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[photo] Antebellum houses located within the Constitution Historic District
Photograph by Eric Thomason, courtesy of the Blue Grass Trust for Historic Preservation

The Constitution Historic District is one of the earliest middle-class residential neighborhoods established in Lexington. Today is consists of 54 primarily residential buildings. The center of the district contains early 19th-century houses which are bounded by commercial buildings and educational institutions. Early residents of the district included brick masons, carpenters, carriage makers, ministers, and bankers. A church, the Second Street Christian Church, built in 1874-75, later became the all black Antioch Christian Church in 1880. The congregation, led by former slave Thomas Phillips, was one of the oldest and most prominent among the black community of Lexington. The Church was destroyed by fire in 1880 but rebuilt with insurance payments.

Weir House, the most elaborate residence within the district

Photograph from the National Register collection

Most of the residences in the district have been well-preserved and little altered since their construction. The majority of houses are simple antelbullum townhouses, built for middle-class Lexingtonians on the outskirts of the burgeoning 19th-century city. A wide variety of architectural styles can be found in the district including Federal, Greek Revival, Italianate, Eastlake, and Late Richardsonian. One of the oldest buildings is the Brand-Kennedy house at 124 Constitution Street, a typical Federal house built in 1813. A second early home is located at 216 North Limestone, built by locally prominent architect Matthew Kennedy. The large Greek Revival residence built by James Weir at 312 North Limestone is the most elaborate of the houses within the district. Over the years the district has remained residential with some small commercial development on the edges. Some of the homes have been divided into multi-family dwellings with a few commercial businesses interspersed throughout the district. However, as interest in the neighborhood grows, these houses are being restored.

The Constitution Historic District is located on the outskirts of downtown Lexington, bounded by East Third St., North Limestone St., Martin Luther King Blvd., and Templeman Alley. The houses in the district are private residences and are not open to the public.

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