Yesterday, I told you all about the Lexington Fire Department’s use of horse drawn emergency response units until 1926 and the 3 fire stations still in use that were designed to accommodate horses in the post deTour: Lexington Fire Station #1. Well, all that horse talk reminded me of this little oddity: the last commercial stable in downtown Lexington.
The stable is located on Saunier Street, a former alley. The existence of the stable is a great reminder of why alleys exist – they were intended to be service corridors for stables and horses and other unsightly amenities. Saunier runs through a block of large Victorian houses on one side (West Second Street) and commercial/religious structures on two other sides. The alley would have contained amenities and businesses that served or supported those businesses and residences, like this stable.
The ca. 1900 stable features much more decoration than would be expected for such a utilitarian use. It has a highly articulated Dutch gable parapet with brick corbelling supported by brick pilasters and an arched center bay opening (presumably for the horses and carriages to enter/exit). All of the lovely architectural detail on this building, I think, could easily fool the casual passerby. Luckily, the center bay door currently sports a great horse motif, which hints to the building’s use!
These days the stable houses the Lexington Livery Company, which offers carriage tours for every special occasion from proms to funerals. So, not only is it the only remaining commercial stable in downtown Lexington, but it is STILL being used as a commercial stable over one hundred years after its construction. It also means that Lexington, Kentucky, the horse capital of the world, has horses living and working right in it’s downtown. Now that is a city staying true to its heritage!