Protesters rally on eve of historical building's demolition at University of Kentucky

lblackford@herald-leader.comSeptember 3, 2014 

A group of about 40 people rallied in front of a historical University of Kentucky building Wednesday, one day before it is scheduled for demolition.

The 1840s-era Hamilton House, an Italianate former residence hall on South Limestone, will make way for new dorms. Several other more modern buildings on campus also have been torn down in recent months.

Among the protesters was Jane Dooley, who lived in the house between 1967 and 1969.

"We lived there as UK students, and it's just so sad it's going to be demolished," she said.

The Bluegrass Trust for Historic Preservation organized the rally. Earlier this year, they named 11 UK buildings as the most endangered in the Bluegrass.

Robin Gwinn lived at Hamilton House in the 1970s.

"I wish they could keep the building and attach it somehow," she said. "A creative architect could add it right in."

Sheila Ferrell, director of the trust, said she thinks the house was designed by acclaimed 19th-centrury architect John McMurtry, who also designed Sayre Schooland Floral Hall at The Red Mile.

"The building is that significant," she said. "UK is willfully destroying their history and the commonwealth's history."

On Tuesday, UK spokesman Jay Blanton said UK was preserving several buildings, including the Student Center, Funkhouser Building, and Lafferty and Patterson halls.

"At the same time, we believe strongly that our campus revitalization efforts are being done, as they should be, with our top priority in mind: the success of students," Blanton said.

Linda Blackford: (859) 231-1359. Twitter: @lbblackford.

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