"Very Handsome," Century Old Fence Removed from Eastern State Hospital Grounds

Remaining Fence at the old Eastern State Hospital - Lexington, Ky.
On Tuesday morning, only about 100 feet of the old iron fence that enclosed the old Eastern State  Lunatic Asylum remained. The great Lexington Land Swap is nearing completion and BCTC will soon be moving into its new campus at Newtown Pike and West Fourth Street.

In early 1905, the fence separating those two streets from the 'lunatic asylum' was a "high board fence" ... "an eyesore for years" which "obscur[ed] from view the beautiful grounds of the institution." While one would not ordinarily consider the grounds of an asylum for their beauty, the institution's 1869 annual report described the "pleasure grounds" as providing "with seats, arbors, flower gardens, swings & ca., are extensive, and are growing more beautiful every day."

Original Retaining Wall Along Fourth Street
And so it was approved that a six foot high, "very handsome" iron fence would replace it. The contract was awarded to the Stewart Iron Works of Cincinnati at a cost of approximately $3,000.

The beautiful fence on the asylum's most prominent corner also bordered what would have been the original acreage of the institution. The asylum's original ten acres were located where Fourth Street joined Newtown Pike (nee Henry's Mill Road) (Fayette DB W, P158).

A widening, however, of Henry's Mill Newtown Pike required the fence's removal. In snapping pictures, I observed that careful attention to detail was being taken in cataloguing the old fence. Neat pallets of iron fencing were stacked along the grass and a forklift was placing them onto a flatbed. The markings on the cab of the flatbed: Stewart Iron Works.

Numbered Post 308
Loading onto a Stewart Iron Works flatbed

Stewart Iron Works, "a tradition of excellence since 1862," confirmed that the fence which the company originally fabricated was being taken to its shop in Erlanger "for sandblasting, repair, E-coating (primer) and powder coat (top coat)." After its restoration, the original fence will be re-installed "in its original condition along a new retaining wall that is to be built."

It is anticipated that the historic fence will return to the property, along Fourth Street only, sometime in late 2013.

More photos on flickr.

Sources: Asylum Projects.org; KY Archeological SurveyLexington Leader; Stewart Iron Works