Gardens to Gables

Back(stories): The Thomas B. Watkins House, Lexington, Kentucky

The Lexington builder/architect John McMurtry, who popularized the Gothic Revival style in Kentucky, died in 1890. His surviving buildings include the house he designed in 1887 for his daughter, Anne, and her husband, Thomas B. Watkins. The late Italianate brick T-plan is a “fine and Read More

Lynch Oral History Project, September 25-27, 2017

What makes place so important to some people? And what is it about some places in Kentucky that draw former residents home, again and again? Learning about the connection between people and communities, people and place is one of the perks of my job, and Read More

Helena United Methodist Church, Helena, Mason County, Kentucky

The rusticated concrete blocks arrived at Helena Junction on the train from Carlise, Kentucky. Church members transported the blocks in their own horse-drawn wagons to the site of their new church. The stained glass windows – in various sizes and shapes – were made in Read More

Demolition Files: Hedgeland, Madison County, Kentucky (1815-2017)

In the mid-19th century, it became popular in rural America for farmers of a certain class to name their farms – usually with evocatively pastoral names – sometimes referencing landscape elements found at the site. The Cedars, Elmwood, Mt. Pleasant: all names of Bluegrass farms Read More

Peering Behind the Facade

Whenever I am asked to talk about historic architecture, I always stress the meaning of the facade of a building. It doesn’t matter whether it is a house or a store, the facade is the face of the structure, and it is there that the Read More

Echo Hall, Augusta, Kentucky

My oldest sister insists I possess hoarder tendencies. I disagree, of course – I recycle my newspapers, you can see the floors in our house, and I regularly donate bags of stuff to Goodwill. But when it comes to photographs, the charge might ring true Read More

The WPA Builds: Swampton School, Magoffin County, Kentucky

The deprivations of the Great Depression continue to influence those born decades and decades after that very desperate time. I trace my penny pinching habits back to my grandparents, who passed along recipes, traditions, and an ingrained sense of frugality to their offspring. The programs Read More

“C” is for Column: An Alphabet Soup of Architectural Terms, Part 3

Columns, I think, more than any other architectural element, are the stuff of dreams, glory, and status. Not too surprising, given that most of the columns we see on buildings around us trace their lineage back to Classical architecture, and those innovative Greeks and Romans. Columns Read More

The Continuing Allure of Jane Austen

It is a truth universally acknowledged…that Jane Austen’s popularity continues to grow. Her novels, the film adaptations, the fan fiction spin-offs – as a recovering English major, I am not immune to Austen-mania. Searching out her house was a natural choice for me, given my Read More

Farmer’s Bank Building, Smiths Grove, Warren County, Kentucky

I like to “collect” buildings by type, and the historic, small town bank is one I am always excited to find. Most are no longer in service, and many are crumbling. But a few sparkle with renewed life, and the Farmer’s Bank Building, now a Read More