On March 2, Preservation Kentucky hosted its first annual graduate student symposium. Held in conjunction with the University of Kentucky Historic Preservation Program’s annual conference, the symposium brought students from several Kentucky institutions together to discuss current issues in historic preservation. The U of L was well represented by Annelise Gray, a student in the public history certificate program. Annelise gave a great talk about the Jefferson Jacob School in Prospect, Kentucky. She began her work while enrolled in History 610, Introduction to Historic Preservation. She is now putting the final touches on a nomination to the National Register of Historic Places. Annelise’s research has uncovered the history of segregated education in northeastern Jefferson County. The Jefferson Jacob School was built expressly for African American students during Jim Crow. Annelise is to be commended for her dogged research skills and commitment to finishing a large and elaborate project. Way to go Annelise!
Students from the University of Kentucky, Northern Kentucky University, and Western Kentucky University also participated in the symposium. Kathy Martinolich, a student in the UK Historic Preservation Program, discussed her thesis research. Martinolich is interested in series-designed-and-built buildings from the recent past. Using gas stations as an example, she explored the challenges commonly encountered in evaluating and nominating such properties to the National Register. Matthew Yagle of Northern Kentucky University followed with a short synopsis of his research on the Lincoln-Grant School, a African American high school in Covington. And, last but definitely not least, Sarah McCartt-Jackson of Western Kentucky University discussed efforts to expand the range of properties eligible for nomination to the National Register as Traditional Cultural Properties (TCPs). Each of these presentations inspired good discussion. Collectively, they showed the kind of cutting-edge work taking place at Kentucky universities.
Overall, the graduate symposium suggested the health of historic preservation training in Kentucky. It was great to see professionals-in-the-making come together to talk about their work and share ideas with one another. Attendance suffered because of inclement weather (the tornadoes that devastated several communities in southern Indiana and northern Kentucky hit later in the afternoon), but those who stayed asked good questions and had useful comments to offer. I’m already looking forward to next year’s symposium. Having regular forums of this kind promises to improve the quality of preservation training at institutions across the state.
– Daniel Vivian