Stanford halts demolition after log cabin found

Published 12:23 pm Thursday, April 18, 2019

Archaeologists expected to visit site

STANFORD — The demolition of a home on Hustonville Street was suddenly halted after crews made a potentially historic discovery.

The historical significance of the log cabin that was discovered underneath the vinyl siding of the home is still unknown but with the proximity to Logan’s Fort, local historians and lovers of history have been buzzing with theories since Saturday.

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The property at 135 Hustonville Street has since been roped off with caution tape.

Demolition orders were sent to the owner of record, Ka”Sondra Brown, on Oct. 3, 2017, according to Code Enforcement Officer Jeff Knouse.

No formal response was received, Knouse said, and no appeals were filed.

“At that point it stopped. Then we sent out new violations for the grass, yard and stuff like that,” he said. “Citations were issued and the city ended up abating the nuisance for 2017-18.”

As time elapsed, the property deteriorated further and was declared an “imminent danger.”

“It became a fire hazard, structural collapse, unsanitary conditions on the inside, so I declared it an imminent danger,” he said. “The city had several thousands of dollars worth of liens on this property already, before this demolition ever started.”

According to House Bill 422, a code enforcement ordinance adopted by the City of Stanford in 2016, demolition orders can be made when an “imminent danger exists on the subject property that necessitates immediate action, or there is reason to believe that the existence of a violation of this chapter with respect to the structure presents a serious threat to the public health, safety and welfare or; the structure is so old, dilapidated or has become so out of repair as to be dangerous, unsafe, unsanitary or otherwise unfit for human habitation or occupation, or demolition is other reasonably necessary to protect the public interest.”

Knouse said normally a Code Enforcement Board hearing is held prior to the city undertaking demolition of a structure, unless an imminent danger exists.

The city will be demolishing another structure in town, located at 214 Maxwell Street, this week after declaring the structure an imminent danger, Knouse added.

Lincoln County Property Valuation Administrator and local historian David Gambrel did some research on 135 Hustonville Street and found it belonged to Mrs. (Eliza) Wright as far back as 1879. She purchased the property in 1853 and by 1880 she had moved to Louisville to stay with her sons Thomas, Isaac and George.

“Thomas was a railroader,” Gambrel said. “The Wright’s oldest son John E. Wright was a Corporal in G Company 1st Ky Union Cav and died in Andersonville, GA prison.”

Gambrel said in 1891, Eliza (Wright) sold the property to John Miller Broaddus and his wife Eliza J. Boone Broaddus – the first African American family to live there.

For now the demolition of the structure will remain halted as the city works to identify more information about the log cabin, the mayor said.

Ernst said archaeologists from the University of Kentucky visited the site Wednesday afternoon. To learn more about their visit and potential findings, see next week’s edition of The Interior Journal.