Southern Railway Passenger Depot, Lexington Kentucky

The Southern Railway Passenger Depot is a remarkably intact early twentieth-century Georgian Revival-style railroad station. It has experienced very few architectural changes and is a Lexington landmark with its highly visible location on South Broadway. It has the dubious distinction of being the last major railroad station standing in Central Kentucky. According to a 1906 newspaper article, the building was designed by H. Herrington; it was constructed in 1906-08. As Herrington was not a local architect, it is assumed he was an architect with or under contract to the Queen and Crescent and Southern Railway Company. Paul Anderson, who was a professor of engineering at State College (later the University of Kentucky) was appointed supervising architect and Arthur Giannini was involved locally as the staff architect for the construction company, Hendricks Brothers. This imposing structure retains much of its original woodwork, floors, windows, and doors; and although some of the first-floor interior space has been redesigned over the years, the main mass of the building is unaltered. Lexington, which is the second largest city in Kentucky and a county seat, has been involved with the railroad industry from the first half of the nineteenth century. From the 1830s, railroads were essential to the economic prosperity of Lexington, since it depended on them for the flow of agricultural goods, manufactured products, passengers, and later, coal. Kentucky's first railroad, the Lexington and Ohio Railroad Company, was incorporated in 1830 and was completed from Lexington to Frankfort in 1834. The Frankfort to Louisville section was not completed until 1852. Their depot was built in 1835 at Water and Mill Streets in Lexington, and the building was razed in 1959. The Southern Railroad was completed to Lexington in 1877, and that company built a depot near the site of the present station. This building was gutted by a fire in 1906, although the new and old depots are shown on the 1907 Sanborn Insurance map. The downtown depot, Union Station, was designed by the architectural firm of Richards, McCarty and Bulford of Columbus, Ohio, in the Beaux Arts style to accommodate three of the four railroad lines that served Lexington. Located at the intersection of East Main Street and the Harrison Street Viaduct, Union Station was demolished in 1960. The four lines serving Lexington at that time were the L & N (Louisville and Nashville), the C & O (Chesapeake & Ohio), the Kentucky Central Railroad and the Southern Railway. The 1906-08 Southern Railway Passenger Depot is the only building remaining to attest to Lexington's association with this mode of transportation for over 150 years. The Southern Railway was the most important line in Lexington from the point of passenger train service and through freight movement. The Southern was the only railroad whose main line came through Lexington, all the others being branch lines. By 1930, the Southern had sixteen daily passenger trains operating in both directions over this line, attesting to the use and importance of the Southern Railway Depot.

More...

Fifth District School, Covington Kentucky

The first discussion about the construction of a new school for the Peaselburg area came about in 1897. The school board met to discuss the need for 2 new schools in the area; one for the southeastern part of the city, and one for the southwestern section. The growing school-age population in the southwestern part of the city finally led the school board to break ground for the new elementary school on the site at 18th and Holman streets in 1901. Construction of the building took about a year, and was completed in 1902. Schofield & Rabe, architects from Covington, were chosen to design the school. The firm was only in business for six years, from 1898-1904. There is no apparent history on Schofield, but William A. Rabe was a native of Covington and a first-generation American. His parents immigrated to America from Germany. His father was a leading builder and contractor in Covington. Young William was educated in the Covington parochial schools, and then went on to study at St. Mary's Institute in Dayton, Ohio, where he studied other subjects before pursuing studies in architecture. Upon his return to Covington, Rabe worked as an estimator for several years and was employed by architect Daniel Seger, who designed several buildings in the city, including the Richardsonian Romanesque Fire Station No. 1 in 1898. The former Fifth District School building is a well-known landmark in Peaselburg, a working and middle-class neighborhood in the southwestern part of the city of Covington. The construction of the school was finished on July 22, 1902, according to the Kentucky Times Star. A grand opening for the public was held on Sept. 3, and the public was invited to tour the new school building. Addresses were made by H.B. McChesney, state superintendent of schools, along with Dr. Alston Ellis of Ohio State University and local faculty members. A brass band played from 2:00-5:00, and the school building was declared, "one of the finest schools in the Western country" by the Kentucky Times Star on Sept. 2, 1902. The building opened the following week for the first week of classes. The new school was very different from the former schools, in that it had many amenities not found in previous buildings. The building contained cloakrooms in the classrooms, inside bathrooms, and water fountains. The building also contained bathtubs in which the teachers could bathe any students who came to school needing a bath.

