Gardens to Gables

Category Archives: Historic Architecture

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

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

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

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

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

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