In Memorium: Holmes Hall

Holmes Hall - University of Kentucky, ca. 1914. Author's collection.
IMHO, the loss of Holmes Hall may be the most devastating of all the demolitions which occurred on campus this summer. Yes, others may have more historic or even architectural significance, but the realtor's mantra of "location, location, location" weighs heavily (for me) with this demolition.

Holmes Hall stood at such a prominent location: the northeast corner of South Limestone and the Avenue of Champions. From its seat, Holmes Hall welcomed to the downtown area those traveling into Lexington along Nicholasville Road.

It was smartly set back from the curb with a good amount of green space. Behind, the structure consisted largely of three parts: a four-story brick dormitory not dissimilar to many other dormitories on campus, an interesting one-story brown stone appendage that wrapped the building’s frontage along Avenue of Champions as well as part of its eastern fa├žade (the same stone was smartly used around each of the entrances), and the final part of the of Holmes Hall was what truly set it apart.
Holmes Hall - University of Kentucky. Author's collection.
The stepped canopy that rose from the Avenue of Champions on the eastern side of Holmes Hall was always one of my favorite architectural features on campus. Stone columns held up each step of the multi-level canopy, with each level constructed of seamless concrete.

From beneath the canopy, the covered walkway appeared as a portal to another world. And from above, the canopy gave the impression of a multi-step waterfall. Its beauty was such that it could have easily been part of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Falling Water.

Demolition of Holmes Hall. Author's collection.
It was a visible portal into the heart of Lexington. But the building and its canopy are gone.  It would have been nice if at least the canopied walk could have been incorporated into the new design, but this was not to be.

But it wasn't the only structure on the campus of the University of Kentucky to be demolished in 2014. Gone, too, are Wenner-Gren, Hamilton House, and others. As the campus has grown or changed needs, a number of historic structures have fallen through the years like the old Carnegie Library and White Hall.

What was your favorite campus building at UK that has been removed? Mention it, or share your memories about Holmes Hall, in the comments.

This post is based on an excerpt about the Lost Campus from LOST LEXINGTON, KY.
Lexington has dozens of well-restored landmarks, but so many more are lost forever. The famous Phoenix Hotel, long a stop for weary travelers and politicians alike, has risen from its own ashes numerous times over the past centuries. The works of renowned architect John McMurtry were once numerous around town, but some of the finest examples are gone. The Centrepointe block has been made and unmade so many times that its original tenants are unknown to natives now.
Where to purchase LOST LEXINGTON?
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