Architecture

See a brief overview of the architecture of our historic property.

Architecture at a Glance

Yew Dell Botanical Gardens has a rich history and wide variety of architecture throughout the grounds. Learn more about some of the unique structures below:

Visitor Center
& Gift Shop

The barn that currently houses the Visitor’s Center and Garden Gift Shop was originally used as a space to cure tobacco. It was refurbished in 2005 and the Visitor’s Center added in 2010, later winning the highest Honor Award from the KY Chapter of the American Institute of Architects for its innovative design.

Yew Dell
Castle

Theodore Klein built the Castle to serve as the family’s pool house. He carved the sun dial and other features that adorn the front of the castle. Klein did much of the construction work himself including the chandeliers suspended from the ceiling and the herringbone brick work that lines the fireplace.

Preston T. Ormsby
Horticulture Center

Originally built by Theodore Klein to serve as a potting shed for the young nursery, this building was completely upgraded in 2013 to serve as the headhouse for the new greenhouse facility and the center of Yew Dell’s horticultural operations.

Peyton Samuel Head
Trust Pavilion

The Peyton Samuel Head Trust Pavilion was added to the barn to provide space for restrooms and to increase event space. The joint project was awarded the 2006 AIA Honor Award for Innovative Design.

Mary F. Rounsavall
Pavilion

Named for Yew Dell’s long-serving board president, this stunning new structure was designed to provide open-air space for Yew Dell functions, community festivals and rental events.
With event seating for more than 300 guests, roll-down fabric sides, integrated lighting and stunning garden views all around, it is the perfect place to host a special event.

Gheens
Barn

The main barn that served the farm, Theodore Klein built it from a kit commonly available at the time. As a Bank Barn, it was constructed on a slope so both the upper and lower levels could be accessed from ground level. The upper level was used for hay storage and the lower contained livestock stalls.
In 2005 the barn was renovated with support from the Gheens Foundation and many others. It is now used for lectures, workshops, community and rental events.

Mary Peabody & Henry Fitzhugh Greenhouse

This groundbreaking facility was built on the footprint of the original Klein nursery greenhouses. It provides space for plant propagation and growing space and serves as an exhibit of low-energy design. The modern facility is powered, heated, and cooled by a super-efficient solar and geothermal system. During the warmer months, this system produces excess energy that is sent back to the public energy grid, lowering our energy cost and reducing strain on the grid.

Klein
House

Theodore and Martha Lee Klein purchased the Yew Dell property in 1941. He designed and built the family home between 1947 and 1949. Theodore crafted all of the interior woodwork. He also salvaged floors from the old Confederate Soldiers Home in Pewee Valley to be used in some areas of the house. He shipped in stone from Michigan for the building facade and salvaged a colored glass window inset next to the garage door. The house now serves as Yew Dell’s primary administrative offices.

Rock
House

This stone-faced building was originally used as a loading dock for the Klein Nursery operation and was constructed in 1952. It was used to hold and prepare deliveries in and out of the nursery. Complete with a fish-scale slate roof, embedded millstone and a hand-carved corner stone, it is an excellent example of Theodore’s craftsmanship.

Research & Production Nurseries

Yew Dell’s nurseries provide space to propagate and grow all the plants for garden displays, research studies, plant sales, and training workshops. The nurseries contain plants collected from all across Kentucky and all around the globe, so you are likely to see plants that you’ve never seen before. Plants in the nurseries are evaluated for ornamental traits and sustainability to help us identify the best plants for local gardens. You are welcome to wander the nurseries but please pay close attention to signs and avoid walking in restricted areas. Some of our research projects are quite sensitive. If you have any questions about any of our work, by all means feel free to ask one of our staff. We always love talking about our projects.

Corn
Crib

This small concrete block building was used as a place to store grain for the Klein farm livestock. At times it was also used as a milking shed. The holes in the concrete sides of the building allowed for air circulation for grain storage. In front of the corn crib is the pet cemetery. This serves as a resting place for Klein family pets. The carved cat head stone is a memorial to Persimmon, our first Yew Dell Botanical Gardens garden cat. Klein carved the headstones, beginning his interest in stone carving which is seen all around the grounds.

Log
Cabin

Theodore Klein moved this 1840s log cabin to the Yew Dell property from nearby Brownsboro in the 1970s to serve as housing for several nursery workers. The log cabin was fully rehabilitated and upgraded in 2016 with support from the Oldham County Community Foundation. It now serves as the center for our children’s education programs and was recently christened “Children in the Dell World Headquarters”.

Contact Us

We’d love to hear from you whether it’s regarding your visit, gardening questions, or sharing a horticultural fun fact!

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