Bluegrass Renaissance: The History and Culture of Central Kentucky, 1792-1852

Bluegrass Renaissance: The History and Culture of Central Kentucky, 1792-1852

Bluegrass Renaissance: The History and Culture of Central Kentucky, 1792-1852

Bluegrass Renaissance: The History and Culture of Central Kentucky, 1792-1852

Excerpt

Wat causes a city to be termed great in a moment in time? Why is town seen as a place of progress and modernization in a specific region? What features create an environment that produces leadership in a variety of fields? What forces give birth to advancements in one area after another? And what elements combine to change the history of a place from one of betterment and hope to one of pessimism and despair? Finally, what aspects of the past, real or imagined, remain in that place, as parts that continue to form a new future?

To answer these and other questions, Daniel Rowland organized the 2007 symposium at which most of these essays were first presented. As director of the Gaines Center for the Humanities at the University of Kentucky and head of the university’s Marshall-Rhodes Selection Committee, Rowland had his historical interest in those queries stimulated through his work on the project to restore the Senator John and Eliza Pope Villa, built in 1812 in Lexington, and designed by the foremost architect of the period, Benjamin Henry Latrobe. Latrobe, the father of the architectural profession in the United States, is generally recognized as the greatest American architect before the age of Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright.

Patrick Snadon, one of our essayists, established in a magisterial book he wrote with Michael Fazio on the domestic architecture of Latrobe that the Pope Villa is probably the most important of all Latrobe’s domestic buildings, built or unbuilt, standing or demolished, in England or America. That would make the Pope Villa arguably the most important federal-period building in America from a strictly architectural point of . . .

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