Tuesday, March 13, 2012

My Kentucky–Downtown Frankfort

I live in our Commonwealth’s capital city, only about four blocks from the Capitol. (That’s the first lesson you learn in my town – the difference between “capital” and “capitol.”)
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Y’all. My town is beautiful. Your capital city is beautiful! I love it more than any place in the world. I hope you like it, too. Here are some of my favorite places in the old parts of town – South Frankfort and Downtown Frankfort.
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I sat on the wall along the South Frankfort Presbyterian Church’s and ate lunch nearly everyday when I was a Freshman in high school. My alma mater didn’t have a cafeteria back then.
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This building housed the first YMCA in town. It’s been vacant for as long as I can remember. I’ve never thought it was a very beautiful building, but a group of preservationists are working to turn it into our town’s first boutique hotel. It sits right on the Kentucky river next to what we affectionately name The Singing Bridge. This bridge, now the site of an open-grate roadbed steel bridge originally had an old-fashioned covered bridge to serve folks coming from Louisville to the Old Capitol Building.
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This building was originally a post office. I know it best as the library. It’s currently owned by Kentucky State University and is being remodeled. I’d love to go up into that turret.
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There is always a renovation or restoration project in progress in our downtown. I’d not noticed that this one was in the midst of one until I shot this photo and realized that the column is only partially painted. I’m not sure if this is an active renovation or if it got stalled along the way and the plans have been abandoned for exterior work. The building houses businesses and apartments.
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This portion of St. Clair street used to be a pedestrian-only mall paved with bricks and lined with trees. About 10 years ago, the city revamped the mall to allow for mixed traffic use. I was devastated at the thought of it, but I have to admit that they did it well. The bars and restaurants have ample room for outdoor seating. Pedestrians have room to walk. People have room to gather and traffic flows in a single-lane, one-way pattern. The jeweler’s clock has been standing sentry over this part of town for many years (the jeweler’s been in business since 1872).
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This little guy was tied to a lamp post outside the coffee shop while his owners ordered their coffee. That’s one of the great things about my town – no one will bother this dog unless it’s with scratches behind the ear. If it were a hot day, the shop owner would offer up a bowl of water for him. People care around here.
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I love the paint scheme on these buildings on Broadway – the only street in town divided by railroad tracks. If I had a wide-angle lens you’d see that the buildings continue on to the left of this picture. The entire city block is filled with locally-owned businesses including a specialty wine and liquor shop, an antique store, a book store owned by a former Kentucky Poet Laureate, a cafĂ©, a Kentucky artisan shop and an upscale dining spot.
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Directly across from those shops stands the Old State Capitol building. It’s surrounded by a walled park featuring brick-laid walkways and a fountain and is a beautiful spot. While it was once the site of political machinations and even a gubernatorial assassination in 1900, today, the building serves as part of the state’s Historical Society and the grounds are the site of summer concerts and many picnics and playdates.
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Our town, like any small town you’ll find in the South is home to a great number of churches. The ones downtown are the oldest and, to me, most beautiful. These two, in particular, remind me of England and cottage gardens (not that I’ve ever been there!). Fittingly, one of them is the Anglican church!
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As a town first settled in the 1780s, Frankfort has its fair share of historic homes. These are two of my favorites.
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I found this front gate decoration in front of the historic Liberty Hall. Legend has it that the house is haunted and that you can sometimes see The Gray Lady at one of the upstairs windows.
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The grounds of the historic homes are open to the public. In elementary school, we would often walk to them in the spring time and spend an afternoon reading or exploring. Can’t you just imagine a garden party in this spot?
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Finally, crossing back over to my side of the river, you can see where the painter Paul Sawyier was so inspired by the area.
It won’t be long until the Capitol grounds crew has these guys out and ready for photographing, again. The tulips in bloom signal spring’s arrival and prompt lots of family photo opportunities.
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Just a few short weeks after the tulips, it’s Derby time! Pin It Now!
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2 comments:

  1. So pretty! What a great place to live!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks! It is really a wonderful place to call home.

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