The Martin House of Lexington

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About our House

Architecture

The Martin House is a late Queen Anne "Free Classic" residence, and is a good example of this transitional period in architectural styles.  Sophisticated in it's massing, simple in it's trim, it is balanced between the Queen Anne use of variety of surface and form and the Craftsman emphasis on simplicity.

History

Jesse Woodruff and his family lived on this block from 1864 through 1908, first next door and then, from 1893 onwards, on this site in a house whose one story footprint on the 1907 map is much different from the current building's.  His relative, Thomas B. Woodruff continued to live next door through at least 1925.  The present house was built between 1908 and 1911 when J. M. Martin, agent, Chattanooga Brewing Company, and his family acquired the property.  They lived here through 1921.

A 1976 renovation was the occasion of modernization of the interior and the rear of the building while preserving well-cared for details.  It served as a duplex until 1983, when it was returned to single-family use.

We acquired the house in April, 2004 and decided it would be a lovely home for Lexington visitors to stay in.  We started renting it as a vacation home in September, 2005.

About our Neighborhood

The South Hill Historic District is a neighborhood of early residential homes adjacent to downtown Lexington. In 1781, Lexington's five-man Board of Trustees successfully petitioned the Virginia Assembly for 710 acres of land that was divided into half-acre and five-acre lots, according to a town plat. "The south hill" was made up of larger lots located outside of the town of Lexington that were soon subdivided. South Hill is so named because in pioneer days the area overlooked the Town Branch of Elkhorn Creek that once flowed through the center of the city. The homes in this district were built over a period of time spanning more than 100 years. The earliest homes were built during the early 19th century and are mainly Federal and Greek Revival styles. Most of the older homes are in the northern half of the district. The district also includes homes built after the Civil War into the early 20th century. Buildings designed by two of Lexington's greatest architects, John McMurtry and Cincinnatus Shyrock, can also be found in this district. The mixture of styles on each street is aesthetically compatible, of similar scale and placed on lots of similar size. However, the scale and lot size on each street differs, with the bordering streets of the district such as South Limestone and South Broadway containing larger houses on larger lots set further back from the street.
This district consists of many homes that were once owned by free African Americans at a time when slavery was still an institution in Kentucky. Prosperous whites lived alongside prosperous African Americans with many middle class citizens also living in the district. The oldest home in Lexington, the Adam Rankin House is located in this district on South Mill Street.

Despite the rapid growth of Lexington and the neighboring University of Kentucky, the South Hill Historic District has remained virtually untouched with some commercial infringement on the outer edges of the community. At one time located on the outskirts of Lexington, the neighborhood is now in the heart of the city.

Read more about Lexington and it's neighborhoods

 


 





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