Gardens to Gables

Category Archives: National Register Of Historic Places

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

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

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

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

R. H. Wilson House, Greensburg, Kentucky

The R.H. Wilson House in Greensburg, Kentucky, is a perfect example of one of the historic house forms I adore: a compact, brick, 1.5 story central passage dwelling – usually built during the Federal period. The Federal style is generally considered to be from around Read More

Exploring in Maysville, Kentucky: Philip Discovers Phillips Folly

One of the perks of being a lover of historic architecture is the complete annihilation of boredom. There is always something new to see and appreciate, even in the most modest and humble of buildings (unless I happen to be stranded in sprawl land, surrounded Read More

A Late (and Humid) July Sojourn in Mobile, Alabama

I’ve never really considered Kentucky to be southern – one of the things I love most about this Commonwealth, in addition to its geographic contradictions, is its ability to defy categorization and labels. And after spending five days in Mobile, Alabama, I return to the Read More

Namesakes and Gables: The Henry Clay Peak House in Warsaw, Kentucky

I am always amused by the lists released each year heralding popular baby names, and the origin of some of those choices. The practice of naming babies after famous people isn’t a trend unique to today’s pop culture obsessed world. In Kentucky, scores of children Read More

The Curious Fad of Octagon Houses in 19th Century America

Bell bottoms. Beanie babies. Disco and the Atkins Diet. Fads are curious, strange creatures, and likely to reappear (especially in fashion) when least expected. I am not certain that this truism exists in architecture, for I have yet to spy the fad of octagon houses taking Read More

Community Hub: The Hardcastle Store, Warren County, Kentucky

When the news media reports a winning lottery ticket, my imagination shifts into overdrive. My plans for my imaginary lottery spoils include buying up lots of farmland for preservation, endowing numerous non-profits, and buying my own country store (adjacent to my farm, of course). In Read More