Monday, February 28, 2011

NoD: St. Patrick's Parish

St. Patrick Catholic Church - Maysville, KY
St. Patrick Catholic Church; Maysville, Ky.
One of the first buildings I noticed in Maysville was the Catholic church. An impressive contemporary interpretation of the Romanesque style, St. Patrick's Parish includes many Gothic qualities in its brick and stone construction. [*] In April 1901, Fr. Patrick M. Jones became the parish priest and found the parish and its buildings in poor condition. The existing parish church was all-brick and had been erected in 1849.

Fr. Jones had been born in County Limerick, Ireland in 1853 and emigrated to the United States in 1875. Ordained in the Covington Diocese in 1877, he ultimately came to his pastorate in Maysville. He worked tirelessly to grow the parish and to improve its buildings. On June 26, 1910, the present church was dedicated. It seats 1,200. The considerable sum raised for the church's construction was $100,000; the church was built (as well as a school, cemetery expansion and so much more) in a rather quick period of time. To note, all this was done with little debt:

[*] It is a great testimony as to how the St. Patrick's Parish grew. As I've found with Catholic churches, St. Patrick's was open on a typical day for prayer and reflection. The altar is beautiful; check out my other flickr photos.

Friday, February 25, 2011

NoD: Don Gullett Country

IMG_5298
Don Gullett Country Memorial; Greenup, Ky.
On the lawn of the Greenup County is a memorial declaring that "This is Don Gullett Country." I'll be the first to admit, I didn't recognize the name. I recognized the subject of he neighboring memorial, for Jesse Stuart, plus the Stuart memorial offered details as to who Stuart was.

I had to rely on Google to learn about Don Gullett, and I suppose if I were more of a baseball fan I might have recognized the name. Gullett was born in South Shore (Greenup County), Kentucky in 1951. Before he could drive, pro and college recruiters - baseball, football and basketball - were coming to Greenup County to watch him play at McKell High School. He skipped college and was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in 1969. He played for the Reds for a few seasons before being picked up as a free agent by the New York Yankees.

During his pitching career, he won four consecutive World Series (1975, 1976 with the Reds; 1977, 1978 with the Yankees). His stats are available here. Gullett, suffering from shoulder injuries, retired from the game in 1979 and was released from the Yankees in 1980. He is enjoying retirement on a farm near his birthplace in South Shore.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

NoD: Birthplace of General John Bell Hood

IMG_5324
Birthplace of Gen. Hood, Owingsville, Ky.
General John Bell Hood was born in Owingsville, Kentucky in June, 1831. He served the Confederacy in the Civil War and did so with one of the most awesome beards in history. At Gettysburg, Hood (either by confusion or derelection) made a blunder which cost him the use of his arm. It also, arguably, cost the South a victory at Gettysburg and (given that the battle was the turning point of the War) the War. Am I exagerating history a little? Possibly.

We've highlighted this house before on the Kentucky120 visit to Owingsville, but inaccurately suggested that Hood was born in the house pictured; to clarify, he was born in a home that previously occupied the site. Yes, there is something about John Bell Hood that exudes hyperbole and exaggeration.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

walkLEX: Behold, Lexington (part deux)

Architect's rendering of the proposed development. [*]
In April 2010, I posted about the announced project to built a CVS drugstore at the eastern entrance to downtown (across Main Street from Thoroughbred Park). The block, which I then pictured in its state of demolition, had consisted of mostly surface parking and single-story commercial buildings. The proposal to build the CVS was soon met with great opposition by a community action group, ProgressLex, which argued against the design of the CVS as being inappropriate for its position as a gateway into the downtown area. As a result of ProgressLex's efforts, CVS slowed development to consider community input.

Construction was to begin in September of 2010, but the discovery of an underground utility box further delayed construction. Today we get word that a three-story mixed use development will be built at the location. Architectural renderings indicate a structure with a design similar to that of the modern Main+Rose, yet a small green area (with public art?) will be left for the easternmost (and prominent) corner. And a parking structure is proposed as well, eliminating the debate (for this site) about the overabundance of surface lots which reduce Lexington's urban density.

I'll look forward to seeing more information about this development, though I remain concerned about the introduction of two floors of office space when we already have a significant amount of vacant commercial square footage throughout Lexington (including downtown).

