[graphic] National Park Service Arrowhead and link to NPS.gov [graphic] 1900 changes picture in photo box to Carnegie Library [graphic] 2000 changes picture in photo box to Keeneland Horse Racing [graphic] 1850 changes picture in photo box to Henry Clay [graphic] 1800 changes picture in photo box to First African Baptist Church [graphic] 1775 changes picture in photo box  to  McConnell Springs
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 [graphic] photo box - map of Kentucky [graphic] Lexington, Kentucky: The Athens of the West A National Register of Historic Places Travel Itinerary
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[graphic] Lexington Preservation

Threats to the Hunt-Morgan House were the catalyst for the formation of the Blue Grass Trust for Historic Preservation
Photograph by David Huntsman, courtesy of the Blue Grass Trust for Historic Preservation
Throughout the 20th century Lexington has experienced the same growing pains as have many other cities. With urban sprawl, businesses and residents have migrated to the fringes of the city. Lexington's downtown area experienced a significant decline during the last half of the 20th century. Growth and redevelopment have also resulted in many of Lexington and Fayette County's historic places falling prey to the bulldozer.

Changes to this decline have come about only recently. A new heightened awareness of the importance of preserving historic buildings and reviving the downtown area has slowly developed. One group that has helped to foster this awareness is the Blue Grass Trust for Historic Preservation. The Blue Grass Trust was first organized in 1955 to save the historic Hunt-Morgan House and the neighboring Thomas Hart House. While the Thomas Hart House was destroyed (the site is now a parking lot), the Blue Grass Trust succeeded in saving the Hunt-Morgan House, which it continues to operate today as an interpretive house museum. The Blue Grass Trust has also been successful in saving other historic places such as the Adam Rankin House in the South Hill Historic District; Shakertown at Pleasant Hill; the Mary Todd Lincoln House; and, in conjunction with Transylvania University, the Belle Breezing Row House.

Another preservation success in Lexington is the Adam Rankin Houset--the oldest house in the city--located in the South Hill Historic Distric
Photograph by Eric Thomason, courtesy of Blue Grass Trust for Historic Preservation

Currently the Blue Grass Trust for Historic Preservation is restoring the John Pope Villa, which was designed by nationally known architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe. The $1.6 million restoration is partially being assisted by the Save America's Treasures program from the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Kentucky Heritage Council as well as many other foundations. One of the Trust's main goals is to reach out to the community and make citizens aware of the importance of preservation. As the mission statement reads: "the Blue Grass Trust is guided by the three tenets of the Trust mission--education, service and advocacy."


Ashland, the home of the famous U.S. Senator and politician, Henry Clay
Courtesy of the Henry Clay Memorial Foundation, Lexington, KY
The Henry Clay Foundation and their efforts at historic Ashland also illustrate the community's focus on historic preservation. After the group's extensive renovation of the building from 1990 to 1991, Ashland once again reflects its 19th-century appearance. Individual places of prominence in the city are not the only objects of preservation in Lexington. More and more residents are also taking part in the preservation of Lexington's historic neighborhoods such as Ashland Park, Bell Court, and Constitution Historic District. The Lexington-Fayette County government assists homeowners through the Historic Preservation Commission, which is part of the city-county government. An important part of the Commission is the Architectural Review Board, which approves design changes and advises owners of historic properties how to best preserve their properties. Additionally, the Commission reviews all requests for demolition in the city and county. With the conscious efforts of the Blue Grass Trust for Historic Preservation, the Historic Preservation Commission, and many other groups and individuals, Lexington hopes to save the most important visible reminders of our past as a people--our historic places.

[graphic] link to Athens of the West Essay  [graphic] link to Civil War Essay  [graphic] link to Architecture Essay
 [graphic] link to Lexington Preservation Essay

 

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Essays: Athens of the West | Civil War | Architecture | Lexington Preservation

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