A deTour of Lexington’s East End

Lexington’s East End neighborhood is proud to once again be the site of the Bluegrass Trust for Historic Preservation’s September deTour. On Wednesday, Sept. 4, deTours will offer a glimpse of how the East End evolved and changed over the course of 100 years. And we will do it all without ever leaving East Fifth Street. The deTour will visit three locations: the Zirl Palmer Pharmacy Building, the site of the old Kentucky Association Race Track, and Shiloh Baptist Church. Tour details are at the bottom of this post.

Zirl Palmer Pharmacy Building

Google Streetview

The Zirl Palmer Pharmacy Building is located at the corner of East Fifth and Chestnut streets which is where the deTour will begin. It was built in 1962 by Dr. Zirl Palmer, a black pharmacist and prominent businessman who would later become the first African American appointed to the University of Kentucky Board of Trustees. Dr. Palmer also was the first African American to own a Rexall franchise in the United States. He operated his pharmacy at this location for several years before relocating his pharmacy to the Georgetown Street Plaza. In September 1968, the Georgetown Street pharmacy was firebombed by a member of the KKK. Palmer, his wife, and daughter were injured in the blast. Palmer never reopened the pharmacy. He died in 1982. Most recently, the East Fifth Street building was home to the Catholic Action Center. The building is currently empty and the Blue Grass Trust is leading an effort to save and re-purpose it.

Kentucky Association Track

The Kentucky Association race track was located on 65 acres of land at the corner of East Fifth and Race Streets. The Kentucky Association was Lexington’s thoroughbred race track for 100 years until it closed in 1933. Three years later, in 1936, Keeneland would open on Versailles Road. But many of the traditions and even some of the important races that began at the East End track live on at Keeneland. Case in point: the Phoenix Stakes. First run at the Kentucky Association track in 1831, it is still run each fall at Keeneland, making it the oldest stakes race in North America. A marker honoring the old race track is erected at Fifth and Shropshire Avenue, near the original entrance to the track. Photos of the track will be on display for the tour. The Kentucky Association track is among the landmarks featured in Peter Brackney’s book Lost Lexingtonwhich highlights sites that did not survive as the city grew.

Shiloh Baptist Church

The old Shiloh Baptist Church tin Thomas Street (demolished). Image courtesy of Thomas Tolliver.

A tour of the East End wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t mention its spiritual underpinnings. For this, we must look no further than Shiloh Baptist Church. The large edifice in the 200 block of East Fifth Street has not always been a black church. When the building was erected in 1923, it housed a white congregation and continued to do so for 40 years. But in the 1960s, the white congregation moved to the suburbs and Shiloh moved from its cramped quarters on Thomas Street to this location. Interestingly, neither Thomas Street nor the old church exist today.

Sanborn Map of the East End, including the Kentucky Association Track. The blue arrow
shows the location of the old Shiloh Baptist Church. Image courtesy of Thomas Tolliver.

Individually, each of the these sites attest to the rich and diverse history of the East End. Collectively, they speak to the rise and fall and now the revival of the neighborhood.

If you are interested in learning more, then please join us on September 4, 2019, for the BGT deTour. We will gather at the pharmacy at 5:30 p.m. and the program will start around 5:45. As always, deTours are free of charge and open to the public. This easy walking tour spans just four blocks. 

This post was submitted by Thomas Tolliver in anticipation of the September 4, deTour. It has been slightly edited by the author of this site.

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.

A Cinematic deTour: Belle Brezing

Belle Brezing. UK Now Photo.

Kentucky’s most reputed madame is the subject of July’s Blue Grass Trust deTour which will feature a showing of Belle Brezing and the Gilded Age of the Bluegrass

This Kentucky production tells the story of Belle Brezing, the Lexington madam with a nationwide reputation for running the Victorian era’s most “Orderly of Dis-Orderly homes.” With a head for business in the business of sex, Belle’s story is woven into the age when the equine and bourbon industries grew to new heights. In her influential parlors, she and her ladies plied their trade from the end of the 19th century through the start of World War I. The film details Brezing’s journey from hardscrabble youth to the “Baroness of the Brothel,” while becoming the nearly undeniable inspiration for Belle Watley in Gone with the Wind. Produced and directed by Doug High.

Lead actress Laurie Genet Preston and expert Dr. Maryjean Wall will be in attendance to offer insight into the life of this notable Lexingtonian.

Scroll down for more details about the upcoming deTour.

The Mary Todd Lincoln House, where Belle began her ‘trade.’ Belle Brezing Photographic Collection (UK)

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:

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.

deTouring Rupp Arena (Home of the Greatest Tradition in College Basketball)

Entrance to Rupp Arena. University of Kentucky Archives.

