A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Peter Brackney: Keene Springs Hotel a refuge during Lexington’s 1849 cholera epidemic

During the cholera epidemics of 1833 and 1849, Lexingtonians feared the deadly disease. Five hundred souls perished out of a population of just 7,000. Many of the dead were buried by the now infamous King Solomon. While King Solomon can thank his alcohol-filled veins for keeping him alive during the epidemic, many of the survivors did so by leaving Lexington. But where did they go?   Wrote Bennett...

Peter Brackney: ‘Re-distribution of happiness’ reaches Lexington in form of 1939 postcard

Postcard of old Fayette County Courthouse   On Tuesday, I arrived at the office to find a letter and postcard from Mr. Lowell Joerg of Tucson, Ariz.. It was generically addressed to my office, but both found their way to my desk. The postcard, above, is of the old Fayette County Courthouse. His letter follows:   June 14, 2012   Good Morning:   I sure hope this letter brightens your...

Peter Brackney: Saving Lexington courthouse will preserve key part of community’s history

Inside of the courthouse dome. (Photo by Peter Brackney)   Last Friday, the doors of the Lexington Museum Center were indefinitely closed due to “dangerous levels of damaged and deteriorating lead-based paint in the building.” Also cited by the city were asbestos, mold and structural problems.    The Lexington Public Safety Museum, the Kentucky Renaissance Pharmacy Museum and...

Peter Brackney: Saving Lexington courthouse will preserve key part of community's history

Inside of the courthouse dome. (Photo by Peter Brackney)   Last Friday, the doors of the Lexington Museum Center were indefinitely closed due to “dangerous levels of damaged and deteriorating lead-based paint in the building.” Also cited by the city were asbestos, mold and structural problems.    The Lexington Public Safety Museum, the Kentucky Renaissance Pharmacy Museum and...

Peter Brackney: From small and compact
to very rural, new 13th covers lots of acreage

By Peter Brackney KyForward contributor   Late last week, the governor signed the state’s new redistricting law (HB1) into effect, which redrew the boundaries of state legislative districts. In a highly political process, many were directly affected. Politicos and pundits have had much to say, with the most contentious move being the transfer of Lexington’s 13th senate district to...

Peter Brackney: From small and compact to very rural, new 13th covers lots of acreage

By Peter Brackney KyForward contributor   Late last week, the governor signed the state’s new redistricting law (HB1) into effect, which redrew the boundaries of state legislative districts. In a highly political process, many were directly affected. Politicos and pundits have had much to say, with the most contentious move being the transfer of Lexington’s 13th senate district to...

Peter Brackney: Another chapter closing
at Lexington’s oldest post office

By Peter Brackney KyForward contributor   Dr. John Shremly honored his uncle, Harry Schraemli, when he opened Metropol in 2000. This fine dining locale at 307 West Short St. has for 11 years offered delicious meals and fine drinks at its Harry’s Bar (named after Uncle Harry).   Schraemli, who passed in 1995, was renowned in Europe for his gastronomy. This master in the culinary world...

Peter Brackney: Olde Hall Church a quaint fixture in Jessamine County

By Peter Brackney KyForward contributor   After the Civil War, many of the African American refugees who had been housed at Camp Nelson set roots in a small community nearby. Known originally as Ariel, this small community has remained through the years. Soon after the war, it was renamed Hall after Captain Theron Hall who had served as Chief Quartermaster for Camp Nelson and as superintendent...

Peter Brackney: Proposed subdivision in Western Suburb would have negative effect

By Peter Brackney KyForward contributor   In the 1960s, downtown Lexington suffered several mighty blows when looked at from the architectural, historic or preservationist perspectives. Many architecturally significant buildings were demolished to make way for surface parking lots, the charm of the old courthouse‘s interior was masked over, and the beautiful city hall on what is now Martin...

Peter Brackney: Ivy Mountain battle
easier to imagine on trail near site

By Peter Brackney KyForward contributor   In the fall of 1861, Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman, then the head of the Department of the Cumberland, heard rumors that a concentration of Confederate troops was amassing at Prestonsburg. In response, Sherman ordered Brig. Gen. William O. “Bull” Nelson from his station at Maysville, who was joined by Louisa-based Col.Joshua Sill in driving...

