Famed Louisville Estate Listed for First Time in Nearly a Century

June 10, 2014

Courtesy of Kentucky Select Properties

LOUISVILLE, KY – Kentucky Select Properties, the top selling locally-owned and independent real estate company in Louisville, Kentucky, has announced the first listing in nearly a century of the famed Melcombe property on Glenview Ave in Louisville’s Country Estates of River Road Historic District.

Built between 1909 and 1911 for Charles Thruston Ballard, president of the Ballard Flour Mills, this Neo-Georgian mansion was designed by John Bacon Hutchings & Sons of Louisville, who also designed fellow Louisville estate The Midlands. Sitting on 8.9 acres on a bluff overlooking the Ohio River, the property includes an Italianate-inspired formal garden designed in 1913-14 by Marian Coffin, well-known early 20th century garden designer who was in Louisville at the time restoring the gardens at Oxmoor Farms. Named 'Broken Flags', the garden was featured in the October 1917 issue of House and Garden.


In 1918, Charles Ballard passed away and the house was purchased by Judge Robert Worth Bingham, then owner of The Courier-Journal, Louisville Times and WHAS. Bingham changed the estate’s name to Melcombe (after the family seat in Dorsetshire, England) from the original name of Bushy Park (after the 17th century Virginia homestead of Ballard’s great-great grandfather, Armistead Churchill). It was Bingham who would envision the residence with beautiful additions such as the lapis lazuli and Cararra marble fireplace and crystal chandeliers, acquired in London in the 1920s.

Boasting 11,800 square feet on four levels, this historic residence has now been in the Bingham family for nearly a century. Judge Bingham was appointed U.S. Ambassador to the Court of St. James in 1933, and over the years hosted several U.S. presidents, a Prime Minister of Great Britain, and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor at his elegant Kentucky Derby parties.

Situated in one of the most significant National Register Districts in the United States, Melcombe's generous entrance and porticos boast limestone Doric columns and white marble floors, elegant features to this finely designed, gilded-age home lived in by two families with important ties to Louisville (and American) history. The current owner, Mrs. Barry Bingham, Jr., widow of Judge Bingham's grandson, is known for her own work on behalf of conservation and preservation. Their children are the fourth generation of Binghams to have lived at Melcombe.


The Country Estates of River Road Historic District consists of 21 large estates designed between 1875 and 1938, stretching in a line along the Ohio River bottom lands and the steeply-rising river bluffs behind them. Charles A. Birnbaum, coordinator of the National Parks Service Historic Landscape Initiative, after a tour of Louisville's River Road Historic District stated, “ Seldom have I witnessed a collection of such significant works of landscape architecture with such a high level of integrity. What makes this even more extraordinary is that the properties themselves are in fact contiguous.

Says listing agent John A. Stough, Jr., Co-Founder and Principal Broker of Louisville’s Kentucky Select Properties, “ Listing Melcombe is truly the pinnacle of my 35 year career in real estate. The fact that it is so impeccably maintained and has remained in private hands throughout its history only adds to its allure. The heavy deep red brick and limestone trim of the residence truly invokes a nostalgic sense of America’s golden age, and I’m honored to list such a vital piece of history right here in Louisville .”

John Brian Losh, Chairman of Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate, adds “I have travelled the world serving as a consultant to luxury real estate listings and sales, and rarely have I seen a historic property in such beautiful condition and within such a significant historic district available for private purchase. I look forward to following the sale of this renowned property.”

To schedule a showing or for inquiries regarding the list price of Melcombe, please contact listing agent John A. Stough, Jr. at 502-552-9120.

For additional hi-res photography of Melcombe, please contact Shelley Reynolds at shelley@papilloncollective.com or 270-994-1259.

About Kentucky Select Properties

Kentucky Select Properties is the top selling, 100% locally-owned and independent real estate company in Louisville, Kentucky, as well as the area’s luxury market leader. Their carefully selected and professionally trained agents are knowledgeable about Louisville’s many distinctive neighborhoods and are uniquely qualified to help real estate buyers and sellers throughout the city. With industry-leading integrated marketing programs, a unique and supportive sales culture, deep roots in the community and plain old-fashioned hard work, Kentucky Select Properties is well-positioned to lead the Louisville market for many years to come.Kentucky Select Properties serves on the Board of Regents, the governing body for the Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate network. For more information on Kentucky Select Properties, please visit www.kyselectproperties.com or find them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/kentuckyselect.


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