|Rendering of Proposed Civic Center of Lexington, Ky. (1923)|
The Plan, published in 1931, was prepared for the City Planning & Zoning Commission by L. Segoe, a consulting engineer and city planner from Cincinnati, Ohio. In 170-pages, the Plan sets forth an incredibly diverse and specific set of recommendations as well as a thorough examination of the housing, transportation, infrastructure and aesthetics of the community. One of my favorites could be echoed again today: "An attractive street picture is incompatible with the presence of poles and wires. Streets with buildings of architectural merit should be cleared of poles and wires, as these seriously mar and may completely nullify the aesthetic value of such buildings." A Progressive 1931.
The Plan included reports from a 1923 study on the erection of the City Hall and the surrounding Civic Center. As pictured in the above rendering, the proposed Civic Center encompassed a number of significant structures. At the top, a proposed Greek Revival Federal Courthouse looked down an esplanade toward a proposed side for the YMCA. At the east end of Barr Street stood the old (then-present) City Hall; the clocktower of St. Peter's Catholic Church is near the center of the rendering. As the planner wrote, "The erection of monumental buildings for governmental purposes without relation to one another, or without adequate setting, is a waste of opportunity and raises the question of the justifiability of the cost of monumental architecture."
|Layout of the Proposed Civic Center of Lexington, Ky. (1923)|
That esplanade was not to be and the Federal Courthouse, ultimately constructed in the neo-Classic style, was erected at Barr Street adjacent to St. Peter's Catholic Church. The fate of City Hall would be behind a mid-century edifice that destroyed all historic beauty and caused to sorrow when it was demolished to make way for an expansion of Central Christian Church.
|Left-to-right: Federal Courthouse (partial), Fayette District |
Courthouse, Fayette Circuit Courthouse,
surround Robert F. Stephens Courthouse Plaza
Remember: tonight at 5:15, the BGT deTour of the Federal Building.