Lost Lexington in The Lexington Lawyer

Peter Brackney penned a column for the Fayette County Bar Association’s publication, The Lexington Lawyer, about a few Lost Lexington places relating to the legal community.

A recent column in the Fayette County Bar Association’s regular publication, The Lexington Lawyer, was penned by Peter Brackney. The column, “If these walls could talk…” explored the backstories of a few of the sites highlighted in Lost Lexington that related to the local legal community.

Although many sites could have been included, the column focused on the Hart-Bradford House as well as the Phoenix Hotel.

A Stretch of Waveland Museum Lane Closes

Waveland Museum Lane will close November 15, 2018

A stretch of Lexington’s Waveland Museum Lane will be closed today, November 15, 2018, to traffic. This is an old stretch of road that connects Winthrop Drive and Millpond Road; the stretch used to be part of Higbee Mill Road when that road transversed the farms west of Nicholasville Pike in the southern edges of Fayette County.

Old city maps identifying Higbee Mill Road

The stretch of roadway will become part of a mixed use trail. The stretch of roadway is right around  the corner from my office – Brackney Law Office, PLLC. The soon to be “lost” roadway has become part of my daily commute, so I created a little video to remember her by.

On the Air!

On Monday, June 4, I will be appearing on WTVQ-TV’s Midday Kentucky to discuss Lost Lexington. Check it out at noon on Channel 36! There may even be a giveaway!

And I spent two Saturdays in May talking with Doug Fain on All Things Jessamine which airs Saturday’s on WNKJ 105.9 in Nicholasville. Doug and I talked about the Rev. John Metcalf House and the Lady Sterling House. You can learn more about the Lady Sterling House by clicking here, too! Click on the links to listen to the podcast if you missed out on those episodes of Jessamine County history!

Doug Fain and Peter Brackney discussing Nicholasville’s history.

To check out Peter’s other past events, click here.

Estate Planning Awareness Week

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Hart-Bradford House. Library of Congress.

In the opening chapter of Lost Lexington, I wrote that Thomas Hart left to his wife a life estate “in the house and lot which I at present occupy.” At first blush, one might believe that a life estate was given to his wife in the Hart-Bradford House that housed such significant history. But both Hart’s last will and testament and its probate were after Thomas Hart had transferred, by deed, the residence at the southwest corner of Second and Mill streets to his son. Thomas Hart left his wife a life estate in a different residence than the infamous home that was the site of Henry Clay’s nuptials, the home of Laura Clay, and since the 1950s the site of a parking lot.

Examining the historic places of Kentucky inevitably brings one to deed books and recorded wills that reveal much about the history of place. Sometimes, a last will and testament will reveal something about the testator (the person making the will) as well.

Henry Clay

Take for example, Henry Clay. Clay was a slaveowner having owned as many as 60 slaves during his lifetime. His will provided for his slaves manumission (or gradual emancipation) upon their achieving a certain age. The intent would be to ensure that each slave would be provided with basic shelter, food, etc. until they were 25 (females) or 28 (males). Further, Clay favored the removal of blacks from North America and their return to Africa. To accomplish this aim for his former slaves, Clay provided that “the three years next preceding their arrival at the age of freedom, they shall be entitled to their hire to wages or those years … to delay the expense of transporting them to the one of the African Colonies.”

These provision, fortunately, have no place in a last will and testament today. But these lessons from the past are reminders for the present and for the future: estate planning is important no matter our circumstances.

Even though estate planning is for everyone, the majority of Kentuckians (and Americans, generally) do not have their estate plans in order. This can create confusion after death with the disposal of property and the guardianship of minor children, and it can lead to unnecessary costs as well. Neither is something you want to leave behind for your grieving loved ones.

Congress recognized the importance of Estate Planning and proclaimed the third week in October as National Estate Planning Awareness Week. In 2017, that’s October 16-22.

