An Unusual Landmark: Lexington’s Miller House

The Miller House – 832 Lochmere Place, Lexington, Ky. Zillow
In 1988, Robert and Penny Miller commissioned

José Oubrerie

to design and build for them a home on a twenty-acre tract for them in
what was then a rural part of Fayette County, Kentucky. An essay by

John McMorrough

contained in the book, Et in Suburbia Ego: José Oubrerie’s Miller House,
describes some of the Miller’s ambitions with the project.

Oubrerie “liked Aldo van Eyck
‘s idea of ‘a city is like a house, a house is like a city’ and so he
designed a structure where each resident might have their “own little
house” “inside the citadel.” While public or common areas dominate the ground level, each person would have their own exit from
their “little house” allowing each occupant to have full independence
from the other residents. With grown children, the Miller’s sought that each member of the family could have their own space.

As the home rose from the ground, the fluid design continued to change.
According to Oubrerie, this was a source of consternation among
contractors but was one of the lessons the architect had learned from his mentor, LeCorbusier:
“as long as something is not built, there is still time.” In the design
of the Miller House, the approach worked because the parts of the house
were disassociated from one another. As new elements were introduced
into the project, the site changed creating what Oubrerie called a
“creative construction process.”

The result is José Oubrerie’s masterpiece.

Interior of the Miller House. Zillow.

At the time he designed The Miller House, Oubrerie was the dean of UK’s College of Architecture. His mentor, Le Corbusier, was described by
Time Magazine in 1988 as the “most important architect of the 20th

Unlike any other property in landmark, this residence is truly a Lexington landmark.

Currently listed on the market, The Miller House is the site of the Blue Grass Trust‘s deTour on August 2, 2017.

A couple of notes about the deTour: (1) There is no air conditioning at the Miller House, but windows will be opened for airflow. (2) The second and third floors are accessible only by stair. (3) Parking is available along the neighborhood streets, but people who need to be dropped off at the front door are welcome to do so. Please be respectful of the neighbors and neighborhood.

The Miller House. Zillow.

May’s Fab 4 deTour

The May “Fab Four BGT deTour” will feature the interiors and gardens of four private residences located on Bullock Place and Hambrick Place.

Bullock Place and Hambrick Place parallel East Main Street behind the Fayette County Public Schools Central Office, which is the old Henry Clay High School.

As you stroll between these properties, be sure to observe the house at 715 Bullock Place as it is the oldest residence on the street. It was built by the adventurer James Masterson on a tract of 100 acres that he purchased from Col. James Wilkerson. Masterson died in 1838 and the property was divided between his widow and five children. This particular acreage came into the hands of Major Robert S. Bullock by 1873.

714 Bullock Place

The first house will be 714 Bullock Place, which is constructed in the Dutch Colonial style. It is an easily recognizable architectural style with its large, front facing gable. The home’s owner in 1953 was J. Monroe Sellers, vice president of First National Bank and Trust Company. That bank is now the Lexington 21c Hotel and art museum.

707 Bullock Place

The prairie style 707 Bullock Place is reminiscent of Frank Lloyd Wright. Prior owners include Albert Ross Marshall (d. 1937) who was a board member of the Petroleum Exploration Co. of Kentucky, S. Sewell Combs (d. 1955) who was the vice-president of the Combs Lumber Company, and Ken Lloyd (d. 2012), the noted Lexington interior designer who refurbished the residence in 1984.

704 Bullock Place

The craftsman style multi-unit at 704 Bullock Place was once the home of well-known Lexington jeweler Harry Skuller, who passed away in his home “after being confined at home for five weeks as a result of a heart condition.” (Lexington Herald, Aug. 31, 1937).  The name “Skuller” can still be found downtown: the well-known Skuller’s clock on the sidewalk of the 100 block of West Main Street.

722 Hambrick Avenue

Two blocks behind Bullock Place is Hambrick Place and the Fab 4 deTour includes one house, 722, on Hambrick. This little Victorian gem has not found its way into the history books in the same way that our other addresses have, but perhaps its bricks will speak to you during the Fab 4 deTour on May 3!

