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If you enjoy Christmas shopping along one of Kentucky’s charming Main Streets, driving through our historic neighborhoods to view Holiday lights, and visiting our historic landmarks to celebrate the Season, then you know why historic preservation is valuable.  Historic buildings, landscapes and sites contribute to our quality of life, vibrant communities and sense of place.  They are our greatest amenities!


Historic preservation gives us great places in which to live, work and play.  Historic places connect us to what’s important to us and define our heritage. They attract visitors from all over the world and appeal to those who enjoy an authentic experience, unique aesthetics and quality craftmanship.  Repurposed properties also conserve building materials and are environmentally responsible, which appeal to a wide audience.


Historic preservation is smart growth and an important source of income.  It is an effective, proven tool for a wide range of goals, including small business incubation, entrepreneurship, affordable housing, senior housing, sustainable development, neighborhood stabilization, jobs, heritage tourism and cultural arts.  Historic areas attract investment, businesses, companies, tourists, residents and diverse demographics.


Historic preservation is tangible value, and we have the numbers to prove it.  One of the differentials that sets Kentucky apart from other places is our historic sites.  They are the tangible diversity, identity, character, individuality and authenticity that distinguish us.  They represent investment dollars, tax revenues, jobs, community redevelopment, public-private partnerships, neighborhoods, downtowns, landscapes and landmarks – what we call Kentucky Preservation Proud.


As someone who appreciates our historic architecture, unique landmarks and special history, we hope you’ll help us keep yourKentucky.  Our heritage and economy rely on it, but we need your support to do it: Our work is needed now more than ever before to advocate for historic preservation on the local, regional and state level, protect legislation that fosters preservation investment, and provide communities with the tools they need to preserve historic properties.


With continued support from people who believe in protecting our historic value, we can accomplish a great deal together!


Why Historic Preservation is Smart Business

Historic Preservation is a Proven Economic Driver and Critical Tool for Downtown and Neighborhood Revitalization


Preservation Kentucky led the charge in 2005 to establish a state historic preservation tax credit to incentivize the rehabilitation of historic commercial and residential buildings in all 120 counties.  This credit has been responsible for saving hundreds of historic buildings, placing them into service and back on the tax rolls, and leveraging millions in private revitalization spending.

Since the Kentucky historic tax credit was signed into law:

  • 738 buildings across the state have been rehabilitated
  • $433 million of private funds have been invested in historic buildings, leveraged through $33.2 million in credits
  • $1.2 million per commercial project has been invested, and $120,097 per residential project has been invested

Kentucky has the fourth highest number of National Register listings with more than 3,200 districts, sites and structures encompassing more than 42,000 historic features – a success managed by our state partner, the Kentucky Heritage Council, along with the Kentucky Historic Resources Inventory of more than 100,000 sites.


The economic and community impact of Kentucky’s Main Street Program has been effective, especially in rural and small towns.  In 2016, Main Street communities contributed $100 million to our economy with more than $75 million in private investment, matched by $30.9 million in improvements.  In 2016, they reported 1,452 new jobs, 234 new businesses, 81 new downtown housing unites, 198 building rehabilitation projects, and $51,433,241 in rehabilitation investment.


The Federal Historic Preservation Tax Credit

Equally important is the Federal Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program.  In Kentucky, between 2001-2016, the federal HTC:

  • facilitated 345 projects
  • generated more than $500 million in Kentucky development
  • created 9,583 jobs
  • generated $112,187,000 in taxes – $11,811,500 local; $15,982,100 state; and, $84,483,300 federal





Placemaking Kentucky:  This Place Matters

by Betsy Hatfield, Executive Director, Preservation Kentucky


Placemaking – the management of our spaces, our inspirations and the assets that make our communities special and contribute to our health, happiness and well-being.  


Kentucky’s historic architecture is as rich in diversity, style, form and function as the topography that has helped shape it.  From the Appalachian Mountains, hilly Pennyroyal and Cumberland Plateau, to the Western Coal Fields, Jackson Purchase and the Bluegrass – the natural beauty of our mountains, meadows, forests, woodlands, waterways and geological formations have provided the setting for some of the country’s most beautiful, interesting and historic places.


Our communities are equally as diverse and tell our varied stories.  River cities, coal mining camps, farmsteads, rural towns, hamlets, railroad villages, Main Streets, courthouse squares, urban neighborhoods and metropolitan downtowns – all with their own personality and sense of place.


