Month: September 2011

A Walk in the Park: Gratz Park History

2 blocks North of Main Street in downtown Lexington sits a beautiful bit of green-space between Transylvania University and West Second Street. Originally dedicated as Centennial Park in 1876, Gratz Park was renamed for Benjamin Gratz, a prominent hemp grower who made his home amongst the Federal and Greek revival homes surrounding the park. And trust us, if ever you win the lottery, you’ll want to buy one of these houses- beautiful architecture in Lexington’s first historic district, and only 2 blocks away from downtown (where all the fun is if you ask us). Between the beautiful, historic homes, the mirrored facades of Transylvania University and the Carnegie Center for Literacy & Learning (more on these later), the views of the Lexington skyline, and the peace and quiet, Gratz Park might be my favorite place in Lexington (C). Probably the main reason Gratz Park is so cool, is just how much history you’ll find in a small, 1-block radius. Standing in the middle of the park you can see the oldest University west of the …

A Road Trip Through Cheapside Park and Some Lexington, Kentucky History

In Lexington’s Cheapside Park, it isn’t uncommon to see people enjoying lunch at one of the cafes or restaurants that line the street, or lounging around on outdoor patios. In the evenings locals walk their dogs on the lawn of the old courthouse, and on summer nights, bands play on the Pavilion stage. It is most certainly a different picture than ones painted of the same plot of land in Lexington’s history.     More than a century separate these two photographs. The first was taken in July 2011, the second in November 1887. During the era of slavery, the lawn of Lexington’s courthouse was one of the largest slave-trading localities in the state. According to historical documents, slaves were auctioned and sold in the courtyard that stands between today’s West Main West Short streets in front of the old courthouse building. The healthier and younger slaves considered to be more able-bodied for work were auctioned on one side of the lawn, while the slaves that were older or had health problems were auctioned on the other side. The latter was …