The Fab 4

BGT deTour

May 3, 2017

Gather at 5:30 p.m.,

program begins at 5:45 p.m.

Four private residences/gardens,
begins at 714 Bullock Place

Free and open to the public. An AfterHour follows.


George Kinkead House is Home to Living Arts & Science Center

Architect’s Rendering. LASC

At 362 North Walnut Street stands the old antebellum mansion historically known as the George B. Kinkead House. The house has been the home to the Living Arts and Science Center since 1971. In 2011, a modern 11,000 square foot addition was proposed to the facility to grow LASC’s programming capacity and physical footprint. The old mansion is approximately 7,000 square feet.

The Home

In 1847, George B. Kinkead had constructed a Greek Revival two-story townhouse and the home was adapted at least twice during the family’s ownership. Around the time of the Civil War, the building was “Italicized” “with the addition of a third-floor attic and probably a two-story section on the north side of the main block.”

362 N. Martin Luther King. UK Collections.

The application for inclusion to the National Register describes the House as follows: “Originally a large-scale Greek Revival townhouse (although then in a suburban setting on the outskirts of town), it was sympathetically enlarged during the Civil War period with Italianate features, for members o the Kinkead family who had originally built it and who owned the property until 1982. Notable features are the Doric entrance porch, plaster ceiling medallions, Grecian marble mantels, and plain but handsome woodwork from both building faces.”

It is believed that Thomas Lewinski was the architect for the original construction, and perhaps the “Italicization” as well.

George Blackburn Kinkead

George B. Kinkead was a lawyer to Abraham Lincoln and his family and was a forward-thinking attorney and denizen of Lexington in the mid-nineteenth century.

As of 1855, he was one of three faculty members at Transylvania’s Law Department where he taught “the practice of law, pleading and evidence, and the law of contract.” By 1857, however, Kinkead had ended his affiliation with the Law Department and the department closed the following year. Although the need for lawyers remained, the academic approach to a legal education was not yet in vogue, but rather the “archaic apprenticeship system” remained the method of choice.

Unlike many of his contemporaries, he was both pro-Union and anti-slavery. After the war, he provided 11 acres of land around his home to freed slaves. This area became known as Kinkeadtown. As was written on this site in 2012, “Kinkeadtown comprises the heart of the East End, though there is scant evidence other than the expansive mansion of the old community.” The Notable Kentucky African Americans Database * included this regarding Kinkeadtown:

Kinkeadtown was bottomland that included more recently Illinois, Kinkead, and Mosby Streets; it was around the area where Elm Tree Lane intersects with Fourth and Fifth Streets. The land had been subdivided by abolitionist George B. Kinkead in 1870 and sold exclusively to African Americans. Populated by about 20 families in 1880, it grew to include over 300 residents. The section of Elm Tree Lane and the remainder of Kinkeadtown, between Fourth and Fifth Streets, were purchased by the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government in the 1990s. The shotgun and T-plan houses were demolished in preparation for the extension of Rose Street.

Kinkead died in November 1877. His 1874 will left all of his assets to his “dear wife, absolutely” and directed that no appraisal be conducted. As noted previously, the Kinkead family remained in possession until the property became home to the Living Arts and Science Center.

A Blue Grass Trust deTour is scheduled for next week to explore the adaptive reuse of this antebellum home as well as the merging of the property with the recent contemporary addition. The import of Kinkeadtown will also be discussed. More details are included below…

Eblen, Tom. Living Arts & Science Center plans $5 million expansion project. Lexington Herald-Leader, Nov. 16, 2011.
National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form. Kinkead House (PDF). May 1982. 
Sloan, Jason. Kinkead House, home of Living Arts and Science Center, ready for contemporary architecture addition. Kaintuckeean, Feb. 2012. 
Wright, John D., Jr. Transylvania: Tutor to the West. (Transylvania University: Lexington, 1975). 

