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Old Posted Mar 5, 2013, 3:54 AM
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Sherman Cahal Sherman Cahal is offline
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Kentucky County Seats: Paris

Kentucky County Seats: Paris

On a rainy morning, I ventured to southward to photograph one of the Commonwealth's most underrated county seats. Paris, located in Bourbon County northeast of Lexington, is known for its "horses, history and hospitality," and is surrounded by storied horse farms and thousands of acres of fertile land.

The city was settled near Doyle Spring long Stoner Fork of the Licking River in 1775 and was officially chartered in 1789 as Hopewell, most likely named after Hopewell, New Jersey, hometown of Lawrence Protzman who was the proprietor of the land on which the town was founded upon. James Garrard, the Bourbon County Representative on the Virginia Legislature, petitioned to change the town name to Paris in 1790 after the French city as tribute to the gratitude towards the French for their assistance during the Revolutionary War. Bourbon County was named for the Bourbon line of kings in France.

In 1792, Kentucky was admitted to the Union and the first post office in Hopewell was referred to as Bourbonton and Bourbon Courthouse. It was not until 1862 that Paris was formally chartered by the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The city grew in the early 1900s, namely because of burley and hemp, major cash crops for the state. Hemp and cotton factories were located in the city that manufactured rope and cloth, and mammoth warehouses stored crops for sale on the market.

But Paris became a sleepy bedroom community of Lexington in later years, divided by the dangerous Paris Pike that carries US 27 and US 68 between the two cities. The 12 mile, two-lane roadway was rebuilt in the early 2000s in one of the most context sensitive projects ever undertaken by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. The now-four-lane highway is considered one of the most scenic routes in the United States, and the roadway was carefully integrated around historic dry-laid stone walls, century-old Burr Oaks and amongst manicured horse farms. Restrictive zoning in the county limited development outside of Paris.

But its Main Street languished for years and was regarded as a city that was the "least changed" of any central Kentucky community. Downtown storefronts were altered with facade renovations, and many buildings were vacant or underutilized. But an investment in a new streetscape, including period light fixtures, bike lanes and refreshed sidewalks have improved the general appearance Tax incentives and abatements have driven renovation and restoration projects throughout.

It is aided by the Downtown Paris Historic District that is comprised of 319 buildings within the Courthouse Square, business district, several warehouses and a residential neighborhood. It includes building stock from the 1700s to the Great Depression-era, as well as numerous High Victorian-era commercial and residential structures.

Below: The Bourbon County Welfare Building, at 24 Bank Row, was constructed in 1939 in a restrained Art Moderne style and faced with dark-red brick and limestone Moderne-styled ribbed entrance surrounds. It was built under the administration of County Judge George Batterton under the Works Progress Administration to house the county jail and human services programs.

Below: A glimpse of Ardery Place. The brick structures on the left were constructed in the 1830s and underwent facade reconstruction in the 1980s. Duncan Tavern, 323 High Street, is the focal point of Ardery Place and was constructed in 1788 of locally-quarried limestone in the Georgian/Federal style. It was one of Paris' first hostelries and was a popular stopping place along the Lexington - Maysville Turnpike. It was later used as a boarding house and slum, and restored in the 1940s by the Kentucky chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution under the leadership of local resident Julia Ardery.

Below: The Deposit Bank of Paris Building at the end of Ardery Place was constructed in 1859, seven years after the bank was formed. In the mid-1880s, the Italianate-style building was renovated to serve as a residence for the Frank family. In 1922, it was converted into a memorial for those Bourbon County residents who perished in World War I and was abandoned in the 1980s. It was sold to new owners in 1988 and has not been used since.

Below: The 200 block of Main Street has seen better days. From left to right:

210 Main Street was constructed in the 1870s and is a three-story Italianate with storefront modernizations. It served as a saloon, barber shop and furniture warehouse.

214-216 Main Street was constructed in the 1860s, and served as a bank in 1886.

220 Main Street was constructed in the 1930s.

224 Main Street was constructed in the 1930s, and contained a black Vitrolite bulkhead. It was home to the Ford Hardware Store, one of the oldest continuously operated businesses in downtown. 220 and 224 replaced Victorian-era structures.

226-30 Main Street was constructed in 1904-05 and housed the hardware business of James S. Wilson and brothers who dealt in tobacco, seed, farm implements, coal and horse-drawn vehicles. The corner storefront was used by George Alexander Bank, a small, private financial institution. A fraternal hall and offices were once located on the upper floors.

W.E. Simms Building at 302 Main Street was constructed in 1885 in the Queen Anne architectural style. It featured EAstlake-inspired ornamentation.

