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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“D” is for Dentils: An Alphabet Soup of Architectural Terms, Part 4

I would be hard pressed to choose my favorite architectural term – but dentil comes pretty close to the top of my list. Even if you didn’t wonder about the similarity between dentil and dental (the word is derived from the Latin “dentes,” meaning teeth), Read More

Wrecking Ball Watch: 203 East Fifth Street, Lexington, Kentucky

This not a post about Miley Cyrus and her 2013 hit – although there are some similarities between the breaking of a relationship and the fracturing of a neighborhood. Demolitions, neglect, absentee landlords – each element chips away at the structure and fabric of a Read More

Christmas in Edinburgh, Scotland

I will always associate Edinburgh with Christmas. The capital city of Scotland boasts an impressive history, and the architecture ranges from ancient to avant-garde, which creates an exciting (if sometimes contentious) city environment. But for me, the flavor of Edinburgh – and I include the Read More

Demolition Files: Versailles High School, Woodford County, Kentucky, 1927-2017

I detoured off of the bypass around Versailles yesterday afternoon to drive through town  – bypasses aren’t known for their pleasing aesthetics. After dilly-dallying a bit, I set off for Lexington, and caught in a dense row of cars heading east,  I couldn’t stop when Read More

Houses by Mail: The Aladdin Company of Bay City, Michigan

I’ve enjoyed a lifelong love affair with mail-order catalogs. The arrival of the mail meant a 1/4 mile hike down the gravel driveway to the big metal mailbox (an enticing target for mailbox baseball players), and back up the hill again holding the treasure (secured Read More

Mystery House in Crab Orchard, Lincoln County, Kentucky

Researching historic buildings is still an exercise that involves books (usually old and in the case of deed books, with varying levels of legible handwriting), lots of conversation (if you are lucky!), and patience. I employ many tactics to tease out the story of buildings Read More

A Mid-Century Modern Symbol of Segregated Lexington: The Dr. Zirl Palmer Pharmacy Building

Dr. Zirl Palmer’s Pharmacy at the corner of East Fifth and Chestnut Streets, most recently the home of the Catholic Action Center, is a building significant for the role it played in segregated Lexington, and for its design – but neither attribute will save it Read More

What’s Old is New Again: Tudor Mania Across the Pond

Prior to my first trip to Great Britain, I knew little about the architecture of the British Isles beyond…castles. How much more do you need to know when you are a 14-year old girl? My mental catalog has expanded over the years, (as has my interest in Read More

One Ruin Among Many: Duncan Hall, Nelson County, Kentucky

Architecture is more than just shelter – and to those of us who love historic buildings – architecture is more than just ornament. Architecture is imbued with symbolism by the people that create and shape it, and historic buildings serve as artifacts of the time in Read More

Mid-Century Motel Musings: The Hollyhill Motel, Lebanon, Kentucky

I’m fascinated by mid-century American motels – complete with motor court, a fun name, and ideally, an appealing neon sign. These standalone motor courts are cool, but what’s really intriguing are the few examples I’ve seen of mid-century motels built around a historic 19th century Read More