Floral Hall a Fascinating Treasure in Lexington

Floral Hall in 1966.  Photograph by John Noye. National Register Application

If you pause to look down Red Mile Road as you cross the path’s intersection with South Broadway, you have no doubt seen the iconic Floral Hall. It is a treasured landmark of Lexington, though its very likely you’ve never been inside.

Designed by John McMurtry and completed in 1882 as a two-story octagonal building, the structure was added to a year after its completion with the addition of a third level. The building was commissioned by the Kentucky Agricultural and Mechanical Fair Association using funds appropriated to it by Congress for damages caused by Union troops during the Civil War.

The structure was named “floral hall” because it originally was a floral exhibition hall. Its use adapted over the years. The site’s brochure states that “when the city of Lexington expanded its boundaries, the city line cut through the grounds of the adjacent Red Mile trotting tack. Floral Hall remained outside the city limits, so the betting pools, the form of wagering on the races during that time, were conducted there.”

Inside Floral Hall. Peter Brackney.

Beginning in 1896, the structure became known as the Round Barn as it was then used for the stabling of horses. Stalls were built on both the first and stories, while the horses’ caretakers had quarters on the third level.Following a 1963 renovation, the building was converted into a museum housing American Standardbred horse memorabilia and equine archives.

Today, the building is known as the Standardbred Stable of Memories and is owned by a non-profit dedicated to the preservation of this historic landmark. Earlier this year, Kathryn Glenn McKinley and Kitty Sautter received The Blue Grass Trust for Historic Preservation’s Barbara Hulette Award for their preservation and continued use of the building, as well as the restoration of its cupola and its three-story chandelier. At right, you can see the grand chandelier hanging from the ceiling high above the ground floor.

The structure is beautiful and its history grand. Standardbred racing, sometimes overshadowed by thoroughbred racing, is extremely popular and its history, too, is strong in our region. Stabled here were the horses of Hall of Fame trainer tom Berry, including Hamiltonian and Hanover’s Bertha. Other greats stabled at the Round Barn include world champion Merrie Annabelle and Greyhound.

From the #BGTdeTours Facebook page, Blue Grass Trust Vice President John Hackworth invites you to experience the “fascinating treasure within our city,” Floral Hall:

Saturday: Hope House Home & Garden Tour

Originally a Greek Revival-style home built circa 1841, Hope House faced Gratz Park. In 1897, Mrs. J.H. Davidson reoriented the house toward Third Street for her daughter’s debutante ball, converting it to Colonial Revival style and adding a 67-foot portico for parties and teas.

An event on Saturday, August 13, 2016, will allow guests to explore the home and grounds of this beautiful property. Owned by Dr. and Mrs. Donaldson since 1993, the couple is opening their property for a Home & Garden Tour benefitting the Blue Grass Trust for Historic Preservation.

This fundraiser is open to the public. Advance reservations for BGT members are $10 per person, $20 for non-members. Admission at the garden gate is $20 per person. All proceeds to benefit the Blue Grass Trust for Historic Preservation. Call the BGT at (859) 253-0362 for advanced reservations.

Images courtesy of the Blue Grass Trust.

555 North Broadway Restored

Join the Blue Grass Trust for Historic Preservation’s monthly deTours program on Wednesday, August 3, as we tour 555 North Broadway, a meticulously restored house in the Northside Historic District by architects Joe Turley and Maureen Peters. We will gather at 5:30 pm and the deTour will begin at 5:45 pm. As always, BGT deTours are free and open to the public. On-street parking is available along Sixth Street and on Fayette Park.

This three story, three-bay, tan brick veneer Prairie-style home with red flared tile roof (pictured above and below) was constructed in 1914 for Dr. Charles A. Vance. Dr. Vance was a 1900 graduate of Transylvania Medical College. After graduation, Dr. Vance went to practice medicine with his uncle in New York but returned to Lexington to do general practice. Later he decided to become a general surgeon, and in 1945 served as the President of the Southern Surgical Association.

This deTour will showcase the extensive planning, design, and work of restoring this five bedroom, 5,496 SF Lexington treasure. Immediately following the August 3 deTour is our Social AfterHour at West Sixth Brewing, located at 501 W. Sixth Street, near Jefferson Street.

