Irvinton House Museum
"The History of Mills in Madison County"
Irvinton House Museum's annual temporary exhibit "The History of Mills in Madison County" is open September through October. Inspired by Millstone Park and Millstone Festival, we honor Madison County's rich history in the mill industry with this exhibit.
American Alliance of Museums
Irvinton House Museum is a member of the American Alliance of Museums.
Visit AAM's website here.
About the Museum
The historic Irvinton House Museum is Richmond’s local historical house museum. Exhibits include items from the Irvine family, the community, and Eastern Kentucky University’s J.T. Dorris Collection that illustrate the vibrant history of Richmond, Kentucky. The museum features many unique and interesting items, including one of very few remaining Revolutionary War uniforms.
Built in 1820 by Dr. Anthony Wayne Rollins, Irvinton serves the Richmond community as a local historical house museum. It is a Federal-style home where Madison County Clerk David Irvine once lived with his family. He bought the home and 15 acres for $6,000 in 1830. In 1849, David Irvine and Susan McDowell's daughter Elizabeth Irvine obtained Irvinton as a gift when she married her cousin William McClanahan Irvine. Upon her death in 1920 and according to her will, Irvinton was left to the Medical Society of Kentucky, and it became one of the two Trachoma Hospitals in the United States. Since the closure of the hospital after Trachoma was eradicated, Irvinton has been restored to replicate how it once may have looked in the 1800's. The grounds became the first city park, Irvine McDowell Park, and Irvinton now houses the Richmond KY Parks & Recreation Department.
A Little More History - The Irvine Family
The Irvine family is linked to the beginning of Kentucky's statehood. Our neighbor Estill County named the City of Irvine after this family as well, because of their political and military influence in the region. Colonial William Irvine became the first Madison County Clerk and was a member of the Constitutional Convention of 1790. He had a son with Elizabeth Hockaday, born in 1796, named David Irvine who followed in his father's footsteps and became the second Madison County Clerk. The first governor of Kentucky, Isaac Shelby, had a daughter named Sarah Shelby who later married Dr. Ephraim McDowell (known as the father of ovariotomy). David Irvine married their daughter, Susan McDowell, and they had 4 children. One of those children was Elizabeth Irvine, born in 1829. She married her cousin William McClanahan Irvine and they had 5 children; sadly, none of them survived into adulthood.
The mission of the Irvinton House Museum is to create a welcoming, fun, and educational environment by highlighting the history of the City of Richmond, Madison County, and the Appalachian region as a whole. The museum achieves this through exhibits, events, activities, and outreach programs focused around how the Irvinton House and its former residents connected to the community.
Historical Research Help
The Irvinton House Museum is currently conducting research related to the end of the Trachoma Hospital. If anyone has any information related to Dr. Robert Sory, the chief physician of the hospital at that time, or any of his surviving relatives, we would love to hear from you. We are also looking for any surviving patients from the last few years of the hospital’s existence in the late 1940s.