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[graphic] photo box - map of Kentucky [graphic] Lexington, Kentucky: The Athens of the West a National Register of Historic Places Travel Itinerary
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[graphic] Athens of the Wes
[photo] Engraving of the City of Lexington, as seen from Morrison Hall on the campus of Transylvania University, c18
From Ballou's Pectoral Drawing Room Companion, courtesy of the University of Kentucky's Special Collection
Lexington has a long and important history. Located in the heart of the Bluegrass the city and its citizens have been involved in world affairs politically, economically, and culturally. The history of Lexington dates back more than two centuries and the founding of the town is congruent with the founding of the nation. In 1775 William McConnell and his fellow frontiersman were camped on the outskirts of the current city at what has since become known as McConnell Springs. While encamped at this location the pioneers received word of the "shots heard round the world" and the first battle of the American Revolutionary War at Lexington, Massachusetts. They then named the settlement in honor of this monumental event. Lexington soon became one of the first permanent settlements on the frontier. The town consisted of nothing more than a stockade with the citizens' cabins within the walls. The frontier, at this time, remained a dangerous place and early settlers clashed with the indigenous American Indians. At the time Kentucky was not yet a state but territory within the Commonwealth of Virginia. In 1780 the Virginia General Assembly divided Kentucky County into three separate entities including Fayette, Lincoln, and Jefferson counties. Lexington was deemed the "capital" of Fayette County. In April 1782 the town inhabitants officially petitioned the Virginia General Assembly to become a town. At this point Lexington was transformed from the rough, wild settlement of years past into the community that would soon become known as "the Athens of the West.
Many institutions, events, and people contributed to Lexington being designated the "Athens of the West" in the poem
"But Lexington will ever b
The Loveliest and the Best
A Paradise tour's still to me
Sweet Athens of the West.
Josiah Espy upon his visit to Lexington in 1806 described the city in the following way attesting to its splendor as a frontier settlement
"Lexington is the largest and most wealthy town in Kentucky, or indeed west of the Allegheny Mountains; the main street of Lexington has all the appearance of Market Street in Philadelphia on a busy day ... I would suppose it contains about five hundred dwelling houses [it was closer to three hundred], many of them elegant and three stories high. About thirty brick buildings were then raising, and I have little doubt but that in a few years it will rival, not only in wealth, but in population, the most populous inland town of the United States . . . The country around Lexington for many miles in every direction, is equal in beauty and fertility to anything the imagination can paint and is already in a high state of cultivation
Espy in his observations was correct in predicting the future of Lexington. The city would grow to a town of considerable size
[photo] Old Morrison, built in 1834, located on the campus of Transylvania Colle
Photograph by Eric Thomson, courtesy of the Blue Grass Trust for Historic Preservation
Lexington experienced many notable occurrences in the period 1800 to 1833 during which time it became an intellectual and religious center. The first institute of higher learning west of the Alleghenies was established in nearby Danville in 1780 and moved to Lexington in 1789. Transylvania University has remained in Lexington since 1789 and is prominently known as "The Tutor to the West." John Bradford, an early Lexington, published the first newspaper of the West in Lexington. The first library in Kentucky was founded here in 1795. Many religious organizations were founded in Lexington that became firsts for the state and in some cases in the west. Christ Church Episcopal was founded in 1796 and was the first Episcopal congregation west of the Allegheny Mountains. Walnut Hill Presbyterian Church is the oldest Presbyterian Church building in Kentucky, built in 1801. Another important congregation in Lexington is the First African Baptist Church. This congregation was founded in 1790 and is the third oldest Baptist congregation of African Americans in the United States and the oldest in Kentucky
Lexington has also served as a major economic center throughout its 225-year history. During the early 19th century, Lexington was a major manufacturing center. Most of this manufacturing centered on hemp production. The hemp was grown on area farms and then manufactured into rope on the many "rope walks" or rope factories within the city limits. John Wesley Hunt an area businessman made his fortune in the hemp and mercantile business, making him the first millionaire west of the Allegheny Mountains. With this fortune he constructed his mansion, Honeymoon (the Hunt-Morgan House). Lexington also became an important trade center because of its central location to numerous smaller towns whose citizens traveled to the city for imported goods. During the 20th century much of the money from the Eastern Kentucky coal industry passed through Lexington and helped foster further growth. The Downtown and the North Limestone commercial districts are living testaments to the city's importance as a trading center
[photo] Daguerreotype image of Henry Clay, famous Lexington political figure, c1
Courtesy of the Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, [cap 3c09953r
Politically, Lexington has been actively involved in affairs of the nation. Henry Clay, United States Senator and three-time presidential candidate began his political career in a small office on Mill Street and resided at his mansion, Ashland, when not in Washington on business. Furthermore, Mary Todd Lincoln, wife of President Abraham Lincoln, spent her childhood years in Lexington and grew up in the house of her father on West Main Street. John Cabell Breckenridge, vice president under President James Buchanan also hailed from Lexington and a monument honors him on the courthouse lawn. During the Civil War Lexington was controlled by both Union and Confederate factions. The Union forces used the campus of Transylvania University and were headquartered at the Bollocks House while the Confederate sympathizers used the neighboring Hunt-Morgan House
Lexington continues to be of great importance as the second largest city in the state of Kentucky and the "Horse Capital of the World." Every year thousands flock to Vineland to view the annual horse races and to purchase thoroughbreds at its annual horse sales. During the 20th century the city has seen rapid growth and the city limits continue to grow. This rapid growth began around the turn of the century and many early 20th-century residential neighborhoods, such as the Ashland Park Historic District and the Bell Court Historic Neighborhood District, were built to accommodate this population growth. As we enter the 21st century, Lexington's future continues to look bright
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Suns | t..]850r. t: e,"Lexington History
Lexington is rich in tradition and history. Well-known explorer Daniel Boone established nearby Jonesboro, one of the first settlements in the state, in 1775. It helped pave the way for others to follow and settle an area known as McConnell Springs, Lexington’s birthplace. The settlers later named the area after the site of the opening battle of the Revolutionary War at Lexington, Massachusetts. Fayette County was named in honor of Marquis de Lafayette, France’s largest supporter of the American Revolution in 1780.
Once a part of Virginia, Lexington was granted 710 acres by the Virginia General Assembly in 1782. Ten years later, Virginia released Kentucky, and it assumed statehood, making Frankfort its state capital.
In 1812, Henry Clay, who is known as “The Great Compromiser,” built Ashland, a 400-acre estate. Lexington opened its first city school in 1834. When the 1890’s rolled around, tobacco replaced hemp as the major cash crop in the Bluegrass. By the early 1900’s, Lexington became the world’s largest burley tobacco market.
In 1924, William Monroe Wright, founder of Calumet Baking Powder, joined with a number of farms to form Calumet Farm, home of eight Kentucky Derby champion Thoroughbreds. Legendary Vineland Racecourse opened to huge crowds in 1936, while planes began taking off from nearby Blue Grass Airport in 1942.
In 1974, the city of Lexington and Fayette County merged, creating Kentucky’s only urban county government until recently, when Louisville merged its city and county governments.
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Roads in Kentucky have this funny way of being named for where they are going. For our neighborhood’s namesake road, it all started with what defines Kentucky. It’s why we have horses, it’s why we have bourbon, it’s what makes the bluegrass blue – Limestone
When Lexington was chartered in 1782, there were two streets that ran from the town center northeast – Cross Street, and Mulberry Street. As Lexington developed and expanded in the early 19th Century, these streets changed names – Cross Street became Broadway, and Mulberry Street became Limestone
The intersection of Limestone and Main Street was one of the most important hubs of the city. It was the confluence of the region’s most important roads – Limestone, heading north, was the road to Marysville, where the majority of Lexington’s limestone material for building stock came from, and it extended south to Thomasville; Main Street ventured east to Richmond, and west to Frankfort, Kentucky’s capitol. What is now known as Downtown Lexington developed around the Limestone and Main Street crossing
Intersection of North Limestone and Main Streets, 1840'
North Limestone Street, and the corridor surrounding it, runs through some of the most historical areas in the city. From the 1790s to the 1870s, the first few blocks north of Main Street was a mix of single-family homes and commercial businesses. From wagon manufacturing to leather goods, the healthy mix of business served travelers heading north to the Ohio River. This area now is home to the Fayette County Court Houses, commercial businesses, restaurants, and bar
Past the central business area, the large out-lots were home to large estates, farms and gardens that would end up being subdivided into smaller lots over the years. By the 1880s, North Limestone had developed alleyways and sub street branches that were filled with less expensive clapboard cottages and shotgun-style house
A main fixture of North Limestone Street in the 1890s was an electric streetcar/trolley system. The trolley started in the downtown core, and proceeded north to Loudon Ave. The trolley drove commercial business to the Sixth and Limestone intersection, a main stop on the route, to capture pedestrians getting off the trolley on their way home. With the popularity of the automobile growing, Limestone Street shifted to a one-way northbound street in the early 20th century to prevent congestion without expanding the width of the road
Loudon House Dance Review - Crestwood Park, 194
By the 1920s, North Limestone was one of the most diverse areas of the city. Residents of the street had wildly varying occupations – from artists, factory workers, and doctors, to hemp manufacturers, ministers, and saloon keeper
The majority of Lexington’s light manufacturing industry developed around the intersection of North Limestone and Loudon Avenue. It was home to Lexington’s Trolley System (contained in the Southeastern Greyhound Line building), the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad, numerous hemp manufacturing plants, and the Lockhart and Hurting Malt Factory. Until the city-county merger in 1974, Loudon Avenue was the northern border of Lexington, and became an active suburban area in the early 20th century. New brick commercial businesses developed at the Loudon and Limestone intersection, mixing with the older factory-based businesses, while residential structures began to pop up on Loudon Avenue itself
Branching off of North Limestone is Bryan Avenue (becoming Bryan Station Road), which runs north following the original Limestone Trace, an old buffalo path that ran from Lexington to Paris. North of Loudon, Bryan Avenue is flanked on the east by Casted Park., a small remnant of the Hunt family farm, mercantilists that made a fortune in the hemp and textile industry in 19th Century Lexington. The farm was founded in 1852 when Frances Key Hunt received the property from his wife’s family and erected a Gothic Revival villa for his home. This building came to be known as the Loudoun House. Decades after Hunt’s death in 1879, the farm and villa were bequeathed to the city. The Loudoun House currently houses the Lexington Art League, Lexington’s premiere visual arts organization
The area surrounding Casted Park and Limestone St north of Loudon Avenue consists of commercial businesses and single-family residences that were part of post-World War Wii infill redevelopment effort
Construction of New Circle Road between Newtown Pike and North Limestone, 195
As “urban renewal” hit Lexington in the 1950s and 1960s, the industrial centers of Lexington shifted outside of the downtown area. This disinvestment in the area caused a massive loss in jobs for the mostly pedestrian north side. As a result, the North Limestone neighborhood’s economy collapsed, and many of the houses fell into disrepair and went vacant. Following the exit of industrial centers, businesses began to move out of downtown Lexington, causing further disinvestment in the southern part of the North Limestone neighborhood. In 1954, unemployment was growing at a rate of 260% in the neighborhood
When Lexington began work on New Circle Road in 1955, a circumferential highway encompassing the city, there were encouraging signs of reinvestment along the new highway. However, as construction dragged on and frontage road construction projects were delayed, businesses began to build their own driveways that extended to New Circle. The result of this is one of Lexington’s most congested stretches of roadway, hampered by traffic lights and drive-in strip-malls that are difficult for pedestrians to access. The largely pedestrian Northside is now cut-off to the north by a car-clogged highway
In the early 2000s, the city began infill studies to encourage reinvestment in the downtown and Northside neighborhoods. In 2001, the Whitaker Bank Ballpark was erected on North Broadway, a block away from North Limestone, bringing tourism dollars into the Northside economy. Around this same time, grassroots residential reinvestment began to happen in the area, along with new business openings and investments in culture and public art from Lex Arts and Fuc
In the mid 2000s, the North Limestone Neighborhood Association, in partnership with other Northside neighborhood associations, led a charge to create a master plan for the economic and urban development of the “central sector,” essentially all of Lexington’s Northside. In 2009, the city released the Central Sector Small Area Plan, which highlighted the needs and goals of the community, and created strategies to execute these goals. This was followed up two years later by the North Limestone Sustainability Plan, which addressed environmental quality issues that affected the North Limestone neighborhood. In 2013, the North Limestone Community Development Corporation was established in order to execute the goals of these two plans
North Limestone is one of Lexington’s most diverse, vibrant, and engaging streets. It is an arts and cultural hub of the city featuring organizations like Institute 193, the Living Arts and Science Center, the Lexington Art League, and many more. It also features some of the best restaurants and bars in Lexington – including Le Danville, Arcadia, and Minton’s Restaurant. The North Limestone neighborhood is rapidly returning to its original state as a walkable neighborhood – you can buy your groceries at Shorty’s, get your hair cut at Fleet Street Hair Shoppe, get a straight razor shave at Supreme Service Barber Shop, hear music at Al’s Bar, grab a donut at North Lime Coffee and Donuts, have a picnic in Duncan Park, take your kids to school at Arlington Elementary, Lexington Traditional Magnet, or Sayre School – all within 10 minutes of each other on foot
While we have all of these amazing amenities, there are still so many in our community that are in great need of support. One of the most serious issues that effects our community is a lack of high-quality affordable housing. Currently we are working on developing our own affordable housing, through the support of Lucy's Affordable Housing Trust Fund, along with other private investment
There are also many social service organizations in our neighborhood that need support to continue their operations, whether through volunteering or financial contributions. You can find out more information about them on our Neighborhood Resources peg
COPYRIGHT Noli CDC 2020. [email protected] / 714 NORTH LIMESTONE ST. LEXINGTON, KY 40508
FYI: Noli CDC = NORTH LIMESTONE COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION. e.g., 15s.G.y.d.800s.n.f.s.250d.s.s. s00g.e.e. Unfounded in 1886, Lexington Historical Society is an independent non-profit passionate about preserving Lexington's history and sharing it with the public. The mission of the Historical Society is to be a premier interpreter of the events of April 1775, and the faithful steward of all of the town's history through time.
We give tours of fascinating historic sites, where significant events of the early days of the American Revolution unfolded in Massachusetts. Visitors walk in the steps of John Hancock, Samuel Adams, Paul Revere, and George Washington!
Please note that visitors to Beckman Tavern will need to provide proof of vaccination in order to tour ​(in addition to the mask mandate already in effect in Lexington). More details here.
​Thank you for your cooperation!
LEXINGTON BY FOOT & PHONE Lexington History Resources
Lexington Historical Society
Founded in 1886, the Society has a large archive of local documents and ephemera, as well as some online resources
Cary Memorial Library
Lexington's public library, providing many volumes on local history and genealogy, as well as the online Worthen collection of photographs and documents
Historical area and property record
Compiled by the Lexington Historical Commission, providing information of local buildings, structures and objects, with an interactive online map
Online historical document
A selection of documents from the Town Clerk's archive
Information about the Olde Burying Ground
Lexington's oldest cemetery; the earliest graves date from 1690. Information includes grave locations, and link to an online book about the cemetery
Lexington's founding, from the Historical Commission's Historical Period Summaries
What is now Lexington was originally part of Cambridge, which was established in 1630. From the early 17th century until its incorporation as a town in 1713, Lexington was known by the name of "Cambridge North Precinct" or more commonly, "Cambridge Farms
In the 17th century most of the land that is now Lexington was granted or sold in large tracts to proprietors who lived in Cambridge but used the outlying Lexington land for wood lots or hayfields. The date of the first settlement in "Cambridge Farms" is not known, although old deeds tell us that there was at least one house standing by 1642. Settlement occurred slowly, and in 1682 there were approximately 30 families or 180 persons at the Farm
Faced with a five-to-ten-mile journey to the nearest place of worship, the inhabitants of the Farms began efforts in 1682 to establish themselves as a separate parish. On December 15, 1691, the General Court finally granted their request. The residents of the Farms assembled for the first time as a separate parish in April 1692 and a simple meetinghouse was quickly erected at the junction of the Concord and Bedford Roads (now Massachusetts Avenue and Bedford Street). A burial ground had been established nearby by 1690
Commercial development prior to the town's incorporation consisted primarily of taverns and several small mills. Munroe Tavern was constructed in the 1690s while the Beckman Tavern dates to about 1710. Both still stand today and are managed by the Lexington Historical Society
In 1713, the parish of Cambridge Farms became the town of Lexington, and the first public schoolhouse in Lexington was built on the Common in 171
By the time of the 1765 state census, Lexington was an agricultural community of 912 residents, living in 126 houses
The first battle of the American Revolution took place in Lexington on April 19, 1775, and the town has long been known as "The Birthplace of American Liberty". On that fateful spring morning some seventy-seven militia members led by Captain John Parker stood on the Lexington Common to challenge the British troops. Eight were killed on the Common, seven of whom were residents of Lexington
n.s.5. y. Welcome to Lex History!
Inspiring our future by collecting and preserving Lexington’s history!
Established in 1998, the Lexington History Museum — now Lex History — is dedicated to telling the stories of Lexington’s rich heritage.
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To be the most visible and accessible resource on the history of Lexington for all residents and tourists…anytime, anywhere, and on any device.
See these interesting websites for additional reading and research on Lexington and Central Kentucky.
Your generous donation will help enable us to fulfill the mission of preserving Lexington’s history for future generations.
Lex History | PO Box 748, Lexington, KY 40588 | Copyright © 2022Davis Bottom History
The history of Davis Bottom offers extraordinary insights into the development of a strong, tight-knit, working-class neighborhood in Lexington, Kentucky. Established in 1867, Davis Bottom is one of about a dozen ethnic enclaves built near downtown Lexington after the Civil War. The first residents were mostly African American families who moved to urban centers in search of work, greater security and educational opportunities. Davis Bottom was also home to white European and Appalachian families who established strong family roots and life-long bonds with their neighbors. There are relatively few archival records about life in Davis Bottom. Therefore, every historical document, newspaper account, photo and description provide a rare glimpse into the valuable lives of the people who made Davis Bottom one the most diverse neighborhoods in Kentucky.
