A Motor Lodge in Lexington #TBT

The “Motor Lodge” or “Motor Court” was a common site on America’s highways and byways decades ago as small numbers of lodgers would find comfort for the night.

In fact, Col. Sanders operated such a site in Corbin. The fried chicken served in the cafe at his motor court became the basis, of course, Kentucky Fried Chicken.

A number of such lodges or courts were in Lexington, including the one above. Though the building was torn down in favor or a larger sense of lodging, you may recognize its location?

Share your thoughts in the comments!

Early John Wayne Western Part of Double Feature at the State Theatre #TBT

Double Feature at the State Theatre (1933)
Photo: Lafayette Studios Collection, U. of Kentucky (KDL)

With the announcement that the Kentucky Theatre will soon be closing for its first major renovation in a couple decades, it is important to remember her little neighbor that has become part of the two-screen gem at the heart of Lexington: the State Theatre.

The 80-year old photo above depicts a large number of children gathered on Main Street in Lexington under the marquee of the State Theatre. The “Two Feature Picture” includes The Phantom of Crestwood which was released on October 14, 1932 and Haunted Gold which was released on December 17, 1932.

The latter film depicted John Wayne as John Mason in what is considered an early Wayne western. Apparently, Mason returned to the Sally Ann mine to collect his share.

Do you have fond memories of the State Theatre? Share them in the comments!

And the answer to last week’s #ThrowbackThursday puzzler:

Last Week: 

A good number of you guessed the correct location of the old Coca-Cola bottling plant on Lexington’s West Short Street. A handy clue was the extant antique store and Catholic church which remained in the right edge of the frame. 
Now at this location are the Opera House Square town homes. So everyone there should pay homage to history and stock their fridges with a little Coca-Cola. 
Congrats to Brian who was the first to correctly guess the location of the old bottling plant, even if he (and everyone else) waited until Sunday to take a look!

Skuller’s Clock to Be Reset Tomorrow #TBT

Skuller's Clock - Lexington, Ky. Skuller's Clock - Lexington, Ky.

No guessing necessary today, as the #ThrowbackThursday shows three photo of the same location and there’s no hiding the location of the old Skuller’s clock. In the comments, please share your memories of Skuller’s and its memorable clock. 

Near the northwest corner of Main and Limestone stood the old Skuller’s clock which was originally manufactured by the Brown Street Clock Company in Pennsylvania in 1913.

It arrived at the location in the 100 block of West Main Street first in 1931 when Skuller’s relocated to what is now the downstairs ballroom of Bellini’s restaurant. Evidence of Skuller’s remains with the inlaid tile at the old entrance; the store closed in 1984.

But the clock hung on.

Skuller’s Clock (2013)
Photo by the Author

At fourteen feet in height, the two-faced clock is fixed upon a fluted iron column. It is, in its own right, a Lexington landmark.

The clock originally featured (and does again) a lit neon sign bearing the Skuller’s name. The jeweler also sold eyeglasses for a time which explains the eyewear (and painted eyes) appearing below the face of the clock.

Yet by 2010, the clock was inoperable and was removed as part of a streetscape beautification project in anticipation of that year’s World Equestrian Games. The promise was made that the Skuller’s clock would be restored. Estimates for rehabilitation of the clock were about $25,000. Private funds were secured and tomorrow, at 7:15 p.m., the clock will once again tell time for those downtown.

White Hall Dormitory was an Iconic Building at the University of Kentucky #TBT

Whitehall Classroom Building at the University of Kentucky – Lexington, Ky.
(Photo: Library of Congress)

The answer to last week’s #TBT puzzler* is, of course, the White Hall Dormitory which stood on the grounds of the University of Kentucky from 1882 to 1967. When it was demolished, it made way for the Patterson Office Tower (the POT) and the Whitehall Classroom Building.

The University of Kentucky, originally State College, was established in 1865. The land for UK’s main campus was donated in order that the College might settle in Lexington as opposed to a vying offer in Bowling Green.

Plans involved three original buildings on which construction began in 1881: White Hall, the Main Building, and the Patterson House. Of these, only the Main Building survives.

White Hall and the Patterson House were both demolished in 1967 for the new Whitehall Classroom Building and Patterson Office Tower. Bricks from the old White Hall were reused as pavers in the new pavilion between the new structures and the Main Building.

Nav130 got the answer almost there, but the Streetsweeper pulled through with all the details we were looking for. Nav130 mentioned that a lot of graffiti was, not surprisingly, painted along the plywood walls outside the demolition zone. He remarked:

My recollection is that it was mostly frats and sororities painting over each other’s most recent and the usual “Go ‘Kats!” sort of thing. The most impressive thing – again, going back 46 years – was that it was such a long wall of plywood that became quite colorful. Maybe the folks at the Kentucky Kernel might have something archived.

He’s right … maybe someone has institutional memory and photographs of the graffiti? I’ve always thought of graffiti as a form of public art (in certain places and when well done) … anyone have a collection of old photographs of Kentucky located graffiti they might want to share?

*@CatclawTheatre suggests, rightly so, that we should always say “puzzler” with the voice of the Magliozzi brothers (the guys from NPR’s CarTalk).

