Friday, March 1, 2013

What is Missing?

By Rose Lucas

As I think back over the neighborhood I have known for seven decades, I remember some of the landmarks we no longer have. Walking along North Broadway or North Limestone, as I did for most of my years of school at St. Catherine Academy and Lexington Catholic High School (located where the Sayre Upper School is today) and my years of college at Transylvania, every day I enjoyed neighbors and neighborhood buildings. Transylvania’s campus faced North Broadway and had an entrance arch that led to the College of the Bible Building (razed in 1959/ 60 and replaced by Haupt Humanities Building). McAlister Auditorium was the college gym on the corner of Fourth and Broadway and included classrooms that were built in a wrap around for the old gym that dated when my mother was a student in the 1920s. One of my earlier posts bemoaned the loss of the corner groceries – and the Transy Den, on the northeast corner of Fourth and Broadway, was an institution for many years for both Transy students and neighbors. The Colonial Inn, a fantastic southern restaurant, was housed in an historic home on the southwest corner of Fourth and Broadway and was replaced, along with another home used as both a private home and housing for Transy students when my mother was in school, by the Young Center. Further out Broadway, several homes were razed to make room for apartment buildings. The stone “castle” at the southeast corner of Sixth and Broadway was a particularly significant loss; as was the lovely apartment building at the northeast corner of Elsmere Park and North Broadway that was torn down to build a professional office building. I sit at my keyboard on the other corner of Elsmere Park and North Broadway in an office building which replaced a beautiful home with round brick columns similar to the ones found on a house on the east side of the 500 block of Broadway. Kudos to early efforts on the part of NNA to stop the wholesale demolition of homes to make room for apartment buildings and office buildings. Limestone has missing parts, too. Across from St. Catherine Academy was a row of furniture stores; across from Sayre School the retail buildings still stand and are in use, but I expressly remember the Buchignani grocery store in that block that had one of the first frozen food cases in Lexington. Doodles was a neighborhood service station, then later the liquor store; there was also a service station at the southeast corner of Fifth and Lime – now a grassy area complementing the Brand House at Rose Hill. The old Johnson School was a magnificent structure on the northwest corner of Fourth and Lime, replaced by the Johnson School Townhomes. Yet, nothing will replace the thrill of hearing Dunbar High School’s band practicing on the campus. My first year as a teacher found me at the old Lexington Junior High School, and I miss the historic original structure and the home just south that was lost in the expansion of the school. I am sure others can come up with more “missing” elements of our neighborhood, but I have had this subject on my mind for a while and wanted to share some of the highlights in my memories