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On Wednesday, September 4th, please join The Blue Grass Trust for Historic Preservation at 5:30 pm, as we celebrate Lexington’s Historic East End Neighborhood with a walking tour of three significant sites. The deTour will begin at The Palmer Pharmacy Building at 400 East Fifth St. Then we will make our way to the nearby Kentucky Association Historical Marker, placed in honor of the rich horse racing history of the neighborhood at the intersection of Fifth and Shropshire. We'll complete the deTour with a look inside Shiloh Baptist Church at 237 E. Fifth Street. As always, BGT deTours are free and open to all.

Dr. Zirl Palmer

Dr. Zirl Palmer

The Zirl Palmer Pharmacy Building, at the corner of E. Fifth and Chestnut St: This building was built in 1962 by Dr. Zirl Palmer, a black pharmacist and prominent businessman who would later become the first African American appointed to the University of Kentucky Board of Trustees. Palmer also was the first African American to own a Rexall franchise in the United States. He operated his pharmacy at this location for several years before relocating his pharmacy to the Georgetown Street Plaza. In September 1968, the Georgetown Street pharmacy was firebombed by a member of the KKK. Palmer, his wife, and daughter were injured in the blast. Palmer never reopened the pharmacy. He died in 1982. Most recently, the East Fifth Street building was home to the Catholic Action Center. The building is currently empty and the BGT is leading an effort to save and re-purpose it.

Palmer Pharmacy

Palmer Pharmacy

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The Kentucky Association Race Track, at E. Fifth and Race St: Situated on 65 acres of land, the Kentucky Association was Lexington's thoroughbred race track for 100 years until it closed in 1933. Three years later, in 1936, Keeneland would open on Versailles Road. Many of the traditions and even some of the important races that began at the East End track live on at Keeneland: the Phoenix Stakes, for example. First held at the Kentucky Association Track in 1831, it is still run each fall at Keeneland, making it the oldest stakes race in North America. A marker honoring the old race track is erected at Fifth and Shropshire Avenue, near the original entrance to the track. Photos of the track will be on display for the tour.

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Shiloh Baptist Church: A tour of the East End wouldn't be complete if we didn't mention its spiritual underpinnings. Look no further than Shiloh Baptist Church for this. The large edifice in the 200 block of E. Fifth Street has not always been home to "one of Kentucky’s largest and most progressive predominately African-American congregations" as it is today. When the building was erected in 1923, it housed a white congregation and continued to do so for 40 years. An artist rendering of the impressive church, then known as Felix Memorial, appeared in the Lexington Leader on July 29, 1923. But in the 1960s, the former congregation moved to the suburbs and Shiloh moved from its cramped quarters on nearby Thomas Street to this location. Interestingly, neither Thomas Street nor the old church exists today.

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The deTours Social AfterHour will be at Local’s Craft Food and Drinks on 701 National Avenue following the deTour.

We look forward to seeing everyone this Wednesday, September 4th. For any questions regarding the upcoming deTour, please call the BGT at (859) 253-0362 or email us at info@bluegrasstrust.org.

Please like, follow, and tweet with BGT deTours using #BGTdeTours.

Founded in January 2011, the award-winning BGT deTours program is designed to provide tours of places you might not normally get to see, helping people interact with and learn about sites that make the Bluegrass special. For young professionals and the young at heart, BGT deTours are always held the first Wednesday* of the month at 5:30 pm* and are always free and open to the public (*exception being holidays, weather, and out-of-county locations).



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