On Monday evening, one of four teams will be crowned the NCAA Champion. For basketball fans (which is all of us, right?), you can probably already hear the lyrics sung by Luther Vandross to One Magic Moment. Right?

The Final Four was once held, in 1985, in Lexington, Kentucky at Rupp Arena. It was a memorable performance as the underdog Villanova went on to beat favorite Georgetown.

Yes, the tradition of college basketball is rich in Lexington and at Rupp Arena.

Timeout during a men’s basketball game. Author’s collection

The home team, the University of Kentucky Men’s Basketball Team, is the most winning college basketball program. The team’s all-time record in Rupp Arena is 546-64.

The arena itself opened in 1976; its dedication coming during its third game – a December 1976 win against the Kansas Jayhawks. But the venue is about more than just basketball.

Concerts, church services, community events, minor league hockey, arena football, and more have been only a part of what has made Rupp Arena an important part of Lexington’s history.

An empty Rupp Arena in 2016. Author’s collection.

This week you’ll have the opportunity to explore this rich historic place that is now in its 40th year. It may be the last time you’ll have to see Big Bertha – the 12,000 pound sound system hanging from the center of the stadium. It’s being removed during the main tenant’s off-season. It will be the most recent of many renovations and alterations made to the venue over its rich history.

The Blue Grass Trust for Historic Preservation will be holding its monthly deTour for April at Rupp Arena. More details are available on Facebook, so mark Wednesday, April 6, 2016 on your calendar for this event!

The Starting 5: October’s MVPs

The starting five? I’m thinking about Ulis, Labissiere, Murray, Poythress and Briscoe. How about you?

And over here on the Kaintuckeean, October’s Starting 5 were the month’s MVPs (Most Valuable Posts).

So what were October’s most popular posts?

A Ghoulish Walking Tour

The most popular post in October helped to promote what turned out to be an awesome event. #BGTdeTours’ October edition including a historical & ghost walk of Lexington’s past led by Kevin Steele of Lexington Ghost Walk and Creepy Crawl.

Read more at: http://www.kaintuckeean.com/2015/10/a-ghoulish-walking-tour-in-lexington.html

Griffith Woods

Griffith Woods. Author’s collection.

The only repeat on the list (September’s #1) comes back as October’s #3. The 745 acres of Harrison County land provides the purest glimpse of what Europeans first saw when the entered the Bluegrass region. This is what the land looked like when the Native Americans lived here. Griffith Woods is a cooperative effort between the Nature Conservancy, the University of Kentucky and the Kentucky Nature Preserves Commission. Originally called Silver Lake Farm, the area features some venerable trees that are more than 300 years old.

Read more at http://www.kaintuckeean.com/2010/07/no-destination-griffith-woods.html

Metes & Bounds: Measuring Up Kentucky

A long-form post which included much of the history of how Kentucky was first part of Virginia and its separation from the mother-Commonwealth, along with the breakdown of Kentucky into its 120 counties. Oh, yes, and there’s a little bit about a place called Transylvania!

The post also got picked up by KyForward.

Read more at http://www.kaintuckeean.com/2015/10/metes-and-bounds-measuring-up-kentucky.html

The Story of the Willis Green House

Willis Green House. Blue Grass Trust

Danville’s Willis Green House was constructed around 1800 and has a grand history. It was in very poor shape and was auctioned off in 2013 to a consortium that sought its preservation. The consortium then sold the property to individuals who are restoring it. The photographs in this post, many provided by the Blue Grass Trust, are great examples of ‘ruin porn’ completed with a “door to hell.”

Read more: http://www.kaintuckeean.com/2013/09/a-house-with-story-to-tell-willis-green.html

Daniel Midkiff’s Ascension

What began as a short #DemolitionWatch post about a house being demolished on Walton Avenue turned into something larger. A western Kentucky typhoid fever outbreak led a widow and her children to Lexington and to the city’s Pythian Home. The family later rented the house (demolished in September 2015). One of the children was Daniel Midkiff who became a major player in the central Kentucky equine industry.

Read more: http://www.kaintuckeean.com/2015/10/daniel-midkiff-rose-from-inmate-to.html

If you like these posts, you can keep up with the latest from the Kaintuckeean (and some great posts from other blogs) by following the Kaintuckeean on Facebook!

The Old Protestant Infirmary Grew to Become Samaritan Hospital

333 East Short Street in Lexington, Kentucky was once home to Good Samaritan Hospital. Author’s collection.

The Women’s Guild of Christ Church Episcopal Church established in 1888 an infirmary for the care of Lexingtonians.It would be Lexington’s second hospital, St. Joseph having been established by Catholic Church in 1877.

