Clifton Community Council

MAXWELL - MALONEY HOUSE at 1755 Frankfort Avenue


Maxwell-Maloney House:

Maxwell-Maloney House
1755 Frankfort Avenue

The 132 year old Maxwell-Maloney house is one of the oldest, if not the oldest home remaining in Louisville’s Clifton neighborhood – an area originally known as Pope’s Addition (named after developer Charley D. Pope). When built in 1871, the home was the first in that area of Frankfort Avenue then on the fringe of Louisville’s established neighborhoods and surrounded only by farm fields. The Maxwell’s nearest neighbors were the landmark Kentucky School for the Blind building (now demolished) and Linden Hill, a historic home still standing at the foot of Frankfort Avenue near Storey Avenue in the Butchertown neighborhood. The Maxwell home can be seen in a lithograph view of Louisville from the gallery on top of the dome of the School for the Blind (see attachement).

The home was built by Dr. Joseph Maxwell and his wife Jane “Jennie” Maxwell on land that Mrs. Maxwell’s mother, Charlotte Baker had bought in the fall of 1870. The Maxwell’s had seven children, four of whom survived to adult hood – George S., Thomas M., Lillian and Harriet. Dr. Maxwell was a physician and a professor at the University of Louisville. They moved to the area from their home on the corner of 15th and Market Streets. Dr. Maxwell also maintained an office on 7th Street between Main and Market.

Lillian and Harriet were spinsters and continued to live in the house after the deaths of their parents, both of whom had died by 1903. Lily died in 1915, leaving the house to her sister who operated a taxidermy business from the front parlor where her father had seen patients for more than 30 years. The Maxwell family plot is in Louisville’s Eastern Cemetery.

Upon Harriet’s death in 1951, the home was sold to Elinor Fromang Maloney, who added for the first time plumbing, gas and electric utilities. The house became not only home for her and her two sons, Joe and Pat, but in the first few years, the Hilltop House Antiques Shop. Mrs. Maloney added an off street parking area in the rear of the house and removed several outbuildings, including dilapidated stables, an outhouse and a frame kitchen attached to the rear of the house.

In the fall of 2002, an offer was made to purchase the house by Mitch Osborne, owner of the Louisville Inn across the street but was rejected by one of the heirs. The house was subsequently sold to Jimmy Conti, owner of the old Hilltop Theater where he operates a novelty business. Conti’s plans are somewhat fluid, but demolition of both 1755 and the adjacent home (1753?) have been discussed for parking.

And there's more! FAMILIY MAXWELL

Family Maxwell

Dr. Joseph W. Maxwell was born in 1833 and died circa 10/11/1906 Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky. Lee E. Cralle funeral home provided the services. He was a physician and taught at the Louisville Medical College on West Chestnut Street (later part of the University of Louisville). In the 1859-60 Louisville City Directory, Dr. Maxwell had an office on the west side of 7th between Jefferson and Green (Liberty) and lived on Market Street at the south east corner of 15th. In 1871, he built a home at 1755 Frankfort Avenue, maintained his office downtown and operated a neighborhood practice from his house.

Joseph married Jane/Janette "Jennie" Seymour, born in 1836 and died circa 1/21/1905. Burial services provided by Cralle. Although uncertain who Jane's father was (may be Charles, owner of one of the burial plots), it is known that she had a brother George W. Seymour, born in 1838 and died in 1880 in Louisville. Jane's mother was born Charlotte Jones, born in Ports(?mouth), England on either February 12 or 17, 1811 and died August 7, 1888. Her parents were Jacob and Anna Jones. There are several Jacob Jones listed from 1800 to 1850 Kentucky census records. Earliest record in Jefferson County is 1830 ( Charlotte Jones apparently first married a man with the surname Seymour and after his death(?), married Carroll Baker, born March 12, 1811 and died June 19, 1882/92. This was apparently a second marriage for Carroll as well, as the 1850 Census shows him being from Virginia and living with Elizabeth, age 28, John age 16 and Mary age 2½. The Baker's purchased the Frankfort Avenue property, located on the Louisville-Shelbyville-Frankfort Pike (previously known as 111 and 1011 Reservoir Avenue or just the Shelbyville Pike), from Mr. Charley D. Pope, a developer, on October 20, 1870, selling it two days later to her daughter and son-in-law for $510. Carroll Baker was a bricklayer, and he may have taken part in the construction of the new Maxwell family home.

