This past Wednesday, September 7, the Blue Grass Trust for Historic Preservation held one of their acclaimed deTours in Winchester, the first in our fair city.  BGT holds its deTours on the first Wednesday of every month.  They usu­al­ly select sites in Lexington, but occa­sion­al­ly ven­ture out to oth­er Bluegrass loca­tions.  This month they chose the his­toric Thomson Neighborhood. 

The Thomson Addition, laid out by Harrison P. Thomson in 1888, became one of Winchester’s most desir­able sub­di­vi­sions.  Immediately south of the busi­ness dis­trict, it attract­ed many of the cit­i­zens who con­tributed to the city’s build­ing boom of the late 19th and ear­ly 20th cen­tu­ry.  The large­ly intact hous­ing stock boasts an out­stand­ing assort­ment of archi­tec­tur­al styles.  In 1992, the Thomson Neighborhood Historic District was list­ed on the National Register of Historic Places.  The District, which con­tains por­tions of five oth­er sub­di­vi­sions or addi­tions, rec­og­nized 268 con­tribut­ing struc­tures.  The bound­aries defined for the District zig and zag con­sid­er­ably; how­ev­er, it is rough­ly out­lined by Hickman Street, Main Street, Moundale Avenue, and Boone Avenue.

advertisement for H. P. Thomson’s new subdivision
This adver­tise­ment for H. P. Thomson’s new sub­di­vi­sion appeared in William M. Beckner’s Handbook of Clark County and Winchester (1889). The hor­i­zon­tal street is Belmont Avenue, shown at the inter­sec­tion with Maple Street. The house, built for H. P. Thomson, is locat­ed at 458 South Maple.

Professor Julie Riesenweber of the UK College of Design and her stu­dents devel­oped a walk­ing tour of the neigh­bor­hood.  BGT col­lab­o­rat­ed on the project and con­duct­ed the September 7 event.  A map of the walk­ing tour is shown below.

Walking tour map of the Thompson neighborhood.
Walking tour map of the Thompson neighborhood.

Attendees received a brochure with descrip­tions of the hous­es on the tour.  Copies of the brochure can be down­loaded at

https://www.bluegrasstrust.org/s/BGTdeTours-Winchester-ThomsonNeighborhood-edited-hge‑1.pdf

The weath­er coop­er­at­ed, and the tour was well attend­ed.  Surprisingly, few of the atten­dees were from Winchester.  I guess not too many folks here are plugged in to the BGT.  deTours began in 2011.  They are free and open to the gen­er­al pub­lic.  You can check their web­site (https://www.bluegrasstrust.org/) each month to see what’s com­ing up or sign up to receive an email noti­fi­ca­tion at https://www.bluegrasstrust.org/new-page-62.

Clare and I have attend­ed many of these.  Some past tours includ­ed the Bodley-Bullock House, Richard B. Isenhour’s Mid-Century Modern Homes, Botherum, Pope Villa, Bell Court, and Hampton Court in Lexington, as well as Chaumerie des Praires, Jessamine County, Ward Hall, Georgetown, Downtown Midway, our own Colby Tavern and Boot Hill Farm, and many more.

If you have a sug­ges­tion for a future deTour in Winchester or Clark County, BGT would like to hear from you (let them know on their con­tacts page).

  • Harry is a Mt. Sterling native who has lived in Clark County since1999. He has a pas­sion for the past and has researched and writ­ten exten­sive­ly about the his­to­ry of this area.