Melodeon Hall is also referred to as the historic McAdams and Morford Building.
Throughout the history of this structure, it has consistently housed multiple commercial uses such as wholesale retail and drug stores, a college education center, and an entertainment center including a theatre and lounge. This building is noted as a landmark in the growth of Lexington's commerce and culture, but is noted most importantly as the building with the richly designed and outstanding cast iron façade.
Around 1817 the lot was occupied by a two-story pharmacy building (the first pharmacy on this lot), built by the pharmacist George W. Norton. This building would be occupied by various pharmacies for the next 162 years. In 1849, Norton demolished the two-story building and replaced it with a three-story masonry structure that showcased an Italianate cast iron façade. A year later, in 1850, the building was open to the public.
The Norton pharmacy operated on the first floor while the second and third floors were occupied by the great hall, also known as Melodeon Hall. The hall was a popular social event space for the public to convene for entertainment. This theatre caught the attention of renowned performers and important public figures to utilize as a platform for public speeches.
In 1884, the theatre closed and Melodeon Hall became the main location for the Commercial College of Kentucky University for 35 years under the direction of General Wilbur R. Smith. Following the closing of the college, various other businesses were located within the old theatre section of the building. Between the dates of 1904- 1921, businesses such as a shoe shop, a dry goods store, photographers, and lawyers occupied the space. In 1904, the Harry K. McAdams and J.W. Morford partnership bought the structure for $32,275.00 and utilized the space for another pharmacy.
Around 1969, The Urban Renewal and Community Development Agency of the City of Lexington was removing the “undesirable” buildings and neighborhoods, including those that make up the historic fabric of Lexington, in the hopes of redevelopment. William Lucas, the owner of McAdams and Morford at the time, sent a letter to President Richard Nixon, asking for a reprieve of this 120-year-old structure. Lucas succeeded in preventing the destruction of the building.
Not long after, the building was put on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. After his success, Lucas continued to operate the space as a drug store until 1993. In 1994 his son, William Lucas Jr. sold the property to its current owner, BCM Inc.
In 2021, Harvey’s Bar and Hugo’s Ultra lounge occupy the old McAdams and Morford pharmacy with storage spaces on the second and third floor. On the second and third floor, there is a wall that separates Harvey’s and Hugo’s from additional businesses. These businesses include Ancora Massage and a salon named the Suites of the Bluegrass on Main. The Suites of the Bluegrass on Main occupies the old theatre (Melodeon Hall) space.