Gardens to Gables

Category Archives: Kentucky Architecture

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

Mid-Century Motel Musings: The Hollyhill Motel, Lebanon, Kentucky

I’m fascinated by mid-century American motels – complete with motor court, a fun name, and ideally, an appealing neon sign. These standalone motor courts are cool, but what’s really intriguing are the few examples I’ve seen of mid-century motels built around a historic 19th century Read More

The Kirk Apartments, Maysville, Kentucky

When I was around eight years old, I fantasized about living in an apartment. Just me and my mother (and maybe a dog or two). Apartment buildings seemed so foreign and exotic to me – and as the youngest child, the idea of having my 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

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

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