For More Info About Davis Bottom, Please Visit UK’s Davis Bottom History Preservation Project Lexington CLT History Lexington was founded in June 1775, 17 years before Kentucky became a state in Sandcastle County, Virginia. At today’s McConnell Springs site, a group of frontiersmen commanded by William McConnell camped on the Middle Fork of Elkhorn Creek (now known as Town Branch and rerouted under Vine Street). The site was given the name Lexington after the colonists’ victory in the Battles of Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775. It was the first of many localities in the United States that bear the name of the Massachusetts town. TIMELINE The Lexington Compact, also known as the “Articles of Agreement, formed by the people of the town of Lexington, in the County of Kentucky,” was signed by 45 founding settlers on January 25, 1780. Because walls surrounded it to protect it from the British and Indians, the town at Lexington was also known as Fort Lexington at the time. The Articles apportioned the land to each share by providing “In” lots of 1/2 acre and “Out” lots of 5 acres. The “In” lots were probably for the family living inside the fortifications, while the “Out” lots were presumably to be “cleared” for farming. (Corn is the only crop referenced expressly in the Articles.) Several of these early immigrants (maybe more) fought under General George Rogers Clark in the 1778–79 Illinois campaign (also known as the Northwestern campaign) against the British. While the nominal founder of Lexington, William McConnell, is not among the signers, Alexander McConnell is. Indians killed both John and Jacob Wore outside the “Fort Lexington” walls less than two years after signing the Agreement. Historic Henry Clay law office in downtown Lexington A large caravan of roughly 600 pioneers from Pennsylvania County, Virginia, known as “The Travelling Church,” landed in the Lexington area in December 1781. The Travelling Church, led by preacher Lewis Craig and Captain William Ellis, established a number of churches, including the South Elkhorn Christian Church in Lexington. The town of Lexington was chartered by an act of the Virginia General Assembly on May 6, 1782. Peter Diuretic, a Baptist pastor, and slave owned by Joseph Craig, founded the First African Baptist Church in Lexington around 1790. Diuretic had accompanied “The Traveling Church” to Kentucky on its journey. This church is the third-oldest black Baptist congregation in the United States and the oldest in Kentucky. In the early 1800s, Lexington was a rising city of the vast territory to the west of the Appalachian Mountains; Josiah Espy described it in a published version of his notes as he toured Ohio and Kentucky: Lexington is the largest and wealthiest city in Kentucky and indeed west of the Allegheny Mountains; Lexington’s main street resembles Market Street in Philadelphia on a busy day. Lexington’s countryside stretches for miles in every direction, is as beautiful and fertile as anything the imagination can conjure up and is already well-cultivated. Lexington planter John Wesley Hunt became the first millionaire west of the Alleghenies in the early 1800s. Henry Clay, a lawyer who married into one of Kentucky’s wealthiest families and served as Speaker of the United States House of Representatives in 1812, was a member of the War Hawks, a group of politicians who advocated for war with Great Britain to boost American exports. Six companies of Lexington volunteers arrived, with a rope walk-on James Erwin’s property on the Richmond Road serving as a recruiting office and barracks until the war ended. During the war, several Lexington rose to prominence as officers. Captain Nathaniel G.S. Hart, for example, commanded the Lexington Light Infantry (also known as the “Silk Stocking Boys”) and was captured following the Battle of the River Raisin and died as a prisoner. In 1814, Henry Clay was a negotiator at the Treaty of Ghent. In 1833, the booming town was ravaged by a cholera outbreak that had spread over the Mississippi and Ohio valleys’ waterways: 500 of Lexington’s 7,000 citizens died within two months, including approximately one-third of Christ Church Episcopel’s flock. One of three clergy's that lingered in the city to aid the suffering victims was London Ferrell, the second preacher of First African Baptist. Slaves were held as field hands, laborers, artisans, and domestic servants. Slaves in the city mostly worked as domestic servants and artisans, but they also worked for merchants, shippers, and a range of other trades. Tobacco and hemp were grown as commodity crops, while thoroughbred horse breeding and racing flourished in this portion of the state. By 1850, Lexington had the state’s greatest concentration of enslaved persons. The city also featured a large population of free blacks, many of whom were mixed race. The First African Baptist Church congregation, led by London Ferrell, a free black from Virginia, had grown to 1,820 by 1850. At the time, the First African Baptist Church had the greatest congregation of any church in Kentucky, black or white. 20th century to present On September 1, 1917, a race riot erupted over tensions between the city’s black and white populations over the shortage of affordable housing. The Colored A. & M. Fair on Georgetown Pike (at one of the largest African American fairs in the South) had drawn more African Americans from the surrounding area into the city. During this time, some US National Guard troops were also camped on the outskirts of town. Three troops pushed customers onto the pavement in front of an African American eatery. A brawl erupted, troops and citizens alike received reinforcements, and a riot ensued. The Kentucky National Guard was called in, and armed soldiers and police monitored the streets once the incident was over. Until the fair was over, all additional National Guard personnel were restricted from the city streets. Tensions erupted once more on February 9, 1920, this time over the trial of Will Locket, a black serial murderer accused of killing Geneva Hartman, a 10-year-old white girl. When a large crowd gathered outside the courthouse where Lockett’s trial was taking place, Kentucky Governor Edwin P. Morrow mobilized National Guard troops to assist local police enforcement. The National Guard opened fire as the crowd approached the courthouse, killing six people and injuring 50 more. Fearing further retaliation from the mob, Morrow wanted the Army of the United States to help. Approximately 1,200 federal troops from nearby Camp Zachary Taylor went into the city the same day, led by Brigadier General Francis C. Marshall, to help National Guard forces and local police in restoring order and calm. For two weeks, Marshall imposed martial law in the city and stationed soldiers around the area. After being found guilty of murdering Hartman, Locket was killed on March 11 at the Kentucky State Penitentiary in Meadville. The Addiction Research Center (ARC) began as a modest research unit at the United States Public Health Service hospital in Lexington in 1935, during the Great Depression. The ARC was one of the nation’s first drug rehabilitation centers, and it was linked with a federal prison. Expanded as the first alcohol and drug rehabilitation hospital in the United States, it was known as “Narcos” of Lexington. The hospital was eventually modified to serve as part of the federal prison system, and it is now known as the Federal Medical Center, Lexington, and it caters to a wide range of health needs for inmates. In the late 1930s and early 1940s, Lexington was also the home of a packhorse library.
Lexington Community Land Trust was founded in 2008 as a partner in the Newtown Pike Extension Project to rebuild Davis Bottom and preserve the affordability and investment in the area. Lexington CLT is the first Community Land Trust in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and partners with low to moderate income home buyers to achieve their dreams of homeownership. Our Quality-Built, Energy Efficient, and Permanently Affordable homeownership opportunities serve as the foundation for a vibrant Urban Village neighborhood, in the redeveloped Davis Park A quick history of Lexington, Kentucky by Barry Posted in Lexington Stuff on Oct 06, 2021, Lexington is the second largest city in Kentucky and is known as the “Horse Capital of the World “. How true that last statement is remains to be seen but there is no doubt that horses have played, and continue to play, an important role in local life. Lexington, Kentucky was originally neither Lexington, nor Kentucky. The area was first settled by frontiersmen who camped in Middle Fork, what is now Town Branch. As Kentucky had yet to be formed, it was originally part of Virginia. Once the settlers heard of the Battles of Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775, they promptly renamed their settlement Fort Lexington. The fort part of the name was because it was originally a fortified town to protect inhabitants from the English. The town was formalized in 1780 with the Lexington Compact. The Compact was known as the “Articles of Agreement, made by the inhabitants of the town of Lexington, in the County of Kentucky.” It divided up areas of the town for farming and for settlement. The arrival of Lewis Craig and Captain William Ellis and the 600 members of the Travelling Church boosted the population significantly. The new settlers build a number of churches, including South Elkhorn Christian Church. The town was hit by cholera in 1833, wiping out over 500 of the 7,000 residents. It knocked the town back for a while but once the epidemic subsided, the town returned to slow and steady growth. That growth remained until the 1930 and the Great Depression. Despite the economic diversity, the town was impacted along with the rest of the county. It wasn’t all bad news though, Lexington, Kentucky became home to one of the first drug rehabilitation clinics in the country with the Addiction Research Center. Early economy of Lexington the early economy of Lexington was primarily made up of farming tobacco and hemp, but horse breeding soon joined them as a primary economic driver for the town. Horse racing soon followed and quickly became a local and then national pastime. Over the years, the local economy diversified into manufacturing, technology and a wide array of supporting businesses. The modern economy is known as a ‘fortified economy’ made up of a wide range of diverse industries and companies, able to sustain effort whatever is going on around the city. Notable companies based in Lexington, Kentucky include Xerox, Lexmark, Lockheed-Martin, IBM, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky, Amazon, UPS and Big Ass Fans. Other economic influences in Lexington, Kentucky include the University of Kentucky, Fayette County Public Schools, Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government, Central Baptist Hospital, Saint Joseph Hospital, Saint Joseph East, and the Veterans Administration Hospital. All combine to provide steady work and low unemployment for residents, which is why Lexington continues to have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the United States. It’s something we appreciate about the city and something we remain proud of to this day. We have worked hard to build a friendly, welcoming city and would encourage anyone to come visit!
Two Traditions Merge
Lexington Catholic High School represents a long tradition of Catholic education in the Bluegrass region. The school was formed in 1951 through the merger of two secondary schools, St. Catherine Academy (founded in 1823) and Lexington Latin High (founded in 1924). The photos below were taken just prior to the destruction of the old building.
(Photography courtesy of Jim Murphy '56)
Lochs moved from its location on Limestone Street to its new and current home on Clays Mill Road in 1957.
The Crest
The school crest is a simple design embodying the ideals and principles on which the school is founded.

The lamp of knowledge on top of the emblem symbolizes the school, to which the students turn for help and guidance.
The shield joins the four main principles around which school life centers:
The dove symbolizes the truth of God around which the Catholic faith revolves.
The "M" stands for Mary, Mother of God, through whom all of our actions are performed.
The plumed helmet represents the knights and ladies whose virtues the students are expected to emulate.
The knot symbolizes the state of Kentucky. This emblem of binding union was chosen because of the state motto, "United we stand, divided we fall."
The Ooh and the SCA on either side of Lexington Catholic represents Lexington Latin High and Saint Catherine's Academy. Lexington Catholic was formed from the merging of these two schools.

In 1954, assistant principal Father Kamen developed these ideas for the crest. In collaboration with Sister Bernadette, Scan, he transferred the ideas to paper. The seal was adopted as the official coat-of-arms that year and can be found on the senior rings from 1954 to the present. Lexington Catholic adopted this updated version of the crest in 2000.
The Mission
Lexington Catholic High School serves as an integral part of the mission of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Lexington. We serve students of all faith traditions by providing a high quality, Catholic, college-preparatory education that fosters the spiritual ideals and moral values of the Gospel. In this dynamic faith community, we nurture the development of the mind, spirit, and body of our students.
Her history
Commissioned in 1943, she set more records than any other Essex Class carrier in the history of naval aviation. The ship was the oldest working carrier in the United States Navy when decommissioned in 1991. An Essex-class carrier, LEXINGTON was originally named the USS Cabot. During World War Wii, final construction was being completed at Massachusetts’ Fore River Shipyard when word was received that the original carrier named USS LEXINGTON, Cover, had been sunk in the Coral Sea. The new carrier’s name was changed to LEXINGTON.
After training maneuvers and a shakedown cruise, LEXINGTON joined the Fifth Fleet at Pearl Harbor. The Fifth Fleet was established April 26, 1944, at this time it was Central Pacific Force. During World War II, the carrier participated in nearly every major operation in the Pacific Theater and spent a total of 21 months in combat. Her planes destroyed 372 enemy aircraft in the air, and 475 more on the ground. She sank or destroyed 300,000 tons of enemy cargo and damaged an additional 600,000 tons. The ship’s guns shot down 15 planes and assisted in downing five more.
The Japanese reported LEXINGTON sunk no less than four times! Yet, each time she returned to fight again, leading the propagandist Tokyo Rose to nickname her “The Blue Ghost.” The name is a tribute to the ship and the crew and air groups that served aboard her.
After the war, LEXINGTON was briefly decommissioned (1947-1955). When reactivated, she operated primarily with the Seventh Fleet out of San Diego, California. Although not involved in actual combat, LEXINGTON kept an offshore vigil during tensions in Formosa, Laos, and Cuba.
In 1962, she sailed into Pensacola, Florida, and began training operations, eventually being officially designated Covered, Navy Training Carrier. Corpus Christi is privileged to be selected as the permanent home to this national treasure. Skip to content
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Davis Bottom History
The history of Davis Bottom offers extraordinary insights into the development of a strong, tight-knit, working-class neighborhood in Lexington, Kentucky. Established in 1867, Davis Bottom is one of about a dozen ethnic enclaves built near downtown Lexington after the Civil War. The first residents were mostly African American families who moved to urban centers in search of work, greater security and educational opportunities. Davis Bottom was also home to white European and Appalachian families who established strong family roots and life-long bonds with their neighbors. There are relatively few archival records about life in Davis Bottom. Therefore, every historical document, newspaper account, photo and description provide a rare glimpse into the valuable lives of the people who made Davis Bottom one the most diverse neighborhoods in Kentucky.
For More Info About Davis Bottom, Please Visit UK’s Davis Bottom History Preservation Project
Lexington CLT History
Lexington Community Land Trust was founded in 2008 as a partner in the Newtown Pike Extension Project to rebuild Davis Bottom and preserve the affordability and investment in the area. Lexington CLT is the first Community Land Trust in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and partners with low to moderate income home buyers to achieve their dreams of homeownership. Our Quality-Built, Energy Efficient, and Permanently Affordable homeownership opportunities serve as the foundation for a vibrant Urban Village neighborhood, in the redeveloped Davis Park neighborhood. Skip to content
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Cemetery History
The classic gateway to The Lexington Cemetery opens into a significant community of the towns and state’s past. Symbolically it was near this spot in 1775 that a small band of land hunters who had ventured out from Fort Harrod to spy out the countryside came to rest and were said to have given the place the name Lexington. That small band of backwoods on a June day could not possibly have realized that the place where they camped would three quarters of a century later become one of perpetually extending historical importance. Alongside the bronze marker which commemorates the first viewing of the site of future Lexington stands the classic gateway to the town’s major cemetery, and in truth its garden of history.
Thomas D. Clark
Excerpt from “A History of The Lexington Cemetery” by Burton Millard with introduction by Thomas D. Clark.
1848 - 1860
Before The Lexington Cemetery
In 1848, Lexington did not have a suitable sacred place to bury their dead. At a time when Lexington was experiencing rapid growth, the dead were either buried in family burial grounds, crowded church graveyards, or “First Hill,” the burial ground of the pioneer settlement of Lexington. These traditional graveyards did not have enough capacity to support future burials, and some of the church cemeteries allowed only members to be buried in their grounds. People were concerned that these types of graveyards were a menace to public health, contaminating wells and springs. One of the disadvantages of private cemeteries was that deceased members of families buried in family burial ground were left behind if families eventually decided to sell their land.
1848 Charter
At the request of a group of Lexington’s most prominent citizens, Kentucky General Assembly approved an act on February 5, 1848, that incorporated the Lexington Cemetery Company and authorized it to establish a rural, or garden, cemetery. The act required the cemetery to provide perpetual care of its grounds and graves. Almost a year passed before any effective action was taken to implement the charter. On January 23, 1849, four men, M.T. Scott, Benjamin Gratz, Madison C. Johnson, and Richard Higgins, decided to raise by subscription the sum of $12,000 to buy land and get the cemetery started. In only a few days, twenty-four men each pledged $500. On February 12, 1849, the General Assembly amended the charter to name most of these subscribers.
The founders included:
M. T. Scott, officer and later president of the Northern Kentucky Bank (treasurer)
Madison C. Johnson, officer and later president of the Northern Kentucky Bank
Benjamin Gratz, hemp manufacturer, attorney and director of the bank
Richard Higgins, prosperous merchant and owner of Castle Vania Farm (secretary)
Stephen Swift, wholesale and retail grocer
Joel Higgins, planter
David A. Sayre, banker and founder in 1854 of Sayre Female Institute
John Milford, president of Northern Bank
A.T. Skillet, bookseller (president)
Emily's K. Sayre, attorney
Robert Wickliffe, attorney known as “The Old Duke”
Thomas Hemingway, partner in the Oldham, Todd & Co. woolen mill at Hendersonville
John B. Milford, grocer and banker
John Lutz, civil engineer and acting president of Transylvania University
D.M. Craig, dry-goods merchant
A.F. Hawkins, employee at the Northern Bank
Benjamin Warfield, attorney
Rev. Robert J. Breckenridge, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church and state superintendent of public instruction
Dr. Elisha Warfield, merchant and horseman (brother of Benjamin Warfield)
John Brand, retired hemp manufacturer and director of the Northern Bank
George W. Sutton, hemp manufacturer
Henry T. Duncan, attorney and horseman
Edward Macalester, merchant (son-in-law of John Brand)
Boswell’s Woods
The board purchased a forty-acre tract of land owned by Thomas E. Boswell (known as Boswell’s Woods) which was located on Lewiston Pike at what was then the edge of the city. They paid $7,000 for the heavily forested land that had been used as hunting grounds. When it was purchased, Boswell’s Woods contained a small family graveyard. These graves are preserved as part of Section A.
Laying out the grounds
Prior to the chartering of the cemetery, a prominent British landscape architect, John C. Louden, published a small book, On the Laying Out, Planting and Managing of Cemeteries. The first general manager of The Lexington Cemetery, Charles S. Bell, was familiar with the information contained in Louden’s book.
Bell came to the United States from Scotland in the summer of 1842 and was hired on April 1, 1849. His dream was to create a park-like, landscaped cemetery. Inspired by his training in Scotland as a horticulturist, Bell brought to Lexington a new “rural” concept that originated in Europe and practiced in Boston, Massachusetts.
By May 1849, Bell and one of the cemetery founders, John Lutz began to lay out the grounds including the roads, sections and lots. It was the responsibility of Bell to complete the landscaping and horticultural work. Bell’s keen interest in horticulture was apparent by his initiative to erect the cemetery greenhouse in 1854.
It is said that Bell was a methodical man and a perfectionist. Consequently, Bell and the trustees maintained their position not to open the cemetery until the grounds were sufficiently prepared.
By mid-July, after Bell and the trustees felt that they had made adequate progress, an advertisement was placed in the Lexington Observer & Reporter on July 13, 1849, informing the community that there were lots for sale in of The Lexington Cemetery.
The First burials
The cemetery corporation sold its first lot on August 18, 1849, to A. B. College, a community businessman who bought the lot for Robert S. Boyd, a merchant tailor and Colwell’s partner. After his death in June from cholera, Boyd had been laid to rest in the Episcopal Cemetery until his reinterment into The Lexington Cemetery was arranged. He was interred in the newly opened Section A with his infant son, whose date of death is unknown. The Lexington Cemetery erected a monument to commemorate the first burial in the garden cemetery, which took place on October 2, 1849.
Eighty-six burials had been conducted by the end of 1850, including reinterment of remains from several other community graveyards. The sections then opened were those presently designated as A, B, C, D, F, H, and K.
