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Special to Capital Living
Looking for something to do this coming Saturday? Interested in seeing some interesting private homes and gardens that the community has to offer? Here’s an idea.
The Garden Club of Frankfort and Frankfort/Franklin County Tourism will host its 10th annual Living in History home and garden tour 10 am – 5 pm this Saturday, June 11th. Tickets are available in advance, as well as on the day of the tour, at either the Frankfort/Franklin County Tourism Commission office, 100 Capital Ave. (historic Gooch House), or at any of the homes on the tour. Tickets are only $15 for admission to all eight properties.
Homes may be toured in any order. A boutique featuring several vendors of jewelry and accessories will be set up at the Letcher Lindsay House, 200 Washington St., during the tour hours.
A deluxe salad bar luncheon will also be available at the Letcher Lindsay House from 11 am – 2 pm for an additional $15 per person.
Below is a brief description of each location.
Historic Homes & Gardens
Gavin Sewell home, 216 East Campbell Street, just blocks from the Capitol and part of the large South Frankfort Neighborhood Historic District. This charming Dutch Colonial house dates from 1930.
Construction plans and much of the finishing materials for this home were obtained through the Home Builder’s Catalog, one of the readily available sources of mail order plans that helped to popularize several architectural revival styles during this era.
The current owner is one of only three families who have owned the property. He has completed many upgrades and improvements to make the house more livable, while retaining its original character. Highlights of this home include its original period detailing and its fresh décor and curb appeal.
Sower Home and Garden, located at 112 Wilkinson St. was founded on the low accessible bottoms along a natural bend of the Kentucky River.
One of the town’s original streets, Wilkinson connected the community of Leestown to the first ferry crossing on the Kentucky River in Frankfort.
In time, the adjoining parcel of land became the Frankfort Cotton Factory, built there to take advantage of the accessible river waters in production.
Vacated by 1896, the factory was purchased by George and Lucy Todd in 1897 and demolished. The land was divided and sold for building lots.
Former Frankfort Mayor John R. Sower acquired a parcel known as the cotton mill property and built this beautiful brick Victorian home in 1906.
Since that time, the home has been occupied by three generations of the Sower family and is currently owned by the original owner’s grandson, also a former mayor of Frankfort and current City Commissioner, John Sower and his wife Phyllis have recently completed an extensive renovation on the house.
Buchta Carriage House, located at 2 Petticoat Lane. In 1850, a brick townhouse was built on Washington Street, on land once owned by the infamous American traitor, Aaron Burr.
The townhouse was constructed in the newly fashionable Greek Revival style and became the home of George Macklin, a prominent local landowner and coal businessman.
Mr. Macklin’s coal yard once stood near the L&N railroad bridge and later became the Frankfort Ice and Coal Company. Behind the townhouse, facing Petticoat Lane, is a former carriage house and horse stable, constructed of the same materials and design as the principal home.
Over 165 years after it was built, this Carriage House is one of the only remaining structures of its type in Downtown Frankfort.
Recently renovated by the owner, David Buchta, the carriage house will now serve as a guesthouse.
Alice Blanton Cottage, located at 1001 Wilkinson Blvd. Located in the community of Leestown, a precursor to the City of Frankfort, The Beeches house is one of the last remnants of what was once one of the largest communities on the Kentucky River. At one time, it was considered for the site of the State Capitol.
The Blanton Family’s association with Leestown dates to the founding of Kentucky. This influential family is known for the development of what would become Buffalo Trace Distillery.
About 1905, JB and his brother Albert dismantled an old stone cookhouse behind the main house, built in 1799, and in its place built a two-story brick building that would serve as servant quarters for the family cook and groundskeeper, and a dairy and laundry for the farm.
In 1965, Ms. Alice Blanton renovated the property for living space. When Buffalo Trace Distillery purchased the property in 2004, they renovated the building as a cozy guest cottage for visitors to the distillery. The Beeches, cottage, and grounds were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971.