Peter Brackney: Nicholasville family cemetery found new resting place as landscape changed

By Peter Brackney KyForward contributor   As Kentucky’s landscape changes, old farmhouses and barns are often torn down. The same goes for churches, post offices and general stores. Entire communities are consumed by an ever-growing suburbia.  But what of the cemeteries?   In Kentucky, state law charges cities and towns with preserving burial grounds within the city limits. A perfect...

Peter Brackney: Nicholasville family cemetery
found new resting place as landscape changed

By Peter Brackney KyForward contributor   As Kentucky’s landscape changes, old farmhouses and barns are often torn down. The same goes for churches, post offices and general stores. Entire communities are consumed by an ever-growing suburbia.  But what of the cemeteries?   In Kentucky, state law charges cities and towns with preserving burial grounds within the city limits. A perfect...

Peter Brackney: Lexington’s new interchange
at Harrodsburg/New Circle, a good design

By Peter Brackney KyForward contributor   This morning, I navigated the new double-diamond interchange (DDI) at Harrodsburg Road and New Circle. For a few seconds, I was a British-subject driving on the left side of the road. The concept of this design, first engineered in 2003, became a reality on U.S. roads in 2009 at Springfield, Missouri. Lexington’s DDI is the sixth such interchange...

Peter Brackney: Gov. Fields was known as ‘Honest Bill from Olive Hill,’ despite pardons

By Peter Brackney   As you know, politics in Kentucky is “the damnedest.” Which may be the only logical explanation behind the slogan used by William Jason Fields in each of his campaigns: “Honest Bill from Olive Hill.”   Born in Willard (Carter Co.), Ky. in 1874, Fields went on to serve Kentucky’s Ninth District in Congress from 1911 to 1923 when he resigned...

Kentucky by Heart: What’s on your reading list? Book choices from Kentuckians around the Commonwealth

Editor’s Note: This is the first in a two-part series on what books are popular among Kentuckians. By Steve Flairty KyForward Columnist I’m a voracious book reader, always having at least two, and often three, in process. As you might expect, my choices are often about Kentucky or by Kentucky authors. I just finished James Klotter’s amazing biography, Henry Clay: The Man Who Would be President...

People in the News: Martell named LTS dean, VP; Brackney receives Christian Academy alumni award

The Rev. Dr. Loida I. Martell, former professor of constructive theology at Palmer Theological Seminary of Eastern University in Pennsylvania and an ordained minister in the American Baptist Churches USA, has been named the next Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean at Lexington Theological Seminary. She will begin her work and ministry at LTS Aug. 1. “Dr. Martell brings a wealth of experience...

Kaintuckeean: Sun shines bright on our old Kentucky home, as measured from ‘stone of the seven pines’

Used for centuries in England, the system of describing land by its metes and bounds is a common way of describing an area of land. Surveyors and other professionals utilize the system to specifically identify parcels of land, though errors by the early surveyors created much trouble. Even with today’s surveys being done largely with technological advantage, it is possible for a call to be reversed...

Kaintuckeean: A ‘deTour’ to Kentucky’s oldest Presbyterian church, Walnut Hill in Lexington

  Walnut Hill Presbyterian Church in Lexington (Photo by Jason Sloan)   By Peter Brackney Special to KyForward   On a recent edition of #BGTdeTours, we had the opportunity to explore the oldest Presbyterian church in Kentucky. The site is Lexington’s Walnut Hill Presbyterian Church, located on Walnut Hill Pike near Old Richmond Road.   The church was formed on land given...

Kaintuckeean: ‘New’ images offer a glimpse of the special moments in Lexington, UK history

By Peter Brackney Special to KyForward   One can easily get lost in the archives of a library’s special collections department, especially those of us who are self-professed “history geeks” or, more nicely put, have “history in our genes.” No matter how you want to label the history junkie, we are a breed that loves discovering new things from our past.   So...

Kaintuckeean: Chinn biography a must-read for those who appreciate Kentucky history

By Peter Brackney Special to KyForward   Published posthumously by the late Professor Carlton Jackson of Western Kentucky University, Kentucky Maverick: The Life and Adventures of Colonel George M. Chinn is a must-read for those who appreciate Kentucky history. Chinn was active in so many aspects of 20th century Kentucky and, though he is a figure often overlooked by many, he is worthy of honor...