The Northside Neighborhood Association was founded in 1961, the first association of its kind in Lexington. This was a time when neighborhood associations were not in vogue, when there was flight from urban residential districts, and when the sensibility that would give rise to historic preservation had not yet fully matured. Demolition of historic properties under the notion of modernization, unfortunately, was the custom.
The Northside of the early sixties was an edgy and eccentric place. Phil Points, long time board member and association historian, remembers that life on West Sixth in 1964 included squealing pigs enroute to the stock yard, crowing chickens at the Adams house, and the sweet aroma of fresh bread from the Rainbow Bakery down the street. Residents on West Third would certainly have heard noises from the chicken coup that famous artist Henry Faulkner kept in his backyard at 462, or the bleating of his beloved goat Alice, with or without a snoot full of the bourbon that she was fond of drinking. Or they might have seen Faulkner riding his bicycle to his favorite watering hole, the Fishnet, on the corner of Second and Jefferson, sometimes in drag as rumor has it. A colorful place for sure.
Phil recalls association meetings in the chapel of Transy's Old Morrison, in the mid Sixties, that were attended by over a hundred residents. This was a passionate group, energized and mobilized not just by a preservation instinct, but by a desire to combat real adversity. Crime was an issue, of course, but so was industrial noise, heavy commercial truck traffic on North Broadway, and neglected, deteriorating residential properties throughout the Northside.
The purchase and preservation of historic properties on West Sixth and Miller Streets were major accomplishments for the association, which led to the formation of the Northside Improvement Corporation, a vehicle that allowed the Association to rescue additional properties. Through this corporation, the Northside Neighborhood Association has received grants from HUD (John Heinz Neighborhood Development Fund), the Kentucky Heritage Council, and the LFUCG Neighborhood Action Match program, and their preservation work has won awards from the Downtown Lexington Corporation, the LFUCG Historic Preservation Commission, and the Blue Grass Trust.
In1976, with a grant from the Kentucky Humanities Council, the Northside Neighborhood Association sponsored a conference on downtown living. Called Downtown: A Place to Live, the conference brought together Northside residents and members of the Urban County Government to explore ways to encourage Lexingtonians to think of downtown not just as a place to work or to visit, but as a place to live. Considering the migration to downtown and the Northside since 1976, the conference was prescient indeed.
The success of the Association over the past 50 years is visible to anyone who walks the beautiful streets of the Northside. That success, however, is the net result of countless projects undertaken and battles fought by individual people who have given their time and energy to protecting a neighborhood that they love. Designation of the Northside Historic District Overlay Zone, the building of Founders Park, blocking plans to build a prison at Eastern State, the North Broadway tree planting project, home reclamation, and house and garden tours over four decades are just a few of the accomplishments for which we owe those who started and nurtured the Northside Neighborhood Association a large debt of gratitude.
Founding Directors of the Northside Neighborhood Association, 1961
GEORGE LAMASON d.11/11/77
Director of Information, Kentucky Utilities, 1961-1977, two terms as President of NNA, expressions of sympathy to NNA George Lamason Memorial Fund
WILLIAM AXTON d. 1/25/00
Professor of English and Department Chair at University of Louisville prior to retirement, founder of the Dickens Society; his books include Circle of Fire: Dickens Style and Vision, Popular Victorian Theater. Before entering the faculty at Louisville in 1967 he had taught at University of Kentucky, Brown University and Miami University
H. PHILLIP BACON d.2/2/93
Trust Officer at former Second National Bank; wife, Naomi Wiedeman Bacon
WILLIAM RARDIN BAGBY d. 12/28/02
Lawyer in private practice; born Grayson, KY; Cornell University 1933, Michigan Law School 1936; member St. Hubert's Episcopal for 46 years; Chair, Board of Adjustment; founding member Blue Grass Trust, Northside Neighborhood Association, Gratz Park Neighborhood Association; Chair, Markey Cancer Center Board; Chair, Elizabeth Bagby Trust Board for the Headley Whitney Museum; two books - Tax Einstein Squeals on the IRS and Maggie Bailey: Queen of the Mountain Bootleggers
LUCY CRUMP d. 1/1/98
Native of Fayette County, city's "unofficial mayor of Gratz Park", 1997 received BGT Special Award for her "spirit of volunteerism" and her efforts toward improvement of the Old Episcopal Burying Ground on Third Street, 1994 received local historic preservation award for work on her home at 247 Mill Street, 1985 Garden Club of America zone award, 1987 Lexington Optimist Cup for efforts in historic preservation, 1984 Lexington-Fayette County Historic Commission award for "almost 30 years of vigilant and vigilante activities". Her interest in preservation emerged out of the 1995 demolition of a house once inhabited by John Bradford, Kentucky's first printer, and the site of several historic meetings. She was a founder of the Lexington Children's Theater, past president of Lexington Junior League and member of the Garden Club of Lexington and the Iroquois Hunt Club.
JULIET GALLOWAY d. 12/30/95
Writer for the Lexington Herald-leader for 41 years, covered city hall 1945 until she retired in 1974, in 1961 Lexington City Commission wanted to rename Ayres Alley, between Main and Vine for Juliet Galloway in recognition of a veteran city hall reporter - she refused, for Ayres had historic ties. "I ask of you a commitment that you will not - now or ever - move to name a public facility for me", she wrote in a letter to the city. "I request this in all sincerity and humility."
FRANCIS M. MASSIE d. 12/30/95
Prominent surgeon and community leader; recognized for involvement in formation of University of Kentucky Albert B. Chandler Medical Center, his work at the Lexington Clinic 1924-1961 and 25 years on the Lexington Board of Education, chair for 12 years.
DOUGLASS RUFF d. 3/11/99
HARRY S. TUCKER, JR. d. 12/13/78
President, Taylor Tire; wife, Lillian Collins Tucker
RUTHERFORD WHITE d. 4/4/77
Son, Rutherford White, Jr.
LUCY Y. FISK d. 1/16 or 17/88
Lifelong resident of Lexington; taught English at Transylvania University 1946-1964
C. A. COLEMAN, JR
CATHERINE DUNNE, deceased
Longtime resident of North Broadway; teacher at Lexington Junior High School; longtime secretary of NNA
T. B. BIGGERSTAFF, deceased
Presidents of the Northside Neighborhood Association
C. A. COLEMAN, JR.
ROSE MOLONEY LUCAS
LINDA CARROLL & JOHN MORGAN
PATRICK LEE LUCAS
We would also like to give a special mention and thanks to Rose Buckner, Shelby & Harriet Shanklin, Ann Winn, Chuck & Ann Case, Molly Patchell, and James Evans, all of whom figure prominently in the recollections of our informal Northside Neighborhood Association historians. (there will be a link here to the president's memories document)
Northside National Registry: Herald Leader 1979