Stepping Back in Time: Discover Lexington's Historic Neighborhoods

Stepping Back in Time: Discover Lexington's Historic Neighborhoods

  • Ashley Swift
  • 07/6/24

Lexington, Kentucky, is a city steeped in history. Beyond the bustling downtown core lies several charming neighborhoods where grand old houses echo memories of a bygone era. If you're looking to experience Lexington's rich past in your day-to-day life, consider one of these historic districts:

Gratz Park

Take a stroll through Gratz Park, Lexington's oldest neighborhood, and you'll undoubtedly feel the legacy. Established in 1781, this picturesque neighborhood boasts a collection of early 19th-century homes, including the Carnegie Center, the Hunt-Morgan House, and the Bodley-Bullock House. Don't miss the calming green space that lends its name to the neighborhood.


South Hill

History buffs will love South Hill, a vibrant and historically integrated neighborhood where freed black Americans lived before emancipation. The neighborhood has been home to many prominent black Lexingtonians and is brimming with architectural gems from the 19th and early 20th centuries. Here, you'll find a diverse mix of styles, from Queen Anne to Italianate, reflecting the city's growth and evolution. South Hill offers a delightful escape close to the University of Kentucky and local shops. 


Woodward Heights

Just west of downtown, Woodward Heights offers a glimpse into Lexington's prosperous past. Once home to prominent citizens, the neighborhood features stately Victorian mansions like the Watt-Saunier House and the Cassidy House. Today, Woodward Heights is a dynamic district with the Lexington Convention Center and Rupp Arena nearby.


Bell Court

Nestled around the historic Bell House, Bell Court is a close-knit community and a testament to early 20th-century architecture. Take a walk around the gorgeous park and spot the styles of Queen Anne, Romanesque, Arts and Crafts, and Colonial Revival. Bell Court is characterized by peaceful city living, just minutes from downtown Lexington. The area also offers an abundance of activities, from eclectic shopping and dining to a well-developed system of parks and trails. The neighborhood attracts a variety of Lexingtonians from different walks of life.


Ashland Park 

No historic Lexington list is complete without a nod to Ashland Park, a meticulously planned neighborhood designed by the famed Olmsted Brothers. Established in the early 20th century, Ashland Park boasts grand houses reflecting architectural styles like American Foursquare, American Craftsman, Colonial Revival, and Tudor Revival. Wander the tree-lined streets and admire the well-preserved homes, many with brick exteriors, iron gates, and manicured lawns. The neighborhood exudes an "old money" vibe and is a haven for those seeking a prestigious address. Ashland Park residents enjoy proximity to the Ashland Estate, offering a chance to delve deeper into Lexington's political legacy, as well as the local shops and restaurants of Chevy Chase.


Lexington's historic neighborhoods offer more than just beautiful architecture. They provide a window into the city's development, culture, and the lives of its past residents. Be a part of the city's heritage and contribute to preserving the past while building the future as a homeowner in any of these historic districts!


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Photo Credits: Carnegie Center, Visit Lex,, Woodward Heights Neighborhood Association

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