Sheikh Mohammed purchased the beautiful Stonerside Farm in October 2008 from Robert and Janice McNair of Houston, Texas. The 2,000 acre farm near Paris, Kentucky, has several miles of frontage along Stoner Creek, which provided the inspiration for the property name.
The heart of the Stonerside property is a fifty-acre plot on the banks of Stoner Creek which was acquired by James Kenney in 1785 as a trade for services to Michael Stoner, for whom the creek is named. A soldier in the American Revolutionary War, Kenney built a two-story home on the property around 1800. Members of the Kenney family resided in the house for the next century; it was standing empty at the time of the McNairs’ purchase of the property in 1994, at which time the Creek House, as it was called, underwent major restoration. James Kenney and many of his descendants are buried in the Kenney family cemetery on the Stonerside property.
Over the years, the property was expanded, and then later divided again into various smaller farms. In the early 1980s, William duPont III purchased a number of small farms which he amalgamated into what is today the core of the Stonerside property, including the Creek House. DuPont, owner of Pillar Stud and a member of one of America’s most prominent families, planned to move his operations to Lexington, but financial difficulties forced him to sell the property before he was able to move any horses on to it. Having just sold Kentucky Derby winner Sunday Silence to Japanese breeders for a reported $11 million, Arthur B. Hancock III made an offer to duPont for all of the property. Hancock operated the farm as a satellite division of his nearby Stone Farm for several years, until selling it to the McNairs in the fall of 1994.
After purchasing the farm, the McNairs added an additional 300 acres on the east side of the property, and another 500 acres across Stoner Creek in early 2008. Among the many renovation and construction projects, the McNairs commissioned the construction of a covered bridge over Stoner Creek to connect two sections of the farm. A triple span bridge made of 200 ft. long timber trusses, it is believed to be the first covered bridge built in Kentucky in 120 years. It was dedicated on Kentucky Derby Day, 1999. In addition to restoring the Creek House, the McNairs also renovated the Ben Bolt house on North Middletown Road and constructed a large manager’s home and a three-story office, which was floored with wood planed from a tree found fallen on the property.