Gateway to “The City of the Dead”
On May 9, 1849, A. T. solicited bids for the erection of the Gateway and Buildings connected. The plan and specifications had already been drawn by John McMurtry. By October 1850, McMurtry completed his part of the construction of the gateway at a cost of $2,735.23. The next month, H. Moore received $14 for “cutting stone sills for the gateway,” and in December W. H. Newberry, a blacksmith, was paid $254.15 for making the three iron gates.
The structure was more than a mere gateway. The central entrance was flanked by narrow pedestrian gates, and on either side of these were reception and office rooms. Above the east gate was inscribed “Lexington Cemetery, Founded A.D. 1849.” Over the west gate were the words “The City of the Dead.”
The death of Henry Clay
At 74 years of age and in failing health, The Honorable Henry Clay wanted to return to Washington, D.C. to use his influence as “The Great Pacifica,” in an effort to stop the trend toward civil war. While in the capital city, his health deteriorated, and he died on June 29, 1852.
Prior to his death, Clay received a letter from John Lutz, who offered him a 44 x 44-foot block in Section I. Lutz received these four lots for his work in laying out the grounds of The Lexington Cemetery. Clay graciously accepted the space in letter from his Ashland home on May 26, 1851. In the letter Clay commented, “…by your generous gift, you have provided a beautiful spot for the repose of my mortal remains.”
Ten days elapsed from the date of Clay’s death and the day he was buried. Many admirers and even former political foes wished to pay tribute to the Great Pacificator. Several services were conducted during those ten days of mourning. The first memorial service occurred in the Senate chamber in Washington. He was then taken by steamboat and train to Baltimore, Philadelphia, Trenton, New York, Albany, Buffalo, Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Louisville and Frankfort. Finally on July 9, 1852, Clay reached Lexington by train.
Clay’s procession began at his Ashland home where his casket was placed on a bier in front of his residence. A service was conducted there, and then began the slow solemn procession of national, state and local dignitaries, military units and family west on Main Street to the cemetery. Buildings along the route were draped and an estimated 30,000 people from Lexington and afar were assembled for the rites. The cemetery found it necessary to take down part of the fence along Lewiston Pike as a result of the mass of people. Upon arrival at The Lexington Cemetery, Clay was placed in a receiving vault until a few days later when he was interred in the lot provided by John Lutz.
Newspapers and pictorial journals throughout the country reported the funeral that attracted national, regional and local dignitaries.
On June 30, 1852, just one day after the death of Henry Clay, a group of his friends met at the Fayette County courthouse to adopt a resolution to build a “NATIONAL MONUMENT OF COLOSSAL PROPORTIONS” in The Lexington Cemetery, to “commemorate the virtuous deeds of his long and glorious life.” A committee was organized to raise money for the creation of the memorial.
By 1857, the committee raised enough money to advertise for designs for the monument. More than 100 plans were submitted. The successful bidder was John of Frankfort who agreed to build the Clay monument, furnish all materials and hoisting apparatus at a cost of $43,920.
The cornerstone was laid on the Fourth of July 1857 with a public ceremony, followed by programs at the Agricultural & Mechanical Association grounds (now the University of Kentucky campus). The monument was completed in 1861, but because of the onset of the Civil War, Clay’s body was not placed into the monument until April 8, 1864, at which time, the bodies of both Henry Clay and his wife were placed in the vault side-by-side upon her death.
The monument stands on a small hill, the only structure in Section M of the cemetery, with the statue facing eastward toward Clay’s home, Ashland, The Henry Clay Estate.
Nature took its toll on the Henry Clay Monument during the early decades of the twentieth century. In 1903, a terrific storm knocked the head off the statue and sent it hurtling 130 feet to the ground. In 1908, the General Assembly appropriated $10,000 for a new statue. It was carved by Charles S. Mulligan of Chicago. Another storm damaged the new structure in 1910, when lightning struck it, breaking off the right hand, shattering the right leg, and causing some damage to the body. The legislature paid $10,000 for repairs once again.
For the next half of the century thereafter, the monument deteriorated from weather and other corrosive elements. Since the Clay Monument Association no longer existed and The Lexington Cemetery Company had deeded the land to the association, no one had an obligation to care for the monument. Finally in the early 1970s, after numerous outcries from civic leaders, the Fayette Circuit Court vested ownership of the “orphan” monument to the city. Through the government’s initiative, the Henry Clay Monument was completely renovated in 1976.
The Lexington Cemetery rededicated the monument on July 29, 1976, and tribute was paid to those who had worked so long and hard to restore it. Today, visitors from throughout the United States admire the beautiful and magnificent structure that memorializes one of the most notable citizens of Lexington and the United States.
In 1999, Lexington-Fayette County Urban Government transferred ownership of the Henry Clay Monument to The Lexington Cemetery.
1861 - 1936
1937 - 1996
1997 - Present
160th Anniversary
Written by John Alexander
Chapter 1 – The Foundation
The Lexington Opera House observed its Silver Season in 2002, noting with pride that its courageous move to renovate the theatre at a time when other cities were building parking lots where their theatres had been a successful idea.
But to understand the full significance of the presence of the Opera House in this community, you need to be aware of the 210-year history of theatre in Lexington. Theatres are more than just buildings — they take on personalities which reflect the reasons they exist. In this case, the building we honor this season is a direct product of a tradition which began in Lexington’s earliest days.
Imagine with me the Central Kentucky of the 1780s and ’90s. It was the neck of a funnel, with almost everyone who was going west in those years coming through Central Kentucky. The rivers carried some, others followed the Wilderness Road and still others followed trails. They came in unimaginable numbers, and some of them stayed. Though travel was difficult — either on horseback or on foot, perhaps on a wagon — over roads that were merely trails in the dirt, those who were settling were bringing with them the necessities of civilization, including schools.
As early as 1780 the Virginia Assembly chartered “a public school or Seminary of Learning” to which it granted 8,000 acres of land confiscated from British loyalists as an endowment. Three years later the assembly added 12,000 acres to the endowment, and classes were started in the cabin of the Rev. David Rice near Danville in 1785. In 1789 classes were moved to a cabin on the outskirts of Lexington, and in 1790 to the home of the Rev. James Moore, who was also rector of Christ Church.
That was the year — two years before Kentucky gained statehood — that student from the school (Transylvania University) performed before a “respectable audience” an unnamed farce and an unnamed tragedy. These were the first theatrical productions of record west of the Allegheny Mountains. They were reviewed 16 days later by The Kentucky Gazette. Move the calendar up to May 19, 1801, and you find a notice in Stewart’s – Kentucky Herald that The School for Arrogance and The Farmer were to be offered in “the theatre” on Thursday, May 21. This is the first notice of a permanent theatre whose location was assumed to be common knowledge west of the Alleghenies. Cincinnati didn’t have a theatre until five months later.
Interest in and growth of the theatre was phenomenal. The Kentucky Encyclopedia maintains that there were almost 600 productions of plays in Kentucky between 1790 and 1820. A review of newspaper ads from those days indicates the bulk of them were in Lexington. One reason for this was likely Luke Usher, apparently the first professional theatre manager in the state, who arrived here in 1806 and opened Luke Usher’s New Theatre in Lexington in 1808. He soon controlled theatres in Louisville and Frankfort as well as his Lexington base of operations. This tended to solidify Lexington’s influence. The Ushers also organized a professional production company.
You frequently find Lexington referred to as “the Athens of the West” and usually it refers to the tremendous influence of Transylvania University and its medical school and seminary, to the newspapers published here, to the politicians and landowners.
But it refers equally to the entertainment culture, especially theatre. At this time in history, Lexington’s population was larger than that of Chicago, and the residents highly educated. Thus, Lexington had quality professional theatre 20 years before St. Louis and 30 years before Chicago.
It is on this foundation that Lexington’s present culture and the Opera House are built.
Chapter 2 – Early Theatres
Lexington’s Opera House does not stand alone in history. Rather, it is the logical culmination of a culture which grew steadily through the 19th century.
To the point: a few of us were standing outside today’s Opera House and the comment was made, regarding the Lexington Children’s Theatre across Short Street, that “this would be an ideal place for an entertainment district.” And it would be. And it has been before.
In fact, the entire Lexington Center complex geographic area comprised the theatre district for more than a century. It seems to have started on October 12, 1808, when Luck Usher’s New Theatre was opened at Spring and Water Streets (both now covered by the Lexington Center). In that year Lexington began having regular theatrical seasons, which included eighteen attractions by 1810. Beginning in that year, there were always at least two houses competing for business, at times several of them.
One of them was Lell’s, which at various times was known as Lell’s Hall, Lell’s Casino Theatre, and Lell’s Opera House. Located on Short Street, just west of Broadway, it had little in common with the Opera House of today, except maybe a name. Lulls was more like a night club where the audience drank beer while watching a “girlie” show with a male comedian as top banana. Women were rarely seen in Lell’s except on stage. All of this is mentioned only because some purists insist that Lexington never had burlesque, only vaudeville. Which is, of course, nonsense. Lulls was burlesque pure and simple.
To return to the topic at hand, the area around Broadway and Main Streets was literally full of theatres that opened and then closed. One of them, at the southeast corner of Main and Broadway which opened in 1850, came to be known as The Opera House and emerged as the leader. It came to attract such luminaries as Edwin Booth, Scout of the Plains starring Buffalo Bill Cody, General Tom Thumb and his dwarf troop. It prospered during the Civil War and began to gain some prestige on the circuits, although it didn’t offer the nationally famous entertainment on a regular basis.
This theatre became a staple of Lexington’s culture, even though it is said to have been “little more than a barn.” And it was beginning to attract tourists to Lexington to see the plays. According to hotel managers who remembered well the tremendous economic impact of the present Opera House, the beginnings of that tradition started right here.
Thus it was something of a community shock when, on the morning of Jan. 15, 1886, fire took less than a hour to level the structure. Theatre had reached such a level of importance in Lexington that not only was there emotional impact, but economic impact as well. Livery stables (remember, horses were the transportation then), hotels, restaurants, transportation companies all were affected.
Chapter 3 – A New Opera House
Perhaps there is truth to the adage that you really don’t miss anything until it is gone. Such, it seems, is the case with the Opera House because plans to construct a replacement were initiated almost immediately after fire destroyed the original structure in January 1886.
Oscar Cobb of Chicago, the leading theatrical architect of the day, was hired to design the new theatre and the architecture-construction contract was awarded to H. L. Rowe of Lexington by the Broadway Real Estate Company. Construction began in June of 1886 and was completed by July. Cobb, who was later to design the Cincinnati Shubert as well as other prominent theatres, spared no expense in creating an opulence soon to become the benchmark against which other new theatres were evaluated.
One reviewer called it “one of the costliest, handsomest and most convenient Thespian temples in the South” and “an object of cherished pride in the city.” Another pointed out that “every seat is cushioned and comfortable and 596 of them are elegantly upholstered with Turkey Morocco and velvet, with hat racks and cane and umbrella holder, and a most ingenious arrangement by a spring in the back for assisting persons into their seats. There are 250 gaslights, 37 sets of scenery and a drop curtain. The frescoes are all gems, from the beautiful female figures made to appear life-size in the dome down to the smallest flower.”
Safety was a concern — the house had standpipes with water under pressure and abundant hose connections which could flood the whole stage from loft to boards in a minute in case of fire. Comfort was another concern — a six-inch pipe from a nearby ice factory ran ice water into the building to cool the temperature.
There was an economic goal as well. Lexington was strategically located for acts traveling the major circuits between Louisville and Cincinnati and later to Knoxville or Chattanooga. Railroad connections, which were needed to transport the sets as well as the actors, were excellent.
The goal was apparent — and once again shows an amazing amount of foresight on the part of the builders. In those days there was no radio, no television, no wire services for news. Also, there was no basketball, no football, no baseball. Just the presence of someone from out-of-town was a curiosity — he or she might have news. A whole company of out-of-state was indeed something else. Not only that, but it was easier to bring the theatre to Lexington than to take Lexington to an out-of-town theatre.
The appeal was to the masses, the pitch was for diversion and entertainment, and the response was tremendous. The manager of the Leonard Hotel (during the heyday of the Opera House) said that weekend trips to Lexington to the theatre were regular fare.
Chapter 4 – Good Timing
The timing really couldn’t have been much better. Construction of a theatre which was to become a model for houses yet to be built, in a city already known for its society and such, and the Gay ‘90s about to begin. You really couldn’t ask for much more in order to create an atmosphere of extravagance and conspicuous consumption.
The present Opera House opened with a concert by the Cincinnati Symphony on July 19, 1887, and a month later (Aug. 29) offered its first dramatic event, Our Angel starring Lizzie Evans. For quite a while the theatre itself was the star. When it opened it came equipped with an Edison light board, state of the art at the time, which was still operable at the time of the 1976 renovation. The stage had a complex series of trap doors to enable horses (and other animals) to be used in stage productions. Both these features were innovations in that time and place. The theatre was in two parts, the auditorium and stage area, which backed up to Saucier Avenue as it does today and reaches about halfway to Broadway. It was four stories high, the stage area contained about 2,220 square feet, the auditorium about 3,360. There were two balconies. The original entrances apparently were arcades built on leased property, soon replaced with an entrance lobby 32 feet by 80 1/2 feet, facing Broadway. It had three stories and an alley separated it from the buildings to the north, including a 37 by 57-foot building used for dressing rooms and storage. It was rather obvious the engineering went into the auditorium and stage area; the rest was after-thought.
The continual rainfall in An Inspector Calls was touted as – and actually was – a landmark in stagecraft. But it wasn’t the first on the Opera House stage. It wasn’t all that long after opening before several extravaganzas began to attract attention throughout the region. Almost immediately there was the Henley Regatta (in 1890) for which the stage was flooded and in which most of the action took place in rowboats.
Then, in 1893, came Country Circus, which featured 100 animals and a mile-long parade which comprised the entire third act. Extensive remodeling was needed before Ben Hur could be staged with its on-stage chariot race. The Morning Herald reported that this stage was better equipped than the Broadway stage on which it had opened. Transporting the company involved ten 60-foot baggage cars, two stock cars, ten Pullman sleepers, two-day coaches and two diners. There were no trucks or buses in those days.
The real feature of the house turned out to be the acoustics. The old-timers who worked there insisted there wasn’t a bad seat in the house, sight-wise or sound-wise. Those acoustics have carried over well into the renovated Opera House. The house not only carries stage whispers quite well, but it also picks up audience whispers and foot shuffling and such and carries it around the house as well. Proof is the night of Eugene Fodor’s appearance with the Lexington Philharmonic – the inaugural event – when a buzzing could be heard all over the house. The electronics were checked and so on, and it turned out to be a pager in a doctor’s pocket, but it carried so well it couldn’t be immediately traced.
The good times continued to roll until the Roaring ’20s, when a number of things combined to choke theatre throughout the country.
Chapter 5 – Hard Times
The good times rolled on for about a quarter of a century, then came cultural changes too difficult to accommodate. The automobile replaced the horse for transportation, and people began taking longer trips. The trip to Lexington was no longer an event, but just a day trip. Radio brought entertainers into the home, where before people had to go to theatres to hear the entertainers. Most of all, motion pictures began to replace legitimate theatre for entertainment.
Lexington fell victim to the trend. The last full season at the Opera House was the 1920-21 season, and the last live performance in that house was The Arabian (Oct. 1, 1926). Declining profits due to movies and radio made management unable to meet the demands of stagehands and musicians, and the house went dark for the first time since it had opened. It was quickly converted to a movie house. A false ceiling was added, and the boxes were boarded up. Though vaudeville and burlesque played occasionally, and though there were still occasional legitimate productions, the days of Lexington being a theatrical center were over.
But not without some contributions to regional and national theatre – and not without some laughs. The list of performers is a veritable “Who’s Who” of theatre of that day – all the Barrymore's, Otis Skinner, W.C. Fields, Sarah Bernhardt, Lillian Russell, Maude Adams, Fanny Brice, Eddie Cantor, Houdini, Al Jolson, Ada Meade, Will Rogers, Edward Everett Horton, Sophie Tucker and Helen Hayes for starters. The John Philip Sousa Band and the Victor Herbert Orchestra were regulars. The significance is that it shows that Kentucky was not a backward place. This was a commercial venture for profit, and most of these folks kept coming back, which means they were well-accepted drawing, at the very least, respectable audiences.
And there is the contribution the Lexington Opera House made to construction of Cincinnati’s Shubert Theatre. Though the entrance to the Shubert was on a corner instead of the middle of a block, once inside the houses were hauntingly similar. David Merrick, who brought I Do! I Do! to the Cincinnati Shubert for its warm-up run said the reason he chose that theatre was because it was the only one in the country which worked in an intimate setting. Its acoustics were copied from the Opera House by Oscar Cobb, who designed that theatre from a YMCA building. The acoustics have been copied frequently, but never seemed to work quite as well as here and the Shubert.
[A now-somewhat-amusing glitch marked the early years of the Opera House: Nine actors performing in Oh! Calcutta! were arrested and charged with violation of a new obscenity ordinance. This was nothing new really. In 1891 the display of a woman’s bare leg on the stage brought a plea from a local church that “a bombshell falls in the midst of the Opera House and completely crush it.”]
Ironically, the Opera House even brought on its own competition. One night in 1913, Mrs. James Ben Ali Hanging returned early from a trip and went to the Opera House, where she discovered the seats in her box had been resold and were not available to her. In retaliation, her husband built a theatre, the Ben Ali, which competed with and could have rivaled the Opera House. However, it too fell into decline.
Thus, came to an end the glory days of the first part of the 20th century. But there was more to come.
Chapter 6 – The Movie House
If the Harry Schwartz family had any doubts about the future of the Opera House as a movie house, it wasn’t apparent in the ads of the time. They seemed confident that converting the Opera House was the right move (the rest of the country was doing the same thing) and actually quite proud to be the first to offer “moving pictures” to Lexington.
But they were running into competition from the Ben Ali, which also converted, from the Strand and from the Kentucky, which the Swatow family from Louisville built with every intention of making it the finest motion picture palace in the south, complete with Wurlitzer theatre organ, uniformed doormen to open your car doors and a decor which actually rivaled that of the Opera House.
The Opera House, meanwhile, had been remodeled. A false ceiling cut off everything above the second balcony, which was reserved for “colored people.” The balcony boxes were plaster boarded. The acoustics were destroyed.
It seems that the main factor in destroying the theatre’s business was not so much the other movie houses but the depression. Not only the Opera House, but the Ben Ali and the Kentucky tried bringing in occasional stage shows (the last at the Opera House was Tobacco Road in 1936) as well as vaudeville and burlesque. They met with little success.
