s farmland is globally recognized for its exceptional soilsand abundant waters. There is no place like it—and the time to protect it is right now.”

W. Austin Musselman, Jr., Vice-Chair, Bluegrass Land Conservancy


Is a conservation easement right for you and your family?

Thanks to the conservation easement Donna and Jim Ludwig have placed on Springstone Farm, in Henry County, this beautiful piece of Bluegrass land and Kentucky history will be able to remain special forever.

Contact Ashley Greathouse, (859) 255-4552, or agreathouse@bluegrassconservancy.org, for more information, including the potential significant tax savings associated with an easement donation.