Athens on the Frontier
In 1811, architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe spurred American builders into action when he called for them to reject "the corrupt Age of Dioclesian, or the still more absurd and debased taste of Louis the XIV," and to emulate instead the ancient temples of Greece.
In response, people in the antebellum trans-Appalachian region embraced the clean lines, intricate details, and stately symmetry of the Grecian style. On newly built public buildings, private homes, and religious structures, references to classical Greek architecture became the preferred ornamentation. Several antebellum cities and towns adopted the moniker of "Athens," styling themselves as centers of culture, ...Read More
Antebellum Architecture of Kentucky
During the eight decades preceding the Civil War, Kentucky was the scene of tremendous building activity. Located in the western section of the original English colonies, midway between North and South, Kentucky saw the rise of an architecture that combined the traditions of nationally known designers, eager to achieve the refinements of their English mother culture, alongside the innovativeness and bold originality proper to the frontier. Tradition thus provided a tangible link with world architectural development, while innovation offered refreshing variations. The result was a distinctive regional architecture.
In his newest look at Kentucky architecture, Clay Lancaster broadens his scope ...Read More
Clay Lancaster's Kentucky: Architectural Photographs of a Preservation Pioneer
"Clay Lancaster was infected by a love of architecture at an early age, a gentle madness from which he never cared to recover.”—From the Foreword, by Roger W. Moss
It is easy to take for granted the visual environment that we inhabit. Familiarity with routes of travel and places of work or leisure leads to indifference, and we fail to notice incremental changes. When a dilapidated building is eliminated by new development, it is forgotten as soon as its replacement becomes a part of our daily landscape. When an addition is grafted onto the shell of a house fallen out ...Read More
Actors, Audiences, and Historic Theaters of Kentucky
Kentucky emerged as a prime site for theatrical activity in the early nineteenth century. Most towns, even quite small ones, constructed increasingly elaborate opera houses, which stood as objects of local pride and symbols of culture. These theaters often hosted amateur performances, providing a forum for talent and a focus for community social life. As theatrical attendance rose, performance halls began offering everything from drama to equestrian shows to burlesque.
Today many architects believe that the design of a theater should not detract from the stage or screen. Marilyn Casto shows that nineteenth-century Kentucky audiences, however, not only expected elaborate ...Read More
The Synagogues of Kentucky: Architecture and History
Lee Shai Weissbach’s innovative study sheds light on the functioning of smaller Jewish communities in a state representative of many in the Midwest and South. The synagogue buildings of Kentucky tell much about the experience of Kentucky Jewry. Synagogues, especially in smaller towns, have often served as the only setting available for a wide variety of communal activities. Weissbach outlines the history of every congregation established in Kentucky and every house of worship that has served Kentucky Jewry over the last 150 years, considering such issues as the financing of construction, the selection of architects, the way synagogue buildings reveal ...Read More
Kentucky Folk Architecture
A concise and amply illustrated introduction to Kentucky folk structures--log cabins, houses, cribs, and barns--that should be treasured as irreplaceable expressions of the cultural values of the Commonwealth's past.
Folk buildings, constructed by local mechanics, are like folktales and folksongs: they are a durable expression of traditional cultural patters transformed from previous generations. -- Come-All-Ye
Ante Bellum Houses of the Bluegrass: The Development of Residential Architecture in Fayette County, Kentucky
The ante bellum homes of Lexington and Fayette County, Kentucky, are both more numerous and more distinctive in design than those of many communities of similar age. Founded in 1775, Lexington by the turn of the century had become the chief cultural center north of New Orleans and west of the Alleghenies. During the eight decades between the Revolution and the Civil War, Fayette County was the focus of converging streams of immigration, and a phenomenal amount of building activity took place in Lexington and the surrounding area. Although local builders followed the trends of national architecture, they were not ...Read More
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