The gap to the right was home to Sam Cummins Chevrolet, a 1960s flat-roofed commercial structure. It was replaced with the Bourbon County Judicial Center.

Below: The Deposit Bank of Paris block at Main and East 4th streets was constructed in 1884 in the High Victorian architectural style for $20,000. The original cast-iron storefronts were replaced around 1912 by the present Beaux Arts Classical limestone facade. In 1914, the bank acquired People's Bank and became known as the People's Deposit Bank.

Below: The design of the Agricultural Bank Building, 335-39 Main Street, was inspired by northern European architecture. Constructed in 1899 for the Agricultural Bank of Paris, the structure was faced with golden-brown pressed Roman brick, ornamented with golden sandstone and terra-cotta plaques. The first story was altered in the early 1980s with a Neo-Colonial facade, although this was later removed.

Below: The 400 block of Main Street.

Below: The Bourbon Bank Building at Main and 5th streets was constructed in 1898 in the Romanesque Revival architectural style. The structure featured press brick and ornamented with rock faces and carved sandstone. The bank was organized only two years prior and remained at the corner until it merged with the Agricultural Bank in 1915.

Below: The 500 block of Main Street. Varden's Bistro was originally a late-19th century commercial structure that was badly damaged in a fire in 1987. The upper stories were removed and the lower level was modernized. The Varden Building to the left, at 509 Main Street, was constructed in 1891 for druggist George A. Varden and was home to his pharmacy for 60 years. Its upper floors served as an annex to the adjacent Fordham Hotel (now demolished) and to the Masons as a lodge hall.

Below: The Baldwin Hotel, at 519 Main Street, was constructed in the 1930s in the Art Moderne style and replaced the Windsor Hotel that was destroyed by a fire. During the late 19th century, the Fordham Hotel occupied the site.

Below: The Hinton Block, constructed at the corner of Main and 6th streets, was constructed in 1891 to house the furniture business of J.T. Hinton. After Hinton's retirement, the business remained in the family until 1945. It was later home to several other furniture stores. The Queen Anne and Romanesque Revival-styled building had some unfortunate alterations, such as the removal of the turret, but has most of the press brick, rock-faced sandstone and carved terra cotta remained intact.

Below: A view down the 600 block of Main Street. The J. J. Newberry Store, at 627 Main Street, was constructed in the 1920s. The southern half of the store burned in the 1940s and was subsequently rebuilt.

Below: The most interesting building in this frame is the former J. C. Penny store at 610 Main Street. Completed in 1920 for a local department store, it became a J. C. Penny Store in 1926. The one-story structure was faced with polychrome glazed tile and a molded terra cotta cornice with an Art Deco press tin ceiling inside.

Below: A view of the 700 block of Main Street.

<i>Below</i>: The 800 block of Main Street is a bit more devoid of activity, but still contains historic stock.

The <a title="Bourbon County Courthouse" href="http://urbanup.net/cities/kentucky/paris-kentucky/bourbon-county-courthouse/">Bourbon County Courthouse</a> is ringed by Main, High and Bank Row streets and Ardery Place. The first courts were held in various residences from 1786 until a permanent, wood-framed structure was completed in October 1787. A larger building was ordered in February 1797 and was completed in 1799, and was described as a building that "rivaled the great stone temple of justice in Lexington." The stone foundation was finished by Thomas Metcalf, a stone mason who later became the tenth governor of the state. His older brother, John Metcalf, built the superstructure. The box cupola was removed in 1816 and replaced with a steel spire forged by Aquilla Talbott with a bell that was purchased by Hugh Brent, Esq. for $50 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The bell was formerly used on a ship and bore the date of 1730.

The courthouse burned in 1873 and almost immediately was replaced with one designed by A. C. Nash of Cincinnati, Ohio. The brick used in the building was produced in the county and the stone came from a quarry in Cane Ridge. After burning, the fourth courthouse was built from 1902 to 1905 and despite two fires, its court records have remained intact.

Stay tuned for a trip to Maysville!

Last edited by Sherman Cahal; Mar 5, 2013 at 2:49 PM. Reason: Changing title
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Old Posted Mar 5, 2013, 3:55 AM
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Last edited by Sherman Cahal; Mar 5, 2013 at 2:48 PM.
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Old Posted Mar 5, 2013, 5:44 AM
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Architype Architype is offline
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I'd never heard of this place, but now I have.
Considering its small population, it's intriguing to see.
You did a very good job at capturing it.
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Old Posted Mar 5, 2013, 5:50 AM
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Wow, thats so weird, I was literally just there a couple weeks ago. I actually spent quite a bit of time there, its an amazing small town surrounded by some of the most beautiful countryside youll ever see.
Look around at how lucky we are to be alive right now, history is happening in Manhattan and we just happen to be in the greatest city in the world.
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Old Posted Mar 5, 2013, 2:50 PM
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Sherman Cahal Sherman Cahal is offline
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It's a population that has stagnated as well - not really growing, not really declining. I think that helps.

