Kentucky: a road trip through the state - Part 33 - Orlando / Florida Guide
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The Latrobe House is the one that I mentioned earlier in that it is currently in the middle of a full restoration. Depending on when you are reading this it may still be happening as there seems to be a lot of work that needs doing. There' s no furniture, and in fact, some of the walls have been torn out. However that is precisely what attracts most visitors, especially those with a serious interest in architecture and restoration. The Latrobe House is located at 326 Grosvenor Avenue near downtown.
The Latrobe House offers a rare opportunity not only to see a restoration in progress, but to see the restoration of one of only three remaining homes in America designed by Benjamin Henry Latrobe. Latrobe was one of the designers of the U. S. Capitol building in Washington, and is known as the ' Father of American Architecture. ' He is considered America' s first trained professional architect.
The house in Lexington is also known by the names of its original owners. Senator John Pope was a prominent early Kentucky politician. In 1811 he and his wife Eliza had the home designed for them so it was known locally as the John and Eliza Pope Villa. One of its most interesting architectural features is a rotunda set in the middle of the square house plan.
Over the decades as happens to many homes the house' s facade and interior were greatly altered and then further remodelled. It was in 1987 that a large fire started in the house. During the subsequent clean-up it became apparent that the house was built exactly to Latrobe' s design, which is what makes it even more architecturally significant. During a tour you' ll get an explanation of whatever work happens to be underway at the time. Current plans include restoring the facade to its 1811 appearance and restoring the original interior layout. When the restoration is complete the house will serve as a centre for preservation.
Latrobe House is owned by the Blue Grass Trust for Historic Preservation, and is open for tour only by appointment.
If you do have a serious interest in architecture then you will find some excellent books all about the local architecture at some of the small local bookstores. Two that we were shown as part of one of the tours were ' Vestiges of the Venerable City, ' by Clay Lancaster which is a detailed timeline of historic Lexington structures. It has many photographs which include some of places that no longer exist. The other was ' The Bluegrass of Kentucky, ' by Richard and Patricia DeCamp this is a more current look at the area with colour photographs and descriptions of some of the outstanding homes and estates in Lexington and the surrounding counties.
Private homes aren' t Lexington' s only historical buildings and there are a few other sites that are worth a visit.
The final part of this walking section will be continued in part 34 before we get back to our car journey.
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