Practically every style of American architecture is represented in Kentucky’s built environment: Federal farmhouses, shotgun houses, Georgian and Greek Revival mansions, log cabins, stucco bungalows, cast iron and brick Victorian warehouses, colonial cottages, classical stone buildings – all visible reminders of what distinguishes us, shapes our history, influences our qualify of life and inspires our collective, community spaces.


How we protect our historic buildings, prehistoric places and landscapes is placemaking.


The National Trust’s This Place Matters campaign, created in 2008 as a way for people to shine a spotlight on the historic places that play a role in their lives, is especially meaningful as we’ve recorded more than 50 years of preservation progress since the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the milestone legislation that officially galvanized our country into action with national placemaking to legally, consciously and collectively preserve our historic places.


It’s also been more than 50 years since the formation of our state partner, the Kentucky Heritage Council, the government agency that has been statewide placemaking, assisting individuals, communities and local governments in making historic preservation an important component of comprehensive community planning.


Daniel Boone said ” Heaven must be a Kentucky kind of place.”  Jesse Stuart called Kentucky the heart of America.  We call Kentucky home.  All who live, work and visit here experience the treasures, the assets, the places we value, and the places that define us.  Places that need protecting.


Placemaking Kentucky.


Learn more about the places and issues that matter to Kentucky on our YouTube channel and in these recently recorded webinars


Why We Preserve:  Demystifying Historic Preservation, with Daniel Vivian, PhD, Public History Professor, University of Louisville


View Handouts Here


Why Preservation is Important for Economic Development, with Joseph Klare, MBA, Director of Real Estate Finance and Investment, The Catalytic Fund



How to Apply for a Kentucky Fund Grant, with Diana Maxwell, National Trust for Historic Preservation


Preservation How-To Technical Briefs

The National Park Service has a helpful series of Technical Briefs on preserving, rehabilitating and restoring historic buildings.  These publications help historic property owners recognize and resolve common problems prior to work, and recommend methods and approaches consistent with the historic character of buildings.  They are especially useful to those who want to utilize Historic Preservation Tax Credits because they are consistent with the Secretary of Interior Standards for Rehabilitation.


There are two ways to search:

1.  Search by Comprehensive Alphabetized List of Topics from Abatement to Zinc  > Preservation Briefs by Topic A through Z


2.  Search by General Topics Listed Below >  National Park Service Preservation Briefs

  1. The Preservation of Historic Signs
  2. The Preservation and Repair of Historic Log Buildings
  3. The Maintenance and Repair of Architectural Cast Iron
  4. Painting Historic Interiors
  5. The Repair, Replacement, and Maintenance of Historic Slate Roofs
  6. The Preservation and Repair of Historic Clay Tile Roofs
  7. Mothballing Historic Buildings
  8. Making Historic Properties Accessible
  9. The Preservation and Repair of Historic Stained and Leaded Glass
  10. Applied Decoration for Historic Interiors: Preserving Historic Composition Ornament
  11. Understanding Old Buildings: The Process of Architectural Investigation
  12. Protecting Cultural Landscapes: Planning, Treatment and Management of Historic Landscapes
  13. Appropriate Methods of Reducing Lead-Paint Hazards in Historic Housing
  14. Removing Graffiti from Historic Masonry
  15. Holding the Line: Controlling Unwanted Moisture in Historic Buildings
  16. Preserving Historic Ceramic Tile Floors
  17. The Seismic Rehabilitation of Historic Buildings
  18. The Maintenance, Repair and Replacement of Historic Cast Stone
  19. The Preparation and Use of Historic Structure Reports
  20. The Use of Awnings on Historic Buildings: Repair, Replacement and New Design
  21. Preserving Historic Wooden Porches
  22. The Preservation and Reuse of Historic Gas Stations
  23. Maintaining the Exterior of Small and Medium Size Historic Buildings
  24. Preserving Grave Markers in Historic Cemeteries
  25. Historic Decorative Metal Ceilings and Walls: Use, Repair, and Replacement
  26. Lightning Protection for Historic Buildings

51.  Secretary of Interior Standards for Preservation

52.  Secretary of Interior Standards for Rehabilitation

53.  Secretary of Interior Standards for Restoration

54.  Secretary of Interior Standards for Reconstruction

55.  Secretary of Interior Guidelines for Sustainability

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Save the Oldham Co. Courthouse From Demolition-Sign the Petition Today!

1. Please sign the Petition Below to Save The Historic Oldham County Courthouse From Demolition.  It is the second oldest courthouse in Kentucky.