Every adult (especially those with children!) should have a will, a power of attorney, and their healthcare wishes properly written down. For many, setting up a trust is also an important part of planning. Everyone has a unique situation and it is important that everyone have a tailored plan.

In 2009, I started the Kaintuckeean and I also started practicing law here in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. In my practice, I believe that estate planning is for everyone. To learn more about estate planning, national estate planning week, a special offer, and what you need to do next in order to get your estate plan crafted – just visit BrackneyLaw.com.

(859) 559-4648 | [email protected]
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Mayor Jim Gray is Running for the U.S. Senate

Lost Lexington author Peter Brackney and the author of the book’s foreword, Mayor Jim Gray, in the Mayor’s Office.  

On November 4, 2014, Mayor Jim Gray was re-elected mayor of Lexington. Also on that date, my book Lost Lexington was published. I was fortunate enough that the good Mayor penned the foreword to that book.

Though his family and he have had their success in the development and construction sector, Mayor Jim Gray is a friend to historic preservation. He is a leader who does not cut corners, but instead looks for forward-thinking, long-term solutions.

Did I mention that Mayor Gray is a supporter of preserving our cultural heritage?

Mayor Jim Gray and I sharing thoughts on historic Lexington and the book Lost Lexington soon after publication.

Given that Mayor Jim Gray announced earlier today that he is challenging Senator Rand Paul, I thought it was a good moment to remind readers of Gray’s Lost Lexington involvement. Below is the foreword he penned for the book:

In the nearly two and a half centuries since Lexington was founded in 1775, this once-frontier settlement has grown into a flourishing city of more than 300,000 residents. It has produced some remarkable landmarks and people. These entrepreneurs, intellectuals and civic leaders had the imagination and vision that helped make Lexington what it is today: a city that embraces new ideas and innovation while valuing its rural landscape and authentic past.

The story of how Lexington has evolved to its present-day landscape is a story of balancing preservation and progress. Philosophies, priorities and ideas change—for better or for worse. And of course, Lexington’s architecture and landscape have reflected those changes. In Lost Lexington, Peter Brackney highlights several sites that, for a variety of reasons, did not survive as the city grew. Brackney’s work explores structures that were lost over a century ago, as well as more modern buildings and attractions, of which many readers will have personal memories and recollections.

Reflecting on Lexington’s architectural journey is a meaningful exercise. Drawing upon Brackney’s fascinating research, we can see these stories as important lessons for the way forward. As Lexington continues to reinvent itself, it is the city’s unique and rich past that will inform and inspire its future.

Jim Gray
Mayor of Lexington

If you are interested in learning more about Jim Gray’s candidacy for U.S. Senate, click here.

And if you want to pick up a copy of Lost Lexington, click here.

Kentucky Book Fair is This Weekend!

Over 200 authors are scheduled to assemble on Saturday at the Frankfort Convention Center for the 34th annual Kentucky Book Fair. Among the ranks are several individuals for whom I have tremendous respect for both their humanity and their craft.

Obviously, I can’t mention mention all 200+ authors here, but there are a few I want to mention. First, there is Wendell Berry and George Ella Lyon. These Kentuckians are living testimony to the greatness of the Commonwealth. With common words, they inspire.

I ‘m also looking forward to visiting with friends like Carol Peachee (The Birth of Bourbon), Cameron Ludwick and Blair Thomas (My Old Kentucky Road Trip), and Drew Breaux (Meow the Cow and other children’s books). Steve Flairty (Kentucky’s Ordinary Heroes) and Ben Woodard (Big Stink in Frog Pond) will both be there.

Tom Kimmerer will be there to sign Venerable Trees, which I am currently reading.

From KET, Bill Goodman (Beans, Biscuits, Family and Friends) will be sharing his new collection of inspirational short stories.