BTW - can a mod change the thread title to "Kentucky County Seats: Paris"?
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Old Posted Mar 5, 2013, 5:02 PM
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Nice pictures. Paris looks like a pretty decent town.
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Old Posted Mar 5, 2013, 5:14 PM
ShooFlyPie ShooFlyPie is offline
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Cool thread. I wonder if Kentucky is like Pennsylvania in where all the county seats are filled with badass historic architecture.
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Old Posted Mar 5, 2013, 5:52 PM
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can't wait to see Inez
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Old Posted Mar 6, 2013, 9:45 PM
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Love the look of this town. Beautiful architecture! Thanks for sharing.
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Old Posted Mar 6, 2013, 9:56 PM
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Kentucky is under-rated in the architecture dept.
t h e r e is no C h a o s.... . . . only g r e a t E n e r g y
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Old Posted Mar 9, 2013, 1:34 AM
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Nice buildings.
The new Pittsburgh development thread is up.
Pittsburgh Rundown III

"Even Old New York was once New Amsterdam"
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Old Posted Apr 27, 2013, 4:53 PM
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Fascinating to see. This is an area I`d never seek out pictures of on my own, and it`s also not what I`d expect to see had any been offered. Looks beautiful!
Note to self: "The plural of anecdote is not evidence."
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Old Posted Apr 28, 2013, 2:51 PM
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Apart from been passionate and interested in what you photograph ...your photos are actually very good...
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Old Posted May 8, 2013, 8:20 PM
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Kentucky County Seats: Williamsburg, Philadelphia & Monticello

Kentucky County Seats: Williamsburg

Williamsburg, Kentucky is the county seat of Whitley County and lies along Interstate 75 and US 25 near the Tennessee border. First known as Spring Ford after a nearby crossing over the Cumberland River, a town was established when Samuel Cox donated the land for a courthouse in 1818 at what became Whitley Courthouse, and later Williamsburgh and Williamsburg. The town prospered first around its three fresh water springs and then by coal and lumber industries.

The first Whitley County courthouse and jail were constructed not long after the county was formed. A second structure was finished in the 1880s, which was remodeled and enlarged in 1931 following a fire. The third courthouse iteration was declared unsafe in 1969 and the facility was remodeled in 1971. It saw further additions and a renovation in 1989.

The Whitley County Judicial Center is located at 100 Main Street. Construction was authorized by the Kentucky General Assembly in 2006 and funding was granted two years later with a budget of $17.1 million. By the time groundbreaking ceremonies were held on April 24, 2009, the cost had increased to $18.9 million. The 58,728 square-foot, three-story facility was designed by Murphy & Graves of Lexington and constructed by Codell Construction of Winchester.

Construction was completed in September 2011 and was dedicated on November 2. It houses the Circuit Court, District Court, the Office of Circuit Court Clerk and ancillary services.

Below: A view of 3rd Street and Main Street in downtown.

View: Main Street between 3rd and 2nd streets.

Below: The Masonic Building, at 2nd and Main streets, was constructed in 1916.

Below: The southeast corner of 3rd and Main streets.

Below: Commercial buildings along Main Street between 3rd and 4th streets.

Below: A view of Main Street between 4th and Depot streets

Below: The historic Louisville & Nashville Railroad depot.

Below: The Farmers National Bank Building was dedicated on May 23, 1966. The two-story building, now home to Community Trust Bank, was designed by Donald B. Shelton and constructed by Y&S Construction Company.

Below: The Williamsburg Post Office Building was designed by Louis A. Simon and constructed in 1938 at 3rd and Sycamore Street.

The University of the Cumberlands is a private, liberal-arts college and has an enrollment of approximately 3,200 students. It is affiliated with the Kentucky Baptist Convention.

At an annual meeting of the Mount Zion Association in 1887, representatives from 18 eastern Kentucky Baptist churches discussed plans to provide a school for higher education in the mountainous parts of the state. Planning for a college began shortly after and the Williamsburg Institute was incorporated by the Kentucky state legislature on April 6, 1888 and founded on January 7, 1889. In 1907, Williamsburg Institute purchased three buildings of the neighboring Highland College, and in 1913, the school changed its name to Cumberland College and stopped offering bachelor degrees.