Price Coomer says he went to work for Harry Schwartz, the absentee owner, in 1930 and bought the house from him in 1955. He remodeled it several times as a movie house, and to him belongs the credit for saving it from the first wrecker’s ball. This was in 1961, when both the Opera House and the adjacent Peerless Laundry were scheduled to be demolished. Ultimately, the laundry was torn down and an important windbreak protecting the theatre was removed.
In 1968, freak winds caused part of the false ceiling to fall and also caused many of those who were involved in the urban renewal project which was getting underway in downtown Lexington to want to include the Opera House in its scope. They saw it only as a third-run movie house or worse (which by now it actually was) and they were totally unaware of both the rich tradition which was associated with the house, and the vast treasure of theatre architecture which remained intact behind the cheap facade.
Public and private campaigns were started to educate the public as well as community political and financial 1eaders about the heritage involved with the historic structure. It came to a head in 1973, when a high wind demolished the roof of the building. Building inspectors determined the building was essentially sound, and urban planners discovered that it would be cheaper to renovate the structure ($2.5 million) than to build a new one ($7 million). Besides that, there was some thought that some city somewhere should begin to preserve some of its past.
At about this same time there was announced that the Cincinnati Shubert would be closing, and its property turned into a parking garage. This was the most important legitimate theatre in the nation, because it was frequently used as a test market. Located in the mid-west, it had uncanny accuracy regarding audience reaction. It was there that David Merrick restructured I Do! I Do! into the hit it became. It was there that? Tea for Two? was added to No, no, Nanette! and also became a hit, and there those others were tested against audiences in warm-up runs.
There was only one other house in the region that shared such a tradition — the Opera House. Private and public fund drives were started which culminated in the attachment of the Opera House to the Lexington Center complex.
Lexington, Kentucky
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Lexington, Kentucky
Consolidated city-county
Lexington-FayetteUrban County
From top, left to right: Lexington skyline, Krupp Arena/Central Bank Center, Vineland Racecourse, Dynamite Farm, Kroger Field, University of Kentucky Arboretum, Old Fayette County Courthouse, Intra headquarters
Nickname(s):Athens of the West,[1] Horse Capital of the World
Location in the Commonwealth of Kentucky

Lexington, KentuckyLocation in the United States
Coordinates: 38°01′47″N 84°29′41″WCoordinates: 38°01′47″N 84°29′41″W
United States
• Type
• Mayor
Linda Gorton
• Urban County Council
15-member legislative council
• Consolidated city-county
285.54 sq mi (739.54 km2)
• Land
283.64 sq mi (734.62 km2)
• Water
1.90 sq mi (4.92 km2)
• Urban
87.5 sq mi (226.7 km2)
978 ft (298 m)
• Consolidated city-county
• Rank
US: 60thKentucky: 2nd
• Density
1,137.26/seq mi (439.10/km2)
• Urban
• Metro
517,056 (US: 109th)
745,033 (US: 70th)
Time zone
• Summer (DST)
ZIP codes
40502–40517, 40522–40524, 40526, 40533, 40536, 40544, 40546, 40550, 40555, 40574–40583, 40588, 40591, 40598
Area code
Blue Grass AirportLEX (Regional)
U.S. Routes
State Routes
Kentucky River
Lexington is the second-largest city in Kentucky and the county seat of Fayette County. By population, it is the 57th-largest city in the United States, and by land area, is the country's 28th-largest city. Known as the "Horse Capital of the World", it is the heart of the state's Bluegrass region. Notable locations in the city include the Kentucky Horse Park, The Red Mile and Keeneland race courses, Rupp Arena, Transylvania University, the University of Kentucky, and Bluegrass Community and Technical College.
As of the 2020 census the population was 322,570, anchoring a metropolitan area of 516,811 people and a combined statistical area of 747,919 people. Lexington is consolidated entirely within Fayette County, and vice versa. It has a nonpartisan mayor-council form of government, with 12 council districts and three members elected at large, with the highest vote-getter designated vice mayor.
See also: Timeline of Lexington, Kentucky; Lexington, Kentucky, in the American Civil War; History of Kentucky; and National Register of Historic Places listings in Fayette County, Kentucky
Lexington was named in June 1775, in what was then considered Fincastle County, Virginia, 17 years before Kentucky became a state. A party of frontiersmen, led by William McConnell, camped on the Middle Fork of Elkhorn Creek (now known as Town Branch and rerouted under Vine Street) at the site of the present-day McConnell Springs. Upon hearing of the colonists' victory in the Battles of Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775, they named the site Lexington. It was the first of many American places to be named after the Massachusetts town.[4]
On January 25, 1780, 45 original settlers signed the Lexington Compact, known also as the "Articles of Agreement, made by the inhabitants of the town of Lexington, in the County of Kentucky."[5] The settlement at Lexington at this time was also known as Fort Lexington, as it was surrounded by fortifications to protect from the British and from Indians. The Articles allocated land by granting "In" lots of 1/2 acre to each share, along with "Out" lots of 5 acres for each share. Presumably the "In" lots were for the family dwelling inside the fortifications, while the "Out" lots were to be "cleared" for farming. (Corn is the only crop specifically mentioned in the Articles.) It is known that several of these original settlers (perhaps many of them) served under General George Rogers Clark in the Illinois campaign (also called the Northwestern campaign) against the British in 1778–79. [6][7] While the ostensible founder of Lexington, William McConnell, is not one of the signees, an Alexander McConnell is. Within two years of signing the Agreement, both John and Jacob Wymore were killed by Indians in separate incidents outside the walls of "Fort Lexington".[8]
Historic law office in downtown Lexington
Henry Clay
In December, 1781, a huge caravan of around 600 pioneers from Spotsylvania County, Virginia--dubbed "The Travelling Church"--arrived in the Lexington area. Led by the preacher Lewis Craig and Captain William Ellis, the Travelling Church established numerous churches, including the South Elkhorn Christian Church in Lexington. [9]On May 6, 1782, the town of Lexington was chartered by an act of the Virginia General Assembly.[2] Around 1790, the First African Baptist Church was founded in Lexington by Peter Durrett,[10] a Baptist preacher and slave held by Joseph Craig. Durrett had helped guide "The Travelling Church" on its trek to Kentucky. This church is the oldest black Baptist congregation in Kentucky and the third-oldest in the United States.[10][11]
In the early 1800s, Lexington was a rising city of the vast territory to the west of the Appalachian Mountains; Josiah Espy described it in a published version of his notes as he toured Ohio and Kentucky:[12]
Lexington is the largest and most wealthy town in Kentucky, or indeed west of the Allegheny Mountains; the main street of Lexington has all the appearance of Market Street in Philadelphia on a busy day ... I would suppose it contains about five hundred dwelling houses [it was closer to three hundred], many of them elegant and three stories high. About thirty brick buildings were then raising, and I have little doubt but that in a few years it will rival, not only in wealth, but in population, the most populous inland town of the United States ... The country around Lexington for many miles in every direction, is equal in beauty and fertility to anything the imagination can paint and is already in a high state of cultivation.[13]
In the early 19th century, Lexington planter John Wesley Hunt became the first millionaire west of the Alleghenies. Henry Clay, a lawyer who married into one of the wealthiest families of Kentucky and served as Speaker of the United States House of Representatives in 1812, helped to lead the War Hawks, pushing for war with Great Britain to bolster the markets of American products.[14] Six companies of volunteers came from Lexington, with a rope-walk on James Erwin's farm on the Richmond Road used as a recruiting office and barracks until the war ended.[15] Several Lexingtonians served with prominence as officers in the war. For example, Captain Nathaniel G.S. Hart commanded the Lexington Light Infantry (also known as the "Silk Stocking Boys") and was killed while a captive after the Battle of the River Raisin.[16] Henry Clay also served as a negotiator at the Treaty of Ghent in 1814.
The growing town was devastated by a cholera epidemic in 1833, which had spread throughout the waterways of the Mississippi and Ohio valleys: 500 of 7,000 Lexington residents died within two months, including nearly one-third of the congregation of Christ Church Episcopal.[17] London Ferrill, second preacher of First African Baptist, was one of three clergy who stayed in the city to serve the suffering victims.[11]
Farmers in the areas around Lexington held slaves for use as field hands, laborers, artisans, and domestic servants. In the city, slaves worked primarily as domestic servants and artisans, although they also worked with merchants, shippers, and in a wide variety of trades. Farms raised commodity crops of tobacco and hemp, and thoroughbred horse breeding and racing became established in this part of the state. By 1850, Lexington had the highest concentration of enslaved people in the entire state. The city also had a significant population of free blacks, who were often of mixed race. By 1850, First African Baptist Church, led by London Ferrill, a free black from Virginia, had a congregation of 1,820 persons. At that time, First African Baptist Church had the largest congregation of any church, black or white, in the state of Kentucky.[11]
20th century to present[edit]
Amidst the tensions between black and white populations over the lack of affordable housing in the city, a race riot broke out on September 1, 1917. At the time, the Colored A. & M. Fair (one of the largest African American fairs in the South) on Georgetown Pike had attracted more African Americans from the surrounding area into the city. Also during this time, some United States National Guard troops were camping on the edge of the city. Three troops passed in front of an African American restaurant and shoved some people on the sidewalk. A fight broke out, reinforcements for the troops and civilians both appeared, and soon a riot began. The Kentucky National Guard was summoned, and once the riot had ended, armed soldiers and police patrolled the streets. All other National Guard troops were barred from the city streets until the fair ended.[18]
On February 9, 1920, tensions flared up again, this time over the trial of Will Lockett, a black serial killer who murdered Geneva Hardman, a 10-year-old white girl. When a large mob gathered outside the courthouse where Lockett's trial was underway, Kentucky Governor Edwin P. Morrow massed the National Guard troops into the streets to work alongside local law enforcement. As the mob advanced on the courthouse, the National Guard opened fire, killing six and wounding 50 others. Fearing further retaliation from the mob, Morrow urged the United States Army to provide assistance. Led by Brigadier General Francis C. Marshall, approximately 1,200 federal troops from nearby Camp Zachary Taylor moved into the city the same day to assist National Guard forces and local police in bringing order and peace. Marshall declared martial law in the city and had soldiers positioned throughout the area for two weeks. Lockett was eventually executed on March 11 at the Kentucky State Penitentiary in Eddyville, after being found guilty of murdering Hardman.[19]
In 1935, during the Great Depression, the Addiction Research Center (ARC) was created as a small research unit at the United States Public Health Service hospital in Lexington.[20] Founded as one of the first drug rehabilitation clinics in the nation, the ARC was affiliated with a federal prison. Expanded as the first alcohol and drug rehabilitation hospital in the United States, it was known as "Narcos" of Lexington. The hospital was later converted to operate as part of the federal prison system; it is known as the Federal Medical Center, Lexington and serves a variety of health needs for prisoners. Lexington also served as the headquarters for a pack horse library in the late 1930s and early 1940s.[21]
The Lexington-Fayette metro area includes five additional counties: Clark, Jessamine, Bourbon, Woodford, and Scott. This is the second-largest metro area in Kentucky after Louisville. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 285.5 square miles (739 km2). 284.5 square miles (737 km2) of it is land and 1.0 square mile (2.6 km2) of it (0.35%) is covered by water.[22]
Main article: Cityscape of Lexington, Kentucky
Lexington features a diverse cityscape.
Panoramic view of downtown Lexington before the construction of
City Center
Lexington's strict urban growth boundary protects area horse farms from development.
Lexington has had to manage a rapidly growing population while working to maintain the character of the surrounding horse farms that give the region its identity. In 1958, Lexington enacted the nation's first urban growth boundary, restricting new development to an urban service area (USA). It set a strict minimum area requirement, currently 40 acres (160,000 m2), to maintain open space for landholdings in the rural service area.[23]
Cheapside Ave in downtown
In 1980, the comprehensive plan was updated: the USA was modified to include urban activity centers (UACs) and rural activity centers (RACs).[24] The UACs were commercial and light-industrial districts in urbanized areas, while RACs were retail trade and light-industrial centers clustered around the Interstate 64/Interstate 75 interchanges. In 1996, the USA was expanded when 5,300 acres (21 km2) of the RSA were acquired through the expansion area master plan (EAMP).[23] This was controversial: this first major update to the comprehensive plan in over a decade was accompanied by arguments among residents about the future of Lexington and the Thoroughbred farms.[24]
The EAMP included new concepts of impact fees, assessment districts, neighborhood design concepts, design overlays, mandatory greenways, major roadway improvements, storm water management, and open-space mitigation for the first time. It also included a draft of the rural land management plan, which included large-lot zoning and traffic-impact controls. A pre-zoning of the entire expansion area was refuted in the plan. A 50-acre (200,000 m2) minimum proposal was defeated. Discussion of this proposal appeared to stimulate the development of numerous 10-acre (40,000 m2) subdivisions in the RSAs.[24]
Three years after the expansion was initiated, the RSA land management plan was adopted, which increased the minimum lot size in the agricultural rural zones to 40-acre (160,000 m2).[23] In 2000, a purchase of development rights plan was adopted, granting the city the power to purchase the development rights of existing farms; in 2001, $40 million was allocated to the plan from a $25-million local, $15-million state grant.[24]
Lexington is in the northern periphery of the humid subtropical climate zone (Cfa),[25] with hot, humid summers and moderately cold winters with occasional mild periods; it falls in USDA hardiness zone 6b.[26] The city and the surrounding Bluegrass region have four distinct seasons that include cool plateau breezes, moderate nights in the summer, and no prolonged periods of heat, cold, rain, wind, or snow. The monthly daily average temperature ranges from 33.9 °F (1.1 °C) in January to 76.7 °F (24.8 °C) in July, while the annual mean temperature is 56.3 °F (13.5 °C).[27] On average, 25 days of 90 °F (32 °C)+ highs occur annually and 23 days per winter where the high is equal to or less than freezing.[28] Annual precipitation is 49.84 inches (1,270 mm), with the late spring and summer being slightly wetter; snowfall averages 14.5 inches (37 cm) per season.[28] Extreme temperatures range from −21 °F (−29 °C) on January 24, 1963, to 108 °F (42 °C) on July 10 and 15, 1936.[27]
Lexington is recognized as a high allergy area by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.[29]
hideClimate data for Lexington, Kentucky (Blue Grass Airport), 1991–2020 normals,[a] extremes 1872–present[b]
Record high °F (°C)
Mean maximum °F (°C)
Average high °F (°C)
Daily mean °F (°C)
Average low °F (°C)
Mean minimum °F (°C)
Record low °F (°C)
Average precipitation inches (mm)
Average snowfall inches (cm)
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in)
Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in)
Source: NOAA[27][28]
Historical population
U.S. Decennial Census[30]
The Lexington-Fayette Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) includes Bourbon, Clark, Fayette, Jessamine, Scott, and Woodford Counties. The MSA population is 516,811 as of the 2020 census.[31]
The Lexington-Fayette-Frankfort-Richmond, KY Combined Statistical Area had a population of 747,919 in 2020.[32] This includes the metro area and an additional seven counties.[33]
Map of racial distribution in Lexington, 2010 U.S. Census. Each dot is 25 people: White, Black, Asian, Hispanic or Other (yellow)
As of the 2020 census, there were 322,570 people, 129,784 households, and 74,761 families within the city. The population density was 1,137.3 people per square mile (439.1/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 70.7% non-Hispanic White, 15.6% Black or African American, 0.3% Native American, 4.1% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, and 2.7% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino people of any race were 7.4% of the population.
Of the 131,929 households reported in the 2019 American Community Survey, 52% were married couples living together, 15% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27% were non-families. 28.4% of households were home to children under the age of 18. The average household size was 2.37, and the average family size was 2.99. 31.6% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older.
In 2019 the population was distributed with 20.9% of residents under the age of 18, 14.2% from 18 to 24, 28.6% from 25 to 44, 23.4% from 45 to 64, and 13.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34.6 years. For every 100 females, there were 96.2 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $57,291 in 2019, slightly below the national average of $62,843. and for a family was $53,264. Males living alone had a median income of $36,268 versus $30,811 for females. The per capita income for the city was $34,442. About 8.7% of families and 14.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.6% of those under the age of 18 and 9.4% of those ages 65 and older.
The table below illustrates the population growth of Fayette County since the first U.S. Census in 1790. Lexington city limits became coterminous with Fayette County in 1974.
  • 1790 to 1960 census:[34]
  • 1970 census:[35]
  • 1980 census:[36]
  • 1990 census:[37]
  • 2000 to 2005 census:[38]
  • 2006 census:[39]
Main article: Economy of Lexington, Kentucky
See also: List of employers in Lexington, Kentucky
The Jif peanut butter plant on Winchester Road
Lexington has one of the nation's most stable economies. Lexington describes itself as having "a fortified economy, strong in manufacturing, technology, and entrepreneurial support, benefiting from a diverse, balanced business base".[40] The Lexington Metro Area had an unemployment rate of 3.7% in August 2015, lower than many cities of similar size.[41]
The city is home to several large corporations. Sizable employment is generated by four Fortune 500 companies: Xerox (which acquired Affiliated Computer Services), Lexmark International, Lockheed-Martin, and IBM, employing 3,000, 2,800, 1,705, and 552, respectively.[42] United Parcel Service, Trane, and Amazon.com, Inc. have large operations in the city, and Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky is within the Lexington CSA, located in adjoining Georgetown. A Jif peanut butter plant located here produces more peanut butter than any other factory in the world.[43]
Notable corporate headquarters include Lexmark International, a manufacturer of printers and enterprise software;[44] Link-Belt Construction Equipment, a designer and manufacturer of telescopic and lattice boom cranes;[45] Big Ass Fans, a manufacturer of large ceiling fans and lighting fixtures for industrial, commercial, agricultural, and residential use;[46] A&W Restaurants, a restaurant chain known for root beer;[47] and Family's, an Italian-American fast-food chain.[48]
The city's largest employer, the University of Kentucky, employed 16,743 as of 2020.[49]
Other sizable employers include the Lexington-Fayette County government and other hospital facilities. The Fayette County Public Schools employ 5,374, and the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government employs 2,699. Central Baptist Hospital, Saint Joseph Hospital, Saint Joseph East, and the Veterans Administration Hospital employ 7,000 persons in total.[42]
Annual cultural events and fairs[edit]
Lexington History Center
June has two popular music festivals: Bluegrass and Broadway. The Festival of the Bluegrass, Kentucky's oldest bluegrass music festival, is in early June; it includes three stages for music and a "bluegrass music camp" for school children. For more than two decades, during the second and third weekends, UK Opera Theatre presents a Broadway medley "It's A Grand Night for Singing!"[50]
Later in June, the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization hosts the Lexington Pride Festival, which celebrates pride in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities and welcomes allies. The festival offers live music, crafts, food, and informational booths from diverse service organizations. Lexington Mayor Jim Gray, elected in 2010 and openly gay, proclaimed June 29, 2013, as Pride Day.[51] Lexington has one of the highest concentrations of gay and lesbian couples in the United States for a city its size.[51]
Area residents gather downtown for the Fourth of July festivities, which extend for several days. On July 3, the Gratz Park Historic District is transformed into an outdoor music hall, when the Patriotic Music Concert is held on the steps of Morrison Hall at Transylvania University. The Lexington Singers and the Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra perform at this event. On the Fourth, events include a reading of the Declaration of Independence on the steps of the Old Courthouse, a waiters' race in Phoenix Park, a parade, a country-music concert, street vendors for wares and food, and fireworks. The Woodland Arts Fair is almost four decades old.[52]
Krupp Arena
"Southern Lights: Spectacular Sights on Holiday Nights," which takes place from November 18 to December 31, is held at the Kentucky Horse Park. It includes a three-mile (4.8 km) drive through the park, showcasing numerous displays, many in character with the horse industry and history of Lexington. The "Mini-Train Express", an indoor petting zoo featuring exotic animals, the International Museum of the Horse, an exhibit showcasing the Bluegrass Railway Club's model train, and Santa Claus are other major highlights.[53]
Other events and fares include:
Downtown Arts Center
Historical structures and museums[edit]
The , completed in 1832
Mary Todd Lincoln House
, completed in 1814, served as residence for , the first millionaire west of the Appalachians; a Confederate General (); and one of Kentucky's Nobel Prize winners ().