Joseph and Jennie Maxwell had eight, perhaps nine, known children: Lily D. Maxwell, 1857-1915; George Seymour Maxwell born around 1860; Charles G. Maxwell born around 1862; Joseph L. (died age 12) and Lottie (perhaps Nettie?) Maxwell, twins born in 1869; Thomas M. Maxwell (moved to California), and Harriet C. Maxwell, 1872-1951. A Nettie and Lillian Maxwell are buried in the Maxwell plot in Eastern Cemetery, having died as infants. The house was inherited equally by the surviving children upon the death of their mother Jennie.

George S. and Thomas M. sold their portion to their sisters Lily D. and Harriet C. Upon the death of Lily circa May 2, 1915, the children of Thomas M. and George S., - George E., Ruby Williams, Raymond T., Marvin P., and Leland F., sold their interest to their aunt Harriet, who had also inherited a portion from her sister Lily.

Harriet operated a taxidermy business from the home until her death on June 10, 1951. She willed the home to: George E. Maxwell (wife Nora K.), 3614 Willis Ave. Lou., KY (son of George S. Maxwell); Marvin P. Maxwell (wife Genevieve), 4282 Almond Ave, Riverside, CA (son of Thomas M. Maxwell); Raymond T. Maxwell (wife Katherine S.) 6550 Palm Ave., Riverside, CA (son of Thomas M.); Rita Rae Maxwell (minor in 1951), 7730 Evans St., Riverside, CA, a daughter of Leland, deceased, who was son of Thomas. Rita's mother was Marion, her guardian Jane Adams. Other relatives included: Shirley Williams Bess (husband Walter), grandniece, 1666 Story Avenue, Lou., KY; and Martha Jane Adams (husband Emmet), grandniece, Lou., KY. Mary L. Baker.

The Maxwell, Baker and Seymour families are buried in a shared family plot in Louisville's Eastern Cemetery, Section A, Range 7. Tombstone for Charlotte Jones Seymour Baker reads:

Mrs. Charlotte Baker

? unreadable...Baker

wife of Carroll Baker

and daughter of

Jacob and Anna Jones

Born Ports(unreadable), England February 12 or 17, 1811

Died August 7, 1888

Buried in double plot of Charles Seymour and Charlotte Baker are: Dr. Maxwell in 1906; Mrs. Jane Seymour Maxwell in 1905 [double stone shared with Dr. Maxwell]; Geo. W. Seymour 1860 [stone]; Geo. Riley 1862 [stone]; Hannah Seymour Riley 1862 [stone]; Harold (believe Carroll) Baker 1882 [stone]; Charlotte Baker 1888 [stone]; Geo. Seymour 1851 [stone]; Baby [no stone]; Harriett Maxwell 6-12-1951 [stone]; Nettie Maxwell (infant, no stone); Joseph Maxwell (12 yrs, no stone); 3 Tyson Infants (no stones); Lillie D. Maxwell (stone); Lillian Maxwell (infant, no stone). Information furnished by Mary L. Baker through Harriett C. Maxwell 1941. It also indicates the lot was transferred to "TYSON FAMILY". Another note indicates that Charlotte (Seymour) Baker STILL has the right of burial on this lot - dated 1941. There are other notes as well.

Maxwell's in Louisville City Directories:

1880 - George S. Maxwell, lithographer, boards Frankfort Avenue

- Charles F. Maxwell, clerk C.H. Bliss, boards Frankfort Avenue

1884 - George S. Maxwell, electrician, boards 1022 East Green (Liberty)

1888 - George S. Maxwell, electrician, O.L. Telephone Co., 1431 Storey Ave

1891 - George S. Maxwell, electrician, residence 1320 Frankfort Avenue

- Joseph W. Maxwell, chemist and physician, 1011 Frankfort Avenue

Elinor Fromang Maloney purchased the house in 1952. Elinor added for the first time gas, electric and water. The ground floor of the home became the Hill Top House Antique Shop, while the upstairs was home for her and her two sons, Joseph Edward, Jr., now of North Palm Beach, FL and Frank Patrick Maloney of Louisville.

By 1961, Elinor had moved her antique shop to downtown Louisville, but maintained her home at 1755 until her death in February 2002. Through the years, Elinor kept the memory of the Maxwell's alive by preserving a family photo of one of the Maxwell daughter's, shown seated in a carriage, some of Dr. Maxwell's medical equipment, and by compiling information on the family, as well as recreating a small portion of Dr. Maxwell's home office in the downstairs of her house.

A unique home indeed that has known only two owner's in its 133 year existence.

Elinor Maloney is buried in Cave Hill Cemetery, Section 19. Information gathered and presented by grandson Michael E. Maloney, September 20, 2002.

Posted by mjol on 04/10/2003
Louisville, Kentucky 40206