Kinkead House / Kinkeadtown

The Kinkead House was built as a two-story, single-family 1840s Greek Revival dwelling. Alterations that occurred during the Kinkead family’s long occupancy included a third-floor attic addition in the Italianate style and a two-story ell extension on the north elevation (after 1853).

Born in 1811 and educated at Transylvania University, George B. Kinkead was one of Lexington’s most distinguished mid-nineteenth-century lawyers. He provided legal counsel 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, which advocated for the migration of former slaves to Africa. Although he was raised in a family of enslavers, he was a Union supporter and an emancipationist.

Shortly after the Civil War, Kinkead and Dr. Warren Frazer jointly purchased 11 acres of property. Kinkead developed the eponymously-named Kinkeadtown on his five acres between E. Fourth and Mosby Street for purchase by free African Americans. Most houses in Kinkeadtown were framed shotgun-style, although there were many T-plan (gable-and-wing) as well. These were generally built very close to the street so that there was room for a garden, a privy, and a coal shed in the rear.

By 1870, Kinkeadtown consisted of seventeen properties and a small grocery store that was owned and operated by Nathan and Eliza Page. In the twentieth century, however, the semi-rural neighborhood urbanized as larger lots were subdivided to allow for rental housing. Today, the contours of Kinkeadtown are outlined by Hummons Alley, though few historic houses have survived.

After the death of Kinkead’s wife, Eliza Pearce, in 1904, family members continued to inhabit the property. After 134 years of family ownership, the property was donated to the non-profit Living Arts & Science Center in 1981. The Kinkead House was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. A $5 million renovation resulted in the 11,000-foot contemporary addition that was opened in 2016.



362 North Martin Luther King Boulevard, Lexington, Kentucky