National Register Overview
Administered by the National Park Service and state historic preservation offices, the National Register of Historic Places is the nation’s official list of historic and archaeological resources deemed worthy of preservation. The National Register recognizes districts, sites, buildings, structures and objects significant in American history, architecture, archaeology, engineering and culture. Authorized under the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Register is part of a federal program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate and protect our historic and archaeological resources.
The Kentucky Heritage Council has been widely recognized for its successful National Register program. In fact, among states, Kentucky has the fourth highest number of listings (following New York, Massachusetts and Ohio) - with more than 3,200 districts, sites and structures encompassing more than 42,000 historic features.
Since its inception in 1966, the Heritage Council has conducted an ongoing survey of historic sites in all 120 Kentucky counties. Officially called the Kentucky Historic Resources Inventory, the survey serves as a permanent written and photographic record of all known historic buildings, structures and sites in the state.
The data collected and recorded through the survey provides the foundation for many Heritage Council programs including the National Register and the Kentucky Main Street Program. The survey also provides information used for the publication of local architectural and cultural histories, for comparison in evaluating National Register eligibility, and for the development of preservation plans.
The Kentucky Historic Resources Inventory currently consists of more than 100,000+ surveyed sites and is constantly being updated and expanded as historic places are identified through the agency’s extensive survey process. Survey files are maintained at the Heritage Council office via computer database and vertical files, both of which can be cross-referenced by county, and sites are further documented on topographical maps.
All sites that achieve National Register listing also receive designation as a Kentucky Landmark and receive a certificate signed by the Governor which deems it “worthy of preservation.” The designation is simply an honorary one, yet serves as another valuable preservation tool available through the Kentucky Heritage Council to help foster pride of ownership in historic properties.
In addition to the state landmarks program, 30 sites across Kentucky have been designated National Historic Landmarks, indicating their national significance to all Americans. Heritage Council staff are responsible for monitoring these historic sites on behalf of the National Park Service.
||More about recently listed sites
Harlan Hubbard Studio [PDF-764KB], 125 Highland Ave., Fort Thomas; authored by Charles Keller of the Fort Thomas Forest Conservatory. Listed under Criterion B, property associated with the lives of persons significant in our past, in this case its association with Harlan Hubbard (1900-1988), a respected painter, writer and social commentator who constructed the home and art studio in 1939. Prior to this, Hubbard built the house at 129 Highland Ave. in 1923 and lived there with his mother for 20 years. According to the author, “Harlan Hubbard remains an internationally known artist and writer who espoused the merits of the natural world and a simple lifestyle… His self-sufficient art and lifestyle led to his reputation as the ‘Henry David Thoreau of Kentucky.’” The building is described as Elizabethan Revival and is made from reclaimed materials including old, handmade brick, a stone foundation and slate roof. A single steel, arched window was given to Hubbard after being damaged from a fall off a truck bound for a church under construction. The interior features rough-plastered white walls and a beehive-shaped brick fireplace. The period of significance spans the years when Hubbard used the building as his painting studio, 1938-1944, although he continued to own it and use it occasionally through the 1970s. The studio was evaluated within the historic context “American Romantic Painting Tradition and Harlan Hubbard, Kentucky Artist, 1923-1988.”
Edgewood [PDF-1.4MB], 5910 Winchester Road, Lexington; authored by Janie-Rice Brother, senior architectural historian with the Kentucky Archaeological Survey. Listed under Criterion C, property that embodies the distinctive characteristics of a type, period or method of construction, significant within the historic context “Architecture in Fayette County, 1792-1850.” Edgewood is a Greek Revival dwelling constructed in 1844, a two-story brick house with continuous stone foundation, located on land originally part of 1,000+ acres owned by Jacob Hughes, a native of Scottylvania, Virginia, who settled with his family in eastern Fayette County in the late 18th century. According to the author, “Hughes purportedly built a house for each of his three daughters, with Edgewood being the first and largest of these… Edgewood belongs to [an] important local subset of Greek Revival architecture, identified by architectural historian Clay Lancaster in the 1960s as the ‘Winchester Road style.’ This group of houses… has no identified builder, but are connected through familial connections, and a consistent form and application of style that set them apart from other examples of Greek Revival style in Fayette County.”