Iconic Building Once Part of Lexington Institution #TBT

Many of you will immediately recognize this great and iconic structure that once proudly stood in Lexington. Lost to history nearly fifty years ago, its history is undoubtedly filled with many memories.

If you have memories of this old structure, please share them in the comments.

Otherwise, you know the drill: guess the structure and its location. Identify the structure or structures that replaced it and bonus points if you know of how any components to this building were repurposed!

Importantly, have fun! #ThrowbackThursday

Oliver Perry House at Camp Nelson

Oliver Perry House
Photo: Camp Nelson

The answer: the Oliver Perry House at Camp Nelson in Jessamine County.

No one attempted to guess last week’s #Throwback Thursday puzzler. I suggested it was “newsworthy and noteworthy” and later noted that the old house was located in Jessamine County.

I thought the property recognizable because the photograph I initially had planned on using (picture below) was in the Lexington Herald-Leader last Tuesday in an article entitled “This weekend’s Civil War Days marks Camp Nelson’s 150th anniversary.”

Oliver Perry House – Camp Nelson – Jessamine Co., Ky.
Photo: U. of Kentucky / KDL

The photograph I utilized for last week’s #TBT (above at left) was Camp Nelson’s most notable landmark, known simply as the “White House.”

The two-story frame Greek Revival is officially called the Oliver Perry House. During the War, it was used as quarters for the officer and it is the only building remaining from the Civil War era at Camp Nelson.

Southern exposure of the Oliver Perry House showing the
two story addition made by Union troops
during occupation. (Photo: the Author)

Constructed by Oliver Perry for his new bride, Fannie (Scott) Perry, ca. 1850, the Union occupants added the rear two-bay deep addition. The building had fallen under complete disrepair prior to its meticulous restoration by the Jessamine County Fiscal Court which has been an instrumental force in preserving this historic area.

In 1863, General Ambrose Burnside (for whom the sideburn is named) commandeered the Perry-Scott House and it was utilized by the Union for two years. Surrounding landowners also had their lands confiscated by the Union army to amass and secure the 4,000 acre site. The largest landowner was Mary Scott, Fannie Scott-Perry’s mother.

There will be more on Camp Nelson and the Oliver Perry House in my column in this week’s Jessamine Journal which should be available in Nicholasville newsstands today. The column will also appear on Friday on this site.

Kentucky and American History in #TBT Photo

I’ve received complaints from a few that my #ThrowbackThursday photos have been too easy – what do you think? Let me know in the comments!

As for this week, you can see only about half the fa├žade of this noteworthy and newsworthy residence.

I’d give you another clue, but then that would be too easy?

Leave your guesses in the comments below and be share this week’s puzzler on Facebook!

You can also look back at our previous #ThrowbackThursday posts by clicking here.

Lexington’s First Synagogue was Ohavey Zion; Moving the Scrolls From Original Site Answers Last Week’s #TBT

Joe Bologna’s Restaurant once housed Lexington’s First Synagogue
Transfer of the Torahs
Photo: Herald-Leader/Steven Nickerson

The Streetsweeper answered last week’s puzzler in person at the Cheapside Pavilion last Thursday when he accurately recalled the news of May 1987 when the Torahs were relocated from Maxwell Street to the new synagogue on Edgewater Court. Carrying the Torahs were Charlie Rosenberg and Sidney Gall. It was a four mile sojourn on foot between the old and the new synagogue.

The old synagogue got its start nearly a century before, as a Presbyterian mission.

In March 1890, the front page of the Lexington Leader declared that the city’s First Presbyterian Church would start “Another Mission”in a “handsome building at Maxwell and Upper Streets” on land known as the Morris property. With “appropriate exercises,” the new Mission Chapel of the First Presbyterian Church was dedicated in the spring of 1891. Construction had cost $7,000.

Inside the old Maxwell St.
Presbyterian Church

In the early 1910s, the Maxwell Street Presbyterian Church had outgrown its facilities and relocated further east. The Presbyterians sold the old church to the Jewish community which here established the first synagogue in Lexington, Ohavey Zion Synagogue. Prior to the establishment of a permanent synagogue, the Jewish community in Lexington would celebrate wherever space could be found, most typically in the ballrooms of hotels or fraternal lodges.

When Ohavey Zion looked to build a new facility for itself in the 1980s, the question arose as to what would become of the old synagogue. Restrictions as a former synagogue prohibited certain uses: it could be used neither as a public urinal or as a slaughterhouse.

Stained glass window and
chandeliers remain.

Ultimately, the old synagogue was auctioned and purchased by Joe Bologna who owned a pizza parlor dive across the street. He turned his dive into a restaurant. (The old location did not have stained glass windows or original chandeliers.)

The old church/synagogue/pizza parlor has a Romanesque feeling with modern additions on both the rear and on its western side. The original entrance, off Jersey Street, is utilized only as an emergency exit with the primary point of ingress and egress being through the western addition.

The iconic symbol of the building, which has been adopted by the pizza parlor in its logo, is the “triple window framed by flat brick pilasters with acorn-shaped stone finials and horizontal stone bands that is crowned by a large arched window articulated with stonework.”

It is a spectacular structure with a storied and sacred past.