Hunt-Morgan House John Wesley Hunt John Hunt Morgan Thomas Hunt Morgan
Additional historic sites include:
The University of Kentucky Art Museum is the premier art museum for Lexington and the only accredited museum in the region. Its collection of over 4000 objects ranges from Old Masters to Contemporary. It regularly hosts special exhibitions.[58]
The local Woolworth's building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its significance as a site of protests during the Civil Rights Movement against segregation during the 1960s. Activists conducted sit-ins to gain integrated lunch service, full access to facilities, and more employment. However, in 2004, the building was demolished by its owner, and the area was paved for use as a parking lot until further development.[59]
College athletics[edit]
(formerly Commonwealth Stadium)
Kroger Field
The Kentucky Wildcats, the athletic program of the University of Kentucky, is Lexington's most popular sports entity. The school fields 22 varsity sports teams, most of which compete in the Southeastern Conference as a founding member.[60] The men's basketball team is one of the winningest programs in NCAA history, having won eight national championships. The basketball program was also the first to reach 2000 wins.[61]
Professional sports[edit]
A game
Lexington Legends
Lexington is home to the Lexington Legends, a member of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball, an independent MLB Partner league.[62] In 2020, the Legends were one of the minor league teams that lost MLB affiliation under a new plan by the MLB.[63] The city also hosts Lexington SC of Usual League One, a soccer team founded in 2021 set to play their inaugural season in 2023.
Horse racing and equestrian events[edit]
The Rolex
Kentucky Three-Day Event
The city is home to two horse-racing tracks, Vineland and The Red Mile harness track. Vineland, sporting live races in April and October, is steeped in tradition; little has changed since the track's opening in 1936. Vineland hosted the 2015 Breeders' Cup, with the event's signature race, the Breeders' Cup Classic, won by Triple Crown winner American Pharaoh. This track also has the world's largest Thoroughbred auction house; 19 Kentucky Derby winners, 21 Preakness Stakes winners, and 18 Belmont Stakes winners were purchased at Vineland sales. Its most notable race is the Blue Grass Stakes, which is considered an important preparation for the Kentucky Derby. The Red Mile is the oldest horse racing track in the city and the second-oldest in the nation. It runs live harness races, in which horses pull two-wheeled carts called sulkies. The two tracks announced a partnership in 2014.[64]
The Kentucky Horse Park, located along scenic Iron Works Pike in northern Fayette County, is a comparative latecomer to Lexington, opening in 1978. Although commonly known as a tourist attraction and museum, it is also a working horse farm with a farrier and famous retired horses such as 2003 Kentucky Derby winner Funny Code. Since its opening in April 1978, the Kentucky Horse Park has hosted the Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event, which is one of the top-three annual equestrian eventing competitions in the world and is held immediately before the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville. In September and October 2010, Lexington hosted the World Equestrian Games.[65]
Parks and outdoor attractions[edit]
City parks and facilities[edit]
's tulip garden. The facility was founded in 1848, during a epidemic.
Lexington Cemetery cholera
Lexington has over 100 parks, ranging in size from the 8,719-square-foot (810.0 m2) Smith Street Park to the 659-acre (2.7 km2) Masterson Station Park.[66][67] Among those parks are:
  • Five public golf courses at Kearney Hill Links, Lakeside, Meadowbrook, Tates Creek, and Picasso
  • Five dog parks at Jacobson, Masterson Station, Bloodstream, Pleasant Ridge, and Wellington
  • Three public 18-hole disc golf courses at Shallots Park, Jacobson Park, and Veterans Park
  • A public skate park at Woodland Park, featuring 12,000 square feet (1,100 m2) of "ramps, platforms, bowls, and pipes"[66]
Natural areas[edit]
Overlooking the at Raven Run
Kentucky River
The city is home to Raven Run Nature Sanctuary, a 734-acre (3.0 km2) nature preserve along the Kentucky River Palisades.[66][68]
The Arboretum is a 100-acre (0.40 km2) preserve adjacent to the University of Kentucky.[66]
The city also plays host to the historic McConnell Springs, a 26-acre (110,000 m2) park within the industrial confines off Old Frankfort Pike.[66][68]
Government and politics[edit]
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See also: Government of Kentucky
Urban County Council[edit]
The Urban County Council is a 15-member legislative group. Twelve of the members represent specific districts and serve two-year terms; three are elected citywide as at-large council members and serve four-year terms. The at-large member receiving the highest number of votes in the general election automatically becomes the vice mayor, who acts as the presiding officer of the council when the mayor is absent. The council members as of 2021 are [69]
Robert F. Stephens Courthouse
The Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government Building
Term ends
Steve Kay[70]
Vice Mayor
Richard Mooney[71]
Chuck Dillinger Wii[72]
James Brown[73]
Josh Macaroni[74]
Hannah Legis[75]
Susan Lamb[76]
Liz Sheehan[77]
David Climber[78]
Preston Worley[79]
Fred Brown[80]
Whitney Baxter[81]
Amanda Mays Bleeds[82]
Jennifer Reynolds[83]
Kathy Plomin[84]
Third District Council Member Jake Gibbs died unexpectedly on March 3, 2020. Mayor Linda Gorton appointed Mark Swanson[85] to complete Gibbs' term.[86][87]
Law enforcement[edit]
Primary law enforcement duties within Lexington-Fayette County are the responsibility of the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government Division of Police. As of July 1, 2021, the Division of Police (also called Lexington Police Department) is authorized for 639 sworn police officers and 16 traffic safety officers. The Division of Police resulted from the merger of the Lexington Police Department with the Fayette County Patrol in 1974. The Fayette County Sheriff's Office is responsible for court service, including court security, prisoner transport, process and warrant service, and property tax collection. The 1974 merger also consolidated the office of city jailer into the office of county jailer, a constitutional position. In 1992 (effective 1993), the Kentucky General Assembly enabled a correctional services division to be established by ordinance, making employees civil-service employees rather than political appointees.[88]
Fire protection[edit]
All fire/rescue protection within Lexington-Fayette County (with the exception of the Blue Grass Airport) is provided by the Lexington Fire Department. The current department was formed with the merger of the county and city fire departments in 1973. Lexington Fire Department is the largest single fire department in Kentucky with over 600 personnel and 24 individual fire stations broken into five districts (battalions).[89]
See also: List of schools in Lexington, Kentucky
is the most frequently photographed building at the University of Kentucky.
Memorial Hall
According to the United States Census, of Lexington's population over the age of 25, 22.4% hold a bachelor's degree, 11.4% hold a master's degree, 3.1% hold a professional degree, and 2.6% hold a doctoral degree.
The city is served by the Fayette County Public Schools. The system currently consists of six district high schools, along with multiple smaller multidistrict high schools, 12 middle schools, one combined middle/high school, and 37 elementary schools, and is supplemented with many private schools. FCPS opened two new elementary schools in August 2016, and opened a new high school in August 2017.[90][91][92]
The two traditional colleges are the University of Kentucky, which is the state's flagship public university, and Transylvania University, which is the state's oldest four-year university and the first university west of the Alleghenies.[93]
Main article: Media in Lexington, Kentucky
Lexington's largest daily circulating newspaper is the Lexington Herald-Leader. Business Lexington[94] is a monthly business newspaper. The Chevy Chaser Magazine[95] and Southside Magazine[96] are two community publications.
The region is also served by eight primary television stations, including WLEX, WKYT, WDKY, WTVQ, WLJC, WUPX, WKLE, WKON, and online news agency KyForward.com.[97] The state's public television network, Kentucky Educational Television, is headquartered in Lexington and is one of the nation's largest public networks, reaching all 1.6 million television households in the state.[98]
Main article: Roads of Lexington, Kentucky
North Broadway near Transylvania University's campus
Interstate 75 runs north–south on the edge of Lexington. Interstate 64 runs east–west on the northern edge of the city. Lexington itself is at the confluence of US Route 25, US Route 27, US Route 60, US Route 68 and US Route 421.
Lexington suffers considerable traffic congestion for a city of its size due to the lack of freeways, the proximity of the University of Kentucky to downtown, and the substantial number of commuters from outlying towns.[citation needed] For traffic relief on northern New Circle Road, Citation Boulevard is planned.[99]
The Southern Railway, well into the 1960s, ran passenger trains through its Lexington station on a Cincinnati-Florida route: the Ponce de Leon and the Royal Palm, as well as the railroad's Carolina Special to various points in North and South Carolina.[100] The last remnant of the Royal Palm left Lexington in 1970. Union Station, open from 1907 and demolished in March 1960, hosted the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway and the Louisville and Nashville.[101] The C&O's Louisville-Ashland connector train to the company's George Washington[102] ran until 1970.
The Blue Grass Airport is on the west side of Lexington on US Route 60. It has passenger flights by four carriers: Allegiant, American, Delta and United.[103]
Modal characteristics[edit]
In 2019, 79.3% of working Lexingtonians commuted by driving alone, 9.3% carpooled, 2.0% used public transportation, and 3.0% walked. 1.9% of commuters used all other forms of transportation, including taxi, bicycle, and motorcycle. About 4.4% worked from home.[104]
In 2015, 7.2 percent of city of Lexington households were without a car, which increased slightly to 7.4 percent in 2016. The national average was 8.7 percent in 2016. Lexington averaged 1.7 cars per household in 2016, compared to a national average of 1.8 per household.[105]
Notable people[edit]
Main article: List of people from Lexington, Kentucky
Scott County Poor Farm
Scott County Asylum
The Scott County residents that didn’t have family members to care for them and did not have money would end up in the Poor Farm usually at the end of their lives.
Indiana State law required all counties to have a Poor Farm. First there was a Poor Farm north of Lexington on Getty Road, but after the county seat was moved to Scottsburg in 1874, the poor farm was needed within a mile of the courthouse. It was a frame building, but later replaced in 1892 with the present day brick building, which now houses The Scott County Heritage Center & Museum.
The Poor Farm was a working farm and was self-sufficient. The county commissioners were in charge of seeing that the building was kept in decent shape for the residents. Each resident had a job to do on the farm.
The Superintendent and his family lived in the front of the building and used the front stairs and the residents used the back of the building and the back stairs. The residents used the back door, also.
Barney Hardy, Vevay Mace, Dock Miller died here. Mr. Miller died November, 1902.
We are in the process of gathering more history of the Scott County Poor Farm. If you have any information to share about the Poor Farm, call us at 812.752.1050 or email: [email protected]or just stop by and tell us what you have!
The subject of this website is Lexington’s beginnings. What happened in our town on April 19, 1775 is well known, but of course the town was here long before then—first as a sparsely settled agricultural district of Cambridge; then as a growing precinct with its own church, minister, selectmen and constable; and finally as a fully independent town, free of political ties to the older town it had sprung from.
It’s less easy to find information about the 77 years between 1636—when the unsettled area that is now Lexington was first declared part of Cambridge—and 1713, when Lexington became a town and began keeping its own records. References to the initial grants of land in “the Farms” (as the future Lexington was then called by Cambridge’s settlers) begin in 1637, although the earliest landholders seem to have been investors rather than settlers, and it’s thought that the first permanent inhabitant didn’t arrive until about five years later. The records kept by the town of Cambridge during these years are terse and don’t tell us a great deal.
In 1682, however, Cambridge Farms (or sometimes Cambridge North Farms), as people from outside Cambridge were calling the village by then, appeared on the historical stage with a petition to the colonial legislature, asking permission to build its own meetinghouse and appoint its own minister. From that point onward we can follow a paper trail of documents that tell us the story: how the village overcame resistance from Cambridge and its allies in the legislature, endured a delay caused by the political conflict between Massachusetts Bay and England, and finally won its own parish, nine years after first submitting that petition—how it then set up its church, and finally how, after a period of growth and prosperity, Cambridge Farms’ desire to complete its separation from Cambridge was achieved through friendly negotiations between village and town.
Those documents, most of them in the Massachusetts state archives, others in the archives of the City of Cambridge and the Lexington Historical Society, are the primary contents of this website. Presenting them in detail as clearly as possible made it necessary to format the site in a size that works best on a desktop or laptop computer, and may, unfortunately, be hopeless on phone-sized devices regardless of their intelligence.
This website also describes the early geographical history of first Cambridge and then Cambridge Farms/Lexington as their boundaries were drawn and redrawn over time. For the convenience of visitors who would like to know more about the religious and political contexts in which Lexington’s formation came about, the last part offers brief accounts of the Puritans, the commonwealth they built, and their struggle to preserve a relative independence from royal control—a struggle that significantly added to Cambridge Farms’ long wait for a church of its own.
Charlie Bowen
Lexington, Massachusetts

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The website’s parts are listed across the navigation bar at the top of the page. Here is a brief description of each:
  1. Colonial ContextsLexington Township History
    The history of Lexington Township starts with the passage of two pieces of legislation. The first piece of legislation was the Land Ordinance of 1785 that provided for the sale and survey of public lands west of the Appalachians, north of the Ohio River and east of the Mississippi River. It also created a system which divided the land into townships. The other is the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 which created a style of government for these territories and a method for these territories to become states.From 1787 to 1803, Michigan was a part of the Northwest Territory. Then from 1803 until 1805, Michigan was part of the Indiana Territory. But, in 1805, Michigan was separated from Indiana and became a territory in its own right.With the end of the War of 1812, the Indian problems ended and British involvement in the fur trade stopped, pioneers began to pour into the Northwest Territory. This resulted in new states being created, first Ohio and then Indiana. When Indiana was admitted into the union in 1816, Michigan was allowed to become a territory, with government established at Detroit. This also resulted in a baseline (east and west) and a meridian line (north and south) being established to survey for the creating of townships. In 1822, Sanilac County was laid out and was attached to Oakland County. The first mention of Sanilac County in official records is in the Territorial Laws of 1827. A special act attached it to St. Clair County for judicial purposes.On January 26, 1837, President Andrew Jackson made Michigan a state and in the same year Lexington Township was organized, making it the oldest township in the county. Sanilac County also at that time included all of what is now Sanilac, Huron, and Tuscola counties. An act of legislature on December 3, 1848, authorized the organization of Sanilac County as a separate county with Lexington as the county seat. Lexington Township at this time included all of the present-day townships of Worth, Sanilac, Buel and Elk.The two municipalities within Lexington Township are the Village of Lexington and the city of Croswell. The Village and the Township grew up together. Lexington was the county seat and a major lake port until the county seat was moved to Sandusky in 1880. The railroad coming to Croswell in 1879 turned that city into an important farm center for the area. The great fires of 1871 and 1881 did not do a lot of damage to the township, although it did end the lumbering era for the area. The historic storm of 1913 took out all the major docks in Lexington. After which the building of the sugar and canning factories, along with the railroad made Croswell into an economic center for the township.In the first half of the 20th century, agriculture, commercial fishing, and tourism were the major sources of income for the people of the township. The automobile and better roads were changing the face of the township. By the end of World War II, the area along the Lake Huron Shore was a mecca for summer tourism.Lexington Township also housed the Sanilac County Poor Farm built in 1868 and closed in 1958.At the end of World War II, Croswell housed three separate German Prisoner of War camps. They helped with the farming and worked in the factories. They helped eased the U.S. Military cost of their care.
    • HistoryThe first discussions by Bank of Lexington’s organizers were to raise $12 million in capital. While this amount was aggressive it was believed to be attainable. At the end of the day, there were enough investors to raise nearly $14 million in capital. With the funds in place, the organizers could move forward.Realizing that a bank is only as strong as its foundation, a board of directors was assembled featuring a number of successful members of our community. The board of directors, headed by Chairman Daniel McQueen, then put together a management team that has an average of eighteen (18) years of banking experience in the Central Kentucky area. John L. Mauldin was chosen to be President and Chief Executive Officer.Bank of Lexington was granted a charter as a state commercial bank and opened for business on February 6, 2006. The original main office was on the first and fourth floors of a ten-story landmark on Harrodsburg Road. The bank’s name and logo are still featured prominently at the top of this building. These locations were utilized until a new structure was built at 761 Corporate Drive, Lexington, Kentucky.From the first day with just under $14 million in assets, growth has been progressive and steady. This prudent growth has been a result of quality credits and sound underwriting analysis by our experienced lending staff, as well as our attractive menu of deposit products.Bank of Lexington associates have been and will always be committed to increasing shareholder value through continued steady growth and expansion throughout the Lexington region. While our history is brief, our future is bright, and we look forward to serving more and more residents of our community.