New Castle Historic Commercial District [PDF-1.9MB], authored by Justin Carter, Kentuckiana Regional Planning & Development Agency (KIPDA). Listed under Criterion A, property associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history, significant within the historic context “Commerce and Community Development of Henry County, 1798-1965.” New Castle Historic Commercial District is made up of 30 contributing buildings, including the Henry County Courthouse (previously NR listed in 1977), across 6.24 acres along Main and Cross Main streets. The nomination was explored in a unique context that compares the community with another Henry County town, Eminence, which rose to prominence by being a stop on the Louisville & Cincinnati Railroad. New Castle, on the other hand, did not have access to railroad service, and gained its commercial prominence through its function as the county seat town. Most of the buildings are one to two stories and constructed of brick, although the three oldest are log structures associated with James and Thomas Pearce, two pioneers from Virginia who settled in what is now New Castle in the early 1790s. According to the author, "The Pearces were self-sufficient and business savvy, using the cabins for trading posts as well as residences… The Pearces’ pioneering spirit was instrumental in founding the location of New Castle; as was their business entrepreneurship in helping establish its early commercial history."
Wood F. Axton Hall, Simmons College [PDF-936MB], 1811 Dumesnil Street, Louisville; authored by Wes Cunningham, University of Louisville Department of History. A one-story red-brick building located in the California neighborhood of Louisville, Afton Hall was constructed in 1949 to replace the main building of Simmons’s original campus location. The red brick building was designed by noted African American architect Samuel Plato and included classrooms, offices, a library, chapel and lunchroom. According to the author, “The building features subdued Colonial Revival styling, consistent with post-World War II-era trends in institutional and public architecture,” the author writes. The building was listed under Criterion A, significant within the historic context “African American Higher Education in Kentucky, 1865-1965,” and served as the main educational building of Simmons University during its operation as a bible college between 1949 and 2007. The school was established as the Kentucky Normal and Theological Institute in 1879 “in the aftermath of the Civil War, as African Americans founded educational institutions in their quest for social, economic, and political advancement,” according to the author. “Axton Hall supported the religious training of African Americans during the era of Jim Crow and the civil rights movement. It retains integrity from its period of significance and stands today as an important example of African Americans’ drive for social, moral, and intellectual advancement under segregation.”
E.L. Hughes Company Building [PDF-3.5MB], 209 East Main St., Louisville; authored by Carlton Bruce Rogers Jr. of CBR Architects, PLLC. This five-story, commercial-style brick building was purpose-built by E. L. Hughes in 1905-1906 for his wholesale business that distributed window sashes, doors, blinds and millwork products in Louisville and throughout the region. The building encompasses 49,500 square feet with a full basement and is sited two city blocks east of First Street, the eastern edge of Louisville’s downtown core. The building was listed under Criterion A, significant in the area of commerce/industry for its association with new business practices that modernized the building material industry. Hughes (1864-1909) owned the building and worked as a jobber (wholesaler distributor), establishing a business exclusively devoted to sash, door, and millwork products at a time when such products were retailed or wholesaled through lumber company conglomerates. According to the author, “A heavy timber column, beam and joist framing is typical throughout the building, with exception of cast-iron columns at the basement and first floor levels.” Also, he writes, “from the comparative buildings surveyed, the E. L. Hughes Building proves to be the only remaining structure purpose-built from 1892-1910 for the lumber, sash, door and millwork commerce/industry in Louisville.”
Seventh Street School [PDF-1.8MB], 1512 S. Seventh St., Louisville; authored by Joseph C. Pierson of Pinion Advisors. Closed since 1975, this two-story, five-bay brick-and-wood school was built in 1904 and features a raised, rough limestone foundation and pyramidal roof. An addition dating to 1906 matches the style of the rest of the building. The school is being listed under Criterion C, as representing the work of a Master, Henry P. McDonald, whose firm, McDonald Brothers, was responsible for dozens of public buildings around the state and region, at least 40 of which are already listed in the National Register either individually or as contributors to National Register districts. The included the Southern Exposition buildings in what is now Old Louisville, the Henry County Courthouse and the Kentucky State Prison Penitentiary at Eddyville. The school was McDonald’s final commission before his death in 1904. According to the author, the building “shows the simple and economical style that had come to define his courthouse work… an eclectic variation of the classical style, with Italianate and Victorian-era details, but none so overwhelming to drive up costs or distract from the substantial mass of the building.” He goes on to write, “The McDonald Brothers style was one of simplified transition. The antebellum period in Kentucky had clearly embraced classical designs that harken to Greece and Rome… The McDonald Brothers retained these large architectural gestures and merged them with the new Richardsonian and the Victorian-era styles.”
