Gardens to Gables

Category Archives: Historic Preservation

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

George W. Robson, Jr. House, Bellevue, Kentucky

Monday morning deserves a dreamy Queen Anne-Romanesque Revival style house, I think… and the George W. Robson, Jr. house fits the bill! Cincinnati-based architect Samuel E. des Jardins designed this gorgeous dwelling for Robson, an affluent resident of Bellevue, in Campbell County, Kentucky. The 2.5 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

EMBA Building, Sturgis, Kentucky

My first trip through Union County, in Western Kentucky, occurred during a week of spring floods. Our plan to travel along small, meandering rural roads close to the river was often thwarted by standing water. Although our circuitous route missed the county seat of Morganfield, Read More

A Crepe Myrtle from Elk Fork, Morgan County, Kentucky

I have a confession to make. Yesterday, I went to Lowe’s to see if they were stocking flats of pansies yet. I returned home with only furnace filters and light bulbs, shaking my head over my own foolishness – led astray by the erratic weather Read More

A Church Worth Celebrating: Brown Memorial CME in Louisville, Kentucky

Urban renewal was not kind to many areas of Louisville, Kentucky. The Brown Memorial Christian Methodist Episcopal Church (built 1864-65) weathered the waves of demolition around it, and some 150 years after Gideon Shryock designed the building on West Chestnut Street, its exterior continues to Read More