Gardens to Gables

Category Archives: Fayette County

The Uncertain Fate of Carnahan House at Coldstream Farm

Years before a farm on the northern side of Lexington, Kentucky, was billed as the University of Kentucky’s “premier business location in the heart of the world-famous Kentucky Bluegrass Region,” it was a storied horse farm “where thoroughbred Derby winners were raised for many years.” In Read More

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

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

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

A Requiem for Virginia Avenue, Lexington, Kentucky

The chain link fences have gone up, making visible the divide between what was and what shall be – from tired reminders of former neighborhoods to blank earth, littered by concrete and gravel. And with the demolition of these houses, one of the last vestiges Read More

Remains of a Country Estate: C.F. McMeekin’s Oakwood Farm

The ache that engulfs me when a historic building is needlessly demolished pales in comparison to the visceral pain of seeing farmland chopped, desecrated, and turned into to miles of pavement. Lexington provides the perfect backdrop to examine this transition, but occasionally a vestige of those long-ago Read More

Vanishing in Plain Sight

It’s nearly impossible to stay abreast of all of the changes to Lexington’s historic neighborhoods – demolitions, new construction, and remodelings that transform (for better or worse) the exterior visage of a building – small, minute changes occur everyday that can slowly enhance or erode Read More

The Backseat Files: The Most Beautiful Oriel in the World, Lexington, Kentucky

I went to a lot of museums growing up – but the most compelling exhibits that lingered with me were the streets I traveled down, whether walking around my small hometown, or watching in rapt attention as a traveler in the backseat. One of those Read More

The House that President Patterson Built: A Whimsical Delight on East Loudon Avenue, Lexington, Kentucky

A house is much more than just shelter. Historically, homes have functioned as symbols of expression, wealth, and power – for those who could afford such brick and mortar displays – and a house on a  corner lot in town commanded maximum exposure. And in Read More

Remembering Blue Grass Stockyards, Lexington, Kentucky

When I took a break from writing the afternoon of January 30, 2016, I was immediately transfixed by the malevolent black clouds visible through the windows. And when I ventured onto the Internet, to all of the reports of explosions and fire ravaging the Blue Read More