2. Email Chief Justice John D. Minton, Jr.   He has the final say in what happens to the courthouse. Share: a) what the courthouse means to you; b) its significance as an important historic landmark and anchor for downtown La Grange; c) saving millions in tax dollars on demolition by incorporating the courthouse into the new judicial center or using it for another community purpose.
>Judge Minton’s email:


Sign the Petition Today!

Please add your name to the form below to show your support for preserving Kentucky’s second oldest courthouse!

This form is currently undergoing maintenance. Please try again later.


Click here to view the letter to Chief Justice Minton re Oldham Co Courthouse 06.23.2020


Click on this button to view and download documents from the legal team and reports from the architects, structural engineers and Kentucky Heritage Council.


Thank you for your support!


Dear Friends,


Kentucky is in danger of losing an important historic landmark and the second oldest courthouse in the state—the stately Oldham County Courthouse in charming historic downtown La Grange. Once a building is demolished, it can never be replaced! If this historic landmark is allowed to be demolished, then a devastating precedent will be set to justify the demolition of other historic buildings in downtown La Grange.


Please add your name/your organization’s name to save and preserve the historic Oldham County Courthouse! This important building has been threatened with demolition to make way for a new judicial center without consideration of all preservation options and proper public comment, which is open to all Kentucky taxpayers.


Research indicates that three courthouses sat on the current site:  A temporary wood framed building constructed in 1827 that burned and was replaced around 1828 with a permanent brick building that was damaged by a contained fire in 1873 but still stands today beneath the current 1874-75 reconstruction.  The 1828 Courthouse was designed in the Greek Revival style.  The 1875 reconstruction was designed in the Renaissance Revival style by architect Monroe Q. Wilson. This impressive building is a strong visual presence in the center of the LaGrange Downtown Historic District. Surrounded by many mature shade trees, the Courthouse is an intact example of an extremely significant nineteenth century Kentucky courthouse and the historic site of Oldham County government. The large Courthouse Square, prominently situated on high ground near the center of the community, is typical of the era. A cupola designed to match the original, which was replaced in the 1990s, articulates the center of downtown La Grange, and the elaborate styling of the building represents the growing prosperity that the city experienced in the late 1870s.


Oldham County has the second oldest courthouse in Kentucky. It was instrumental in the creation of the La Grange, is the centerpiece of the community and a beloved community landmark with immense historical and architectural significance-including housing Union soldiers during the Civil War. Much of the historic building material, including masonry, historic windows, visible historic framing elements (including heavy timber roof framing), finished carpentry and monumental stair elements are intact, as are the volumes of the building, including ceiling heights, circulation patterns and room configurations; and, all exterior walls are intact. The Courthouse listing in the National Register of Historic Places deems its preservation worthiness.


Preservation Kentucky coordinated a recent inspection of the Courthouse with a team of preservation architects, engineers and experts, all of whom have a vast knowledge of historic buildings and systems, how to properly preserve them, how to retrofit historic buildings for new uses and adaptive reuse, and how to incorporate historic buildings into new construction. Our team of experts found the Courthouse to be in sound structural condition, structurally and historically intact, and worthy of being preserved and incorporated into a new courthouse complex easily and at a reasonable cost. They also determined that the current configuration of the Courthouse allows for additional options to redevelop the site to meet the needs of the County and courts, and that removal of the 1990s addition, along with non-historic additive elements would result in the building being largely returned to its 1874-75 form.


In our due diligence, our team also determined that the Project Development Board has not adhered to all procedures legally required of them, including failure to complete a feasibility study to assess whether the existing historic Courthouse could be renovated.


Betsy Hatfield, Executive Director
Preservation Kentucky

Photo taken between 1875 and 1920, looking southeast.
Circa 1920s photo, looking east, shows the historic addition that was demolished in the 1990s. The horse is tied to the fire bell.
1864 photo of the 1828 Courthouse taken by F. L. Craft, looking southwest. The cupola is barely visible.
1875 Courthouse with a limewash, looking southwest, shows the 1890 Victorian era house and jail, which were demolished in the 1990s.
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HB 659 Makes Critical Improvements to KY’s State Historic Preservation Tax Credit

Bill makes historic tax credit more functional and competitive with surrounding states.  A much needed boost for Kentucky’s economy, local jobs and state revenue.



