Kentucky Heritage Council
Kentucky Historic Preservation Review Board approves six National Register nominations Tuesday
FRANKFORT, Ky. – The Kentucky Historic Preservation Review Board approved six sites for listing in the National Register of Historic Places during a meeting Tuesday, May 17 at Yew Dell Botanical Gardens in Crestwood. In addition to Yew Dell’s precursor, Yew Dell Farm, other sites that had been proposed for listing were the Courtney Mathews House in Lexington, Mayfield Electric and Water Service Building, Conrad-Seaton House in Jefferson County, the Cox Building in Maysville and Union Station School in Paducah.
The review board is charged with evaluating eligibility criteria for National Register nominations from Kentucky prior to their submission to the National Park Service (NPS), which administers the program in partnership with state historic preservation offices, including the Kentucky Heritage Council (KHC). Approved nominations will now be forwarded to the NPS, an agency of the U.S. Department of the Interior, for final determination of eligibility, with a decision required within 45 days of receipt.
A description of each nomination follows. Complete nominations and photos may also be accessed at the KHC website, www.heritage.ky.gov/natreg/.
The National Register is the nation’s official list of historic and archaeological resources deemed worthy of preservation. Kentucky has the fourth highest number of listings in the nation – following New York, Massachusetts and Ohio – with more than 3,200 districts, sites and structures encompassing more than 42,000 historic features. Listing can be applied to buildings, objects, structures, districts and archaeological sites, and proposed sites must be significant in architecture, engineering, American history or culture, or possess a special role in the development of our country.
National Register status does not affect property ownership rights but does provide a measure of protection against adverse impacts from federally funded projects. Owners of National Register properties may qualify for federal or state tax credits for certified rehabilitation of these properties or by making a charitable contribution of a preservation easement.
For more information, call the Heritage Council at 502-564-7005, ext. 120, or visit www.heritage.ky.gov.
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An agency of the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, the Kentucky Heritage Council / State Historic Preservation Office is responsible for the identification, protection and preservation of prehistoric resources and historic buildings, sites and cultural resources throughout the Commonwealth, in partnership with other state and federal agencies, local communities and interested citizens. This mission is integral to making communities more livable and has a far-ranging impact on issues as diverse as economic development, jobs creation, affordable housing, tourism, community revitalization, environmental conservation and quality of life. www.heritage.ky.gov
National Register nominations approved at the May 17 Kentucky Historic Preservation Review Board meeting are:
Courtney Mathews House, 547 Breckenridge Street, Lexington – Built circa 1905, this 1½ story stone dwelling reflects a style showing influences of a transitional period between the irregular massing of the Victorian era and the blockiness of the early 20th century arts and crafts foursquare. The house was built close to the Kentucky Association racetrack on Breckenridge Street as part of the Loudon Park Association residential area. It is being identified and interpreted for its association with Lexington horseman Courtney Mathews, a major contributor to African American history in relation to Lexington’s horse racing history. Mathews trained Kentucky Derby winner Alan-a-Dale and oversaw the Ashland Stud Farm for nearly 40 years. The house is being nominated under National Register Criteria B, property associated with the lives of persons significant in our past, considered significant within the context of “African American Contributions to Horse Racing in Lexington, 1875-1940.”
Mayfield Electric and Water Service Building, 310 East Broadway, Mayfield – Built in 1955 in the International style, the one-story Mayfield Electric and Water Service Building is constructed with Bedford limestone and features a main entrance on its southwest corner, framed in aluminum and topped by a one-of-a-kind marquee proclaiming “TVA POWER” above the company’s name. The building is being nominated under National Register Criterion A, property associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history, significant within the context of “Electric Power Service in Mayfield, 1891-1960.” Electric power became ubiquitous in American life during the 20th century, and the nominated building provides the public in this county seat town with the main point of contact with the business of that utility. Of note, the operation started out as a private business and later was purchased by the city of Mayfield, which continues to operate it as a successful municipal utility.
Conrad-Seaton House (address restricted for its partner designation as a state archaeological site) – Nominated for both its architectural and archaeological resources, the Conrad-Seaton House is a two-story Federal-style house being interpreted for its association with Valentine Conrad, who worked as a potter and operated one of the earliest potteries in the Falls of the Ohio River region at this location. The site is being nominated under National Register Criteria B, and D, property that has yielded, or is likely to yield, information important in prehistory or history. According to the nomination, the property is noted for its significance in the areas of industry; ethnic heritage, relating to Conrad’s Moravian faith, which influenced his choices as a potter, and German heritage, which likely drew him to an area where other Germans were populous; and exploration and settlement, as the house and grounds may yield information about the lifestyles, work and home environment of a family and their slaves during the early years of one of three of the oldest communities in the county.
Cox Building, 2-8 East 3rd Street, Maysville – Dating to 1886-87, this five-story, brick, Richardsonian Romanesque structure features contrasting use of polished and rough ashlar stone, Roman arches and a conical tower, and was designed by Cincinnati architect W.R. Brown. It was designed to accommodate three large storefronts on the ground floor with associated second-story storerooms for each. The upper three stories were designed for use as a Masonic Temple by the York Rite “Knights Templar,” now less common than the more familiar Scottish Rite Masons, but at the time a very popular fraternal organization. The Cox Building sits within the Maysville Downtown Historic District boundary and is being nominated under National Register Criterion C, property that embodies the distinctive characteristics of a type, period or method of construction or which represents the work of a master or possesses high artistic values. It is considered significant as one of the finest examples of Richardsonian Romanesque architecture in Maysville. In 2010 the building endured a severe fire in the upper floors but most of the building remains, and rehabilitation is underway.
Union Station School, 3138 Roosevelt Street, Paducah – This one-story, wood-frame, side-gabled, craftsman-style school was constructed in 1928 south of Littleville, a small village east of the Illinois Central Railroad’s large network switching track south of downtown. This Rosenwald School served local African American children from its construction until 1966, when county schools integrated and students were transferred to Lone Oak schools. Until the mid-20th century, when Kentucky public schools began educating classes of racially integrated students, the construction of Rosenwald schools stood as a positive effort to combat the inherent inequity of “separate but equal” accommodations. The Union Station School is proposed as a locally significant instance of this building movement dating to the early 20th century, initiated by Sears-Roebuck President Julius Rosenwald. The building was abandoned at the time of integration and continues unused today. It is nominated under Criterion A and considered significant within the historic context “African American Education in McCracken County, 1920-1966.”
Yew Dell Farm, 5800 North Camden Lane, Crestwood – This site as proposed for listing includes 33 acres, a Tudor-style main residence, tobacco and bank barns, pool house, a series of small, defined gardens and a large arboretum. Purchasing the initial acreage in 1941, Theodore Klein developed the property into a nursery and landscape business, growing it into the largest nursery in Oldham County in its day. Klein is credited with leading the horticulture field in research, plant development and plant trends, building new alliances between the professions of landscapers and home builders, and developing new models of landscape and nursery business practices, with the farm serving the dual purpose of growing plants for sale as well as showcasing how they could be used in a landscape. The Klein family operated the nursery and landscape business from this property until closing in 1975, and continued to live on and maintain the property until Klein’s death in 1998. It is being nominated under National Register Criterion A, significant within the historic context “Wholesale Nursery Businesses in Oldham County, 1900 to 1975.”