Gardens to Gables

Category Archives: Vernacular

Washington Street House, Campton, Wolfe County, Kentucky

The second story porch was what got me. That, and the roofline – gable on hip, with these curious gable attic dormers, festooned with brackets. Those elements and my penchant for deliberately getting lost  – or wandering down side streets – led me past this imposing late-19th 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

Travels in Virginia: A Giant Coffee Pot on the Side of the Road

A giant silver coffee pot on the side of the road possesses a certain sort of magic, almost certainly the power to encourage drivers to conduct a hasty U-turn to make sure that what they saw was, yes – a building shaped like an enormous 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

A Story Not Captured: Demolition in Paris, Kentucky

Storytelling is a selective art, and since buildings and landscapes form the foundation of my stories, I cannot capture them all. Yesterday afternoon, while perusing Facebook (you know you do it too…), I flinched at the photograph of a bulldozer tearing into a small house 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

The Abandoned Commercial District of Dover, Mason County, Kentucky

The evocative nature of abandoned houses permeated my childhood. I spent countless hours exploring forgotten houses on our farm, spinning stories in my head, and brandishing a dust rag at the curtains of cobwebs. Cleaning, I suppose, was my way to bring order to rooms Read More

Inspired Incarceration: Two Historic Stone Jails in Kentucky

“I hear the train a comin’, It’s rolling ’round the bend…” The first two lines of “Folsom Prison Blues,” sung by Mr. Johnny Cash, not only brought the man in black fame, but it catapulted California’s second oldest prison into popular culture mythology.* There are Read More

The Difference a Porch Can Make…Owensboro, Kentucky

I didn’t grow up lazing away hot summer evenings on a spacious and shady front porch. (Those evenings usually found me, along with my sisters, weeding in the world’s largest vegetable garden, with 100-foot rows that stretched on into eternity…) As an adult, however, I’ve Read More

Bygone History and Romance: The L & N Passenger Depot in Greensburg, Kentucky

I am not a trainspotter. That said, I completely subscribe to the romance of travel  by rail (even having experienced the seediness of rail travel in many European countries) – a transportation option not readily available in the Bluegrass. Perhaps a tiny bit of the Read More