My Old Kentucky Home, Bardstown, Kentucky, USA
Visit My Old Kentucky Home. Come explore “Federal Hill,” the Rowan family’s mansion that inspired Stephen Foster to write, “My Old Kentucky Home.”
My Old Kentucky Home State Park is a state park located in Bardstown, Kentucky. The park’s centerpiece is Federal Hill, a farm owned by United States Senator John Rowan in 1795. During the Rowan family’s occupation, the mansion became a meeting place for local politicians and hosted several visiting dignitaries.
The farm is best known for its association with American composer Stephen Foster’s anti-slavery ballad “My Old Kentucky Home, Good Night”. Foster was a cousin of the Rowan family, and was likely inspired to write the ballad both by Harriet Beecher Stowe’s anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin and through imagery seen on visits to Federal Hill.
After popularity of the song increased throughout the United States, Federal Hill was purchased by the Commonwealth of Kentucky, dedicated as a historic site, and renamed “My Old Kentucky Home” on July 4, 1923. Foster’s song by the same name was made the state song of Kentucky in 1928. The Federal Hill mansion was featured on a U.S. postage stamp in 1992, and it is one of the symbols featured on the reverse of the Kentucky state quarter issued in 2001.
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