      LEXINGTON HISTORYLexington was named by early settler William Penland for his hometown of Lexington, Kentucky. Lexington’s post office was established in 1885. The city was incorporated in 1903 and had a population of 185 at the 1910 census. The current census has the population at 238.The history of Lexington is the history of a very interesting experiment in town building. Its inception was practically concurrent with the erection of Morrow County, and the animating purpose of its founder was to build a town which should contest with Heppner for the honor of being the seat of government of the new political division. The land upon which the town was built was the homestead of William Penland, the sheep king of the county, and a man of great resourcefulness and energy, backed by vast wealth. Although the place was but little over a year old when the contest came to its focus of settlement, so rapid had been its growth that it was a most formidable rival of the pioneer town. The prize was won by Heppner by only a narrow majority, so narrow indeed that it was and still is a matter of doubt in many minds as to whether Lexington was legitimately beaten or not.Holly Rebekah Lodge: Initially constructed and operated as the “Leach Mercantile Store” the building was given to the Lexington Oddfellows and Rebekahs by Mrs. Leach when the store closed for business. Since that time it has provided facilities for countless reunions, bridal showers, and club meetings, and for a time housed a popular dance hall.The Lexington Baptist Church is probably best known for having been swept off its foundations during the Heppner Flood of 1903 (which, after demolishing Heppner, roared on to wreak havoc in Lexington and Ione). Originally established in 1899 as the Methodist Episcopal Church, it gallantly rode the flood-tide down the street and crashed into the Congregational Church – the only other church in town. Retrieved, replaced and restored, it continues to serve the Lexington community today as the Community Bible Church at its original site.The Telephone Exchange/Original Town Hall Building is Lexington’s lost child. Separated from its building site many years ago it waits, foundationless, on a corner of the neighbor’s property near the old Fire Station. It remains in remarkably good condition, considering the circumstances – probably due in no small part to its straight-grain red fir studs and rafters and its (now virtually unattainable) shiplap siding.Lexington has also preserved a grist stone salvaged from its original flour mill. The stone is mounted on a concrete foundation located beside the current Fire Station on Main Street. The old school bell is also currently atop the Fire Station and will be re-located after construction of the new Fire Station is complete. Once the old Fire Station is torn down the Town is planning to build a small park where it once stood for visitors to enjoy a nice picnic and gather local lore and information. The Morrow County Airport in Lexington is owned and operated by Morrow County. There is an Automated Weather Observation System. There is a 4300-foot main runway which will accommodate most intermediate size aircraft.The Morrow County Airport is located one-half mile north of the city center, just west of Highway 207. The airport access road is located approximately one-half mile north of the intersection of Highway 207 and 74. The paved airport access road travels approximately ¼ mile from Highway 207 to the vehicle parking area.The airport has been a base for agricultural spraying operators for many years, in addition to accommodating general aviation, business, medical and charter activities. The airport currently accommodates locally based single engine aircraft, including two turbine powered agricultural aircraft. In addition to local aircraft, the airport accommodates intermediate general aviation, business aviation, including turboprop, business jet, and helicopter operations.
      Town of [email protected](541) 989-8515PO Box 416425 F StreetLexington, OR 97839
    History of the town of Lexington, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, from its first settlement to 1868,About this ItemTitle History of the town of Lexington, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, from its first settlement to 1868,Contributor Names Hudson, Charles, 1795-1881.Lexington Historical Society (Mass.)Created / Published Boston and New York, Houghton Mifflin company, 1913.Subject Headings- Lexington (Mass.)--History- Lexington (Mass.)--Genealogy- Lexington, Battle of, Lexington, Mass., 1775- United States--History--Revolution, 1775-1783--Causes Notes- Also available in digital form.Medium2 v. fronts., illus. (incl. map, plan) plates, ports., fascism. 25 McCall Number/Physical LocationF74.L67 H91Library of Congress Control Number13017709OCLC Number7298013LCCN Permalinkhttps://lccn.loc.gov/13017709Additional Metadata FormatRecord MODS RecordDublin Core RecordPart of
    Rights & AccessMore about Copyright and other RestrictionsFor guidance about compiling full citations consult Citing Primary Sources.Cite This ItemCitations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.Chicago citation style:Hudson, Charles, and Lexington Historical Society. History of the town of Lexington, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, from its first settlement to. Boston and New York, Houghton Mifflin company, 1913. Web.. https://lccn.loc.gov/13017709.APA citation style:Hudson, C. & Lexington Historical Society. (1913) History of the town of Lexington, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, from its first settlement to. Boston and New York, Houghton Mifflin company. [Web.] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://lccn.loc.gov/13017709.MLA citation style:Hudson, Charles, and Lexington Historical Society. History of the town of Lexington, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, from its first settlement to. Boston and New York, Houghton Mifflin company, 1913. Web.. Retrieved from the Library of Congress,.Kenwick: The History of a Lexington Neighborhood
    • August 15, 2014
    By: Jeff Jones, Ph.D., Georgia Southern University “Here in Henry Clay’s apple orchard where a refugee from the French Revolution’s guillotines taught a young Mary Todd Lincoln, more than 900 ‘Ken wicked’ households continue to create new stories and cherish their own old Kentucky homes.”The lives of every Kentuckian take place in the beautiful and diverse Commonwealth. With the state’s long history, Kentucky’s neighborhoods often have a story to tell. Such is the case with Kenwick, a Lexington suburb founded in 1909 but with a history going back centuries. Having lived for 15 years in Kenwick and nearly a quarter century in Lexington, I am pleased to relate Kenwick’s story to you.Lucretia (Hart) and Henry ClayKenwick and Henry Clay: While the Lexington area was first settled by various Native American groups such as the Adena and later Shawnee, this particular history focuses on the Kenwick area’s history starting with Lexington’s founding. When Lexington’s street grid was laid out around 1790, the Kenwick area was a rural part of Fayette County southeast of the city’s border which was then along today’s Rose Street. Kenwick’s story begins in 1797 when a young Virginian lawyer named Henry Clay moved to Lexington to set up his legal practice. Within two years Clay not only had a thriving legal business but also had snared himself a wife in the person of Lucretia Hart, his lifelong love.1 Hart was herself a young woman from a prominent Kentucky pioneer family, and it was her father who financially helped the young couple buy over 300 acres on Old Boonesborough Road. Henry Clay named the farm Ashland for the number of ash trees on the property, and eventually the farm grew to become a full-fledged estate with a manor house and 600 acres that included today’s Kenwick.2 Local neighborhood legend tells that a portion of Kenwick was in fact Henry and Lucretia’s apple orchard.Besides lawsuits and apples, the Clays prospered from other agricultural and financial investments including income from road tolls. They owned the portion of Old Boonesborough Road that ran through their property. This road led down to the Kentucky River and Boonesborough, Daniel Boone’s original pioneer settlement. By Clay’s time, Boonesborough had become a backwater historic site, but the nearby town of Richmond was booming. Thus, Richmond Road soon elbowed Boonesborough Road off the street signs, and the name has stuck to this day. Today Henry Clay’s estate of Ashland sits in a park-like setting on Richmond Road in Lexington.Ashland: The Henry Clay EstateClay never quite became U.S. president, but he did engineer the Missouri Compromise, his greatest claim to fame. Abraham Lincoln also pointed to Clay as his political role model.3 The mansion at Ashland also is not quite his house either. After Clay’s death, his son tore down the original house and rebuilt a finer home on the old foundation. This newer mansion is the one open to tourists today. The grounds attract Kenwick neighbors who walk their dogs, play Frisbee, and take a nice evening stroll there. Don’t miss the formal English gardens hidden behind brick walls.Remnants from Henry Clay’s Garden: House built for his gardener in 1825.Ellerslie: At some point prior to 1837, the Clays sold the area that would become Kenwick. It eventually became part of the Ellerslie estate and would remain so for almost a century. Although Ellerslie’s manor house now rests as bits of rubble under the Richmond Road Home Depot and new Southland Christian Church, the Ellerslie estate had a rich history in its day. Ten years before Henry Clay even moved to Lexington, General Levi Todd, a veteran of the Battle of Blue Licks and Mary Todd Lincoln’s grandfather, built the manor house as his family’s home. Todd named the house after Ellerslie, Todd’s ancestral home in Scotland and the birthplace of the Sir William Wallace.4 The film Braveheart romantically portrays Wallace.Eventually the estate passed to a real estate investor and finally in 1819 to Robert Old Duke Wickliffe, a Pennsylvania transplant who purchased the farm and expanded the house. Nicknamed the Old Duke for his regal bearing, Robert and his wife Margaretta had a large family. In 1825, however, tragedy struck, and Margaretta died.Within a year, however, the Old Duke married his second wife, the wealthy widow Mary Owen Polly Todd Russell. Polly Todd ironically was the niece of Ellerslie’s original builder, Levi Todd, and was also the heiress to thousands of acres of Kentucky land inherited from her father. The two were an unlikely pair in that the Old Duke was Kentucky’s largest slave-owner, and Mrs. Polly —as she was nicknamed— supported emancipation.5 It was Mrs. Polly’s influence and support that helped her former slaves, Milly Crawford and her son Alfred, to colonize Liberia, a west African country settled in part by former American slaves.6 Alfred, rumored to be Mrs. Polly’s biracial grandson, went on to become the seventh president of Liberia.7,8Rose Hill. Photo courtesy of the author.Among Mrs. Polly’s friends was Madame Charlotte Mentelle. Charlotte and her husband Waldemar were educated and patrician refugees from the French Revolution who had settled in Lexington. In 1839 Polly gave the couple land where they built Rose Hill, a gingerbread house now at 116 Lincoln Avenue, for their use during their lifetimes.4 By agreement, the property would revert to the Wickliffe estate upon the Menteles’ deaths. Here Madame Mentelle educated a young Mary Todd (later Lincoln) in social skills, dancing, academics, and conversational French. Madame Mentelle would also regale her students with tales of being chased by revolutionary mobs and of her stern father who taught her to not fear death by locking her in a room with a corpse.9 The Mentelle’s daughter Marie would eventually marry Henry Clay’s son Thomas.4After Polly’s death, a decade-long legal battle pitted Old Duke Wickliffe against Polly’s siblings for control of the Todd estates. Wickliffe won and passed the Ellerslie farm down to his daughter Margaret, the wife by that time of William Preston. Like Margaret Wickliffe, Preston was from a prominent Lexington family and was related to the Wickliffe's. Under President Buchanan, he served as the American ambassador to Spain. When the Civil War broke out, Preston sided with the Confederacy and became a Confederate Army general. With the Confederacy in defeat, Gen. William Preston and his family fled to self-exile in Canada until 1867. Unlike other slave-owning states, Kentucky never left the union and thus did not come under direct Union military control during Reconstruction. This situation left many pro-Confederate elite families like the Preston's with their wealth and power intact.8In 1860 Charlotte Mentelle had died. The Mentelle house had reverted back to the Wickliffe estate, and after the Civil War General Preston decided to settle his former slave Peter Thompson and the Thompson family in the house. In January 1871 men identifying themselves as members of the Ku Klux Klan murdered Thompson out of anger that an African American family had housing while poor whites did not. The local KKK, however, condemned the murder in a letter to a local paper and declared they would revenge themselves upon any whites who committed such acts in the group’s name.8By 1877 the Preston's had rented the present-day Kenwick area to B. J. Treacy. Mr. Treacy established the Ashland Park Stock Farm with the purpose of raising thoroughbred horses. When President Chester Arthur visited Lexington in 1883, he had tea at Ashland and then toured the Farm.5The beginning stages of Mentelle Park.Kenwick Is Born: Margaret Wickliffe Preston outlived her husband, but died herself in 1898. Her will stipulated that the Ellerslie farm could not be divided among her heirs. Instead she left it jointly to her three children in equal shares. In 1903 the heirs were successfully able to contest the will and divide Ellerslie. They soon began the division of the property into residential lots. In 1906 Mentelle Park was born as the first subdivision carved out of the Ellerslie estate. On May 11, 1909, Kenwick was born as new streets and lots were carved out of the former Wickliffe lands. Within a few decades the farmland would be transformed into some of Lexington’s earliest suburbs and pass hands from a single wealthy estate to hundreds of middle and working class families.5The May 15, 1909, Lexington Herald records that S. T. Swift offered the name of Kenwick for the new development. The origin of the name is unclear. The area may have been named for Kenwick Hall, a famous Georgian estate in eastern England’s Lincolnshire. Another story says the name is a compound of Ken (for Kentucky) plus wick (for Old Duke Wickliffe).10 Originally the neighborhood consisted of six subdivisions built between 1909 and 1920. With names such as Bell dale, Beech land, and Crescent Hill, these subdivisions were originally designed to be elite neighborhoods. The early deeds stipulated that the lots could not be owned by an African American and that liquor could not be sold on any of the properties. Such racial covenant stipulations were sadly common during this period of Jim Crow laws. Later additions, however, favored homes for working class whites in the areas of the neighborhood closer to the C & O Railroad tracks and industrial areas along Mary (now National) and Delaware Streets. By 1919 lots in the neighborhood were selling for $14 per front foot.11Kenwick Neighborhood. Photo courtesy of the author.By 1920 the neighborhood street system was largely in place. In 1904 the landscape architectural firm of Frederick Olmstead —who designed New York’s Central Park— began laying out the Ashland Park development across from Kenwick. Olmstead designed Ashland Park as an upscale neighborhood carved out of the Ashland estate.12 In 1933 Kenwick’s neighbor to the east, the Fairway neighborhood, was established. Fairway’s opening completed Kenwick’s current boundaries.13Kenwick School: Julia R. Ewan Elementary also has its roots in the early 20thcentury. Opening in 1909 as the Kenwick School, it was located in a rented house at 193 Sherman Avenue by 1924. Julia Rice Ewan became the school’s principal and math teacher in that year and remained principal for 39 years. Concerned by the large number of poor white children —Fayette County schools were then racially segregated— Ewan began to offer hot meals to the children. In 1930 she also established the Kenwick Junior Garden Club, a program to teach children and parents to grow their own vegetables at the school. In 1936 Fayette County received $150,036 in the midst of the Great Depression to build eight school projects and employee 282 people. The largest of these projects was the construction of the 15-room Kenwick Elementary School (later Julia R. Ewan Elementary) on Henry Clay Boulevard. The new WPA-built (Works Projects Administration) school replaced the older structure on Sherman Avenue. Mrs. Ewan retired in 1963, and the school was then renamed Julia R. Ewan Elementary in her honor. In 2008 the school closed when its students were integrated into the new Liberty Elementary.14 The building was then sold and re-opened as the Lexington Speech and Hearing Center.Craftsman style bungalows in Kenwick. Photo courtesy of the author.Kenwick Grows Into a Community: Throughout the neighborhood during the 1930s, individuals bought and assembled a number of Craftsman-style bungalows. These houses were often purchased through the Sears and Roebuck Company and included detailed do-it-yourself plans and construction materials. It was left up to the builder to purchase bricks, windows, plumbing, and heating systems either from Sears or separately. Not all the Sears homes in Kennewick have yet been identified.Today Kenwick’s identity as a neighborhood is linked to its bungalow homes as evidenced by the neighborhood’s annual bungalow home tour.10 Yet almost all the bungalow homes are found in the first blocks off Richmond Road and represent a wave of construction that suddenly stopped with the Great Depression. The second and third blocks consist mostly of later homes built in other styles after the Depression.The post-war years through the early 1970s are remarkably quiet ones in Kenwick’s historical records. In 1974 Kennewick was an island of county jurisdiction surrounded by properties within the city’s boundaries. As a result it lacked many essential city services such as sewers, sidewalks, and street lights. There were actually outhouses in Kennewick, and the neighborhood was dependent on septic tanks.Kennewick neighborhood. Photo courtesy of the author.Kennewick Neighborhood Association: In 1974, however, the City of Lexington and Fayette County merged into a single unified government, the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government (Loafing). In that same year Kennewick resident Jay Hess organized the Kennewick Neighborhood Association (KNA). The KNA organized clean-up projects and a youth recreational program that helped drop Kenwick’s youth probation rate from one of the highest in Lexington to near zero. Hess and the KNA also successfully pushed the city to spend $5 million in Federal block grant dollars to upgrade Kennewick with sewers and sidewalks between 1974 and 1976.15Lured by its close proximity to the University of Kentucky and downtown as well as relatively inexpensive housing, an eclectic mix of young professionals, UK employees, and others began to move into the neighborhood starting in the 1980s. By the 1990s and into the present, the area continues to gentrify. Kennewick remains a diverse neighborhood that “runs from the million dollar homes on Richmond Road to the train tracks in three blocks” as one resident has described it. Unlike many places in Kentucky, its history remains accessible thanks to historic maps and documents. Here in Henry Clay’s apple orchard where a refugee from the French Revolution’s guillotines taught a young Mary Todd Lincoln, more than 900 ‘Ken wicked’ households continue to create new stories and cherish their own old Kentucky homes.About the Author: Jeff Jones, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Health Policy and Management at the Jinxing Shu College of Public Health at Georgia Southern University. His health research includes a focus on communities, their histories, and development of health infrastructure. Prior to moving to Georgia, Dr. Jones lived in Lexington, KY, for 24 years and was a resident of the Kennewick neighborhood for 15 years. He also served as a past president of the Kendrick Neighborhood Association.References
    1. Clark T. Biographical Sketch. http://henryclay.org/?page_id=367. Accessed March 20, 2014, 2014.
    2. Society KH. Kentucky’s Abraham Lincoln. 2010; http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs017/1101092730388/archive/1101968106528.html. Accessed March 20, 2014, 2014.
    3. Lincoln A. Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Vol 3. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press; 1953.
    4. Baker JH. Mary Todd Lincoln: A Biography. New York: W.W. Norton and Company; 2008.
    5. Hollingsworth R. Property Owned by Margaret Wickliffe Preston (1819-1898), of Kentucky. 1999; http://www.uky.edu/~dolph/scraps/ellerslie.html. Accessed March 21, 2014.
    6. Archives Books. http://www.uky.edu/~dolph/scraps/liberia.html. Accessed March 20, 2014, 2014.
    7. Hollingsworth R. “Mrs. Boone, I presume?” In Search of the Idea of Womanhood in Kentucky’s Early Years. In: Blotter JC, Rowland D, eds. Bluegrass Renaissance: The History and Culture of Central Kentucky, 1792-1852. Lexington, KY: University of Kentucky Press; 2012:93-131.
    8. Hollingsworth R. Lexington: Queen of the Bluegrass. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing; 2004.
    9. Obituary: Charlotte Victoria Le Clear Mentally. Kentucky Statesman. September 14, 1860.
    10. Ward K. ‘This Old House’ honors Lexington’s Kennewick neighborhood. Lexington Herald-Leader. September 24, 2013.
    11. Hollingsworth R. She Used Her Power Lightly: A Political History of Margaret Wickliffe Preston of Kentucky. Lexington, KY: History, University of Kentucky; 1999.
    12. Schwinn Rh. The place of landscape: a conceptual framework for interpreting an American scene. Annals of the Association of American Geographers. 1997;87(4):660-680.
    13. Boulton A. PROPERTY AND AESTHETICS IN AN ORDINARY AMERICAN LANDSCAPE*. Geographical Review. 2011;101(2):224-242.
    14. Julia R. Ewan Elementary School. 2014; http://lexhistory.org/wikilex/julia-r-ewan-elementary-school. Accessed April 15, 2014.
