Gardens to Gables

Author Archives: Janie-rice Brother

Janie-Rice Brother is an architectural historian, explorer, proud native Kentuckian and farmer's daughter. In addition to studying the landscape of the Bluegrass, she marvels over country houses and gardens, and spends as much time in England as possible.

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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

The Changing Roles of a Former Baptist Church in Carlisle, Kentucky

Kentucky is a land of churches: big historic churches, built in the style popular at the time; small country churches; and churches in storefronts in small downtowns. All shapes and sizes of historic churches spread out over our 120 counties. Many historic church buildings though, Read More

Obituary for the Lost: The Judge John Boyle House, Danville, Kentucky

I typically don’t like to write about buildings I’ve never seen in person – the experience of cataloging a house in my head as my eyes dart over its various components, and walking through its rooms, imbues a meaning that goes far beyond the facade Read More

At Home with the Bungalow

I’ve been at home since the middle of last week. First with a sick baby, then I fell ill, and my husband followed suit. So I’ve had ample opportunity to consider the walls around me. Not the literal walls, but the walls of the house Read More

Kentucky Places: Gage, Ballard County

I’ve never tried to estimate how many photographs I’ve taken since Gardens to Gables came into existence (springing from my mind like Athena from the head of Zeus!).  Digital photography has made photography more accessible and cheaper, but the ability to take so many photos Read More

Thirty Years Old and Still Relevant: McAlester’s Field Guide to American Houses

Every profession has its own language and often, its own genre of books. I may be a bit partial, but the books I’ve known and loved dealing with architectural history must be among the best non-fiction tomes ever published. Naming just a small selection of Read More

Flowers for Decoration Day

There is a very short and magical period in the Bluegrass where, if you are a gardener, all is right with the world. For me, that time is right now. The aching heat of summer has not yet engulfed us; the frenetic activity associated with Read More

The Demise of Hempstead, Fayette County, Kentucky

Long before its association with clothing, chocolates, or the civil disobedience of actor Woody Harrelson, hemp (without the prefix “industrial”) was a mainstay of Kentucky agriculture. One of my ancestors grew hemp on his Montgomery County farm decades before the Civil War, and in 1869 Kentucky produced Read More

Kentucky Places: Wolf Creek, Meade County

From my earliest days as a denizen of backseat land, watching the world unfold from the car window, I’ve been a careful observer of place names.* Road signs, heralding a waterway or community, were carefully transcribed by me in my ever-present sketch pad or notebook, to Read More