Shawnee Steam Plant, 7900 Metropolis Lake Road, Paducah; authored by Meghan Weaver, Preservation Planner; Ted Karpynec, Sr. Preservation Planner; and David Sprouse, Historian; with Tennessee Valley Archaeological Research. The Shawnee Steam Plant is located on the south bank of the Ohio River about 13 miles downstream from Paducah and the mouth of the Tennessee River. The hydroelectric facility generates electricity through coal-fired, steam-generating furnaces that power a series of ten turbo-generator units, the first of which began operation in 1953 with the final unit online in 1956. The listing includes 19 contributing resources over 684 acres including the powerhouse, which anchors the historic district. Those remaining are original support buildings and structures that facilitate the transfer of coal, water and the resultant electricity through the facility, built prior to the close of the defined Period of Significance (1965). These include a barge unloading harbor for coal, a crusher building, rotary car dumper and hopper buildings, storage facilities and a water treatment plant. The site was listed under Criterion A, significant at the state level in the area of Industry for its historical association with the Tennessee Valley Authority’s post-World War II development of its fossil steam plant program in Kentucky, and was the first fossil plant constructed by TVA in the state. According to the author, “The facility’s main purpose was to fill the national defense industry's escalating demand for power, particularly at the Atomic Energy Commission’s Paducah uranium enrichment plant.”
Johnson's Landing House and Farm [PDF-1.7MB], also known as Hardscuffle House and Farm, 2300 Rose Island Road, Goshen; authored by Joanne Weeter, historic preservation consultant. Nominated under Criterion A, significant as a rural historic landscape and agricultural assemblage located in Kentucky’s Outer Bluegrass Region. This listing includes 313 acres and 12 historic resources – a house, two tenant houses, two outbuildings, two horse barns, a gambrel-roof barn with silo, a shed, two concrete cisterns dating to 1942, and Rule Memorial Cemetery, with burials dating to 1892. Evaluated within the historic context “Agriculture in Oldham County, 1820-1958,” this nomination extended the existing context through 1966, reflecting both 19th- and 20th-century agricultural trends within a concept called “the Gentleman Farm,” a term often used to reflect someone who farms for pleasure rather than subsistence. This transition began in 1938 when the farm was purchased by Pauline Ahrens Burgess; prior to 1938, the farm participated in typical agriculture of the county. Following her marriage to Harold F. Johnson, the couple renamed the farm and commissioned and built a one-story frame home with redwood vertical siding and battens. According to the author, “In the same way that those owners deliberately curated their extensive and notable collection of modern art, they commissioned, built, and ‘curated’ an architect-designed modern house within an otherwise historic farm landscape.”
Multiple Property Nomination “Kentucky State Tuberculosis Hospitals, 1946-1950.” TB Hospital Multiple Property [PDF-138KB]
This Multiple Property Nomination and Associated Historic Context, “The Anti-Tuberculosis Movement in Kentucky, 1907-1977,” as well as individual nominations for the London and Madisonville tuberculosis hospitals were authored by Jenna Stout, graduate research assistant with Middle Tennessee State University Center for Historic Preservation.
Statewide TB Hospital context
Here, the early history of tuberculosis facilities in Kentucky is outlined in several chapters: Introduction and Early Treatment, pre-1900; Beginning of a State Effort to Treat Tuberculosis: 1907-1944; The State Institutional Phase, 1944-1970s; and Sanatoria as Historic Properties. According to the author, “The development of American tuberculosis sanatoria coincided with public health awareness of tuberculosis as a communicable disease that required both improvements in housing and adequate isolation of the sick… The first sanatoria to arrive in Kentucky were county-operated facilities that catered to local residents.”
The state’s first tuberculosis sanatorium, Hazelwood, opened in Louisville in September 1907, though TB cases quickly overwhelmed the 10-bed hospital’s capacity. Kentucky formally undertook a state-wide anti-tuberculosis campaign in 1912, when the Kentucky Tuberculosis Commission set out to study and disseminate research on tuberculosis as well as take necessary measures to prevent its spread. Sanatoria largely remained in the hands of local and county organizations for the next three decades, until the construction of five 100-bed tuberculosis hospitals in the late 1940s marked a transition from smaller, county-operated sanatoria to larger, modern district hospitals.