    15. Jones J. History of Kennewick. 2014; http://www.kenwick.org/sample-page/history/. Accessed April 15, 2014.
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    Lexington dives into history with plans for Splash!Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022
    ShareBlackburnLexington is diving into history with plans for Splash!, a water play zone that will tell the story of Col. Charles Young, the first African American to earn the rank of Colonel in the United States Army. Splash! will be located in Charles Young Park, downtown in the East End neighborhood.“We are bringing new life to Charles Young Park and Community Center,” Mayor Linda Gorton said. “We have already put in a new playground and resurfaced the basketball court. Town Branch Commons Trail will soon run right by the park and Splash! making access convenient for nearby neighbors to walk or cycle to the facilities.”Splash! will be a sizable water play feature, and the first of its kind in downtown Lexington. It has been designed for a wide variety of ages and abilities, with plenty of input from neighbors, including neighborhood children.“Neighborhood kids are taking part in a project that is changing the face of this neighborhood,” said Jill Wilson, William Wells Brown Community Center Director with Parks and Recreation. “Someday they will proudly look back and say, I did that, I made a difference!”Councilor James Brown said, “Splash! will be treasured and enjoyed by the families of the East End because they helped design it. Similar to the new playground in Charles Young Park, every aspect of this water play feature was envisioned and developed by neighborhood residents through community engagement and partnership.”The water feature is designed to conceptually illustrate the life of Charles Young, while also educating visitors about the rich cultural history of the East End neighborhood and the Park, which opened during the segregation of the 1930s and was the city’s second outdoor public recreation space for African Americans.Recently, the U.S. Department of Defense awarded Young with an honorary promotion to Brigadier General. In 2016, the Charles Young Center was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.Splash! will also draw upon the Bluegrass landscape, mimicking karst, creeks and streams found in the rural area. Using recirculating water, the water play area will include water bubbling up from stones, crossing water arches, and a constant shallow stream surrounded by steppingstones and artificial turf mounds for play or sitting.Plans call for the addition of trees to cool off the area and native plantings. And the project includes renovation of the existing restroom building.The cost of the privately funded project is $1.15 million, including a grant of $900,000 from Blue Grass Community Foundation with support from the following charitable donors and Bgf fund holders: Blue Grass Community Foundation, Community Ventures, J.M. Smucker Co., James and Martha Monroe Charitable Fund, and the Knight Foundation Donor Advised Fund.“The Community Foundation has a deep, abiding commitment to investing in park and Greenspan initiatives that make our community more equitable for everyone,” said Lisa Adkins, president/CEO of Blue Grass Community Foundation. “Creating engaging, safe water play in Lexington’s East End and downtown has been a decade-long priority for Bgf, and we couldn’t be more thrilled with the result of convening, collaborating, and helping fund Splash! at Charles Young Park.”Splash! also received a grant from the American Water Charitable Foundation’s Building Better Communities Grant, administered by the National Recreation and Park Association, for $250,000. “Kentucky American Water has been a strong supporter of Lexington’s parks for decades because we know that, just like quality water service, parks play a significant role in a community’s quality of life,” said Nick Rowe, president of Kentucky American Water. “With funding provided in part by the American Water Charitable Foundation, Splash! at Charles Young Park will be a wonderful place for people of all ages, backgrounds and physical abilities to enjoy water-based recreation while learning about conservation and environmental stewardship in a safe and sustainable manner.”###You may also like...
    May. 13, 2022 2 p.m.East Vine Street traffic pattern to changeTraffic patterns will change on East Vine Street following the completion of the Town Branch Commons Trail construction in the area.Continue Reading
    May. 11, 2022 1:14 p.m.Part of Beacon Hill Rd. closed for sewer projectThe closure is expected to last for one week to accommodate sanitary sewer construction.Continue Reading
    May. 11, 2022 12:02 p.m.Discover ‘Art on the Town’ Branch Commons TrailArtists will be able to reserve the carts and use them to sell or demonstrate their work, including paintings, drawings, jewelry, baskets, prints, books, pottery, and more.Continue ReadingConflict and Revolution
    1775 to 1776April 14, 1775 - Massachusetts Governor Gage is secretly ordered by the British to enforce the Coercive Acts and suppress "open rebellion" among colonists by using all necessary force.April 18, 1775 - General Gage orders 700 British soldiers to Concord to destroy the colonists' weapons depot.That night, Paul Revere and William Dawes are sent from Boston to warn colonists. Revere reaches Lexington about midnight and warns Sam Adams and John Hancock who are hiding out there.At dawn on April 19 about 70 armed Massachusetts militiamen stand face to face on Lexington Green with the British advance guard. An unordered 'shot heard around the world' begins the American Revolution. A volley of British muskets followed by a charge with bayonets leaves eight Americans dead and ten wounded. The British regroup and head for the depot in Concord, destroying the colonists' weapons and supplies. At the North Bridge in Concord, a British platoon is attacked by militiamen, with 14 casualties.British forces then begin a long retreat from Lexington back to Boston and are harassed and shot at all along the way by farmers and rebels and suffer over 250 casualties. News of the events at Lexington and Concord spreads like wildfire throughout the Colonies.April 23, 1775 - The Provincial Congress in Massachusetts orders 13,600 American soldiers to be mobilized. Colonial volunteers from all over New England assemble and head for Boston, then establish camps around the city and begin a year long siege of British-held Boston.May 10, 1775 - American forces led by Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold capture Fort Ticonderoga in New York. The fort contains a much needed supply of military equipment including cannons which are then hauled to Boston by ox teams.May 10, 1775 - The Second Continental Congress convenes in Philadelphia, with John Hancock elected as its president. On May 15, the Congress places the colonies in a state of defense. On June 15, the Congress unanimously votes to appoint George Washington general and commander-in-chief of the new Continental Army.June 17, 1775 - The first major fight between British and American troops occurs at Boston in the Battle of Bunker Hill. American troops are dug in along the high ground of Breed's Hill (the actual location) and are attacked by a frontal assault of over 2000 British soldiers who storm up the hill. The Americans are ordered not to fire until they can see "the whites of their eyes." As the British get within 15 paces, the Americans let loose a deadly volley of musket fire and halt the British advance. The British then regroup and attack 30 minutes later with the same result. A third attack, however, succeeds as the Americans run out of ammunition and are left only with bayonets and stones to defend themselves. The British succeed in taking the hill, but at a loss of half their force, over a thousand casualties, with the Americans losing about 400, including important colonial leader, General Joseph Warren.July 3, 1775 - At Cambridge, Massachusetts, George Washington takes command of the Continental Army which now has about 17,000 men.See also: George Washington Picture GalleryJuly 5, 1775 - The Continental Congress adopts the Olive Branch Petition which expresses hope for a reconciliation with Britain, appealing directly to the King for help in achieving this. In August, King George III refuses even to look at the petition and instead issues a proclamation declaring the Americans to be in a state of open rebellion.July 6, 1775 - The Continental Congress issues a Declaration on the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms detailing the colonists' reasons for fighting the British and states the Americans are "resolved to die free men rather than live as slaves."July 26, 1775 - An American Post Office is established with Ben Franklin as Postmaster General.November 28, 1775 - The American Navy is established by Congress. The next day, Congress appoints a secret committee to seek help from European nations.December 23, 1775 - King George III issues a royal proclamation closing the American colonies to all commerce and trade, to take effect in March of 1776. Also in December, Congress is informed that France may offer support in the war against Britain.January 5, 1776 - The assembly of New Hampshire adopts the first American state constitution.January 9, 1776 - Thomas Paine's "Common Sense" is published in Philadelphia. The 50 page pamphlet is highly critical of King George III and attacks allegiance to Monarchy in principle while providing strong arguments for American independence. It becomes an instant best-seller in America. "We have it in our power to begin the world anew...American shall make a stand, not for herself alone, but for the world," Paine states.March 4-17, 1776 - American forces capture Dorchester Heights which overlooks Boston harbor. Captured British artillery from Fort Ticonderoga is placed on the heights to enforce the siege against the British in Boston. The British evacuate Boston and set sail for Halifax. George Washington then rushes to New York to set up defenses, anticipating the British plan to invade New York City.April 6, 1776 - The Continental Congress declares colonial shipping ports open to all traffic except the British. The Congress had already authorized privateer raids on British ships and also advised disarming all Americans loyal to England.April 12, 1776 - The North Carolina assembly is the first to empower its delegates in the Continental Congress to vote for independence from Britain.May 2, 1776 - The American revolutionaries get the much needed foreign support they had been hoping for. King Louis XVI of France commits one million dollars in arms and munitions. Spain then also promises support.May 10, 1776 - The Continental Congress authorizes each of the 13 colonies to form local (provincial) governments.June 28, 1776 - In South Carolina, American forces at Fort Moultrie successfully defend Charleston against a British naval attack and inflict heavy damage on the fleet.June-July, 1776 - A massive British war fleet arrives in New York Harbor consisting of 30 battleships with 1200 cannon, 30,000 soldiers, 10,000 sailors, and 300 supply ships, under the command of General William Howe and his brother Admiral Lord Richard Howe.June-July, 1776 - On June 7, Richard Henry Lee, a Virginia delegate to the Continental Congress, presents a formal resolution calling for America to declare its independence from Britain. Congress decides to postpone its decision on this until July. On June 11, Congress appoints a committee to draft a declaration of independence. Committee members are Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Roger Livingston and Roger Sherman. Jefferson is chosen by the committee to prepare the first draft of the declaration, which he completes in one day. Just seventeen days later, June 28, Jefferson's Declaration of Independence is ready and is presented to the Congress, with changes made by Adams and Franklin. On July 2, twelve of thirteen colonial delegations (New York abstains) vote in support of Lee's resolution for independence. On July 4, the Congress formally endorses Jefferson's Declaration, with copies to be sent to all of the colonies. The actual signing of the document occurs on August 2, as most of the 55 members of Congress place their names on the parchment copy.July 4, 1776 - United States Declaration of IndependenceJuly 12, 1776 - As a show of force, two British frigates sail up the Hudson River blasting their guns. Peace feelers are then extended to the Americans. At the request of the British, Gen. Washington meets with Howe's representatives in New York and listens to vague offers of clemency for the American rebels. Washington politely declines, then leaves.August 27-29, 1776 - Gen. Howe leads 15,000 soldiers against Washington's army in the Battle of Long Island. Washington, outnumbered two to one, suffers a severe defeat as his army is outflanked and scatters. The Americans retreat to Brooklyn Heights, facing possible capture by the British or even total surrender.But at night, the Americans cross the East River in small boats and escape to Manhattan, then evacuate New York City and retreat up through Manhattan Island to Harlem Heights. Washington now changes tactics, avoiding large scale battles with the British by a series of retreats.September 11, 1776 - A peace conference is held on Staten Island with British Admiral, Lord Richard Howe, meeting American representatives including John Adams and Benjamin Franklin. The conference fails as Howe demands the colonists revoke the Declaration of Independence.September 16, 1776 - After evacuating New York City, Washington's army repulses a British attack during the Battle of Harlem Heights in upper Manhattan. Several days later, fire engulfs New York City and destroys over 300 buildings.September 22, 1776 - After he is caught spying on British troops on Long Island, Nathan Hale is executed without a trial, his last words, "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country."September 26, 1776 - Congress appoints Jefferson, Franklin and Silas Deane to negotiate treaties with European governments. Franklin and Deane then travel to France seeking financial and military aid.October 9, 1776 - San Francisco is established by Spanish missionaries on the California coast.October 11, 1776 - A big defeat for the inexperienced American Navy on Lake Champlain at the hands of a British fleet of 87 gunships. In the 7 hour Battle of Velour Bay most of the American flotilla of 83 gunships is crippled with the remaining ships destroyed in a second engagement two days later.October 28, 1776 - After evacuating his main forces from Manhattan, Washington's army suffers heavy casualties in the Battle of White Plains from Gen. Howe's forces. Washington then retreats westward.November, 1776 - More victories for the British as Fort Washington on Manhattan and its precious stores of over 100 cannon, thousands of muskets and cartridges is captured by Gen. Howe. The Americans also lose Fort Lee in New Jersey to Gen. Cornwallis. Washington's army suffers 3000 casualties in the two defeats. Gen. Washington abandons the New York area and moves his forces further westward toward the Delaware River. Cornwallis now pursues him.December 6, 1776 - The naval base at Newport, Rhode Island, is captured by the British.December 11, 1776 - Washington takes his troops across the Delaware River into Pennsylvania. The next day, over concerns of a possible British attack, the Continental Congress abandons Philadelphia for Baltimore.Among Washington's troops is Thomas Paine, author of Common Sense, who now writes "...These are the times that try men's souls: The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country: but he that stands it NOW deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like Hell, is not easily conquered. Yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph."December 25-26, 1776 - On Christmas, George Washington takes 2400 of his men and recrossed the Delaware River.Washington then conducts a surprise raid on 1500 British-Hessians (German mercenaries) at Trenton, New Jersey.The Hessians surrender after an hour with nearly 1000 taken prisoner by Washington who suffers only six wounded (including future president Lt. James Monroe). Washington reoccupies Trenton. The victory provides a much needed boost to the morale of all American Patriots.Copyright © 1998 The History Place™ All Rights Reserved
    Terms of use: Private home/school non-commercial, non-Internet re-usage only is allowed of any text, graphics, photos, audio clips, other electronic files or materials from The History Place.HistoryLexington Gay Services Organization is formed to provide educational and social support for LGBTQIA+ Kentuckians.1977The Gazette, a newsletter for the LGBTQIA+ community in Central Kentucky is launched.
    1979Involved in filling social service gaps and gay stigmas regarding the HIV epidemic1980'sSponsored first annual Pride Picnic
    1982Received 501(c)(3) status from the IRS1983Name changes to Gay & Lesbian Services Organization (GLSO). The word “lesbian” was added to the name to recognize important roles of female leaders.1986Stonewall Network began working on raising funds to create a Pride Center1993GLSO Pride Center opens
    1996GLSO presents the first Lexington Pride Festival
    2008LINQ Magazine covering the LGBTQIA+ community in Central Kentucky is launched2013Name changes to Pride Community Services Organization (PCSO) to reflect diversity of community2015First Executive Director, Carmen Wampler-Collins, is hired. 2019PCSO launches Peoples’ Market food pantry to help eliminate food insecurity for LGBTQIA+ people
    2019PCSO Pride Center goes from offering part-time to full-time open hours 2020Name changes to Lexington Pride Center2021Our MissionThe Lexington Pride Center’s mission is to celebrate and empower the intersectional lives of LGBTQIA+ Kentuckians.Our vision is a world free of marginalization, where every LGBTQIA+ person is safe to be who they are and love who they love.HistoryThe first discussions by Bank of Lexington’s organizers were to raise $12 million in capital. While this amount was aggressive it was believed to be attainable. At the end of the day, there were enough investors to raise nearly $14 million in capital. With the funds in place, the organizers could move forward.Realizing that a bank is only as strong as its foundation, a board of directors was assembled featuring a number of successful members of our community. The board of directors, headed by Chairman Daniel McQueen, then put together a management team that has an average of eighteen (18) years of banking experience in the Central Kentucky area. John L. Mauldin was chosen to be President and Chief Executive Officer.Bank of Lexington was granted a charter as a state commercial bank and opened for business on February 6, 2006. The original main office was on the first and fourth floors of a ten-story landmark on Harrodsburg Road. The bank’s name and logo are still featured prominently at the top of this building. These locations were utilized until a new structure was built at 761 Corporate Drive, Lexington, Kentucky.From the first day with just under $14 million in assets, growth has been progressive and steady. This prudent growth has been a result of quality credits and sound underwriting analysis by our experienced lending staff, as well as our attractive menu of deposit products.Bank of Lexington associates have been and will always be committed to increasing shareholder value through continued steady growth and expansion throughout the Lexington region. While our history is brief, our future is bright, and we look forward to serving more and more residents of our community.
    • Links to third-party web sites are provided for convenience only. Bank of Lexington does not endorse nor support the content of third-party links. Bank of Lexington is not responsible for the content of a third-party website. By clicking on a third-party link, you will leave the Bank of Lexington website. Privacy and security policies may differ from those practiced by Bank of Lexington.
      • HISTORY60 years ago, in Fulton County, NY, a small group of parents with children with developmental disabilities came together with a common goal. They wanted to ensure their children would be able to remain in their homes and receive the same educational services that were provided to all children. Using donated space and funds that the parents raised, they established a small school that initially served five children.The founding parents, Mr. and Mrs. George Madnick, Mr. and Mrs. Paul Hermon, Mr. and Mrs. James Abbott, and Mr. and Mrs. John Hladik, joined with others in 1953 to form the Fulton County Chapter of NYSARC, Inc., now known as Lexington. What began as a support group for children and families has grown over six decades to become one of the most comprehensive, mission-driven and well-managed agencies of its kind.History was indeed being made in Fulton County in 1953 and these parents were true pioneers. At the time, they were considered by many to be radicals, going against the prevailing wisdom that children with intellectual and developmental disabilities should be placed in institutions, segregated from the rest of society. So they defied conventional wisdom and joined with other parents around the state to become members of NYSARC, Inc. They shared ideas, networked and advocated for their children.As Lexington grew, so did the need for additional resources. Spearheaded by George Madnick in 1983, the Lexington Foundation was created to ensure that Lexington’s commitment to children and adults with developmental disabilities and their families would be sustained through long-term financial support. Funds raised by the Foundation are used to support Lexington's programs and services, purchase specialized equipment and sponsor educational and recreational programs.The Foundation’s ability to fund these services is dependent on private donations.The Lexington Foundation 501(c)(3)is registered with the NYS Department of Law, Bureau of Licensed Charities. Contributions to The Lexington Foundation are tax deductible to the extent allowable under the law. The Lexington Foundation is audited by Bonadio & Co., LLP – Certified Public Accountants.