Monday, February 21, 2011

NoD: Margaret Garner (Kentucky Chautaqua)

The Bluegrass Trust hosts a monthly brown bag lunch lecture series at the John Hunt Morgan House. In celebration of Black History Month, this month's event was held at the Downtown Arts Center and was a live one-person Kentucky Chataqua show from the Kentucky Humanities Council
The Modern Medea, by Thomas Satterwhite Noble
Margaret Garner was a slave born in Boone County, Kentucky. Light-skinned, she was likely the daughter of her master - John P. Gaines (who was appointed by Pres. Zachary Taylor to be the governor of the Oregon Territory). When Gaines left her Oregon, he sold his farm, Maplewood (to which this post is geotagged), to his brother Archibald Gaines.

Archibald was a cruel master and ultimately, Margaret sought to escape with her three children. In the snowy winter of 1856, she escaped and crossed the frozen Ohio River, but was ultimately captured. Before her capture, however, she slit the throat of one of her children (she was stopped before she could kill the others) because she believed her children would be better in heaven than back in slavery. According to the story, Archibald was the father of each of her children and she didn't want her daughters to be assaulted by their white masters.

Tried in Covington (rather than in Ohio), Garner was returned to slavery and sold down the river. The story of Margaret Garner was immediately well-known as it was publicized by both abolitionists (decrying the pathology of slavery) and pro-slavery forces (claiming that slaves were all subhuman). [*] The painting above, The Modern Medea, by Thomas Satterwhite Noble was inspired by Garner and was painted in 1867.  Her story was popularized again by Toni Morrison's book, Beloved. Former UK professor research Garner, writing Modern Madea. There is also an opera about Garner which can be heard on NPR.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

National Register Action Update

In December, we posted on the nomination of five Kentucky sites to the National Register of Historic Places. Over the past week, each of the five became listed on the register.

Additionally, a sixth Kentucky site was added to the National Register. The Joseph Crockett House - an "old stone house on the banks of Hickman Creek" [*] in Union Mill, Jessamine County in 1803 was also added to the Register.

Crockett came to Kentucky in 1784 and was involved in Kentucky's statehood. Lt. Crockett received a land grant of 1900 acres for his service in the American Revolution and began the Union Mill community and built its first gristmill. In 1801, President Jefferson appointed Crockett to be the U.S. Marshall and he served in that capacity for about eight years. One of Crockett's most famous acts as a Marshall occurred in 1806. Joseph Hamilton Daviess, the U.S. District Attorney for Kentucky, had Crockett serve Aaron Burr with the government's charges of treason. (Burr was acquitted at trial; his attorney was Henry Clay.) Crockett died in 1829. There are a lot of other fascinating stories about him (so I'll do a full post some other time...).

The other sites added to the National Register are the J. Hawkins Hart House in Henderson, Henderson County, the Jenkins School in Jenkins, Letcher County as well as three sites in Louisville (Jefferson County): McBride's Harrods Creek Landing, Miller Paper Company Buildings and the Most Blessed Sacrament School.

Friday, February 18, 2011

NoD: Limestone (n/k/a Maysville)

Maysville, KY
Waymarking Sign, Maysville, Ky.
Lexington's Limestone Street travels north to merge with Paris Pike and its history is there forgotten. Ultimately, you can take the road all the way to the Ohio River at Maysville. And Limestone Street was once aptly named since Maysville was formerly known as Limestone. Limestone was first settled in 1784, the road to Lexington (an old buffalo trace) was almost immediately established. [*]

In 1787, Limestone was formally established by the Virginia General Assembly which changed the name of the community situated at the confluence of Limestone Creek and the Ohio River to Maysville. At the time, Limestone/Maysville was part of Bourbon County (and was until Mason County was created in 1789) and was a key riverport for the bourbon whiskey industry.

By 1833, Maysville was a thriving riverport and was made the county seat of Mason County in 1848 (it was a contentious vote, as Washington was previously the county seat). The name "Limestone" was used to identify the community until the mid-nineteenth century as well.



Thursday, February 17, 2011

What is Lexington? A (Geographically) Broader View

As previously mentioned, I have been named to the board of ProgressLex. Below is an excerpt from my first post on their blog, which appeared today. 
Lexington, Ky.By both its name and mission, ProgressLex is an organization dedicated to “creating and sustaining a thriving, diverse and beautiful Lexington.” But what is Lexington?

For some, Lexington ends at New Circle Road. Others draw the line at the Urban Service Boundary or the Fayette County line. The Census Bureau has recognized the Lexington-Fayette Metropolitan Statistical Area to include all of Bourbon, Clark, Fayette, Jessamine, Scott and Woodford counties. 