1. Increases the maximum credit a taxpayer can claim for commercial, income-producing properties from $400,000 to $10 Million

2. Increases the maximum credit a taxpayer can claim for residential owner-occupied properties from $60,000 to $120,000
3. Allows the HTC to be transferred to financial institutions that are now taxed under the income tax statutes instead of the bank franchise tax
1. Makes Kentucky more competitive with bordering states with better state historic preservation tax credits programs
2. Increases access to the credit so more people and communities can utilize and benefit from it
3. Reinstates the transferability provision so nonprofits can benefit from the credit

Historic tax credits are financial incentives to encourage private investment in historic buildings by giving building owners tax incentives that result in benefits to the public at large and communities of all sizes.
Kentucky’s HTC program has successfully incentivized private investment for decades, but is still at a competitive disadvantage with surrounding states due to our current program restrictions. Meanwhile, competing states are enjoying substantially higher investments and stronger tax bases while luring investors away from Kentucky.
HB 659 resolves these issues and levels the playing field with a more functional and competitive program to revitalize our historic assets.
>In 2021, $136,633,219 in private investment was approved pending completion of 98 projects – impressive data even in non-covid years.
>From 2005-2021, our state historic tax credit resulted in 1,166 buildings rehabilitated across Kentucky and $709 million of private funds investedin historic buildings, leveraged through $51.5 million in credits – an impressive Return on Investment
1. Call and email your House Representative
502-564-8100 / Put “Support HB 659” in your email subject line
Ask your Representative to:
a) Support HB 659 to make KY’s historic tax credit more accessible to communities, more functional and more competitive with other states
b) Join HB 659 as a co-sponsor to strengthen its support
2. Call and email members of the House Economic Development & Workforce Investment Committee, where HB 659 currently is.
502-564-8100 / Put “Support HB 659” in your email subject line
Chair – Russell Webber
Vice Chair – Daniel Elliot
List of Members Here – Click on name to link to contact info
3. Call and email HB 659 Sponsors
502-564-8100 / Put “Thank You for Sponsoring HB 659” in subject line
Rep. Steven Rudy, Majority Floor Leader –
a) Thank them for sponsoring this critical economic development tool
b) Tell them you support HB 659, you’re asking your Reps to support it
4. Share with others and encourage actionable support:
a) Post on social media
b) Send to architects, contractors, engineers, developers, bankers, accountants, lawyers, trades professionals and consultants
1. Boosts tax revenues with new property, sales and payroll taxes
2. Returns more revenue to our state treasury than it costs
3. Stimulates local and state economies with income for improvements
4. Provides a credit for owner-occupied buildings, unlike the Federal HTC
5. Benefits the state immediately with tax revenue during construction
6. Returns vacant, underutilized and endangered buildings to tax rolls
7. Creates new and permanent jobs, maintains a strong workforce
8. Provides much-needed revenue and incentives for rural communities
9. Revitalizes neighborhoods, downtowns and Main Street communities
10. Reverses economic decline in central business districts
11. Spurs development in surrounding areas
12. Increases appeal to out-of-state developers and businesses
13. Acts as a catalyst for additional local investment
14. Encourages revitalization in blighted areas
15. Encourages adaptive reuse of buildings that risk demolition
16. Conserves building materials and craftsmanship
17. Supports sustainable green construction
18. Restores civic pride to communities
19. Enhances our visual environment and aesthetics
20. Preserves historic architecture, connects us to our heritage and enriches our quality of life
1. Enacted into law in 2005, a low risk-high return program
2. Available to all 120 counties and communities of all sizes
3. With 3,200 historic districts, sites and structures listed in the National Register of Historic Places encompassing more than 42,000 historic properties in all 120 counties, our HTC Program is a smart way to capitalize on valuable assets
4. Since 2005, has created more than 17,500 jobs and leveraged more than $1Billion value of investments in projects reviewed annually by the Kentucky Heritage Council, which administers the program
5. Can be utilized in tandem with the Federal Historic Preservation Tax Credit – a key provision that strengthens use and effectiveness for both programs.
>The Federal and State Historic Preservation Tax Credit Programs are administered by the Kentucky Heritage Council, an agency of the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet.
>Learn more about how tax credits help communities and how the application process works here.

The demand for Kentucky’s Historic Preservation Tax Credit has exceeded its resources since it was signed into law with the JOBS for KY Tax Modernization Bill in 2005.  Kentucky’s HTC leverages millions in private capital that likely would not otherwise come to invest in our state, increases the property tax base for local governments, creating new local and state revenues, and restores historic downtowns—a key tourism draw, driving hotel stays, bringing out of state spending to Kentucky, providing jobs and building local pride.

Kentucky’s HTC starts reinvesting in communities throughout the Commonwealth immediately, from Paducah to Pikeville, in both rural and urban areas, by employing skilled labor, purchasing local goods and often putting vacant buildings back into use and on the tax rolls.  It’s one of the best tools we have to protect our history while investing in it.