Albert B. Blanton Botanical Garden & Bird Sanctuary, located at 1001 Wilkinson Blvd. Surprising delights await visitors to the Albert B. Blanton Botanical Garden and Bird Sanctuary at Buffalo Trace Distillery.
Restored gardens, stone steps and curving paths surround the Albert Blanton residence, built in 1933. Lovely benches offer resting places for one to absorb the peaceful views.
Colonel Blanton, a descendent of the founder of what is now Buffalo Trace Distillery, loved to garden, and roses and mums were among his favorite plants to use.
Today, on the top of this hill, you will see a combination of new elements and preserved features such as all the original stone walls and a restored water feature, as well as a wide array of plant types for all to enjoy. The grounds are part of a National Historic Landmark, and the beauty of these gardens is a compelling attraction for all visitors to Frankfort and its residents.
Knight-Taylor-Hockensmith House, located at 4350 Peaks Mill Road, is the home of Edmond and Wendy Thompson. This beautifully renovated historic farmhouse is located about seven miles north of downtown Frankfort on Peaks Mill Road along the scenic Elkhorn Creek.
It began as a single room log house, built in 1850. Two original log walls are still visible on the interior. It was greatly expanded in 1882, when a large Victorian style section was added with elaborate trim both inside and out.
Further additions were made in the late 1920’s. The current owner, Edmond Thompson, inherited the property, which had belonged to his parents since 1947, and had been his childhood home.
By that time, the house had fallen into a state of disrepair after being vacant for years. In 2013, the house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places and Edmond and his wife Wendy embarked upon a three year total renovation to save the house and make it their home.
Their deep affection for the property is evident in the way they have carefully renovated the house, respectful of its historic materials and details while adapting it for modern living. The beautiful rural setting, the outstanding architectural detailing, and the unique log construction core make this a site not to be missed.
Knight-Taylor-Hockensmith House, located at 4350 Peaks Mill Road, is the home of Edmond and Wendy Thompson. This renovated historic farmhouse is located about seven miles north of downtown Frankfort on Peaks Mill Road along Elkhorn Creek.
Geveden Condominium is located at 152 Locust Hill Drive. Pat and Charles Geveden purchased this luxury condo in the Two Creeks subdivision in 2005, when they moved to Frankfort from Western Kentucky.
Even though the move represented a downsizing from their former home, this condo contains 3,000 square feet, with three bedrooms and three baths.
The Gevedens have made many improvements to the home, including the addition of granite countertops in the kitchen and travertine floors and countertop in the master bath. It features specialty crown moldings and is furnished with treasured antiques inherited from their families.
The dining room features a built-in marble topped buffet. The lower level includes a bedroom suite and a large TV room with fireplace and bar, as well as a screened area and patio that allows them to enjoy a view of the ninth fairway of the Frankfort Country Club.
Strong Home & Garden is located at 50 Spendthrift St. Susan and Gene Strong built this spacious five bedroom home along the south edge of Two Creeks subdivision in 1990.
Now that their children are grown, the Strongs have completed a number of upgrades to the house to modernize its amenities and adapt it for large gatherings of their extended family.
This includes several bathrooms that have been renovated with highend finishes and fixtures. The roomy master bedroom suite features an expanded bathroom with large walk-in shower and soaking tub.
At the other end of the main floor, the couple can enjoy a view of the peaceful backyard and wooded area beyond from their all-season enclosed porch that adjoins the kitchen and informal dining nook.
Art and beautiful objects collected from travels from around the world decorate the Strong’s home. The lower level includes a spacious family room/game room with wet bar that opens onto a covered terrace and the backyard saltwater pool.
Proceeds from the annual Living in History home & garden tours have provided funding for beautification projects in and around Frankfort. They also provide a unique opportunity to get an inside look at the interiors of some of Frankfort’s finest homes.