Shadows of Federal Hill

New ghost tour experience at My Old Kentucky Home in Bardstown, Kentucky.

Ghosts of Halloweens past return to My Old Kentucky Home when the Stephen Foster Drama Association and My Old Kentucky Home State Park present “Shadows of Federal Hill” on Friday and Saturday, October 23 and 24, 2015.

Guests will meet the judge who commissioned Federal Hill, along with his dueling partner, his daughter, Rebecca, and nephew, composer Stephen Collins Foster–and Death.

Guests entering the grounds of My Old Kentucky Home State Park will follow Death along a lantern-lit path to a 19th Century hearse and the Visitor Center draped in black swags, a mourning wreath hanging ominously on the front door. Here, they will be greeted by an undertaker who will lead them into Federal Hill mansion, itself cloaked in mourning cloth and with atmospheric music playing in the background.

“Tragedy, sickness and mystery can be found lurking in the history of My Old Kentucky Home,” said Johnny Warren, managing artistic director of “The Stephen Foster Story.” “This ghost tour provides a peek into the darker side of the historic mansion. So many people enjoy the spirit of the Halloween season and we believe Federal Hill is a fantastic place to get spooked while celebrating the history of a Kentucky treasure.”

Guests will meet the “shadows” of Federal Hill who move about restlessly. In the library, a mortally wounded Dr. Chambers talks about his duel with Judge Rowan. Regretting the duel and reciting a poem in the parlor is Judge Rowan, his death mask perched on a side table. Hollow organ music, ghostly characters and spooky portraits and other props all help tell the stories of the many deaths at Federal Hill.

In each room along the tour, guests will meet up with various residents of and visitors to the home, originally built between 1795 and 1818, and lived in by the John Rowan family. These shadows include Stephen Foster himself, who stayed here with his cousins, the Rowan family, in 1852. After talking about his sister, Charlotte, who died while with the Rowan family, and about his own death in a Pittsburgh hotel room, Foster is joined by the mansion’s ghouls to sing a song he composed about life and death, “Gentle Annie.”

“Shadows of Federal Hill” is an hour-long ghost tour experience that begins each evening at 6 p.m. Admission is $16/adults and $10/children, and includes Victorian treats (cookies and candy), a fortune teller and hay rides.

Make it a haunted weekend and overnight in Bardstown, one of the most haunted places around, according to world-renowned Certified Ghost Hunter Patti Starr, who conducts ghost treks through the streets of Bardstown every Saturday night (with Fridays added in October). Several of Bardstown’s 17 bed and breakfast inns are known to be haunted, including the Jailer’s Inn and Old Talbott Tavern.

More Information…

Visit for more information about “The Shadows of Federal Hill” and to find your haunted accommodations.

Shadows of Federal Hill

– Photo Credit: My Old Kentucky Home State Park


  1. My wife and I purchased tickets online, however we have not received an email confirming our tickets, can you please provide information on how we obtain tickets?

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