Fayette County

Little house on big New Circle Road now for sale

Ty Miller, 58, remembers when he and his grandfather clopped down New Circle Road in a horse-drawn wagon.

He fished and caught frogs in the little stream that now runs near the Old Paris Pike Kroger and Don Jacobs Used Car lot.

In 1954, when Miller was a tot, his parents built a little brick house at 1613 Old Paris Road, where he was raised. Though the front of the house faces Old Paris, its side and yard front on New Circle. It was the only home for more than 6 miles of New Circle Road and a Lexington curiosity.

When Robert and Carrie Miller built the 1,320-square-foot house, they intended to raise their sons and live out their lives there.

In his final years Robert Miller, retired from plaster work, would sit on the back porch and wave to the folks in passing traffic on New Circle Road.

"It was a great place to be old, too," says Ty Miller.

Robert died in 2008, Carrie in 2009.

Now the property is for sale. Asking price: $350,000. Ty Miller's wife, Linda, says the property can either go entirely commercial or be the location for a home-based business.

The Millers built their house just as New Circle Road, then variously called the Northern Beltway and the Belt Line, was poised to blossom by their porch. The road was intended to alleviate downtown traffic, a somewhat comical goal when you look at it now.

Even Burger Shake, the no-frills nearby restaurant that sold fast food long before North Lexington's Taco Bell and Rally's packed their first bags, didn't move in until 1957. (A few miles south, Parkette opened in 1952, followed by Lexington's first McDonald's in 1961 on New Circle Road near Eastland Parkway.)

After the Millers built the home, New Circle Road hit high gear for commercial development, with Kmart just across the street, Don Jacobs at the end of the back yard, Kroger out the front door and Wal-Mart just down the way. These days, a soon-to-open CVS drugstore looms across New Circle in a spot where a rent-a-car operation and Earley Bird Dry Cleaners used to sit.

The Kmart is gone, as is a personal care home, but a Goodwill and massive car wash with a sunshiny color scheme took their place.

Indeed, businesses shot up all along the northern stretch of New Circle in the 1950s as the influx of IBM employees was felt in North Lexington. And that stretch of New Circle, with stoplights nearly every block, wound up a far more complicated drive than its south Lexington counterpart, which is limited access.

Carrie Miller recalled in an interview with the Herald-Leader in 2000 that she would sometimes run out of clean dish towels because she would use them to help people injured in crashes near the house.

Robert Miller, then 77, said he didn't want to sell his house. "We're comfortable, we own it, we get along. Why would I want to move?"

The Miller property is tiny, only a third of an acre. Linda Miller says that limits the kind of business that could comfortably fit in the notch of land.

"With our property being as small as it is, all I can see is it being a dry cleaner, a Wendy's," she said.

Still, she said, some people want to keep the house what it has been for 56 years: a single-family home.

"Some people have called and said they've seen the house all their lives, and when it went for sale, they were interested in living in it."

Says Ty Miller: "This has always been somewhat of a showplace."