Photos courtesy of the Blue Grass Trust.

A Ghoulish Walking Tour in Lexington

The BGT deTour this month is more than just a walking tour. It’s a ghoulish walking tour featuring the torrid tales of Lexington’s past. Plus, a lot of interesting history!

Local folklorist and ghost guide Kevin Steele will lead the tour that will begin at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, October 7 near the corner of West Second and Jefferson Streets.

Kevin Steele is a local ghost guide and folklorist. Kevin Steele

Each year, Kevin Steele leads the popular Lexington Ghost Walk and Creepy Crawl on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings in October. But Kevin (a regular deTourian) has agreed to share some his expertise with the #BGTdeTours crowd.

The tour will include the Vogt Reel House, Hampton Court, the Green Lantern and other destinations. The walk will conclude at Blue Stallion Brewing Company which is generously donating 10% of deTourian sales to the Blue Grass Trust.

If you are on Facebook, let your friends know you are going on this #BGTdeTours – click here!

October 7, 2015
Gather at 5:30 p.m.

Starts Near Second & Jefferson, Lexington

Free and open to the public. An AfterHour at Blue Stallion Brewing Company follows with a percentage of proceeds supporting the Blue Grass Trust.

Kentucky’s Oldest Presbyterian Church

Walnut Hill Presbyterian Church in Lexington, Ky. Jason Sloan

For the next edition of #BGTdeTours, you have the opportunity to explore the oldest Presbyterian church in Kentucky. The site is the Walnut Hill Presbyterian Church which is located on Walnut Hill Pike near Old Richmond Road.

The church was formed on land given it by General Levi Todd, Mary Todd Lincoln’s grandfather, in 1785. That year, a log structure was erected for the pioneers. One of the first ministers, Rev. James Crawford, is buried in the church cemetery. In 1791, Crawford created a school of Latin, Greek and the Sciences at Walnut Hill. Crawford is among the 85 individuals interred at the church cemetery.

Amidst the 1801 “great revival” that overtook Kentucky in religious fervor, the church at Walnut Hill was demolished and the extant stone structure replaced it. Originally and until an 1880 remodeling, the stone sanctuary had “eight square windows on two levels that allowed light to enter the sanctuary at the ground level as well as in the galleries that surrounded the inner room on three sides.”

Windows at Walnut Hill. Jason Sloan

Since 1880, however, eight large Gothic windows have provided light into the holy space. But the church has not been in continuous operation since the church first opened. According to the structure’s application to the National Register of Historic Places, the Walnut Hill Presbyterian Church was ‘unoccupied’ in 1973. In fact, after 168 years of use the structure was abandoned in 1953.

Floorplan of Walnut Hill. National Register.

In June 1974, the church doors were reopened and the sanctuary rededicated in 1975. In 1977, a silver communion set and baptismal bowl that were gifted to the church in 1851 were returned from a North Carolina museum that had housed the artifacts since the 1940s.

In 1985, an education and social wing was added to the Walnut Hill Church which is now an ecumenical facility with ties to both the Presbyterian and Episcopal denominations.

The award-winning #BGTdeTours program is designed to provide tours of places you might not normally get to see, helping people interact with and learn about sites that make the Bluegrass special. For young professionals (and the young at heart!), deTours are “always” the first Wednesday of the month at 5:30 pm, and are always free and open to the public.

BGT deTour
Walnut Hill Church
September 2, 2015
Gather at 5:30 p.m.,
program begins at 6:00 p.m.

575 Walnut Hill Rd., Lexington

Free and open to the public. An AfterHour at Jean Farris Winery follows.


Walnut Hill, ca. 1972. National Register Application (H. Lynn Cravens).

Local History Index
National Register of Historic Places Application (1973)

Rediscovering Lexington’s 146 East Third

Before and After Renovation – 146 East Third Street, Lexington, Ky. Author (left) and Linda Carroll (right)

A growing engineering firm is moving from one restored property on East Third Street to another, larger space. Both properties have been beautifully restored, but that hasn’t always been the case.

