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Sturt Cottage: Home

Written by Jaime Bradley

Sturt Cottage (formerly Bond House)

Sturt Cottage - Current

The Sturt Cottage is located at 213 Chestnut Street, Berea, Kentucky. Formerly known as the Bond House, the building has served as a part of the Berea College Campus since at least 1930, when it housed the Faculty Club.

"Senator" Ninian Ulysses Bond - namesake for the Bond House and Bond Street in Berea, Kentucky

The Bond House was owned (and possibly built) around the turn of the century by a man named Ninian (or Ninnian) Ulysses Bond (b. 20 December 1867 in Pennsylvania; d. October 1964 in St. Petersburg, Pinellas County, Florida). Bond was originally from Brockwayville, Pennsylvania, graduated from Geneva College in 1891, and received an M.S. in Law at the University of Michigan in 1896.

In either 1895 or 1915 (sources vary on the date, but most probably 1895), he married a Kentucky woman named Martha Medlock, and soon became a wealthy businessman through timber and coal interests in Jackson County, Kentucky. It is mostly likely between 1896 and 1918 that Bond built and/or owned the Bond House in Berea, Kentucky. According to the birth records of Ninian and Martha's sons, the couple lived in Kentucky in 1915, but by 1919 the family had a residence in Cincinnati, and by 1921 the Bonds had begun winter trips to St. Petersburg, Florida, where Ninian acquired property and buildings. According to the St. Petersburg Historical Preservation Commission, Bond moved the family there permanently in 1940.

There are various anecdotal accounts of Ninian Ulysses Bond stating that he was a Senator in the Kentucky State Legislature. According to the Kentucky Legislative Research Commission, he served as Representative for District 29 (Estill, Jackson, Madison, Owsley and Rockcastle Counties) during three legislative sessions - 1926, 1928, and 1930. According to a Bond family legend, "Senator" Bond was entertaining another Senator as a guest at his home on Chestnut Street in Berea when a heated disagreement broke out between them – resulting in a fist fight. Supposedly, Bond knocked the guy over the porch railing, but then proceeded to do the gentlemanly thing and nobly strode down the stairs to help his fallen comrade to his feet.

By the 1940s old "Senator" Bond traveled from Florida (where he owned several hotels in St. Petersburg), and visited Berea from time to time to check in with relatives in town and on his “interests” in the county. He continued to make these trips well into the 1950s, frequently staying at Boone Tavern, even though he was in his 90s and approaching 100 years of age.

Bond House

The Bond House was owned by the College by 1930 and used as the Faculty Club and other purposes for many years.

Sometime in the late 1980s the building became home to the New Opportunity School For Women (founded by Jane Stephenson, wife of then Berea College President John B. Stephenson), but NOSW moved out of the building sometime around 1999. In 2001 the Berea College Public Relations department occupied the space following one round of renovations (Berea Alumnus, Fall 2001, p6). As of [2008], the building has provided accommodations for prospective students and their families through the Admission Office.