|The Lady Sterling House. Nicholasville, Ky. Author's collection.|
Only six years earlier, Nicholasville was founded and Jessamine County was formed. These were the earliest of days for our nation, our commonwealth and our community.
|Original 1802 Plat Map of Nicholasville. Jessamine Historical Society.|
In 1839, the log cabin was owned by rented out to a young Englishman, Ross Hughes, and his wife. Mr. Hughes was a stagecoach driver and was on the road often and for considerable time.
|Lady Sterling House. Jessamine PVA.|
The story was told in Bennett Young’s 1898 “History of Jessamine County” and retold by Robin Fain in a 1993 history of the county. The 1898 history of the county said of the log cabin’s condition that “it has been altered and weatherboarded anew, and is still one of the most comfortable residences in the town.”
That weatherboarding disguised history for generations. When Dr. Rice Teater moved from his large home at West Third and Maple streets, many were surprised that the popular physician chose to downsize to the old weathered structure at First and Walnut streets.
But the history-loving Dr. Teater must have known the building’s storied past. Dr. Teater died from injuries sustained during a fire in the structure in the early 1950s.
A second fire, about 25-years ago, resulted in the discovery of the old hewn logs and the revelation that the house had stood since the early days of lot 104. When the Kentucky Historic Resources Survey looked at historic places in Nicholasville in the mid-1980s, it overlooked this covered property which today lies just outside the district listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Yet, it was still a piece of our community’s history that had witnessed nearly all of it. That is, until the events which followed the third fire.
On Thursday evening, another fire consumed the log cabin.
A number of individuals took to social media to express their hope that the 210-year-old building would see another day. Wrote Kim Shea, “if the old cabin could be saved and restored, that would be great.” Ann Royalty hoped that, at a minimum, someone could “have a few of the logs to put on display for history or museum purposes.”
It would have taken preservationists only a few days to determine if some form of salvage was possible.
But those few days weren't to happen. Despite attempting to save at least the old log cabin to be assessed, the entire property was razed early Saturday morning.
How much more of our past must be destroyed before we at least pause to consider it? Remember, demolition is forever.
The post above was originally published in the Jessamine Journal on December 11, 2014.