Recognize this place? XVII

Looking Down Main Street, Lexington, Kentucky

The life on Lexington’s downtown streets had already started to dry up – where are the people in this pic?  On the right is the Ben Snyder block  – that was demolished to make way for justice buildings and….a park.  Damn we have a lot of parks in downtown.  I’m a landscape architect, but it sure seems that we need more buildings and less parks. 

Look at all the signs.  They were “offensive.”  We wrote laws to get rid of them.   Look what we got today.

Two way streets back then.

Does the sign on the left say: “Fast” “Fast”  “Hoot” ?  Who can fill us in on that?

here’s the back

Yeah – not much to say.    Power lines everywhere, ratty looking buildings, no people, shadeless street, an explosion of signs.  If this was the image of downtown that our old white guys had, no wonder they tore most of it down. Lee Caskey didnt help our town.



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5 responses to “Recognize this place? XVII

  1. The people, on a sunny afternoon in the late fifties, would be shopping in the latest strip centers of the suburbs. Not so much a function of a lack of transportation options but that retail follows the population and home ownership in the suburbs was being pushed at the time.

    The view is from in front of the Union Station, soon to be demolished for a parking garage, and looks west. The Ben Snyder block was taken for a “arts and cultural center” and appropriated by the Justice Cabinet when the City reneged on their commitment, now being fulfilled by the renovation of the Lyric Theater. The Court buildings were the primary purpose of the land, the plaza was an added bonus.

    The proliferation of park land is not so much the problem as the number of parcels that are “tax exempt”. Between the government and religious properties, plus the city owned parking garages, the majority of space along Main St generates no revenue and is expensive to maintain.

    The power lines of this era, though somewhat offensive, are much less than in the ’20s and ’30s and even the signage is not as prolific. Look at the photos of the Asa Chinn collection (KyDL) and compare. Even with all the people, this was the image of the “old white guys”.

    The streetscape project just completed may not be any better that what is shown on the postcard, but I see it as an empty canvas on which to create more urban beauty should we choose to.

  2. Steve; you seem to be fond of the old photos and old remembrances , so follow this link and identify the area shown. It is real near where you have been working for the past year or so. Others may hazard a guess also.

  3. That is the right location but more toward the early to mid ’50s.

    This is the northern end of the initial portion of New Circle Rd.

    • Wow….I guessed, but you gave the hint that it was near where we were working….I knew it wasn’t Ironworks….and I knew that it had to be a new street that hit an existing road – you can tell it’s new – then that left Georgetown and New Circle….but I didnt realize that it was that early….

      thanks – I’ll play along anytime

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