The property that is today the City of Northfield was originally part of 3,500 acres owned by James Smalley Bate and his wife Lucy Moore Throckmorton Bate. The Bate family was originally from Maryland but came from Virginia to Kentucky in 1798. Their property extended from the Indiana shoreline to Brownsboro Road. Their home, Berry Hill was constructed on this property in the early 1800’s where they had a mill, a factory and a distillery. The family home and graveyard still exists today.
After the Civil War, around 1868, the Bate family sold the land to James C. McFerran. Mr. Mcferran established a horse trotting farm known as “Glenview Farms”. This farm produced many well renowned trotters. After McFerran passed, the property passed to S. Thruston Ballard.
Samuel Thruston Ballard was the great grandson of Bland Ballard who was a Commissary of George Rogers Clark. Great Grandpa, Bland Ballard was involved in Kentucky as early as 1779. Bland helped build Tyler Station in Shelby County in 1787. Prior to this, he helped build Fort Jefferson in downtown Louisville in 1779. Years later, the Ballard family owned Ballard Mills in Louisville and established a camp and park on Upper River Road for Louisville families. S. Thruston Ballard and his wife Sunshine Harris Ballard built their home named Lansdowne in then Glenview, Kentucky. S. Thruston Ballard was Lt. Governor of Kentucky from 1919-1923. He was buried at Cave Hill Cemetery in 1926.
In 1921, prior to Thruston’s death, the property was sold to W. O. Head and his wife Lela. Mr. Head was Mayor of Louisville from 1909-1913. After he finished his term as Mayor, W. O. Head became President of the Louisville Water Company. Three years after his death the property was sold to Richard Baylor Hickman and his wife Stannye Ormsby Hickman in 1923. Mr. R. Baylor was the President of an Iron company and was Chairman of the Board of the Ewald Iron Co. Richard died in 1949 and was buried in Cave Hill Cemetery. The Hickman’s daughter, Helen Hickman Rodes, inherited the land in 1931 and held it until her death in 1954 when it passed to her husband Clifton Rodes and their daughter Stannye Baylor Rodes Reutlinger.