walkLEX: Bakery repurposed as local art gallery Institute 193

Institute 193 - Lexington, Ky.
Institute 193 - Lexington, Ky.
Over time, the various owners of the building at 193 North Limestone St. in Lexington rehabilitated the structure from its former self as as a bakery-turned-warehouse to become an art gallery. Today, Institute 193, www.institute193.org,  is a trampoline for local artists into larger markets. But the building has a long, yeasty history.

The building is of the Georgian Revival style, circa 1915, and is attributed to the Lexington architect Martin Geertz. It was originally home to "one of the best bakeries in the state" - operated by Mr. Muth (originally of Cincinnati). Before having this structure erected, Mr. Muth owned the Star Stream Bakery at 338 West Short Street.  It would seem that by 1925, Mr. Muth had retired as he then bought a 56 acre farm near Muir Station.

Institute 193 - Lexington, Ky.In Lexington's competitive baking market, Muth's facility would not sit idle for long. L.R. Drury's bakery, a half block south at 148 North Limestone, had opened in 1914 as a small retail outlet emphasizing cakes and catering. Deliveries were made by bicycle. It was said that Drury's was a "modern, high-class service bakery [where] modern machinery, best flour, butter and milk are used." Filling the void left by Muth's departure, Drury expands his operations to the southwest corner of Limestone and Second Streets. Cake and pastry operations remained at 148 North Limestone until 1930 when they were moved to 193 North Limestone bringing all of Drury's baking operations under one roof. By the following year, Drury had "eight automobile trucks" delivering baked goods around central Kentucky. [*]

Institute 193's gallery is perfectly designed to host a solo show. An intimate space, its white walls are plain but the historic feel of the building with its punched tin ceiling give the room texture.

Institute 193 - Lexington, Ky.The work of Mike Goodlett, currently on display, evokes a visceral response. Trained in Cincinnati, this Wilmore artist uses a variety of mediums to separately reveal the fetishes of sexuality and cigarettes.

Our Blue Grass Trust deTour also explored the winding labyrinth of rooms that make up the underbelly of this and other adjoining buildings, including the restaurant le Deauville. Part of a Duhrkop Baking Company oven is still in the building's basement. Duhrkop, a New York company founded in 1887, was a leading oven manufacturer for bakeries around the country with its first installation at the Fleishchmann Bread Company. These rarely explored rooms are a glimpse into a forgotten past.

Additional photographs of Institute 193 and the building can be viewed on flickr.