More...

Louis Levey Mansion, Indianapolis Indiana

Built in 1905 the Louis Levey mansion may have been designed by the Indianapolis firm of Rubush and Hunter, who designed the Levey Brothers Printing Plant, which was also occupied in 1905, and still stands on the north side of the Statehouse. The architects use the same style on the Masonic Temple, the former First Church of Christ Scientist, Old City Hall (now the Indiana State Museum), and the American Central Life Insurance Company Building. The construction of the mansion and the choice of its location were the concrete expression of the commercial success of the second generation of a family of printers. Louis H. Levey, the owner, was born in Madison, Indiana, to William P. Levey, who had engaged in binding, printing, and book-selling since 1848. By the time Louis was 21 years old, he was a principal in the firm. In partnership with an older brother, he moved the business, renamed Levey Brothers & Co., to Indianapolis in 1883. The brothers located their operations on South Meridian Street until a building was constructed for them in 1890 at 15-19 West Maryland Street. Despite the depression of the 1890s, the company, which was one of the nation's leading bank supply printers and which conducted its entire business by mail order catalog, expanded its facilities in 1900 and built a new plant, occupied in 1905. The growth of the company coincided with the heyday of the mail-order business, including Sears and Montgomery Wards.

More...

Montgomery Ward Store Building, Evansville Indiana

It was not unusual for national corporations to use stock plans for their buildings when Montgomery Ward came to downtown Evansville in 1933. The firm extensively remodeled another building on this site, and distinct similarities can be noted between the Evansville store and stores throughout the Midwest. The significance of the Old Montgomery Ward Building rests upon its association with an important national corporation and its reflection of an important passage in the social history of the country and of Evansville. The 1933 construction of the building in Evansville as part of the Ward retail system followed a pattern of retail shopping and consumerism which had its genesis in the large Eastern department stores of the late 19th century. The preeminent Midwestern/rural catalog shopping phenomenon had begun its gradual erosion in 1925 with the establishment of Sears-Roebuck's first retail-only store (in Evansville, the McCurdy-Sears Building). The Ward Building in Evansville reflected the Chicago company's regard for the growth of city-based markets in the early 20th century and its program of cementing its retail shopping thrust (begun falteringly in Plymouth, Indiana, in about 1928). Ward's approach to marketing also illuminated the pattern of democratization which had occurred over the quarter century of department store shopping preceding the Evansville Ward Building, whereby products and advertising were aimed at a broad range of economy-minded buyers instead of just the well-to-do.

More...

Park Building, Cleveland Ohio

The Park Building is a large, prominently sited and highly intact example of the style and form of commercial buildings that were being erected in the larger cities of the United States in the years shortly following the turn of the century. The building utilizes steel frame construction and features a symmetrical exterior clad in brick with cast stone trim. Stylistically, the building has elements of Neoclassical and Tudor Revival forms that relate to Chicago skyscrapers of an earlier decade. Its restrained exterior is a sharp departure from the buildings of downtown Cleveland erected around this same time and reflects the desire of the building's developers to achieve a highly functional building that provided a large amount of light and display window area. Its design by Cleveland architect Frank S. Barnum is sophisticated, yet largely devoid of historical imagery that helped to shape the exteriors of his other commercial buildings, such as the Caxton Building, built just one year earlier, which features a massive cornice and robust yet intricate entrance portal. It is the tallest and most prominent commercial building designed by this important Cleveland architect. Frank Seymour Barnum (1851-1927) was a prominent Cleveland architect who began his career as a draftsman for Cleveland architect Joseph Ireland, designer of some of the finest late nineteenth-century residences along Euclid Avenue's famed Millionaires' Row. While in the office he met Forrest A. Coburn and the two went into practice together under the name Coburn & Barnum in 1878. During their twenty-year practice together, ending with Coburn's death in 1897, the firm planned some of the city's most distinguished buildings, including the Furniture Block and the Blackstone Block, the latter an example of fire-resistant mill construction that featured a four-story interior light court. The firm designed numerous churches, including Euclid Avenue Congregational, and residences for George Howe, William J. Morgan, and the Washington Lawrence House in Bay Village, since transformed into condominiums. They also designed the Olney Art Gallery on West 14th Street and the former home of the Western Reserve Historical Society. During its final year, the firm became known as Coburn, Barnum, Hubbell & Benes, in recognition of two talented younger members of the firm who, after Coburn's death went on to form their own highly successful practice which included the design of the Cleveland Museum of Art.

