Save the Oldham County Courthouse From Demolition

1. 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:  johnminton@kycourts.net

 

Sign the Petition Today!

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

 

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.