Kentucky’s Historic Preservation Tax Credit has been a vital economic development tool to revitalize neighborhoods, Main Streets and downtowns, put Kentuckians to work and keep them in the workforce, return once-vacant buildings to tax rolls, and generate income for community improvements.

If passed, HB 659 will:

  • Increases the maximum credit a taxpayer can claim for commercial, income-producing properties from $400,000 to $10 Million
  • Increases the maximum credit a taxpayer can claim for residential, owner-occupied properties from $60,000 to $120,000
  • Allows the credit to be transferred to financial institutions that are now taxed under the income tax statutes instead of the bank franchise tax

Benefits to Kentucky:

  • Makes Kentucky more competitive with bordering states with better state historic preservation tax credit programs
  • Increases access to the credit so more people and communities can utilize and benefit from it
  • Reinstates the transferability provision so nonprofits can benefit from the credit
  • Allows more projects to benefit statewide
  • Helps more communities with revitalization incentives
  • Stimulates the economy with increased property, sales and payroll taxes
  • Increases appeal to out-of-state developers and businesses

The Staun Family used Kentucky’s state Historic Tax Credit for residential properties to renovate their home in Newport, Campbell Co., and received a Preservation Kentucky Excellence in Preservation Award in 2014.

Formerly Noonan’s Grocery in Frankfort, this mixed use building with first floor retail and second floor residential was saved from demolition by using Kentucky’s Historic Tax Credit.  The Franklin Co. owners received a Preservation Kentucky Excellence in Preservation Award in 2014.

Paducah’s City Hall, a Mid-Century Modern building designed by internationally acclaimed architect Edward Durrell Stone in 1963, was saved from demolition utilizing Kentucky’s Historic Tax Credit.  The City of Paducah, McCracken Co., received a Preservation Kentucky Excellence in Preservation Award in 2019 for preserving this important landmark.

Potter’s Castle in Bowling Green, Warren Co. utilized Kentucky’s state Historic Tax Credit for residential properties and received a Preservation Kentucky Excellence in Preservation Award in 2016.

Our state historic tax credit is important to Kentucky’s Main Street Program.  In Whitley County, the tax credit is revitalizing Williamsburg, population 5,245.

Once a home, this 1908 Queen Anne style cottage in Lexington, Fayette Co., was renovated into a doctors’ office using Kentucky’s state Historic Tax Credit and received Preservation Kentucky’s Excellence in Preservation Award in 2015.

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Preservation Kentucky’s Easement Program

One of the best ways to protect and preserve historic properties is with a conservation easement.  Placing a conservation / historic preservation easement on a building monitored by Preservation Kentucky ensures the preservation of the property in perpetuity.  It may also qualify as a charitable donation, providing financial tax benefit to the owner.

A conservation easement is a legal tool used to preserve the integrity of a historic building, site, object or landscape. The legal structure of the easement agreement allows the owner to retain rights of ownership, while granting Preservation Kentucky the right to prevent current and future owners from making changes that would compromise the historic integrity of the resource.  An executed easement agreement becomes part of the deed record and is binding in perpetuity.   A conservation easement is the single best assurance an owner has that a building will be preserved, maintained and protected.



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Congratulations to Our 2019 Excellence in Preservation Award Recipients!

Each year thousands of Kentuckians work tirelessly to preserve Kentucky’s legacy reflected in our historic buildings, structures, landscapes and prehistoric sites. Preservation Kentucky established the Excellence in Preservation Leadership Awards in 2012 to recognize exceptional accomplishments in the preservation, rehabilitation and interpretation of our architectural and cultural heritage, and to  distinguish best practices in the field.


Congratulations to our 2019 Excellence in Preservation Award Recipients! 


Award Categories

Preservation Kentucky’s annual Excellence in Preservation leadership awards are named after Kentuckians who have a long service of dedicated volunteer and/or professional time devoted to preserving Kentucky’s architectural, cultural and prehistoric heritage, and underscore the economic development, aesthetic and quality of life benefits of historic preservation.


Tim Peters and Lois Mateus Making a Difference on Main Street – Inaugural Award

Kentucky Heritage Council

For individuals who have demonstrated outstanding dedication to historic preservation by restoring, rehabilitating and adaptively reusing a commercial or residential building(s) that has served as a catalyst for revitalizing a Main Street corridor.  Special consideration will be given for individuals who have renovated a building in communities with a population of 75,000 or less.


