339 Jefferson Faces Wrecking Ball

339 Jefferson Street. Fayette PVA

With spring comes the blossoming buds of the flowers, but it also seems to bring the wrecking ball. On March 4, 2016, a demolition permit was sought for 339 Jefferson Street.

The old house, according to records of the Fayette County PVA, was built around 1890* and is another example of Lexington’s disappearing vernacular architecture. The property owner as of January 1 was Dixon Enterprises, LLC, but the demolition permit reveals that LFUCG Code Enforcement is the applicant/owner. Dixon owns a significant amount of the center of the block.

339 Jefferson Street, then numbered 181 Jefferson, on the 1901 Sanborn Map. UK Libraries.

The house appeared on the 1901 Sanborn Map, but was then numbered 181 Jefferson Street. As noted above, the PVA records indicate that the house was built in 1890. The 1896 Sanborn map, however, does not indicate that any structures were yet constructed on that portion of the western side of Jefferson Street. As such, I believe that 339 Jefferson was built somewhere between 1897 and 1901 … ca. 1900 – 2016.

On August 27, 1910, the Lexington Leader reported that “the funeral services over the body of Mrs. Nannie L. Harvey of 339 Jefferson street, who died Friday afternoon will be held Sunday afternoon, the burial taking place in the Lexington Cemetery.” She was survived by her husband, the sole beneficiary under her will which was probated in November of 1910.

The Jefferson Street corridor is currently one of Lexington’s most active and exciting districts with new development and investment filling the area. Demolition of vernacular structures like these shotguns I highlighted last year is often a side effect of a historic area’s popularity. Other alternatives, like infill and redevelopment of blighted areas like what is going on in NoLi, exist.

It remains to be seen what will occur on this site. But until we know, RIP 339 Jefferson (ca. 1900-2016). After nearly six score together, we hardly knew thee.