And Al Smith, the Kentucky journalist who said that “journalism is in the genes” (from which I’ve adopted the phrase “history is in the genes”), will be signing The Spider Election for which he wrote the foreword. The Spider Election was penned by the late H. Foster Pettit as his memoir which recounts the closest mayoral election in Lexington history. Foster, too, was a friend for whom I had the utmost respect and the great privilege of knowing.

Of course, I’ll be at the Kentucky Book Fair, too, with Lost Lexington. Come say hello; I’ll be at Seat 23C!

As mentioned above there will be over 200 authors at the Frankfort Convention Center for the Kentucky Book Fair on Saturday, November 14. For more information about all of them, check out the Fair Catalogue. Note, however, that the Catalogue’s seat map has been revised and the corrected version is available here.

Once Cried Off to a “Plain, Practical Farmer,” the Chaumiere des Praries is to be Auctioned Again

The Chaumiere des Praries in Jessamine County, Kentucky. Author’s collection.

In the early 1790s, along what is today Catnip Hill Road in Jessamine County, a Virginian acquired some 330 acres in a portion of Fayette County (Jessamine did not separate from Fayette County until 1798.). His land would be part of the new Jessamine County formed in 1798.

The Virginian was Colonel David Meade and it was on this parcel that he would create his version of Paradise. The moniker is one by which neighbors recognized the beauty of the colonel’s estate. Once destroyed, those neighbors erected a sign over the entrance to the state, with a Miltonian reference to the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden: “Paradise Lost.”

Paradise was destroyed by a “plain practical farmer” who purchased the land at auction three years following the death of Colonel David Meade.

Of Colonel Meade’s estate, only an octagonal room constructed in 1823 remains. It was retained when, in 1840, the house now on Catnip Hill was erected. This historic property, along with approximately 164 acres, will be again “cried off” at an auction to be held later this month.

A view of the ca. 1823 octagonal room. Author’s collection.

During a recent open house, I had the opportunity to explore the current state of the property which I featured in chapter 12 of Lost Lexington. Below are photographs from my visit.

You can visit the property, too, during open houses scheduled on November 1 and November 8, each from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. The auction is scheduled for November 14, 2015 at 10:30 a.m. Details on the auction are available here.

Small cemetery on the site is burial location of Col. Meade. The monument is a replacement based on a description
in his will. Author’s collection.

Small anteroom, ca. 1823, off the octagonal room at Chaumiere. Author’s collection

Rear of the ca. 1840 Chaumiere with the ca. 1823 octagonal room partially visible at far-left. Author’s collection

Auctioneer Bobby Day Wilson during a recent open house. The auction will be held
on Nov. 14, 2015 at 10:30 a.m. Author’s collection

Gone but not forgotten, part deux: the George H. Bowman House

George H. Bowman House – Lexington, Kentucky. Author’s collection.

An earlier version of this post appeared on this site in 2013 in what was, in reality, an early version of #DemolitionWatch. Based on a zoning change request, this structure had a lot of charm and appeal. But now the demolition permit was sought last week (October 20, 2015) for the old house at 4145 Harrodsburg Road. The land, which backs up to the Palomar subdivision, will be absorbed into that residential area. 

In the spring of 2013, I spotted a sign in front of 4145 Harrodsburg Road indicating that a zoning request for the parcel would be from R-1D to R-1T. I rode onto the property, site of an abandoned home, to investigate further.

As it turns out, the residence was the George H. Bowman House, a ca. 1860 Greek Gothic Revival according to the Kentucky Historic Resources Survey conducted on the property in 1979.

Site Layout of Bowman House
Layout of Bowman House (Source: Resources Inventory)

Property owners, according to early county maps, identify the owner in 1891 as John McMeekin who was the son of Jeremiah McMeekin. The elder was a butcher who had purchased Helm Place in 1873.

The owner in 1871 was J. S. Burrier, originally of Jessamine County, who acquired the home and 165 acres that year. He was married to Alice Craig, daughter of Lewis and Martha (Bryant) Craig.

