Lexington Coachman's West Fourth Street Shotgun is on Demolition Watch

Across from the always-locked back gate to Hampton Court is a shotgun at 467 West Fourth Street, a structure which is the latest installment of #DemolitionWatch. The permit was issued on May 19 on a story that was once the home of the coachman for multiple prominent Lexington families.

According to PVA records, the 1,003 square foot shotgun was built in 1908. Unlike many of the other shotguns, 467 West Fourth has a 275 sq. ft appendage near the rear of the structure (date unknown). 

Parker Langford: Coachman to the Bradley, Dudley, and Barnes families

As for the history of 467 West Fourth, a search of the local history index at the Lexington Public Library revealed one hit: the Lexington Leader's "colored notes" of February 1930 noted that "funeral services for Mrs. Laura Langford, formerly of this city, were held in Cincinnati, Monday, February 10. She was the wife of Parker Langford, 467 West Fourth Street."

According to the 1921 Polk's Lexington City Directory, Parker Langford resided at 467 West Fourth Street. He was listed as a janitor, though at an unknown place. His obituary also appeared twice in the Lexington Leader on July 30, 1941 after he passed away at the Good Samaritan hospital after a long illness. The Madison County native was the son of Green and Eliza Langford whose residence was misidentified as 457 West Fourth Street (the 1940 Census confirms that Langford lived at street number 467, not 457).

The second July 30 Leader mention of Langford's passing came not in the "colored notes," but on page 12 under the headline "Aged Negro coachman to be buried Thursday." Mr. Langford must have been well known in the community to have his passing noted twice in the paper of the day. 

As a point of reference for Leader readers, the obituary on page 12 noted that Langford was "for a number of years coachman for the Bradley, Dudley and Barnes families in this community." These are prominent names in Lexington's history, though I cannot readily confirm the specific families for which Langford worked.

The 1940 Census also revealed that Mr. Langford owned the property which was valued on the census form at $400. 

An Asterisk 'Denotes Colored'

Additionally, the 1912 Polk's City Directory identified the resident as Lula Aiken, the widow of John Aiken. Beside her name was an asterisk which, according to the directory's guide, "denotes colored." A sign of the times. 
Polk City Directory of 1912. University of Kentucky Archives


The Demolition Permit and its link to Transylvania University?

Campus Map. Transylvania University
The demolition permit favors the property owner, West Side Properties, LLC. According to the Secretary of State's website, the principal of West Side is an individual who also happens to sit on the Board of Trustees of Transylvania University. Given the growth of Transylvania's campus in recent years, one must consider Transylvania's intent beyond its current campus map? I'm specifically looking at the area to the west of Bourbon Ave. 

So while it is unclear what the long-term will hold for this property, one can be almost certain that the coachman's old shotgun house was once his pride. But it is soon to be demolished and 467 West Fourth Street will be just another part of Lexington's lost past. 
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