Lexington Public Library

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The Lexington Public Library’s Digital Archives provide open access to researchers and students to learn more about the rich history of Lexington and Fayette County. It contains a fraction of the Library’s physical holdings, which are housed and available for reference in the Kentucky Room at the Central Library. New material is being digitized and added constantly, so there's always something new to find.

The archives have a simple keyword search, and it is possible to browse the collections by subject, area, or decade. The Lexington Public Library actively reviews and labels materials in our archives with statements that indicate how you may reuse the images, and what sort of permission, if any, you need to do so. Please check the information for each image to determine its legal status.

Digital Archives - Collection - Group
Sample directory page

The library has a variety of directories and yearbooks with local information. In the library's current digital collection, there is a selection of residential and street directories, yearbooks, school directories, and organizational directories. These are all fully word-searchable.

 

The Lexington Public Library has made an effort to ensure that all of our digital collections are public domain, or that we have gotten approval from the copyright holders to display their work. Most - but not all - of these collections, to the best of our knowledge, have no known US copyright restrictions. Some items in the collection are under copyright but qualify for online display by libraries under Section 108(h) of United States Copyright Law. Some of the collections provided in the Library's Digital Archives are made available under an assertion of fair use, which does not necessarily apply to an individual's use of them.

Digital Archives - Collection - Group
Fayette County History

Fayette County, Kentucky, has changed enormously since it was created in 1792. This collection contains government documents for the city of Lexington, for Fayette County, and for the merged Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government, as well as funeral notices, club directories, scrapbooks, image collections and a history of Lexington Public Library.

 

Digital Archives - Collection

Fayette County's buildings contain a great deal of history about the region and its inhabitants. 

The Old Kentucky Architecture book by Rexford Newcomb (1940) contains images, details, and some architectural layouts from all around Kentucky, but the Lexington properties include Llangollen (the Dr. John C. Lewis House), the Benjamin Gratz House, Rose Hill, Hopemont, Eothan, Ashland, Mansfield, Helm Place, Carrick House at Whitehall, Morrison College at Transylvania University, the tomb of Gideon Shryock's father Matthew at the Old Episcopal Burying Grounds, Ingleside (listed here as Ingelside), Loudoun House, Botherum, Walnut Hill Church, and the Sexton's Cottage at the Old Episcopal Burying Grounds. 

The Court-Houses of Lexington by J. Winston Coleman, Jr. (1937) contains photos and history of Fayette County's four courthouses.

The Illustrated Lexington (1919) has a variety of images, but included are some exterior and interior photographs of downtown Lexington businesses and houses.

Bluegrass Houses and Their Traditions by Elizabeth M. Simpson (1932) contains photos of various Fayette and surrouding county properties, with descriptions of the families, buildings, and contents. The properties include Glendower, Castleton, Eothan, Idle Hour, Maxwell Place, Winton, Elmendorf, Clingendaal, Morrison College, La Chaumiere du Prairie, Scarlet Gate, the Meadows, Lindenhouse, Belair, Mount Brilliant, Coldstream, Hopemont, Bodley House, Roberts House, Woodburn House, Botherum, Greentree, Ingleside, Loudoun, Thorn Hill, Rose Hill (Buckner), Elmwood, Sycamore Park, Walnut Hall, Edwards House, Patchen Wilkes, Hurricane Hall, Forkland, the Old Keen Place, Xalapa, the Ward Place, Calumet, Dunreath, Kilmore, Alleghan Hall, Sumner’s Forest, Stoneley, Rose Hill (Talbert), Helm Place, Castlelawn, Dixiana, Bryan Station, Poplar Hill, Mansfield, Fowler’s Garden, Mount Hope, Hollyrood, and Ashland.

Gratz Park (1983) contains illustrations and brief descriptions of the buildings and features of Gratz Park in downtown Lexington.

 

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Discover unique resources in our Digital Archives that tell the story of Fayette County.  Visit cemeteries throughout Central Kentucky using our cemetery maps.  Contact our resident experts in the Central Library's Kentucky Room with questions.

