walkLEX: 123 West Main Street

Spotlight Lexington 2010
One Hundred Block of West Main, Lexington, Ky.

One of downtown Lexington's ugliest blocks is undergoing a great renovation (the Fayette Co. PVA photographed the block at its absolute worst!). The 100s block of West Main Street, pictured above, includes a number of what appear to be architecturally insignificant buildings. And across the street sits what is now CentrePasture. The block, like many others downtown, is filled with law firms and restaurants.

Two of the block's most attractive buildings sandwich our subject property: 123 West Main Street. The site will soon be an upscale jazz club - called The Green Door - as part of the Bellini's complex. It is great to see another business downtown and we hope it all the success - but let's talk about what is behind the ugly brick facade.

The Lexington Streetsweeper has already done some of the legwork by cropping the 1920-1921 streetscape photos of Asa Coleman Chinn (cropping at right). The original photo can be accessed through the KYDVL and identifies 123 West Main Street as being the home of the Phoenix & Third National Bank.

Compare the old picture with  the picture at the top of this post - you can see some of the architectural features peeking through. Sure, 123 W. Main will never again look like it did during the Roaring Twenties - but we will remain hopeful that some of the historical features that remain will be incorporated into the new design.

This beautiful bank was erected in 1907 after the Quinn House was demolished in 1906. The photograph of the Quinn House (at left) is from the Waller Bullock collection.


For whatever reason, I find this post to be overwhelmingly depressing.
I went for a walk today at lunch time and sat next to this building and just looked at it for a few minutes. It made me think about how short our memories really are, as it would seem almost everyone had forgotten that this was hiding under this brick for years.
The digital archive you posted is even more fascinating and heartbreaking. Its amazing how beautiful Lexington used to be. The loss of the block that now houses the World Trade Center is such a shame.
PJWB said…
I kind of felt that way creating the post. We've talked many more times about what is even worse - the empty surface lots where we know unique buildings once stood.