Tom Eblen

Do you have a special ‘old Kentucky home’ of any size? Authors want to hear from you.

A bungalow house in Middlesboro, Bell County. Bungalows were especially popular in Kentucky in the 1920s and 1930s.
A bungalow house in Middlesboro, Bell County. Bungalows were especially popular in Kentucky in the 1920s and 1930s.

The phrase “my old Kentucky home” conjures up images of antebellum mansions, but Stephen Foster’s famous song was actually about a cabin.

Kentuckians live in all kinds of old homes: cabins, mansions, bungalows, shotguns, T-plans, Sears Roebuck mail-order kit houses, brick ranchers and many other styles and forms of house.

Now, an architectural historian and a photographer are looking for great examples of these homes, in all their diversity and geographic location, to feature in a new book.

Janie-Rice Brother, an architectural historian at the University of Kentucky and author of the blog Gardenstogables.com, and photographer Carol Peachee began collaborating two years ago on a book about Kentucky barns. “Kentucky Barns: Agricultural Heritage of the Bluegrass”(Quarry Books, $40) will be published in September. The new book is to be published by Indiana University Press in the fall of 2021.

As they did with the barn book, Brother and Peachee want your help in finding unique and outstanding examples of Kentucky homes built before about 1960. If you know of one they should feature, email them at: gardens2gables@gmail.com.

“There are several books that look at lovely, big old homes, but I want to look at the houses all Kentuckians would have built and lived in,” said Brother, who grew up on her family’s cattle farm in Montgomery County.

“In addition to covering a wide economic spectrum, I want to have as wide a range of Kentucky geography as possible,” she said. “We are a state of 120 counties. I realize we’re not going to be able to get an example from every county, but I do want to try to show all of Kentucky.”

Tom Eblen, the Lexington Herald-Leader’s metro/state columnist since 2008, writes opinion and feature columns. A seventh-generation Kentuckian, he was the Herald-Leader’s managing editor from 1998-2008. Eblen previously worked for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and The Associated Press. He is a member of the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame.


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