Monday, September 8, 2008

Cheapside and Mr.Breckenridge

I went up past Cheapside today to see what if anything is happening since they closed it to vehicular traffic and I was a little disappointed. The idea was for the local establishments to expand their seating and/or service areas into the park, but the crowd(if you can call it that) looked a bit sparse.

This all got me to thinking about all the hoopla about Centrepointe and the TIF district/s. One of the proposals is to move the farmers market to the Cheapside location and build a permanent facility there. And of course I was reminded of an earlier proposal to build a streetcar transfer station on the same spot(this was in 1921). I have even seen a sketch of such a proposal but do not have a scan of it at this time. It was to be a two story brick structure that would run most of the block from Main St. to Short St. and the streetcar tracks would serve both sides of the station.

To build either of these proposals means that the Breckenridge statue would have to move. This statue has been watching over the west entrance of the Court House/s since 1887 and saw the building, built in 1883, burn in 1897. It also presided over the construction of the building which now houses the Lexington History Museum and all the activities held at Cheapside. John Cabel Breckenridge was a native Lexingtonian and the youngest Vice President of the U.S. under Buchanan, a U.S. Senator and eventualy a Confederate general.

I have been thinking hard about where I would like to see the statue placed, should anything be approved for the Cheapside Park space, and have come to realize that Lexington has not had a lot of statuary done in a long time. Oh, we have had some abstract, free-form, immpressionist stuff and horses but no real honest-to-goodness honorary statues. We have monuments to groups and fallen heros and popular ideas but no new honorary statues. Even our new public spaces seem not to be designed for such honorary work. If anyone has any suggestions, drop me a line and let me know.

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