Wisteria Cabin was constructed in 1895. Its name comes from the Wisteria vines climbing on a trellis over the front entrance. These vines show off their lovely lavender blooms in the early spring.
The cabin was built of native oak cut at a sawmill located on Kenwood Hill. The exterior is board and batten siding stained dark brown. It is built in a dog trot design creating a corridor down the center with French doors on each end for ventilation. The front right side room has a stone fireplace and the left side originally contained two bedrooms, now combined into one large room. For many years, all three cabins were used for summer homes. When Tate acquired the property n 1939, she used Wisteria mainly for storage. As her weaving business and teaching expanded, she began to utilize it for exhibitions.
After the Kentucky Weavers Junior program was organized in the 1960s, she rented the cabin to them for one dollar a year. This gave the children a clubhouse and a center for their weaving and spinning activities. The long center hallway created a good exhibition space.
In 1965, the sloping attic was made into a workroom and opened with a celebration exhibit called Cobwebs in the Attic. This ran from April through October of that year. Tate wanted to continue to use Wisteria for community programs, but the late 1970’s water and mudslide damage from bulldozing above the cabins on Possum Path brought disaster. Wisteria had to be periodically closed. Repairs were sorely needed, but money and help from the city to prevent further damage was not available, so the cabin soon deteriorated.
It was not until 1985, six years after Tate’s death, that a complete restoration of Wisteria was begun. Tony Belak, President of the Foundation at the time, put together grants from the city-county and Carpenters’ Union for renovation. A furnace, bathroom, kitchen cabinets, and shelves were all included. Upon completion, a rededication ceremony was held on June 25, 1986. Jefferson County Judge-Executive Harvey Sloan, and others who had helped in the restoration, participated.
Wisteria now serves as the Foundation Office, with an expanded Gift Shop and the Lou Tate Gallery. The original kitchen has been removed and its space holds extra weaving equipment and supplies.