The mission began in Farmer Dewees’ ca. 1814 White Cottage located on East Short Street which the Guild purchased for $5,000 from Bernard Fotch. The cottage had been home in the late 1830s to H.H. Gratz, the editor of the Kentucky Gazette; it was ultimately torn down  in 1940.

The 1890 Sanborn Map of Lexington shows the White Cottage and the adjacent Infirmary. UK Libraries. 

The Dewees House on East Short Street, ca. 1907. UK Libraries

Good Samaritan Hospital 

According to the Herald-Leader, which published a history of the medical facility on the occasion of its golden anniversary, the physical plant of the infirmary cost just under $40,000. Although no records exist from 1888, 1889 witnessed some 659 patients being treated here. The operating budget in that year for the infirmary was just over $11,000.

Also in January 1889, the Episcopal Women’s Guild transferred control of the infirmary to a consortium of Protestant churches of the Baptist, Christian, Episcopal, Methodist, and Presbyterian faiths. A decade later, in 1899, the Protestant Infirmary was also renamed as the Good Samaritan Hospital.

Realizing the need for nurses, a nursing school was established at the hospital and the first class of nurses graduated in 1893. In perhaps an unrelated note, an effort was made “to get [the] red light district moved away from neighborhood of Protestant Infirmary” according to the Morning Transcript in August 1894. (Belle Brezing’s infamous bordello was only a one-and-a-half blocks away at 59 Megowan which is now the corner of Wilson Street and Eastern Avenue).

Additions and annexes to the facility were constructed on multiple occasions, including those in 1895 and 1897. Below shows the Good Samaritan Hospital as it appears on the 1907 Sanborn map, including an operating room, laundry building, colored ward, and morgue.

1907 Sanborn map of Lexington depicting Good Samaritan Hospital. UK Libraries

To Be Vacated

At the bottom of the 1907 Sanborn is a notation that the buildings of Good Samaritan Hospital are “to be vacated in the near future.” Plans had developed in 1905 for a new and modern medical facility which purchased land at 310 South Limestone Street from W. H. McCorkle. The site had once been part of the James O. Harrison estate, with Mr. Harrison having passed away in his home on the site in 1888.

Mr. Harrison was a prominent citizen and early leader in Lexington’s local school system (for him, Harrison Elementary is named). His daughter, Mary Eliza, was a member of the Women’s Guild which helped establish the Protestant Infirmary in the first place.

In 1907, the Good Samaritan Hospital relocated to its new 130-bed hospital. In 1924, the Methodist Church took exclusive control of Good Samaritan. It would change hands several more times during the 20th century. In 2007, Samaritan Hospital filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy relief and the University of Kentucky Healthcare system purchased the medical facility during the bankruptcy.

Coffee Times

But the structure on East Short Street remained standing. A public sale of the structure in 1920 brought it into the hands of W.T. Woolfolk whose Woolkfolk Coffee Company thereafter called it home. The coffee company had previously been located on Vine Street between Upper and Mill.

Nota Bene: Keep Peanuts Off the Floor Signage at 333 East Short. Author’s collection.

Remembrances of the coffee days can be found around the building with stampings of the Greenbag Coffee on the walls. Too, are advices to keep peanuts off the floor.

WWII Poster. Coffee Crossroads.

Of Mr. Woolfolk, this was written in the Lexington Leader preceding a 1905 election: “William T. Woolfolk, of the wholesale grocery firm of Martin & Woolfolk, corner of Mill and Market streets, is the Republican candidate for member of the Lower Board of the City Council in the First Ward. Mr. Woolfolk was born and reared in Garrard County, Ky., and came to Lexington about fifteen years ago, engaging in the retail grocery business at High and Broadway.”

Wool folk’s coffee and peanut operation ended near the start of World War II, according to news reports. This was no doubt due to the federal policy of coffee rationing which began in 1942.

A New Role

Since World War II, the old Protestant Infirmary has been the home of Hurst Office Supply. In 2014, the structure was acquired at public sale by Zeff Maloney through one of his businesses. Since, he has gone through a paintstaking process of bringing beauty back to this nineteenth century structure and adapting it for modern use.

Now the structure is rented to various commercial interests including a spa, insurance offices, and law offices. In the process of restoration, Maloney extracted some ten tons of plaster from the building which had covered the beautiful interior brick.

Interested in seeing this awesome place? Join the #BGTdeTours which is hosting a tour of 333 East Third Street on November 4, 2015 beginning at 5:30 p.m. Details about this event are available on Facebook. And if you can’t make it, come visit one of the businesses that now call the old Protestant Infirmary home.

Remaining plaster indicates the intensive process of removing it.
Author’s collection.