        POWERED BY SQUARESPACEA rendering showing the proposed view of the Splash! water play zone in Lexington, Ky. (City of Lexington)
        BLACK HISTORY MONTHLexington dives into history with plans for Splash!BY KENTUCKYPUBLISHED 3:45 PM ET FEB. 22, 2022
        LEXINGTON, Ky. — Lexington is putting an aquatic twist on history with plans for Splash!, a water play zone that will tell the story of Col. Charles Young, the first African American to earn the rank of colonel in the United States Army. A news release from the City of Lexington announced Tuesday that Splash! will be in Charles Young Park, which is downtown in the East End neighborhood.What You Need To Know
          • Splash! will be the first of its kind in the area and tell the story of Col. Charles Young, who is the first African American to earn the rank of Colonel in the United States Army
          • The water play zone will be located in Charles Young Park, which is in downtown Lexington in the East End neighborhood
          • Splash! will include recirculating water to include water bubbling up from stones, crossing water arches and a constant shallow stream surrounded by stepping stones and artificial turf mounds for play or sitting
        • The cost of the family-friendly project is $1.15 million
        "We are bringing new life to Charles Young Park and Community Center,” Mayor Linda Gorton said in the news release. “We have already put in a new playground and resurfaced the basketball court. Town Branch Commons Trail will soon run right by the park and Splash!, making access convenient for nearby neighbors to walk or cycle to the facilities.”Splash! will be a sizable water play feature, and the first of its kind in downtown Lexington. It has been designed for a wide variety of ages and abilities, with plenty of input from neighbors, including neighborhood children.“Splash! will be treasured and enjoyed by the families of the East End because they helped design it. Similar to the new playground in Charles Young Park, every aspect of this water play feature was envisioned and developed by neighborhood residents through community engagement and partnership,” said Councilmember James Brown in the release.According to the City of Lexington, the water feature is designed to conceptually illustrate the life of Charles Young while also educating visitors about the rich cultural history of the East End neighborhood and the park, which opened during the segregation of the 1930s and was the city’s second outdoor public recreation space for African Americans.Recently, the U.S. Department of Defense awarded Young with an honorary promotion to Brigadier General. In 2016, the Charles Young Center was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
        A proposed site plan for the Splash! water play zone in Lexington, Ky. (City of Lexington)Splash! will also draw upon the Bluegrass landscape, mimicking karst, creeks and streams found in the rural area. The release states that the water play area will use recirculating water to include “water bubbling up from stones, crossing water arches and a constant shallow stream surrounded by stepping stones and artificial turf mounds for play or sitting.”Plans call for the addition of trees to cool off the area and native plantings. Additionally, the project includes renovation of the existing restroom building.The cost of the privately funded project is $1.15 million, including a grant of $900,000 from Blue Grass Community Foundation with support from charitable donors and fund holders.Splash! also received a grant for $250,000 from the American Water Charitable Foundation’s Building Better Communities Grant, administered by the National Recreation and Park Association.“Kentucky American Water has been a strong supporter of Lexington’s parks for decades because we know that, just like quality water service, parks play a significant role in a community’s quality of life,” said Nick Rowe, president of Kentucky American Water. “With funding provided in part by the American Water Charitable Foundation, Splash! at Charles Young Park will be a wonderful place for people of all ages, backgrounds and physical abilities to enjoy water-based recreation while learning about conservation and environmental stewardship in a safe and sustainable manner.”History of KentuckyExploration and settlementLong before the arrival of Europeans, the Kentucky region was inhabited by indigenous agricultural and hunting peoples who left behind burial and ceremonial mounds that remain prominent features of the landscape today. Later the area became a hunting ground and battlefield for other native peoples, such as the Shawnee from the north and the Cherokee from the south. French and Spanish explorers first came to Kentucky via the rivers of the Mississippi basin in the 17th century, and traders from the eastern colonies entered the region during the early 18th century, primarily by way of the Ohio River and Cumberland Gap. Although native resistance and rough terrain hindered European exploration during the 1750s and ’60s, Virginian physician Thomas Walker and a survey party in 1750 established the region’s southern boundary—the so-called “Walker Line,” at 36°30′ N—as an extension of the Virginia–North Carolina boundary. (Kentucky was to remain part of Virginia until 1792.) The French and Indian War (1754–63) secured the Ohio River as a major entryway to the region for successive waves of European settlers. In 1769 Daniel Boone and a hunting party penetrated to the central plateau region, or Bluegrass country. Boonesborough was established there in 1775.
        Daniel BooneDaniel Boone, lithograph after a painting by J.W. Berry© Maryann Groves/North Wind Picture ArchivesSettlement was rapid during the 1770s, though the prophecies of a Cherokee chieftain, Dragging-Canoe, that Boone and other white settlers would find Kentucky “a dark and bloody land” were in large part fulfilled. During the American Revolution (1775–83), British officers antagonized the native peoples, who responded most notably by mounting raids on Boonesborough in 1777 and 1778 and by executing a bloody ambush at Blue Licks in 1782. Settlers also endured numerous smaller-scale sieges and skirmishes.
        Following the Revolution, immigrants poured down the rivers and traveled the Wilderness Road, the trail blazed by Boone through Cumberland Gap. Harrodsburg, Kentucky’s oldest town, was established (as Harrodstown) near the head of Salt River by James Harrod and a party of 37 men in 1774. Other settlers also founded towns, and before long they began to call for separation of the judicial district of Kentucky from Virginia. Although statehood conventions at Danville in the 1780s were initially ruffled by the “Spanish Conspiracy” of James Wilkinson and others to ally the region with Spain, they led ultimately to the adoption of a constitution and, on June 1, 1792, Kentucky’s admission as the 15th state of the union. The organization of state government took place three days later in a Lexington tavern. Isaac Shelby was appointed governor, and a committee was appointed to select a permanent site for the capital. Frankfort was chosen, and the General Assembly met for the first time on November 1, 1793.
        James WilkinsonJames Wilkinson, portrait by J.W. Jarvis; in the Filson Club Collection, Louisville, Kentucky.The Filson Club, Louisville, KentuckyStatehood and crisesKentucky was the first state west of the Appalachian Mountains to be admitted to the union. At the time of its admission it was bounded on the southwest by the Tennessee River and on the north and northwest by the low-water line on the north shore of the Ohio River. The southwestern boundary shifted to the Mississippi River when the Purchase was added in 1818.
        Events leading to the adoption of a second state constitution in 1799 revealed an internal occupational division that has in some ways continued to characterize Kentucky. On one side of the divide were most of the small-scale farmers who floated their grain, hides, and other products on flatboats down the Mississippi to Spanish-held New Orleans. They allied themselves with antislavery forces against those on the opposite side of the divide—in general, the slaveholding plantation owners and businessmen. The federal Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798, passed in an attempt to control criticism of the government, were vigorously opposed by many Kentuckians, particularly by those who were against slavery. Most notable among the acts’ detractors was the young politician Henry Clay, who ultimately stamped his personality on the state and national scenes as the “Great Compromiser” (largely owing to his role in the orchestration of the Missouri Compromise of 1820 as well as the Compromise of 1850, both of which addressed issues of slavery).
        Henry ClayHenry Clay.© North Wind Picture ArchivesThe first half of the 19th century was one of the most eventful in the state’s history. Kentucky took a lead in the War of 1812, much of which was fought in the adjacent Northwest Territory against combined British and native forces. A new generation of leaders came to the fore, and many counties were created and named for military heroes or politicians. Technological accomplishments from 1820 to 1850 included the building of a canal at Louisville, the chartering of railroads, and increased manufacturing. At the same time, the arts flourished, with portrait painters, silversmiths, sculptors, and other artists securing patronage as the population prospered.
        The early 19th century also was an era of economic and political turmoil. Following the Revolution, there had been a land boom, with attendant speculation and inflation. Meanwhile, dozens of independent banks were chartered, and they flooded the state with paper money. Together, these phenomena led to financial disaster during the national economic panic of 1819. Fierce controversy over relief to debtors split the Whig Party, led by Clay, from the Democratic Party, under Andrew Jackson.The slavery question was uppermost, however, until the American Civil War. The few large slaveholders were located mainly in the plantation agricultural areas of the Bluegrass and Pennyrile regions, but by 1833, when the legislature forbade importation of slaves for resale, the state’s population was already nearly one-fourth Black. Until the Civil War, pro-slavery forces maintained tight control of the government and prevented any constitutional change that endangered their property. Throughout the period, the state’s social, cultural, economic, and political interests became more aligned with the South than with the developing North.
        Civil War and its aftermathDuring the war Kentucky was a state divided. Officially, it had sought to avoid war by continuing Clay’s tradition of compromise (which Clay again exercised through his involvement with the Compromise of 1850). But once war erupted, some 76,000 soldiers, of which approximately 15,000 were Black, fought for the Union armies of the North, and about 34,000 fought for the Confederacy of the South—though after the war popular sentiment became strongly pro-South. Kentucky was invaded by both Union and Confederate forces. Following the defeat of the Confederate general Braxton Bragg at Perryville on October 8, 1862, the only military action in the state consisted of widespread guerrilla warfare.
        Braxton BraggBraxton Bragg.Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.The period of war brought far-reaching change to Kentucky. Slaves became freedmen, and what had been a slave issue became a racial one. The Southern market was bankrupt, and Kentucky was now forced to compete with the North for whatever trade remained. (At the close of the Civil War most of Kentucky’s virgin timber was still standing, and only a small portion of its mineral resources had been tapped.) Moreover, Kentucky was no longer in the path of migration but was being bypassed as settlers moved beyond the Mississippi River.
        An array of social and socioeconomic conflicts agitated the state in the last decades of the 19th century. Although the Ku Klux Klan, a white-supremacist hate organization, cultivated fear and animosity, the freed slaves were given the right to vote, and most settled as tenant farmers or urban workers. Black Kentuckians, however, were not to become first-class citizens. Segregation was the norm, and numerous all-Black communities developed. Meanwhile, Lexington and the Ohio River cities—Louisville, Owensboro, Paducah, and Covington—grew rapidly, ultimately fueling the involvement of more rural areas in the populist agrarian politics of the period. Warfare between tobacco growers and tobacco trusts brought on an era of barn burning and similar attempts to keep tobacco prices up. In the period 1865–1910 vendettas in the Appalachian Mountains damaged Kentucky’s image. Among the most famous of these conflicts was the feud between the Hatfield and McCoy families. As summarized by the historian Thomas D. Clark in The Kentucky Encyclopedia (1992), “Kentucky in 1900 epitomized the conditions of an intensely rural agrarian state with a distinctively regional mind-set.”
        Kentucky in the early 20th centuryContinued diversification of the economy marked the early 20th century, though the Great Depression in the 1930s and strikes by the United Mine Workers of America brought serious problems and open strife in many sectors. The state followed the national trends toward the loss of rural population to industrial centers, both inside and outside the state. World War I (1914–18) triggered tremendous changes in the state’s economic and social affairs. Agriculture, industry, and general business flourished, and the coal industry was especially prosperous. With the arrival of the automobile and truck age after 1918, new roads became mandatory, shattering the physical, social, and economic isolation of many parts of the state.
        Kentucky: coal town, 1930sCompany houses in a coal town in Floyd county, Kentucky, U.S., c. 1930s.Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.The Great Depression had both negative and positive effects on Kentucky. The negative effects were, as in the rest of the country, unemployment and stunted economic growth. On the positive side, however, New Deal economic relief and reform programs provided for the construction of many schools, public buildings, and roads, as well as for the implementation of conservation initiatives. The federal government’s Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) water-management system had an enormous impact on western Kentucky: through this program, the great Kentucky Dam on the Tennessee River in the state’s southwestern region was created, facilitating the supply of inexpensive electricity to local users.
        Kentucky: African American school, early 1900sAfrican American school near Henderson, Kentucky, U.S., early 1900s.National Child Labor Committee collection, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
        From World War II into the 21st centuryWorld War II (1939–45) ushered the age of technology into Kentucky. The latter half of the 20th century brought interstate highways and television. Meanwhile, in the early 1970s a countrywide energy shortage created a demand for more coal, and Kentucky’s coalfields prospered for nearly a decade. As petroleum prices stabilized, however, the demand for coal diminished. Moreover, layoffs in the automotive industry reduced the demand for steel, which in turn lowered the demand for coking-quality coal; environmental concerns added to the costs of coal production and use; and coal operators, in attempts to decrease production costs, introduced machinery that reduced the need for manpower. Unemployment in the coalfields became a major concern. In the coal-mining interior of eastern Kentucky, where there was little agriculture or manufacturing, the incomes of many families dropped below the poverty level.
        The importance of agriculture also began to decline as the state became more industrialized. Kentucky’s farms, which had numbered some 279,000 in 1935, numbered less than 90,000 by the year 2000 as a result of the falling prices of agricultural products, labor shortages, increased mechanization, and periods of drought. Meanwhile, tobacco, long one of Kentucky’s most lucrative crops, was declared a health hazard, making the future for this crop uncertain.The expansion of industry and educational reform were priorities of Kentucky’s administrations in the 1980s and 1990s, including that of the state’s first woman governor, Martha Layne Collins, elected in 1984. Since the late 20th century many manufacturing firms have left the state for areas where labor is less expensive, particularly Mexico. However, the state simultaneously has seen an influx of Japanese manufacturers, primarily in the automobile industry.Martha Layne CollinsMartha Layne Collins.Creative Services Photo Collection, Archives and Records Management Division — Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives Wilma DykemanWilford Allen BladenMaysville
        Fast Facts
        MaysvilleKentucky, United StatesPrint Cite Share FeedbackAlternate titles: LimestoneBy The Editors of Encyclopedia BritannicaEdit HistoryMaysville, city, seat (1848) of Mason county, northeastern Kentucky, U.S. It lies at the confluence of Limestone Creek and the Ohio River, there bridged (1931) to Aberdeen, Ohio. The town was established as Limestone in 1787 at the site of a tavern operated (1786–89) by frontiersman Daniel Boone and his wife, Rebecca. It was laid out by Simon Kenton and John May (for whom it was later renamed). By 1792 it had become a landing point for pioneers. General Ulysses S. Grant attended school there, and the birthplace of Confederate General Albert Sydney Johnston is preserved as a historic shrine at nearby Washington.Maysville is a river port with a balanced farm-industrial economy. It is an important marketing center for burley tobacco; manufactures include power transmission products and automotive seat covers. A second bridge over the Ohio between Maysville and Aberdeen opened in 2001. Maysville Community College opened in 1968. Blue Licks Battlefield State Park, which preserves the site of a skirmish (August 1782) during the American Revolution, is about 25 miles (40 km) southwest. Inc. city, 1833. Pop. (2000) 8,993; (2010) 9,011.KentuckyState History
        The land that is now Kentucky has been inhabited by different peoples for thousands of years. One of the earliest cultures to develop here was the Woodland peoples including the Hopewell and the Adena. Later, the Mississippian and the Fort Ancient people lived in the area.
        Kentucky State Capitol Building by RXUYDC
        Native Americans
        When the Europeans arrived in the 1600s, there were no major Native American tribes that permanently lived in Kentucky. The land of Kentucky was mostly used as hunting grounds for tribes such as the Cherokee, the Delaware, and the Shawnee.
        Europeans Arrive
        Although British settlers were looking for new land to the west, few had ventured into Kentucky because it was so difficult to cross the Appalachian Mountains. In 1750, explorer Dr. Thomas Walker discovered a pass through the mountains. He called it the Cumberland Gap.
        After the French and Indian War ended in 1763, the British promised the Indians that they would not settle beyond the Appalachian Mountains. However, the colonists didn't agree with this promise and started to settle Kentucky anyway. The first permanent European settlement was Harrodsburg which was established by James Harrod in 1774. Soon, more settlers began to move in around the area.
        Dunmore's War
        The Shawnee were not happy that the Europeans were building homes on their hunting grounds. They attacked the settlers and soon the settlers were at war with the Shawnee. In 1774, the governor of Virginia, Lord Dunmore, declared war on the Shawnee. He defeated the Shawnee at the Battle of Point Pleasant. After the battle, the Shawnee and the settlers agreed to use the Ohio River as a boarder between the British colonists and the Shawnee.
        Daniel Boone
        In 1775, Daniel Boone led a number of settlers into Kentucky to establish the town of Boonesborough. He also widened and improved the trail across the Cumberland Gap so that wagons could travel through. This trail became known as the Wilderness Road. Many settlers over the coming years used this trail to settle Kentucky.
        Daniel Boone by Alonzo Chappel
        Becoming a State
        After the Revolutionary War, Kentucky became a part of the state of Virginia. Soon the people of Kentucky wanted to make their own government. They applied for statehood and on June 1, 1792 Kentucky became the 15th state.
        Civil War
        During the Civil War, Kentucky was a border state and also a slave state. There were people within the state who sided with the North and others that sided with the South. At the start of the war, Kentucky refused to take sides and remained neutral. However, when the Confederate Army invaded, Kentucky declared its loyalty for the Union. Major battles that occurred in Kentucky include the Battle of Mill Springs and the Battle of Perryville. It is interesting to note that both the leader of the Union, Abraham Lincoln, and the leader of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis, were both born in Kentucky.
        1913 Kentucky Derby winner Donerail by Unknown
        • 1750 - The Cumberland Gap is discovered by Dr. Thomas Walker.
        • 1774 - Harrodsburg is established as the first permanent British settlement.
        • 1774 - Lord Dunmore of Virginia defeats the Shawnee in Dunmore's War.
        • 1775 - Daniel Boone establishes the town of Boonesborough and widens the Wilderness Trail from Virginia.
        • 1780 - The city of Louisville is established.
        • 1792 - Kentucky becomes the 15th state.
        • 1861 - Kentucky decides to side with Union in the Civil War after trying to remain neutral.
        • 1875 - The first Kentucky Derby is held at Churchill Downs.
        • 1904 to 1908 - The Black Patch Tobacco Wars take place in Kentucky.
        • 1937 - The Ohio River floods causing extensive damage.
        • 1964 - Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali) wins his first heavyweight championship fight.
        More US State History:
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        OhioOklahomaOregonPennsylvaniaRhode IslandSouth CarolinaSouth DakotaTennesseeTexasUtahVermontVirginiaWashingtonWest VirginiaWisconsinWyoming
        Works Citedin:Lexington, Kentucky, Histories of cities in Kentucky
        History of Lexington, KentuckyCategory pageVIEW SOURCE
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        School History


        Our School

        School's History

        • Important symbols

          Crest: The gold shield signifies faith, protection, and bravery.
          GOLD: majesty, riches, wisdom, and honor.
          TORCH: initiative, knowledge, and wisdom.
          CLASPED HANDS: friendship and cooperation at school and in the community.
          KEY AND FEATHER QUILL: gaining of knowledge and the communication of it to the public.
          RIFLE CROSSED OVER THE TOMAHAWK: struggle of the pioneers to defend their homes and honor.
          ANIMO ET FIDE: stands for courage and faith.
          School colors
          BLUE, GREEN, and GOLD were selected for a twofold purpose: to duplicate those in the flag of Virginia under which the original Bryan Station Defenders fought in 1782 (the fort was then in the county of Virginia) and to suggest the three major colors in nature -- blue to represent the sky, green to represent the land and trees, and gold for the sun.
          Fight song
          On Bryan Station, fight Defenders fight!
          Victory is in sight.
          By our strength, and courage, too,
          Win for GREEN and GOLD and BLUE!
          So on Bryan Station, fight Defenders gight,
          Guardians of our might.
          Watch our team go down the field (floor) and score!
          Let's fight, fight, fight, FIGHT
          For Bryan Station High!

          Mean Man: His persona reflects the heritage of the pioneers at the seige of Bryan Station Fort between the British and Indians in 1782.

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