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; on Saturdays, the street is alive with the local farmers market. It is a more modern version of the marketplace in this same place in the 1800s and early 1900s.    The courthouse that stands next to Cheapside Park — that is no longer a working courthouse, but now a museum and office space —is the fourth on that site. The first was built in 1788; Lexington had one courthouse before the construction of the first on this block. The current Lexington Circuit and District courts are located a few blocks to the east of this site. A block to the west  on the southwest corner of South Mill and West Main streets is where the settling of Lexington began. A blockhouse was built …