Captain Wilgus' Italian Villa, known as Parker Place, on deTour Wednesday Night in Lexington

John B. Wilgus House (aka Parker Place) at 511 W. Short St., Lexington. Mary Sloan.
It is rare to find such a plot of land in downtown Lexington, but there is the Parker Place on West Short Street. Once part of a much larger tract owned by Eliza Parker, the grandmother of Mary Todd Lincoln, the land was later acquired by Captain John B. Wilgus.

Capt. Wilgus, a Unionist during the Civil War, led the Lexington Blues. The Lexington Blues was a homeguard unit, the so-called 'army of last resort', purposed with protecting the life and property of the Union supporters in the event of an invasion by the Rebels. In business, Capt. Wilgus was active in various efforts and was a successful grocer and banker in Lexington.

In 1870, Capt. Wilgus retained John McMurtry to build, and likely design, an Italianate villa in Lexington's Western Suburb on land he had acquired in the mid-1850s. Before Wilgus' acquisition, McMurtry operated both a lumber yard and carpentry shop on the site.

Lexington's Centrepointe in Haiku


Every now and then, I dabble in poetry. As I drove past the Centrepointe block with its idle cranes, I wondered what will happen here? And when?

A quick haiku came to mind:

High o'er our city
tow'ring cranes idle they stand
What will happen here?

[Do you have a poetic bone in your body? I'd love to read (and hopefully share with other readers) your Centrepointe poems! Please post them in the comments!]

In October 2014, headlines read that "Crane causing delay for Lexington's CentrePointe project." But by mid-December, the cranes were being installed.

Demo Watch: Shotgun Houses on Lexington's Jefferson Street

Clockwise from upper left: 440, 444, 448, and 446 Jefferson Street. 
Demolition permits have been filed to tear down four shotgun houses, each built ca. 1890, along the increasingly popular Jefferson Street corridor on Lexington, Kentucky's northside.

As noted last week in another demolition watch, the "single-story shotgun is one of a dying breed." These four shotgun houses were constructed a short time after the Warfield Bell Subdivision was platted. Located between Fourth and Sixth streets on both sides of Jefferson (plus Fifth and Sixth on both sides of Smith Street Extended), the subdivision consisted of 113 lots. It was the city's first subdivision of 100+ lots.

I can't find a proposal of what will replace these dwellings. Though at least one has been abandoned for some time and another is the site of multiple nuisance violations in the past few years, these houses did provide affordable housing in Lexington for 125 years.

Demo Watch: Permits sought to demolish 4 structures near University of Kentucky campus

Demolition permits have been sought at these four Lexington, Kentucky properties. Individual images from Fayette PVA.
On March 9, demolition permits were sought for three structures on Euclid Avenue. Permits for wrecking the structures at 626, 630 and 634 Euclid Avenue would pave the way for a development already announced. The location is opposite Marquis from the new Euclid Kroger on its one end and a three story brick-and-glass commercial structure (The Ashland Building).

And while Euclid once had a number of single family residences along its way, the area has transformed into a more intensive use. Though these structures, built in the first half of the 20th century, were once representative of the homes along this avenue, they now seem almost out of place.

The history of this stretch of road can be told quickly through a few newspaper articles. In July 1903, the Lexington Leader announced that "the work of grading Euclid Avenue in the Aylesford division has been commenced and when macadamized will furnish the shortest route from the Tates Creek Pike to State College." Once the road was paved, houses like the ones proposed for demolition sprung up on what became a residential corridor. In 1920, the road was designated a boulevard and paved with asphalt. But in June 1987, the Herald-Leader found that Euclid Avenue was "an expanding commercial thoroughfare that leads to Chevy Chase" and that it "may be designated a business corridor."
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