Gardens to Gables

Category Archives: Architecture

“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

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

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

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

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

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

Farm or Movie Set? The Barns of Castle Knoll Farm, Indiana

My perception of barns took a sharp detour during the short time I lived north of the Mason-Dixon line in Pennsylvania. There, the complexity, grandeur, and beauty of what is known as the Pennsylvania barn* completely changed my understanding of this most visible of agricultural outbuildings. Read More

Change is the Only Constant: The Story of One House in West Louisville

Historic communities are, by their very existence, full of contrast – even if that diversity goes unseen by the modern viewer. I imagine there are many people who see West Louisville as a single neighborhood, unified only by economic disparity, fear of violence, and boarded-up buildings Read More

The House Doctor: Remembering Scot Walters

I entered the world of historic preservation fresh from college, armed with my English and Art History degree, a love of old houses – and not much else. I knew virtually nothing. Worse, I really had no concept of how buildings work. Fortunately, I met Read More