The new office at 146 East Third Street was acquired by the current owners, John Morgan and Linda Carroll, in 2009. On August 3, 2011, the structure was part of a #BGTdeTours walking tour of East Third Street. Following that deTour, I wrote this writeup:

Walking into 146 is like walking into a true construction zone. Originally built in 1847, this property was sold in 1849 to Daniel Wickliffe, the editor of the Lexington Observer and Reporter. Wickliffe would later serve as the Secretary of State under Governor Robinson. In the mid-1900s, the property was a Moose Lodge and was later converted into apartments. Morgan & Carroll acquired this property in late 2009 and have not yet begun restoration, so many remnants of its days as a tenement remain.

And a construction zone it was. The building was in less than stellar shape, but a complete transformation has taken place. Four years after first exploring 146 East Third Street, the #BGTdeTours program is returning to see the amazing restoration.

146 E. Third Street, Lexington, KY. UK Libraries

Built in 1847 by George W. Brush, the residence was acquired by Daniel Wickliffe two years later. Mr. Wickliffe served as the editor (and later both editor and proprietor) of the Lexington Observer & Reporter newspaper. The property would pass through a few more families, but would in 1955 be acquired to serve as the local Moose Lodge.

The Loyal Order of Moose is a fraternity that was founded in Louisville, Kentucky in 1888. Lexington’s local order seemed to have dissolved but was reestablished about 1944 with a lodge on East Main Street before it was moved to 146 East Third Street. And though the structure has for many years not served the Order of Moose, you can look for some decorative touches that honor the structure’s historic past during Wednesday’s deTour.

BGT deTour
Respec, Inc.
August 5, 2015
Gather at 5:30 p.m.

146 East Third Street, Lexington

Free and open to the public. An AfterHour at Columbia’s Steakhouse follows with a percentage of proceeds supporting the Blue Grass Trust.


Gallery Hop on the Architectural Heritage of African Americans in Lexington

Jonathan Miller’s “On Your Own” Will Launch on Friday. BGT.

Small African-American hamlets like Kinkeadtown and Cadentown used to dot Fayette County’s map, but have long since been absorbed into the larger community.

On Friday evening, the Blue Grass Trust for Historic Preservation will host an exhibit during Gallery Hop that will explore the rich architectural heritage of African Americans in Lexington with a focus on these communities and the legacy of Vertner Tandy.

In addition, Jonathan Miller’s “On Your Own” will launch on Friday evening with 20% of profits from Gallery Hop sales being donated to the BGT. The collection of short stories “follows the kind of people you know, but reveals the thoughts and feelings they might never tell you. Like the sun providing a rare glimpse down the clear water of a well, the clarity of prose in On Your Own allows us to witness people as their deeper realizations become known.”

Outside the Tandy House at 642 W. Main St. in Lexington. 

The exhibit centers on architect Vertner Tandy. Vertner Tandy was born in Lexington in 1885, and went on to become the first licensed African American architect in New York and the first African American to become a member of the American Institute of Architects.

A historic marker on Lexington’s West Main Street marks Tandy’s family home:

Born in Lexington, son of Henry A. Tandy, respected African American contractor. Attended the Chandler School, Tuskegee Institute, Cornell Univ. 1st registered black architect in New York State, where he built landmark homes & buildings. A founder of Alpha Phi Alpha, the oldest African American fraternity.

The photo above was taken during the March 2011 deTour of the Western Historic Suburb outside of the Tandy House.

Tandy designed many NYC landmarks including Mother Zion AME Church, St. Phillips Episcopal Church, and the Abraham Lincoln Houses on 135th Street. Lexington’s Webster Hall, 548 Georgetown Street, was also designed by Tandy.

For more about the upcoming Gallery Hop, you can check out or rsvp to the event on Facebook.

Gallery Hop:
Architectural Heritage of African Americans in Lexington &
On Your Own” Book Launch
July 17, 2015
from 5:00 to 8:00

Hunt-Morgan House
201 N. Mill Street, Lexington

Free and open to the public.