FRANKFORT — If Jim Shane could pick a favorite part of his historic home on Murray Street, it would be the porches — all three of them.
"I love my porches," Shane said. Right now, though, he's not enjoying them as often as he would like. The retired Army brigadier general has just accepted a position in South Carolina with a company that manufactures and sells armored vehicles.
But Shane will be home when his circa 1905 house is open for the South Frankfort Neighborhood Association's 2009 Tour of Historic Homes on June 13.
People in Frankfort know Shane's home as "the tall house" — the tallest house in the 500 block of Murray Street — about a block and a half from the Governor's Mansion.
Shane has spent many hours on the porches at his home, although he has worked hard decorating and turning the house into a space that suits his tastes. He bought the house in 1997 with his former wife.
"When I retired from the military in 1997, I was fortunate to receive an appointment in state government under Governor (Paul) Patton to head up and develop the commission on military affairs," Shane said.
"We looked at several homes, and we wanted an older home on the south side of Frankfort," he said.
The house at 505 Murray Street captured their hearts. "It just gave us a warm, homey feeling. We were excited about having our children and grandchildren be a part of it," he said.
Frankfort was a good choice for a home, after Shane had lived in many places during his military career. And "it was halfway between her folks in Stanton and my family in Louisville," he said.
The house's front porch has bridgelike sides — brick piers combined with arches — and three "short and fat" columns that are a half-story tall. Shane likes to sit in the wicker swing "when things are quiet, with the water fountain going. It's very comfortable, very therapeutic," he said.
The front porch is where Shane relaxes because, when he's sitting on either of the back porches, he can spot which flower beds need weeding or planting. The back yard glides into the Kentucky River and the former Melodye Park, a Frankfort landmark before floodwaters destroyed it.
"I love the yard, working in it. Needless to say, the home would not be as enjoyable without my neighbors on both sides," he said. His back porches also overlook their gardens.
Now single, Shane has removed the flowery wallpaper, and the new décor reflects his style. He enjoys shopping, and the antiques, oriental rugs and window treatments are color- coordinated. The only thing that's a little out of place is the white baby crib in one corner of a guest bedroom — for the newest grandchild, when she comes to visit.
Shane decorated the foyer to reflect Kentucky horse country. A paneled archway was built by the original owner, Cornelius Collins, to house his wife's piano. Shane uses that space for his office.
Shane said the previous owners, David and Sharma Klee, modernized the house but retained "the historical beauty and warmth."