I reckon I’ll have to forgive that darn Yankee, Army Col. Richard Jacobs, who joined Federal Forces in 1862 to fight against my own Gen. Robert E. Lee in the Civil War.
In 1855, Jacobs bought Woodland Farm in Kentucky and raised 10 horses, one mule, seven milk cows, six working oxen, 11 cattle, 60 sheep and 15 hogs before running off to fight against the South in 1862.
He became Kentucky’s Lt. Governor in 1863 and freed his Woodland Farm slaves. In 1899 he sold the farm, which was later bought in 1956 by George and Helen Egger, whose 11-year-old grandson and my son Dennis, 10, eventually formed a dance band.
The original farm was brought together when the Eggers bought 18-Mile Island and restored the original acreage to its 1848 size. Steve Wilson and Laura Lee Brown bought it from the Eggers 16 years ago.
Woodland Farm today is the largest single Kentucky property on the National Register of Historic Places and is the site of the most gorgeous Sunday Derby party in the state of Kentucky.
“The sun shone bright” on “The Old Kentucky Home” of Woodland Farm for the lovely hostess and genial host.
Their own out-of-town guests were the entire members of the Whitney Museum of American National Committee and Board of Trustees headed by charming Whitney Museum director, Adam Weinberg, and lovely deputy director, Alexandra Wheeler.
Laura Lee and Steve introduced those who were staying at their 21c Museum Hotel to the works of many leading local artists, so they could “meet them before they became so famous.”
The Whitney contingent also spent time in the Woodland Farm rooms studying paintings, sculptures, photographs, fabrics and other art displayed for their visit, including watercolors by Laura Lee of her children and grandchildren.
Laura Lee’s children came – Polk Deters and his wife Sarah Ashworth, and young Garvin Deters, named for her father, Garvin Brown.
Steve’s son, J.B.Wilson, 35, came with his children – Avery, 10, Bradley, 8, and Mae, 5 – all adorable.
Mayor Greg Fischer and his wife Dr. Alex Gerassimides assembled the “Mother’s Day” table with parents George and Mary Lee, sister, Lynn, and brothers Mark and Chris.
Laura Wells and her husband Osman Biranis of Istanbul, sat with her brother. Lee Wells and Istanbul friends Tilsin Tanberk, Rudolf Liechtenstein, and P.V. Van der Byl.
Her parents, Darrell and Anne Wells, also attended the party.
Louise Cecil, in a tangerine silk pant suit and giant orange zinnia fascinator, and I sat with famous Derborah Berke, the architect of the 21c Hotel. Deborah’s husband, orthopedic surgeon Dr. Peter D. McCann, chairman of the Beth Israel Medical Center in New York (who listed himself as “Deborah’s driver) sat by their daughter Tess McCann, and Alice Gray Stites.
“What kind of car do you drive for Deborah?” I asked.
“An Audi A7, 2012,” he replied.
Dr. McCann is editor in chief of the American Journal of Orthopedics, which recently stated: “The University of Louisville supports one of the most outstanding departments of orthopedics in the United States.”
Chef Nancy Schoenhoff outdid herself!
- Red-veined sorrel salad with Woodland Farm Easter egg radishes and Field Day Farm asparagus;
- Kentucky bison tenderloin chili rubbed with roasted green tomato salsa;
- Cast iron skillet Indian corn cake with Woodland Farm sausage and greens;
- Potato roesti and spiced applesauce;
- And also in the Brown family, Woodford Reserve (bourbon) pecan squares!
Thanks you, dear Emily Bingham, for introducing me to Whitney American Art Museum Director Adam Greenberg and Alexandra Wheeler.
And thank you, Laura Lee and Steve, for the lovely Derby invitation I receive every year.
photos by Lucie Blodgett and JOSH MERIDETH
Category: The Social Side
About the Author (Author Profile)
Always out and about at happenings around town, Lucie Blodgett has been writing a weekly column for The Voice-Tribune for more than two decades.