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Early Stone Houses of Kentucky


"[Stone houses] soon dotted the countryside, and in such houses traditions lived on for a while. Now many of them sit neglected, their histories forgotten, yet each can tell us much about that era, the people who lived in it, and their world. This book tells those stories.

In the years before the Revolutionary War, intrepid frontiersmen with roots in northern Ireland claimed vast tracts of land in Kentucky. These aristocratic families developed plantations and built stone houses that became the centerpieces of their properties. In Early Stone Houses of Kentucky, author Carolyn Murray-Wooley examines these early frontier homes and explores the lives of the people who built and inhabited them.

Who were these settlers? What traditions did they draw on to provide construction techniques and plans? How do the frontier dwellings of settlers from different origins compare with these stone houses? Murray-Wooley found that Ulster descendants were three times more likely to build with stone than were other cultural groups and they almost always built hall-parlor with gable end chimneys. Many wealthy families from the north of Ireland who had settled in the eastern colonies migrated to the Bluegrass to claim some of the richest and most valuable land in the commonwealth. They quickly became leaders in the areas of politics, education, and religion and they brought many of the cultural traditions of northern Irish gentry to their homes in Kentucky. These energetic settlers transformed a wilderness into an agricultural landscape in fewer than twenty-five years.

Drawing on extensive field work and genealogical research, Murray-Wooley provides an accurate history of this group of settlers and their architectural practices. Early Stone Houses of Kentucky includes measured drawings and floor plans to depict these houses as they would have been at the time of construction, pairing them with photographs of the structures today.

"This one is a marvel that will hold your attention!" "Brings to light the fascinating history"" KY Genealogical Society Newsletter
""Two exquisite titles that reflect the unique native treasures found in the commonwealth." Lexington Herald-Leader, referring to both Rare Wildflowers of Kentucky and Early Stone Houses of Kentucky" Lexington Herald-Leader
"The unique architectural studies of these structures brings to light the fascinating history of the builders, architects and citizens that left their enduring mark on Kentucky's landscape." Linda Hinchcliffe, Chevy Chaser Magazine
"The book serves many capacities: genealogical guide, art book, anthropological tome, and construction manual." Scott Coffman,
"Carolyn Murray-Wooley explains in vivid detail the early architecture of these grand homes and examines the lives of the families who lived in and built them." Laura Kellersberger, Kentucky Monthly
"[Murray-Wooley] examines plans and decorative detailing of one- and two-story houses erected by Scotch-Irish Presbyterians, who were among the most numerous of the early ethnic groups in Kentucky." Carl Lousbury, Journal of Southern History

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Tags: these, frontier, Early, stone, built, Kentucky, Stone, Houses