Gardens to Gables

Category Archives: Vernacular 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

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

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

A Crepe Myrtle from Elk Fork, Morgan County, Kentucky

I have a confession to make. Yesterday, I went to Lowe’s to see if they were stocking flats of pansies yet. I returned home with only furnace filters and light bulbs, shaking my head over my own foolishness – led astray by the erratic weather Read More

The Stair that Ate My Pants: Adventures in the Field

I’ve always viewed intellectual curiosity in a positive light. My curiosity has propelled my career, and helped forge paths to interesting places populated by interesting people. But sometimes, one must temper curiosity in light of rotting wood – and accept that sunlight shining through a Read More

Marshall House or White Hall, Augusta, Bracken County, Kentucky

Last spring I spent a lovely sunny afternoon exploring the town of Augusta – and the breadth and quality of the historic architecture just took my breath away. A large Federal-style house set within a lawn gleaming blue with violets caught my fancy, and I Read More

Rain Swept and Abandoned: The Rocky Ford School, Casey County, Kentucky

The recent spate of rain drenching the Bluegrass has not only made my backyard soggy, but reminded me how frustrating rain can be when you are out in a downpour, trying to photograph historic resources. (Not that I will ever complain about the rain – Read More

Construction: Log Houses & Stories

As a child, I made houses of anything and everything (leaves were a challenging, yet ephemerally charming material). I inherited my older siblings’ Tinker Toys and Lincoln Logs, and a series of dollhouses. The Lincoln Logs, however, were a favorite – made even more intriguing Read More