Gardens to Gables

Category Archives: Historic Preservation

It Makes Economic Good Sense: Help Save the Federal Historic Tax Credit!

As any regular reader of this blog will know, I grew up with a love of history and of old buildings. I believe strongly that our communities are stronger when historic buildings are preserved and utilized. But one of the few tools we have to 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

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

“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

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

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

Dutch Colonial Revival “Twins,” Mt. Sterling, Kentucky

Have you ever noticed two historic houses side-by-side and thought they looked identical? “Twin” dwellings are common in early 20th century residential development in many Kentucky towns – often an example of small scale speculative development. Pattern books and catalogs from titans of the “mail-order Read More