Construction of the Peter Funk house began c1794 and the springhouse is thought to date from that general period. The farm originally consisted of many significant, domestic structures including the main house, springhouse, smoke house, as well as stone gate posts, a stone bridge, and a cemetery. Only the main house, stone gate posts, and the springhouse survive on the Funk property. The Funk Family cemetery, now on a separate lot in the adjacent Forest Hills subdivision, is defined by a limestone wall that is currently in disrepair. The springhouse’s design is unusual compared to the architecture of others of this period in Kentucky. Most springhouses were only one story, with a few reaching possibly one and a half stories. The Funk springhouse is two stories tall, each story being functionally separate from the other. The ground story served as the actually springhouse, holding foods that need to be kept cool and fresh. The upper room is a single plastered room with an interior stone hearth that likely had many uses. The springhouse is constructed of limestone in a random coursing pattern with stone quoins at the corners. It has a wood shake gable roof, an exterior chimney on the west end, which suggests that the springhouse’s upper room was used as living quarters when it was built. The springhouse is set into a bank so that there are two entrances, one off-center entrance for the upper floor and one on the opposite side of the house for the lower floor. The lower level has window and door openings on both levels. These were important for keeping the springhouse well ventilated and mold-free. The larger windows in the front and the back were recently replaced with four over four, double-hung sash windows.
The main property over the years has been known as Cherry Springs, Avon, and Funk’s Branch. Jacob Funk traveled from his home in Maryland and settled in Jefferson County in 1792. Within one year he had acquired over 600 acres of land along Beargrass Creek in Eastern Jefferson County. In 1794, Jacob Funk died leaving his several hundred acres of land to his son, John Funk. John Funk died in 1817, leaving eight children to inherit the land. One of his sons, Peter Funk, inherited a large portion of the land including the site under consideration for designation. Peter Funk married Harriet Hite in 1813. Her grandfather, Col. Abraham Hite, had settled in Jefferson County in 1787. Peter and Harriet raised their ten children on their “home farm”. The unusual heated second story of the Funk springhouse suggests that it was once used as a dwelling. It can be speculated that the room was used by a trusted slave. It is possible that the building once housed the Funk family as they transitioned into the main house. Peter Funk became very successful as a farmer, mill operator, and land owner. His farm included land extending beyond the current site, covering most of the intersection of Taylorsville Road and Hurstbourne Lane. Funk died in 1865 and the farm and house were sold by the heirs. From 1870 to 1938 the land was owned by the Zehnder family. The Quinn family bought the property in 1948 and renamed it Cherry Springs. In 1988 the property was sold to W.W. Cousins in order to create a restaurant, Dillon’s Steakhouse. In 2007, the property, reduced in size to 1.1 acres, was sold to Michael Gordon. The site was used as Gordon Motorsports until recently. The springhouse has been renovated and the upper portion is planned to be used as office space.
Springhouses were a necessity for early settlements. The placement of the main house often depended on the location of a spring on the property. Springhouses were situated at the head of a stream to protect the water source and to ensure there would be a constant water supply for the household. They were simple stone or brick rectangular buildings. Water was channeled through the interior of the building so that dairy products, wine, and other foods were kept cool and fresh. Windows near the top of the walls allowed for air-circulation to prevent the growth of mold. It was ideal to have the springhouse built near the domestic yard so that there would be easy access to the kitchen. Some springhouses would have separate rooms for different functions, possibly storing dry food and goods. This site is historically significant because of its association with the Funk family, early settlers who occupied the property for three full generations. Because of the large number of acreage they owned in Jefferson County the Funks are considered a prominent family in Louisville’s settlement history. The site is also considered valuable as archeologically it is one of the few areas still reasonable intact associated with the Funk House and family with the potential to yield information about our past. The springhouse is also significant because of its architectural qualities. The Funk House springhouse uniquely has two separated stories for different functions. It is one of the oldest structures in the county and it is associated with one of the four identified Georgian style houses constructed during the settlement period in Jefferson County.
Few properties were comparable to its quality and size, the closest and most well known being Locust Grove. The Funk House springhouse and the survival of others nearby contribute to our understanding of the history of Jefferson County’s early settlers. Further east on Taylorsville Road, there are three Tyler farms, including Blackacre, that date to the late 1700s and early 1800s. Each Tyler farm retains a stone springhouse located relatively close to the main house, reflecting the importance of these structures to domestic life. Each is a small, stone building sitting directly on a stream. These neighboring springhouses together create a significant collection of remnants of early rural life in Jefferson County. The Funk springhouse represents early settlement construction in Jefferson County. Its unique spatial organization helps tell the story and history of the site. It also suggests potential other uses that remain unique to the Funk settlement, such as its possible use as a residential space. The springhouse is also one of the few remaining structures in the area that serves as a reminder of the rural agricultural community that predates the current commercial setting that dominates the Taylorsville Road and Hurstbourne Parkway intersection.
The Funk House and Springhouse were determined to be eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places by the Keeper of the National Register in 1983. Integrity Assessment The Funk springhouse retains historic integrity related to the Funk family and early settlements in Jefferson County. It sits on its original location at the head of a spring that helped decide its location. The building has never been moved. The building still maintains architectural integrity. There have been no additions and only changes, such as the recent replacement of a metal roof, due to maintenance have occurred. New windows and doors allow the springhouse to still be functional. Matching the material and aesthetics to the building’s original construction helps maintain the historical integrity of the building. ( Funk Springhouse Local Landmark Designation Report Metro Historic Landmarks and Preservation Districts Commission 4)