About the Inn, Its Owners and the History of the Mansion
About Your Hosts
Jeff Ochs and Allen Mitchell
About The Bed and Breakfast
While it was originally built in the late 1880’s as a single-family home, the Mansion at 1332 South Fourth Street in Louisville has been a bed and breakfast for more than 35 years. It was originally known as the “Inn at The Park,” because it is adjacent to Louisville’s Central Park. New owners purchased and renovated the Inn in 2001 and kept the name until the City Of Louisville changed its liquor laws to allow a bed and breakfast to serve alcohol. In 2006, it was rebranded as the Louisville Bourbon Inn.
For many years, one couple owned the Louisville Bourbon Inn and the Dupont Mansion, another bed and breakfast just across the street. However, owning two bed and breakfasts during the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown that decimated the travel, tourism and hospitality industries proved to be too much, and they decided to put the Louisville Bourbon Inn up for sale. In 2021, Ellen Stauffer purchased the Inn and ran it with her son Kenny, a professionally-trained chef. Ellen’s plan was to renovate, redecorate, rebuild the business, and create a turnkey operation for the next owner. After increasing occupancy tenfold and overseeing the ascent of the Inn from #10 on the Tripadvisor list to the #2 spot, Ellen decided it was time for new owners to take the helm.
In 2023, Jeff Ochs and Allen Mitchell purchased the Inn and moved from Columbus, Ohio to Louisville, Kentucky to write the next chapter of the Inn’s history book. From the moment the very first guests entered the Mansion, it was clear that this Dynamic Duo of Hospitality would even further enhance the Louisville bed and breakfast’s reputation as the premier luxury bed and breakfast along the Bourbon Trail. Within the first two weeks, the 5-Star Reviews on Tripadvisor and the 5-Star Reviews on Google were proof that the future of the Louisville Bourbon Inn as a Bed and Breakfast is even better than ever.
About the Mansion
A very well-respected attorney from Tennessee named Russell Houston was one of the first directors of the Louisville & Nashville Railroad. In 1864, he moved to Louisville to serve as the vice-president of the railroad. He became president of the company upon the death of the Honorable James Guthrie. While president, Mr. Houston created a law department for the railroad and took the role of Chief Counsel until his death. Mr. Houston also served on the Tennessee Supreme Court and refused to accept a salary, preferring to donate his time and effort for the good of the state.
In the mid 1880’s, Russell Houston commissioned architect Mason Maury to design a mansion in Louisville for his family, their governess and their servants. The result is the 8,800 square foot Richardsonian Romanesque Revival mansion completed in 1887 that today is called the Louisville Bourbon Inn.
Richardsonian Romanesque is an eclectic Romanesque Revival architecture named after architect Henry Hobson Richardson. It is characterized by heavy, rough-faced square stones, rounded towers with cone-shaped roofs, columns and pilasters with spirals and leaf designs, Roman arches over doorways, patterned masonry arches over windows, complex roofing, transom windows arranged in ribbon-like patterns and Gothic or Medieval details such as stained glass. As with the Louisville Bourbon Inn, most Richardsonian Romanesque structures use selected elements of the architecture to create a unique variation of the style.
About Old Louisville
The Louisville Bourbon Inn is part of the Old Louisville neighborhood, which is the third largest National Historic Preservation District in the United States. It is the largest preservation district that features almost exclusively Victorian architecture. The Mansion is adjacent to the city’s Frederick Law Olmstead-designed Central Park.
Old Louisville wasn’t developed until the 1870’s, which is almost a century after the city was founded. Originally called the Southern Extension, the neighborhood was home to Louisville’s wealthiest citizens who built Victorian mansions in a variey of different Victorian architectural styles.
Fourth Street was an especially exciting place to live during the late 1800’s. Many activities took place in Central Park, including concerts and balloon raisings. From 1883 through 1887, the great Southern Exposition, a huge industrial fair, was held in Louisville at Central Park. In 1883, Thomas Edison, a one-time Louisville resident, personally supervised the installation of 4,800 incandescent light bulbs to debut his newest invention that illuminated the exposition. This brought over a million people to visit the exhibition and earned Louisville international attention.
To qualify as bourbon, a spirit:
- Must be produced in the U.S.
- Must be made of a grain mix of at least 51 percent corn
- Must be distilled at less than 160 proof (80 percent ABV)
- Must have no additives (except water to reduce proof, if necessary)
- Must be aged in new, charred white oak barrels
- Must be aged for a minimum of two years (a bourbon must meet this specific requirement if it is to be considered a “Straight Bourbon”)
The production of bourbon began in the 1700s with the first settlers in Kentucky. After a lot of time spent transporting crops to market over narrow trails and steep mountains, the settlers learned that converting the corn and grains to whiskey made them easier to transport. It also prevented the excess grain from rotting and gave them a diversion from life on the frontier. The first whiskey distillery in Kentucky was started by Evan Williams in 1783 in Louisville, securing him the title of the first commercial distiller in the state.
The name bourbon comes from Bourbon County, one of Kentucky’s three original counties, established in 1785. Farmers shipped their whiskey in oak barrels from Bourbon County down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers to New Orleans. The long trip aged the whiskey, giving the spirit the distinct amber color and flavor. Whiskey from Bourbon County soon gained popularity and became known as Bourbon whiskey.
In 1964, Congress declared Bourbon a distinctive product of the United States, and it is often referred to as “America’s Official Native Spirit.”
In the Commonwealth of Kentucky, there are approximately 46 different bourbon distilleries. The Kentucky Bourbon Trail was formed in 1999 by the Kentucky Distillers Association to create an educational way for visitors to see the art, science, and rich history behind bourbon production. The first Kentucky Bourbon Trail had only six bourbon distilleries. Today, there are eighteen bourbon distilleries that make up what is known as the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. These distilleries include Angel’s Envy, Bardstown Bourbon Company, Bulleit, Evan Williams, Four Roses Distillery, Green River, Heaven Hill, James B. (Jim) Beam, Lux Row, Maker’s Mark, Micther’s, Old Forester, Rabbit Hole, Stitzel-Weller, Town Branch, Wildnerness Trail, Wild Turkey, and Woodford Reserve. There are also 28 Craft Distilleries organized into four regions: Nothern, Central, Western and Bluegrass.