Galvanized by public interest in state-funded tuberculosis facilities, the General Assembly passed House Bill 147, signed into law March 17, 1944 by Gov. Simeon Willis. The legislation divided the state into six tuberculosis sanatoria districts and created the Tuberculosis Sanatoria Commission. Government funding provided for the expansion of Louisville’s Hazelwood Sanatorium and construction of five new 100-bed sanatoria throughout the Commonwealth.
New district hospitals were constructed in Madisonville, Paris, Ashland, London and Glasgow from 1946-1950. All five adhered to a standard five-building layout – main hospital building, director’s residence, staff residence, nurses’ residence, and combination boiler house and laundry – and all were designed by architects John T. Gillig and Fred J. Hartstern of Lexington and J. T. Wilson of Louisville.
Design of the hospitals coincided with the early 20th century belief that tubercle bacilli could survive in household dust, and that sunlight offered a way to destroy the bacteria lingering in the built environment. Light and air ultimately became linked to the anti-tuberculosis movement and this is reflected in the modernist design elements of the hospitals combining hygienic and environmental knowledge of the day.
By the mid-1970s, cases dwindled and the medical community embraced drug therapy over regimented bedrest in a hospital setting. Glasgow and Paris sanatoria were razed in recent years. Hazelwood Sanatorium now functions as a long-term facility for mentally handicapped citizens and has undergone substantial modifications. Ashland TB Hospital received National Register recognition in 2007, while London and Madisonville sanatoria serve as office buildings.
According to the author, “Their transition from medical to office space represents successful adaptive reuse case studies… Kentucky’s state tuberculosis hospitals are tangible symbols of Kentucky’s mid-20th-century crusade against tuberculosis. Based on standard design, the hospitals encapsulated all that modern medical architecture had to offer. Ashland, London, and Madisonville sanatoria exist as architectural embodiments of the public health campaign against tuberculosis in the Commonwealth. Their shared design and stylistic features, including solariums on each floor, cornerstones, and crosses on the facades, make these hospitals easily identifiable and potent as symbols of the Anti-Tuberculosis Movement in Kentucky.”
Both London and Madisonville hospitals were listed under Criterion A, significant for their association with Kentucky’s public health campaign to eradicate tuberculosis.
London Tuberculosis Hospital [PDF-516KB], 85 State Police Road. The four-story brick hospital is all that remains at this site “in good condition with its exterior relatively unchanged since its creation,” according to the author. “The hospital exemplifies mid-century modern medical architecture with pre-war Art Deco touches woven throughout its physical fabric.”
Madisonville Tuberculosis Hospital [PDF-1.3MB], 625 Hospital Drive. Remaining on this site are the four-story main hospital, staff residence (now vacant) and combination boiler house and laundry, in active use as a maintenance facility. According to the author, both the London and Madisonville hospitals display Art Deco influences through the use of geometric design elements and steamship glass. Similar design elements for both were also required to meet criteria of the multiple property context. These included a main hospital building with a modified cross/off-center T-shaped plan, stone-faced portico with double-barred crosses, and south-facing solaria; running bond brickwork; and concrete foundations and stonework.
Recently listed or awaiting National Park Service approval
John Hunt Morgan’s Raid in KY, OH, IN multiple property nomination [PDF - 8.5MB]
Kentucky LGBTQ Historic Context Narrative [PDF-1.6MB]
Columbia Commercial District [PDF-2.4MB]
Bold House, 98 Main Street, Foster [PDF-1.4MB]
Clark and Fayette Counties
Waveland (boundary increase, name change), 2299 Brannon Road, Nicholasville vicinity [PDF-1.8MB]
Bell House, Edmonton vicinity [PDF-4.9MB]
The Kentucky Historic Preservation Review Board will meet again at 10 a.m. Wednesday, May 17 at Paul Sawyier Public Library, 319 Wapping Street, Frankfort, to consider the following National Register nominations; the meeting is open to the public:
Rock Cabin Camp, 5091 Mammoth Cave Road, Cave City vicinity
Craig-Peak House, 556 Cane Run Road, Georgetown vicinity
Dr. Karl B. Raitz, Lexington
Dr. Kelli Carmean, Richmond
Maya DeRosa, Frankfort
Dr. Eric Jackson, Florence
Margaret Rogers Jacobs, Lexington
Dr. Kim A. McBride, Lexington
James I. Montgomery Sr., Louisville
Dr. William H. Mulligan Jr., Murray
Julie A. Riesenweber, Lexington
Dr. Robert S. Weise, Richmond
Natalie G. Wilkerson, Frankfort