The Kinkead House was built as a two-story, single-family 1840s Greek Revival dwelling. During the Kinkead family's long occupancy it was remodeled, first with a third floor attic, then, a 2-story section on the north side in the Italianate style after 1853. Other changes were made after the death of George B. Kinkead in 1877.
Kinkead, born in 1811 and educated at Transylvania, was one of Lexington's most distinguished mid-nineteenth century lawyers, a Kentucky Secretary of State, and Professor in the Transylvania Law School. He became lawyer to the family of Abraham Lincoln in 1850 during the settlement of Robert Todd's estate. A Whig, and later a Democrat, he was also a member of the Kentucky Colonization Society. He was solidly pro-Union and anti-slavery.
Shortly after the Civil War Kinkead and Dr. Warren Frazer jointly purchased 11 acres of property and Kinkead developed Kinkeadtown on 5 acres of his property near his house for purchase by free African Americans. Kinkeadtown today makes up the heart of the East End, an area that is now outlined by Hummons Alley. It retains the former footprint of the development.
After the death of his wife Eliza Pearce Kinkead in 1904, family members continued to own the property, leasing it to the non-profit organization, the Living Arts and Science Center in 1977. After 134 years of family ownership, the property was donated to the Living Arts & Science Center in 1981. A $5 million expansion for an 11,000 foot contemporary addition was opened in 2016. The Kinkead House was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. To view the nomination form, follow this link.