Though we sleep in our bedroom communities, many of the citizens in these adjacent counties work and play in Lexington. We eat in downtown restaurants. We buy our produce at the Cheapside farmer’s market. (And for those of us who work in Lexington, we pay Lexington’s income tax.) We care about the environment and social justice. The residents of the neighboring counties have an important role in making Lexington what it is and should play a role in determining Lexington’s future.
You can read the full post at the ProgressLex website.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

NoD: Nor'eastern Kentucky

Northeastern Kentucky
Nor'eastern Kentucky
Greenup County is the most northeastern county in Kentucky as the Ohio River makes up its eastern and northern border. So in true No Destination spirit, I set out to go on Kentucky's most northeastern road. Turns out, that is Hardin Lane. Snow covered and a little icy (especially for my Honda Fit), the road was beautiful. It seemed completely isolated, its flat farmland match by the rolling hills of southern Ohio across the river.

Apparently, switch grass is grown on some of this farmland; while driving I heard on  the radio that additional studies were needed to determine if this native vegetation is as efficient as coal as an energy source.

The map to the left shows where this road is - right off Route 23. Old tractors, chicken coops and other farming sites dot this little offroad. Check out my other flickr pictures of this little jaunt.

Monday, February 14, 2011

NoD: Shannoah

Shannoah
Shannoah Historic Marker, Greenup Co., Ky.
Following a flood destroying the Shannoah community on the north bank of the Ohio River, the Shawnee Indians came into Kentucky in 1750 and established a village by the same name. [*] At the time, the French laid claim to what would become central Kentucky as it claimed the entire Ohio River basin. Obviously, this would become one of the disputes between the French and the British which led to the French & Indian War.

Kentucky historic marker #31 reads:
First village in Kentucky built by Shawnee Indians and French traders. Visited in January 1751 by Christopher Gist, George Croghan, Andrew Montour, Robert Kallendar and a servant. Located on the site of an earlier Fort Ancient settlement, it stood 500 yards northwest of these Hopewell earthworks.
The journal of Christopher Gist is a significant resource that tells of the 1751 visit to Shannoah by Gist and his colleagues. He "killed a fat Bear" on March 6, 1750. Gist would later guide Major George Washington on missions during the French & Indian War.

At the time of Gist's visit, inhabitants of Shannoah numbered 300 men in about 40 houses. [*]

Friday, February 11, 2011

NoD: U.S. Grant Bridge

U.S. Grant Bridge
U.S. Grant Bridge spans the Ohio River; Greenup County, Ky.
A spectacular bridge spans the Ohio River at South Portsmouth, Kentucky (and Portsmouth, Ohio) and carries U.S. 23 traffic to and from Kentucky. The current bridge opened to traffic on October 16, 2006, after five years of construction. The original U.S. Grant Bridge was built in 1927 and was demolished in 2001.

Named after General (and later the eighteenth President) Ulysses S. Grant, the bridge is a cable-stayed bridge that cost over $38 million to construct. The two-lane bridge is 2,155 feet in length. [*] Check out these other pictures of the US Grant Bridge!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Stop the Demo of Whiskey Row

Whiskey Row, Louisville, Ky.
Local neighborhoods activist Hayward Wilkirson penned a terrific piece for ProgressLex warning about the struggle to preserve an area of downtown Louisville known as Whiskey Row:
a collection of seven historic buildings (most of a city block) listed on the National Register of Historic Places and protected by the Louisville Historic Landmarks Commission.  These buildings, some of Louisville’s most significant architectural treasures, comprise the largest cast-iron-fronted building district outside of Soho in New York City.
Truly a unique and beautiful set of buildings obviously in need of great repair, developer Blue wants to demolish the buildings apparently with no plan for what should come next. Wilkirson and others have labeled this "Louisville's Centerpointe." The buildings have been labeled by local and national registers as historic so that extra steps must be taken before any demolition can occur. Without these requirements being fulfilled, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer appears to have given the go ahead for demolition.

I rarely make it to Louisville, but I do remember driving down its Main Street a few years ago and thinking about how terrific it would be if this great group of mid-nineteenth century buildings were restored and reused. Now it is time to either sink or swim.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

ProgressLex

I apologize to my readers that I haven't been actively posting these last few weeks, but I have been busy with work and have preferred spending my spare time driving and photographing rather than writing. I'll try and post soon. Also taking up my time is my appointment to the board of directors of ProgressLex, a community organization committed to making Lexington the greatest city it can be. I'll also be posting there from time to time, so check it out.

At ProgressLex, I'm taking a more regional approach than my colleagues because I believe Lexington is more than just the area within New Circle, the Urban Service boundary or even the county line. It is a good organization dedicated to promoting design excellence, economic growth, and greenspace preservation (which, as you know, are all areas on which the Kaintuckeean tends to focus - so long as design excellence includes historic preservation). Again, check it out!


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