A 116-year-old house that some had hoped could be preserved has been torn down.
The property at 701 Pine Street is owned by a subsidiary of Alltech Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co., which demolished the blue brick house to make way for improvements to its campus in the Maxwell and Cross streets area. A museum celebrating the history of the bourbon industry is among the possibilities for the site, Alltech has said.
Bill Johnston, president of the board of directors of the Blue Grass Trust, a historical preservation group, and Fran Taylor, president of the Woodward Heights Neighborhood Association, said in recent letters to the Herald-Leader that they opposed the demolition.
“Woodward Heights residents have labored for decades to preserve and upgrade their neighborhood. Those same improvements helped Alltech decide to build their distillery in that location. Now Alltech wants to pay the neighborhood back by tearing down one of its most visually important houses,” Johnston said.
Though near the Woodward Heights Historic District, the house was not in the district, nor was it on a register of historic places.
Susanna Elliott, corporate communications manager for Alltech, said previously that Alltech founder Pearse Lyons and his wife, Deirdre Lyons, “have demonstrated a strong commitment to historical preservation” by renovating homes, a brewery and other structures, but that the Pine Street house was “not fit” for use.
“Central to their long-term vision for the development of the Alltech Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co. campus is to create additional visitor experiences that celebrate the history of the bourbon industry in Kentucky and in Lexington specifically,” Elliott said. “This may include a museum that gives visitors the history of bourbon and its effects on our commonwealth, and explains the cooperage industry and its relationship to bourbon craft.”