Kentucky and Tennessee were a historic highway to the West. Settlers from Virginia and North Carolina, in the first wave of transcontinental migration from the upper and coastal South toward the interior and the lower South, began to move into Kentucky and Tennessee in the late 18th century. These often wealthy, well educated and talented settlers made important contributions to the early architecture of the area.
This book surveys some three hundred of Kentucky and Tennessee’s buildings–public, private, restored, unrestored, sometimes demolished. All the famous buildings are discussed and illustrated–Locust Grove, Liberty Hall, Farmington, the Capitol in Kentucky, Cragfont, Rattle-and-Snap and the Capitol in Tennessee. There are also surprises–the most notable 18th-century room in Kentucky that survives within a house remodelled in the Greek Revival period; the Andrew Scott House, a Palladian farmhouse in middle Tennessee; four of James Dakin’s designs for the Bank of Louisville; two Gothic churches in Louisville by North Carolina-born John Stirewalt, with his letters complaining about the profession of architecture; the John Carter House in the Watauga Valley, a diminutive 18th-century house with fully panelled rooms, amazingly luxurious for an unstable period of Indian troubles; and Chaumière des Prairies, a sprawling house of logs, frame, stone and brick, surrounded by a pleasure garden, built for a country gentleman from Virginia.
Talents from outside Kentucky and Tennessee, indeed from outside America, brought great architecture into these states–Adolphus Heiman from Prussia, Thomas Lewinski and Thomas Hope from England, Charles Prczriminsky from Poland, Henry Whitestone, John Haley and John Rogers from Ireland, James Dakin from New York and William Strickland from Philadelphia.