A New Sign (A New Landmark?) in Downtown Lexington

New Signage O'er The Square in Lexington, Ky. Author's collection.
A new landmark was installed within the past week days in Lexington, and it hasn't been without some controversy. Above the old Victorian Square development downtown, new signage identifies the block's new identity as "The Square."

On social media, the font and design of the new signage has been blasted by some while others approve of the vintage-looking sign. It rests atop a block of structures which date to the 1870s and 1880s.


Main Street façade circa. 1976. Photo from Lexington-Fayette Historic Commission.
The façades, plus some interior walls, of these historic commercial structures were preserved when the spaces were converted into a downtown shopping block and labeled Victorian Square. The structures along Broadway have more architectural detail on their façades than those on Main Street, but the entire block is a well-done reuse of space.

Nearly all buildings on the block are three-story in height and the gaps between each have been "filled in" with entrances to the central interior courtyard developed as part of the large commercial space.

Preserving the block a century later was a key step in saving a section of Lexington's identity, though during the same period entire blocks of similar structures were razed to create Triangle Park, the Lexington Center, and Rupp Arena. In the nomination of the block to the National Register of Historic Places, the block was described as
Markings for the old Victorian Square, rebranded as
The Square. Author's collection
a very important block visually and commercially in downtown Lexington. Its buildings were constructed for use as commercial structures mostly in the 1970s and '80s at a time when the citizens of Lexington were prospering and trade was lively. The Block reflects those times. It has the same profile and charm as it did then as well as having many of the same kinds of businesses it had in earlier years. Time has passed by; many of its Victorian embellishments such as bracketed storefronts, ornate hood molds, pressed tin ceilings and tiled stoops survive.
Commercially, Victorian Square never thrived. Recently, the development has been rebranded as "The Square." Signage has been going up to note the development which is seeing a major shift in occupants with newcomers Urban Outfitters, Alumni Hall, and a myriad of new restaurants recently opening (or preparing to open) their doors.
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