Gardens to Gables

Category Archives: Kentucky History

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 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

The Tree that Nelson Spared

I played a little hooky on Monday. My work schedule has been pretty overwhelming lately, and although my mind dances with subjects I want to write about, I can’t seem to find the time for this blog. But on Monday, I took the time – 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

Farmer’s Bank Building, Smiths Grove, Warren County, Kentucky

I like to “collect” buildings by type, and the historic, small town bank is one I am always excited to find. Most are no longer in service, and many are crumbling. But a few sparkle with renewed life, and the Farmer’s Bank Building, now a Read More

Flowers for Decoration Day

There is a very short and magical period in the Bluegrass where, if you are a gardener, all is right with the world. For me, that time is right now. The aching heat of summer has not yet engulfed us; the frenetic activity associated with 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

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

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