Edith S. Bingham Excellence in Preservation Education

Northern Kentucky Restoration Weekend

For preservation educators, projects, or programs that have demonstrated excellence in traditional or nontraditional educational arenas.


Christy and Owsley Brown II Excellence in Public Service to Preservation 

Clest Lanier, Founder, Kentucky Center for African American Heritage

For public officials or civil servants who have demonstrated leadership in preservation policy on the local, state and/or national level.


Linda Bruckheimer Excellence in Rural Preservation Award

Blue Wing Landing Farm, Doug and Kathleen Martin, Owen County

For those devoted to preserving Kentucky’s rural heritage with special consideration given to small towns with a population less than 10,000.


Helen Dedman Excellence in Preservation Advocacy

Tom Eblen, Photojournalist, Retired Columnist, Lexington

For advocates, volunteers and/or professionals who have shown great commitment of time and resources to furthering historic preservation across the state.


Barbara Hulette Excellence as Young Preservationist

Brittney Adams, Warrenwood Manor, Danville

For those under the age of 40 who have demonstrated exceptional leadership in historic preservation endeavors.


Patrick Kennedy Excellence in Preservation Craftsmanship

Eddie Black, Central Kentucky

For craftsmen and craftswomen who have demonstrated exceptional skills and restoration techniques.


David L. Morgan Excellence in Kentucky Historic Preservation Tax Credit

Paducah City Hall, McCracken County  

East Broadway Shotgun Houses, Vital Sites, Louisville

For commercial and residential projects that have demonstrated excellence in rehabilitation using Kentucky’s State Historic Preservation Tax Credit.


Ann Early Sutherland Excellence in Environmental Preservation

American Life Building, Louisville

For leaders who have made a strong connection between the preservation of historic places and environmental concerns, and understand the relationship between the preservation of our built environment and our natural environment.


Preservation Kentucky Excellence in Kentucky Cultural Heritage

111 Whiskey Row, Louisville

For an organization, site or attraction that has preserved and advanced Kentucky’s architectural, cultural and social history through dynamic interpretation and the promotion of historic resources that contribute significantly to our tourism industry and the preservation of our heritage.



Thank You to Preservationist and

Philanthropist Christy Brown for

Hosting Us at Her Beautiful

Home on Saturday, October 19!





Tim Peters and Lois Mateus Making a Difference on Main Street – Inaugural Award


New to Preservation Kentucky’s annual Excellence in Preservation Awards in 2019 is a category in honor of  Tim Peters and Lois Mateus, historic preservation champions whose projects have been a catalyst for revitalization along Harrodsburg’s Main Street.  The purpose of their award is to recognize individuals who have invested in communities where others have been hesitant to take the risk and do the work.


Recipients of this year’s award were recognized at Preservation Kentucky’s Annual Meeting and Excellence in Preservation Awards on Saturday, October 19, in Jefferson County.


Both long-time preservationists, Tim and Lois have an impressive history of taking on risky projects and seeing them to successful completion.  To date, they have renovated eight buildings in Harrodsburg, numerous 19thcentury buildings in Louisville, and some of the oldest structures in Kentucky on their historic Mercer County farm.


Together, they have received many awards and recognitions, including the prestigious Ida Lee Willis Community Preservation Award, River Field’s Land Hero Award for farmland preservation, and the Preservation Kentucky-Linda Bruckheimer Excellence in Rural Preservation and Preservation Kentucky-Ann Early Sutherland Excellence in Environmental Preservation Awards.  Among their ongoing efforts:  Tim serves on the Kentucky Heritage Council, an appointment from Governor Matt Bevin, and Lois is a member of the Kentucky Historical Society Foundation and co-chair of Harrodsburg’s 250thCelebration in 2024.


The Tim Peters and Lois Mateus Excellence in Making a Difference on Main Street Award will recognize individuals who have demonstrated outstanding dedication to historic preservation by restoring, rehabilitating and adaptively reusing a commercial or residential building(s) that has served as a catalyst for revitalizing a Main Street corridor.  Special consideration will be given for individuals who have renovated a building in communities with a population of 75,000 or less.


“Keeping Main Street alive is the primary motivation for Tim and me,” Mateus says. “Restored antique shops, restaurants, art galleries, and boutiques not only improve and enhance the built environment, they bring life to the human environment as people shop, mix and mingle together.”


Peters adds, “Recognizing the shared history, connection, and social dialogue that communities lose when retailers disappear from Main Street, we have put emphasis on commercial tenants at the street level, but also on attractive living spaces on the upper levels. Our experiences in both Harrodsburg, a small town, and in the NuLu district on East Market Street in Louisville prove that people are eager to live downtown.”


