Gardens to Gables

Category Archives: Vernacular Architecture

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

The WPA Builds: Swampton School, Magoffin County, Kentucky

The deprivations of the Great Depression continue to influence those born decades and decades after that very desperate time. I trace my penny pinching habits back to my grandparents, who passed along recipes, traditions, and an ingrained sense of frugality to their offspring. The programs 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

The Changing Roles of a Former Baptist Church in Carlisle, Kentucky

Kentucky is a land of churches: big historic churches, built in the style popular at the time; small country churches; and churches in storefronts in small downtowns. All shapes and sizes of historic churches spread out over our 120 counties. Many historic church buildings though, Read More

At Home with the Bungalow

I’ve been at home since the middle of last week. First with a sick baby, then I fell ill, and my husband followed suit. So I’ve had ample opportunity to consider the walls around me. Not the literal walls, but the walls of the house Read More

Kentucky Places: Gage, Ballard County

I’ve never tried to estimate how many photographs I’ve taken since Gardens to Gables came into existence (springing from my mind like Athena from the head of Zeus!).  Digital photography has made photography more accessible and cheaper, but the ability to take so many photos 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

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