Arts Review Board Begins Look at Civil War Statues in Downtown Lexington

Aug 12, 2015


    Two civil war related statues and a historical marker in downtown Lexington are at the center of a review.  The Urban County Arts Review Board heard from Mayor Jim Gray Wednesday.

At the center of the debate are memorials to former Vice President John Breckinridge and confederate general John Hunt Morgan.  They are situated on the grounds of the old Fayette County courthouse. Mayor Gray has also asked the panel to review placement of the Cheapside marker, which notes the history of slave trade there.  Gray was asked if possible future use of the old courthouse should impact their work.  “That’s gonna be a long process," said Gray.  "We’re gonna be examining a lot of issues and I suspect then that your examination should be independent of that process.” 

One of those attending the meeting was David Gess, whose family has ties to Lexington dating back to 1790.  He supports leaving the statues in their current location.   “I think we need to keep them," said Gess.  "It’s part of history.  History is not always nice to see.  There are bad things in history.  We need to know those also.” 

Gess says the statues’ location on the old courthouse lawn are secured through the Kentucky Military History Protection Act.  The review board will make recommendations to the mayor and city council.  A September 21 meeting date is scheduled to hear comments from the public. ​