Gardens to Gables

Category Archives: Kentucky Architecture

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

Kentucky Places: Wolf Creek, Meade County

From my earliest days as a denizen of backseat land, watching the world unfold from the car window, I’ve been a careful observer of place names.* Road signs, heralding a waterway or community, were carefully transcribed by me in my ever-present sketch pad or notebook, to Read More

Ghent Baptist Church, Carroll County, Kentucky

The vernacular front gable church with two entry doors has great appeal to a wide audience. I love the simplistic, almost austere beauty of these buildings. As a historic type, they were built in Kentucky through almost every stylistic period and decade, up into the 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

The Abel Gabbard House, Sandgap, Jackson County, Kentucky

On June 10, 1886, a post office was established at a crossroads in northwestern Jackson County, Kentucky, and the community around it christened “Collinsworth.” This wasn’t the birth of the village, for it had been around well before the Civil War, but a post office 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

Rural Farmhouse, Livingston County, Kentucky

I’ve never kept track of how many abandoned and moldering rural houses I’ve encountered over the years. But though I might not know the number, if you show me a photograph, I can almost always tell you exactly where the house was located. This dwelling, built sometime Read More