Wednesday, February 21 2024 9:30am - 10:45am This group is for anyone and everyone interested in reading and talking about it. If you've been wanting to join a book group, but not sure how find one; this is the group for you.
Wednesday, December 20 2023 9:30am - 10:45am This group is for anyone and everyone interested in reading and talking about it. If you've been wanting to join a book group, but not sure how find one; this is the group for you.
Wednesday, January 17 2024 9:30am - 10:45am This group is for anyone and everyone interested in reading and talking about it. If you've been wanting to join a book group, but not sure how find one; this is the group for you.
Digital Archives - Collection

The Fayette County Postcard collection contains images of well-known sites in Central Kentucky, such as Keeneland, Transylvania University, Ashland, and many others. The 80 images provide an interesting perspective of Lexington architecture, industry, and culture in the early 20th Century.

Digital Archives - Collection

Lexington's school system dates back to the city charter of 1831, and it first school opened in 1834. From a single building in 1834 with about 100 students, today the Fayette County Public School system has over 40,000 students and 68 schools and programs. Lexington and Fayette County combined districts in 1968, shortly before the city/county government merger in 1974.

Database
Learn more about Fayette County and our rich history with the Kentucky Room's Digital Archives. Search photo collections, historical newspapers and publications, and community collections with a simple search. New material is continually being scanned and added.
 
Until 1974, Lexington and Fayette County had two separate governing bodies. Lexington itself was founded in 1775 and chartered in 1782 by an act of the Virginia General Assembly, since Kentucky itself did not achieve statehood until 1792. Fayette County was formed in 1780, and spanned what is currently about a third of the state, before achieving its current boundary lines in 1799. 
 
The Lexington Fayette Urban County Government became a consolidated government in 1974. The digitized items in this collection are primarily Lexington city documents or merged city-county documents. The earliest digitized item is Lexington’s 1858 city charter and ordinances. 
 

The Digital Studio provides people of all skill levels the tools for filmmaking, photography and digital art, music making, and media preservation.

The Central Kentucky Cemeteries Maps are powered by Google Maps.  Counties include:  Fayette, Bourbon, Clark, Garrard, Harrison, Jessamine, Lincoln, Madison, Mercer, Montgomery, Nicholas, Powell, Scott, and Woodford.

Digital Archives - Collection

While the focus of content in the digital archive is Fayette County, many other counties are represented. This list is in alphabetical order by county name for non-Fayette County content.

Anderson County

 

Bath County

Boone County

Bourbon County

Boyd County

Boyle County

Breathitt County

Bullitt County

Caldwell County

Calloway County

Christian County

Clark County

Clay County

Floyd County

Franklin County

Garrard County

Graves County

Grayson County

Hardin County

Harlan County

Hopkins County

Jackson County

Jefferson County

Jessamine County

Johnson County

  • Kentucky Mountain Club (Membership includes the following counties: Adair, Bath, Bell, Boyd, Breathitt, Carter, Casey, Clay, Clinton, Cumberland, Elliott, Estill, Fayette, Fleming, Floyd, Greenup, Harlan, Jackson, Johnson, Knott, Knox, Laurel, Lawrence, Lee, Leslie, Letcher, Lewis, McCreary, Magoffin, Martin, Menifee, Monroe, Morgan, Owsley, Perry, Pike, Powell, Pulaski, Rockcastle, Rowan, Russell, Wayne, Whitley, and Wolfe)

Knox County

  • Telephone Directory; Barbourville, Brodhead, East Bernstadt, Eubank, Faubush, Flat Lick, Livingston, London, Manchester, Mt. Vernon, Oneida, Science Hill, Shopville, White Lily, Kentucky, 1974

Laurel County

Leslie County

Livingston County

Madison County

Mason County

Meade County

Mercer County

Muhlenberg County

Nelson County

Owsley County

Pulaski County

  • Telephone Directory; Barbourville, Brodhead, East Bernstadt, Eubank, Faubush, Flat Lick, Livingston, London, Manchester, Mt. Vernon, Oneida, Science Hill, Shopville, White Lily, Kentucky, 1974

Robertson County

Rockcastle County
  • Telephone Directory; Barbourville, Brodhead, East Bernstadt, Eubank, Faubush, Flat Lick, Livingston, London, Manchester, Mt. Vernon, Oneida, Science Hill, Shopville, White Lily, Kentucky, 1974
Scott County
​Shelby County

Warren County

Washington County

Wolfe County

Woodford County