Lois and Tim’s dedication to historic preservation and land conservation is reflected in their work on their Tallgrass Farm in Mercer County.  The property features 1,000 acres of farmland and trails, a log homestead, original stone foundations, dry stack stone walls made from stone of the farm and five tobacco Barns.  Tim and Lois’ efforts include the preservation of a rare 1802 stone and timber barn, one of only two remaining Pennsylvania bank barns still standing in Kentucky.  In 2004, they founded the Tallgrass Farm Foundation, an educational and culturally sustainable resource model that teaches students stewardship of natural and agricultural resources.


Lois grew up in the 1830 Nathaniel Burrus House in Harrodsburg.  A co-founder of the Kentucky Museum of Arts and Crafts and retired Brown-Forman executive who oversaw the restoration of Woodford Reserve Distillery and the company’s historic properties, Lois’ career reflects her passion for the arts, historic preservation, culture and community service. Tim, who was Louisville’s first LEED Platinum Builder with The Green Building on East Market Street, has owned and operated a general contracting company for 42 years and earned a reputation for championing adaptive reuse of historic buildings throughout the state. Both have extensive experience as nonprofit board members, community leaders and philanthropists.  More information about the couple’s careers, community service and historic farmland can be viewed here –


“We are so honored to have Lois and Tim’s sponsorship for a Main Street award,” said Preservation Kentucky executive director Betsy Hatfield.  “Our Main Street communities are the heart of Kentucky, and this is a wonderful opportunity to recognize those who are preserving endangered buildings in communities where an investor is needed to spark and lead revitalization efforts. Tim and Lois have been active preservationists for many years.  Their leadership in Harrodsburg invigorated an important historic community and inspired others to do so same.”


“Tim and Lois have been stellar preservationists and advocates for Kentucky’s heritage,” said Preservation Kentucky board chair Grady Walter.  “Their preservation successes are inspirational in their own right and remind us that historic Preservation strengthens communities.”


Photo left to right:  Tim Peters, Augusta Brown Holland and Lois Mateus receiving the Preservation Kentucky-Ann Early Sutherland Excellence in Environmental Preservation Award for Louisville’s NuLu Business District on April 20, 2013, at the Artisan Enterprise Center in Covington.  Photo Credit: Becky Gorman.



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Historic Tax Credits: Significant, Positive Impact of Federal Historic Tax Credit in Kentucky

The Federal Historic Preservation Rehabilitation Tax Credit (Federal HTC) is a critical economic development tool with a proven track record that generates economic growth, jobs and revitalization.  It is the single most important incentive to encourage the redevelopment and reuse of our nation’s historic and culturally significant properties.
For more than 40 years, the United States tax code has included this provision for the rehabilitation of properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places, resulting in tens of thousands of historic properties being saved, repurposed and brought back to life in cities, towns and rural areas across our country.
This flier details the key facts and impact of the Federal Historic Tax Credit in Kentucky
View Flier  
Photo: Historic First Christian Church now Immanuel Baptist Church, 850 South Fourth Street, Louisville, Jefferson County – recipient of Preservation Kentucky’s 2018 Excellence in Historic Preservation Award for Federal and Kentucky Historic Tax Credits.

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Rosenwald Schools in Kentucky

The Rosenwald School building program of the early 20th century grew out of a vision for educational reform for African Americans initiated by Booker T. Washington, principal of the Tuskeegee University in Alabama. Washington developed a plan to educate African Americans in the south as part of his educational philosophy of advancing education for blacks across the country. Through his partnership with Julius Rosenwald, the CEO of Sears, Roebuck & Co., Washington developed a plan to fund and build schools in rural southern communities.
Rosenwald partially funded the construction of schools in these communities by matching funds raised by the communities themselves. The program resulted in the construction of more than 3,500 schools across 15 southern and southwestern states from 1906 to 1932. In Kentucky, 158 Rosenwald Schools and related educational buildings were constructed in the state, including 12 training schools, between 1917 and 1932.
Kentucky’s Rosenwald schools are an important legacy and their presence on our landscape reminds us of the African American experience in Kentucky, the universal quest for education and the strength and perseverance of African Americans during a time blighted by the socioeconomic framework of the post-Civil War segregation period.
This study by by Alicestyne Turley-Adams with the Kentucky Heritage Council discusses the importance of Rosenwald Schools and catalogs the Rosenwald Schools in Kentucky
View Publication Read More

