Bodley-Bullock House History



A home rich in history with many owners and major architectural changes, the Bodley-Bullock House exemplifies the grandeur of Lexington's Gratz Park. This Kentucky Federal Style house was built c.1814 for Mayor Thomas Pindell who sold it shortly thereafter to General Thomas Bodley, a prominent Lexingtonian and war hero in the War of 1812. The house had seven owners from 1814 to 1970.

From 1837 to 1865, the house was owned by the Vertner family noted for their elegant social gatherings. The Vertners adored children and the house swarmed with them, racing up three flights of stairs for the thrill of sliding down the railing of that magnificent swirl of steps. The Vertner's daughter, Rosa Vertner Jeffrey was a poet and the author of Woodburn (1864), a poem about social life in the south. During the Civil War, the house served as Union headquarters under Generals Burbridge and Gilmore. The house also served for a brief time as Confederate headquarters under General Kirby Smith.

After the Civil War, the house was deeded to William A. Dudley. Dudley lived here with his father, Dr. Benjamin W. Dudley, until their death in 1870. Dr. Dudley was an eminent surgeon in the Lexington area. He headed two departments of Transylvania's famed, but now defunct Medical School. Dudley family heirs sold the house to Dr. Waller Bullock and his wife, Minnie in 1912. Both of the Bullocks were avid naturalists and bird watchers. Dr. Bullock was an accomplished sculptor, as well as a founder of The Lexington Clinic. Minnie was founder of the Garden Club of Lexington.

The Bodley House was willed to Transylvania University and is now leased to the Junior League of Lexington. As a contribution to Lexington's historic preservation, the Junior League renovated the Bodley-Bullock House in 1984. The Junior League of Lexington is committed to preservation through the renovation and ongoing maintenance of the Bodley-Bullock House.