It is believed that George H. Bowman constructed this house ca. 1860, though he remained only a few years. After inheriting Helm Place from his father, pioneer Abraham Bowman, George H. was forced to sell much of his inheritance to satisfy a gambling debt.

A. J. Reed took advantage of the younger Bowman’s misfortune and acquired the Helm Place property in 1859. It is believed that our subject house was built for George’s occupancy after the liquidation of Helm Place. Within the decade, George H. Bowman had passed away and his children divided and sold their father’s property.

Back to the present. The zoning change mentioned permitted the demolition of the Bowman House and the erection of four townhouse units in its place. It is worth noting, however, that the data relied on in the Map Amendment Request (MAR) included inaccurate data from the Fayette County PVA office.

The existing house was build in 1940, according to PVA records. Unfortunately, since the grant of the previous zone change (and prior to the purchase by the applicant) the house has fallen into a state of disrepair. There are structural issues relating to the foundation. Also contents and mechanical systems of the house have been torn out by unknown persons. Exterior decay issues are present. For all these reasons, it is impossible to preserve the house. (MARV 2013-3 Amd.pdf)

I truly doubt that preservation was an impossibility. Impracticable, perhaps. But not impossible. Several additional references existed in the MAR to the “1940 house.”

I was glad to have snapped these pictures before the old Bowman House was demolished. (I’m assuming demolition has occurred – any updates to the project?)

George H. Bowman House – Lexington, Kentucky. Author’s collection.

Interior George H. Bowman House – Lexington, Kentucky. Author’s collection.

6 in September: The Most Popular Posts

Though there were only four new Kaintuckeean posts from September, there was a lot of strong traffic out of the archives. Below are the six most popular posts from September.

Griffith Woods

Griffith Woods. Author’s collection.

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

A #DemolitionWatch Update

Fritz Farm. Fayette County PVA

One post from September helped to catch readers up on the many demolitions that have occurred around Lexington over the past couple months. Significantly, the circa 1875 farmhouse at Fritz Farm near the corner of Nicholasville Road and Man-O-War was demolished to make way for the future mixed-use development known as The Summit at Fritz Farm.

Read more at http://www.kaintuckeean.com/2015/09/catching-up-on-lexingtons-recent.html

Lost Lexington at the University of Kentucky

This post was a promotional post for an event I had at UK’s Singletary Center to speak about my book, Lost Lexington. What made the event more special was that it was the inaugural event in the Hemenway Writing Center Speaker Series! It was a great event with a great group of attendees who asked some great questions!

Read more at http://www.kaintuckeean.com/2015/09/lost-lexington-coming-to-university-of.html

3,849 Images from Lexington’s Past

Cadets along Main Street. UK Libraries. 

UK Libraries unveiled a new collection which included some incredible photographs from Lexington’s past. The photos, digitally extracted from dry plate, silver nitrate glass negatives, date from ca. 1898-1918.

Read more at http://www.kaintuckeean.com/2015/07/6-images-from-lexingtons-past-and-3848.html

Riverside Historic District

Audubon Statue at the Point. Michael Monks

A guest post from the archives, written by Michael Monks of RCNKy.com, is about the Riverside Historic District in Covington. This treasure includes eight blocks along the Licking River beginning at the confluence with the Ohio River. Architecture of the “Greek Revival, Federal, Queen Anne, High Victorian, Gothic, Italianate, and French Second Empire styles” can be found here.

Read more at http://www.kaintuckeean.com/2012/07/RiversideHD.html

Silas Baptist Church

Like many churches in the region from both the Baptist and Disciples of Christ traditions, Silas Baptist draws from the heritage of the Traveling Church which was founded in Virginia in 1767.  This July 2010 offers image and text from the on-site historic marker with a little extra insight on this oldest continuously running church in Bourbon County.

Read more: http://www.kaintuckeean.com/2010/07/no-destination-silas-baptist-church.html

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