Pioneer Log Houses in Kentucky

The log cabin is as much an image as it is a building. It evokes thoughts of maple syrup and the American frontier. It is an important setting in the stories of real and fictional people such as Abraham Lincoln, Daniel Boone and Uncle Tom. Perhaps because of this, people give the log cabin a status no other type of house enjoys. Demolitions of 200-year-old houses suddenly stop when logs are discovered. The reality is more complex than the popular image of the log cabin in a small clearing. Log houses range from crude huts to fancy plantation houses. City houses, churches, jails and courthouses were also built of logs.
This essay by William J. “Bill” Mcintire addresses the complexities of the log cabin through a focus on the earliest log houses in Kentucky and serves as an introduction to the origins, construction, forms, finish and furnishing of log houses in the frontier and early statehood period, from 1770 to 1800.
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Agricultural and Domestic Outbuildings in Central and Western Kentucky, 1800-1865

The preservation of Kentucky’s historic resources begins with research and an understanding of the important role historic buildings and sites play in community life, economic development, and in inter- preting our past. The Kentucky Heritage Council, the State’s Historic Preservation Office, has been gathering information on Kentucky’s historic resources for more than fifty years years and has data on more than 100,000 sites in the Kentucky Historic Sites Survey. Many of the significant sites have been listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The Survey and the National Register serve as planning tools and as an archive of our architectural and cultural heritage.
Throughout the nineteenth century, the primary occupation for most Kentuckians was farming. While there were town-dwellers, artisans and shopkeepers early on, the majority of Kentucky’s residents, slave or free, lived in rural areas and practiced agriculture. Farming was necessary for survival on the “western frontier” but, agriculture was not just seen as a means for subsistence; it was a way to become wealthy and successful. Some Kentuckians were able to do just that.
This publication explores agriculture as practiced by middling to upper income farmers in central and western Kentucky from 1800 to 1865. In particular, it focuses on agricultural and domestic outbuildings constructed by this group of Kentuckians. In this study, middling to upper income farmers includes those who owned over 100 acres of land, a substantial masonry or frame house and a few slaves.
“Middling” does not mean average; the majority of Kentucky farmers were probably living in one or two room houses, owned under 50 acres of land and had no slaves. It was the successful farmers, however, who made the most impact on Kentucky’s landscape. They were the ones building stock barns, rock fences and substantial houses. Their influence has survived in material form for us to study. The buildings of the less affluent farmers have not, in general, endured.
To make clear how farming practices changed before the Civil War, two distinct eras are discussed in this publication. The first epoch considered is the “late settlement period,” which ranges loosely from 1800 to 1820. “Settlement” is a misleading word, given that Native Americans had lived in Kentucky for thousands of years, but it is commonly used to refer to that period beginning about 1775, when Caucasians and African- Americans began populating the area. Very few, if any outbuildings survive today that date before 1800.
The second era examined was the “antebellum period,” from 1820 to 1865. Although settlement was a continual process, by 1820, most of the land was claimed and farmed, and a period of redevelopment began. This overview is followed by a descriptive inventory of domestic and agricultural outbuildings and other structures common to antebellum farming operations.
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Photo: Circa 1860 smokehouse in Bourbon County. This large stone smokehouse is associated with a Gothic-Revival style frame house.

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An Historic Context of the New Deal in Eastern Kentucky 1933-1943

The New Deal left an enduring legacy on Kentucky’s landscape. In fact, it could be argued that the New Deal’s building program altered the Commonwealth’s landscape to a degree experienced only during the drastic changes of the settlement period. New buildings, roads, bridges, whole communities, forests and even programs to change the cultural landscape of farming came into being in this time period because of direct federal government involvement. To say this was unprecedented is an understatement at best.
This study examines New Deal history in the Eastern Kentucky Cultural Landscape Region of Kentucky. This region was formally established by the Kentucky Heritage Council as a planning unit to study historic themes and develop preservation contexts. The study area includes the following counties: Bell, Boyd, Breathitt, Carter, Clay, Elliot, Floyd, Greenup, Harlan, Jackson, Johnson, Knott, Knox, Laurel, Lawrence, Lee, Leslie, Letcher, Lewis, McCreary, Magoffin, Martin, Morgan, Owsley, Perry, Pike, Whitley and Wolfe Counties.
While data from all the counties in this study is included, the focus was limited to four specific focus counties, the boundary of which allowed the authors to get a more accurate impression of New Deal programs on the local landscape and represent the urban, rural, industrial, and agricultural diversity that exists in the region.
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