The college began to offer bachelor degrees again in 1959, and on January 7, 2005, Cumberland College was renamed to University of the Cumberlands and began offering graduate and professional programs.

The university is strictly conservative and has been marred in controversy in recent years. In 2006, a student was forced to withdraw after revealing his sexual orientation - gay, on MySpace. He was told by university officials that they did not approve of his "lifestyle," and all of his grades were downgraded to "F." The student handbook, revised a year prior, noted that students could be removed for "participating in pre-martial sex or promoting homosexuality," although the legality of the notation was questioned as the university received funding from the Kentucky state government. A settlement was later reached where the student was allowed to complete his coursework and his grades were restored.

In Bob Jones University v. United States, any university receiving public money may not discriminate, which was affirmed by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education that explictly prohibited discrimination against protected classes. Money was withheld for a new pharmacy school for the campus.

Roburn Hall was constructed in 1888 as the first building of the Williamsburg Institute. The land was purchased for $800 and the structure was constructed by J.A. Cooley. The $12,500 building served 200 students and held its first class in January 1889. It was renovated in 1928 to serve as a female dormitory and named Roburn Hall. It was extensively renovated in 1993 and was later named after Dr. E.S. Moss after "a good friend and supporter."

The university campus has a similar architectural style dominated by cupolas, or as they refer to it as, steeples.

Below: Siler Hall is a junior and senior male residence hall.

Below: Boswell Campus Center

Below: O. Wayne Rollins Athletic Center, with its many outward facing clocks tacked on.

Below: Nicholson-Jones Building. It appears that many of these buildings were given facelifts later in their lifespan to incorporate a more traditional and cohesive architectural style to varying degrees of success.

The Bennett Building was constructed in 1906 at a cost of $20,000 and was known as the Reuben D. Hill Building. The name was changed to the Gray Brick Building when it was purchased by the Williamsburg Institute in 1907 from Highland College. Administrative offices were moved from Roburn Hall to the Hill Building in 1921 and were located inside until 1955. The building has been used for classroom space from 1922 to the present.

In 2000, the structure was renamed the Clyde V. and Patricia Bennett Building after "a good friend and supporter."

Below: Dr. A. Gatliff Memorial Building

Below: The John T. Luecker Building was dedicated on March 21, 2011 after "a good friend and supporter." Originally used as a Williamsburg city school building, it was constructed in 1928 to replace the original school building from 1909 and destroyed by fire in 1926. An annex was constructed in 1967. In 1983, the university acquired the buildings for $700,000, and a new city school complex was constructed at Main and 10th streets.

Prior to the dedication, the buildings were known as the Andersen Building and the Andersen Annex, named for the Andersen windows installed during the renovation. It is home to the Art, Education and Health Exercise and Sport Science departments, the Development office and the J.M. Boswell Art Gallery.

Below: Taylor Aquatic Center

Yes, those are international clocks draping the side of the building.

Constructed in 1893 and dedicated on February 11, 1894, Johnson Hall was named after Williams James Johnson, the college's first president. It was a female dormitory during its first year and was a male hall from 1895 to 1913 before becoming a female hall. The structure also housed a cafeteria until 1958.

Johnson Hall was enlarged in 1913 thanks to a gift from Dr. Ancil Gatliff at a cost of $20,000. The structure was last renovated in 1994-95 and renamed Gillespie Hall in honor of Charles Gillespie.

Below: The President's Home.

Did you know that the university has openly copied Monticello in Virginia? It is implied loosely. The Ward and Regina Correll Science Complex is a $20 million facility that houses the chemistry, physics, biology and math departments. The 78,000 square-foot structure was partially funded with a $1 million donation from Ward and Regina Correll of Somerset, and was opened in January 2009.

The building was designed after Thomas Jefferson's Monticello, and was noted as "a perfect example of how Cumberlands reveres the past and honors the patriots who dreamed the dream of a United States of America, yet stands firmly facing forward into the 21st century."


The Terry & Marion Forcht Medical Wing of the new science complex was dedicated on October 15, 2009.

And what about Independence Hall? The Edward L. Hutton Building houses the Business Administration department. The structure, completed in 2004, was designed to replicate Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The grounds surrounding Hutton include "Patriot Park," a permanent location for a World Trade Center memorial, and replicas of Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and Liberty Bell.

It's a hot mess.

The university "feels a little like Israel being surrounded by the Arabs with so many students, faculty and staff located on such a small amount of Williamsburg land." And "the campus is unsurpassed with steeples sweeping up to the glory of God. At times clouds almost seem to surround the campus."

I kid you not.
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