More...

Chesapeake Beach Railroad Engine House, Seat Pleasant Maryland

Otto Mears (developer of Colorado's Rio Grande Southern Railroad, among others), the Russian-born Colorado-based entrepreneur known as the "pathfinder of the San Juan" was the principal promoter of the Chesapeake Beach Railway. Mears had planned that his direct link to Chesapeake Bay would be a high speed line, 28 miles long, run by electric power from a third rail system. Notably, once the engine house was completed and steam locomotives were fully 1n service, Mears resigned as General Manager of the Chesapeake Beach Railway. David Moffat, the richest man in Colorado by 1900 (President, Denver and Rio Grande Railroad and president, Denver National Bank), was the major sponsor before 1902, when the engine house was completed. The work accomplished during the tenure of these men essentially remained intact for the whole course of the history of the railroad. Beginning when Washington had developed into an urban area and government employees were an identifiable holiday market for the railroad, the Chesapeake Beach Railway was planned as a passenger rail line to the Bay resort which Mears hoped would rival the renowned New England casino resorts. While occasional freight to and from the local agricultural area was carried at night, the passenger business to and from Chesapeake Beach was the focus of the railroad. The company ceased operation In 1935, the victim of a major economic depression. By 1903, the yard located in rural Maryland near the District limits, in an area called Seat Pleasant after 1906, was occupied by the engine house, a turntable, sidings and storage tracks, a paint shop, and a water tank. Other secondary structures were added between 1903 and in 1936.

More...

Eleventh District School, Covington Kentucky

The former 11th District School building is one of the chief landmarks of the small (population about 2,000) community of West Covington, an area annexed by the city of Covington in 1916. Set near the top of a ridge surrounded by the hills of Northern Kentucky to the south and by the Ohio River Valley to the north, the building, a restrained Tudor Revival design typical of the post-World War I era, is highly visible from many directions. It was built in 1920-22 to extend the benefits of the traditionally excellent Covington public school system to the newly annexed community, which is geographically somewhat separate from the 19th-century city, located around a bend of the hills in the adjacent Licking River Valley. The 11th District School was designed by the prolific and highly competent Columbus, Ohio, architectural firm of Richards, McCarty & Bulford, who also were responsible for the design of many important buildings in central Kentucky. A compatible 1931 addition was designed by northern Kentucky architect Chester H. Disque. In the vicinity of several other community institutions, the school building remains a visual landmark, although it was reluctantly, closed because of Federal student~busing requirements in 1979. A group of local investors is currently (1983) considering renovation and adaptive re-use of the structure for apartments, utilizing the Tax Incentives available under the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981. West Covington was originally known as "Economy." It was established about 1846 on the estate of Israel Ludlow, a prominent early Cincinnati and northern Kentucky land-owner and developer. The town was incorporated in 1858 as West Covington. The population grew from 554 in 1860 to 993 in 1870 according to Collins. As early as the mid-1870s there was a movement to annex it to the city of Covington, whose population continued to expand after the Civil War. Annexation was not accomplished, however, until 1916, during a period when a number of adjacent areas to the south and west of the 19th-century city were also annexed.

More...