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Lexington’s East End neighborhood will celebrate history, honor oldest houses and residents

Lexington’s East End neighborhood will celebrate its rich history by honoring its oldest houses and its oldest residents at a historic preservation reception where even the food will come from a bygone era.

The Martin Luther King and William Wells Brown neighborhood associations have teamed up to present Gathering Our History: An East End Historic Preservation Project. The two groups have identified more than a dozen of the neighborhood’s oldest and most distinctive houses as well as its most senior residents and compiled a history of each.

The houses and residents will be recognized at a reception Sunday, June 26 at 4 p.m. at the Lyric Theatre. The event is free and open to the public.

“The East End is unique in that we have elderly people who still live in the house where they were born, or in a house that’s been in their family for more than 100 years,” said Thomas Tolliver, one of the project coordinators. “Personal characteristics like those are important components of our neighborhood so we decided to celebrate the people as well as the structures. Too often, historic preservation projects limit their focus to buildings. But we felt it would be an oversight not to recognize the people of the neighborhood as well as the buildings.”

Lyric Theatre

Residents who have lived in the same house the longest and those who have lived in the neighborhood the longest will be among those honored. Each of the honorees will be presented with a gift.

The East End is a largely residential neighborhood just north of downtown Lexington stretching from Limestone Street to Winchester Road and from Short Street to Seventh Street. The housing stock ranges from once stately mansions to narrow shotgun houses built just after the Civil War for newly freed slaves. Some houses once owned by black jockeys and other early black professionals still stand and will be among those recognized. The growing popularity of downtown living and the appeal of house flipping are rapidly changing the economic and racial makeup of some streets in the East End.

The neighborhood boasts at least one centenarian. A resident on Ohio Street will celebrate her 100th birthday on June 18. Many others who are 90 years plus have been identified.

Even the food served at the reception will be special. Cookbooks from the 1800s and 1900s were consulted to find reception foods that would have been served when the neighborhood’s oldest house was built and the oldest resident was born.

Because of generous sponsorships, the event is free. Sponsors include Community Ventures Corporation, The Kresge Foundation, Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government, Martin Luther King Neighborhood Association, Inc., and William Wells Brown Neighborhood Association.

For more information, contact Thomas Tolliver at eastendthomas@gmail.com.

From East End Preservation Project Communications

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