Paint Lick Commercial Historic District

Multiple Addresses, Paint Lick, Kentucky


Paint Lick Commercial Historic District

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"The Paint Lick Commercial Historic District meets the first term of National Register Criterion C, as it ""embodies the distinctive characteristics of a type ... of construction"": it is a Garrard County commercial area. Its significance is explored within the historic context ""The Built Environment of County Seat Towns and Crossroad Communities and Hamlets in Garrard County, Kentucky, 1880-1961."" As most rural counties in Kentucky, GaLTard (population 16 912 2010 census) has its dominant commercial area in the county seat town, Lancaster (population 3442 2010 census). Garrard ounty also has a scattering of crossroads communities and smaller villages, ach of which had a commercial landscape from which nearby frumers could purchase goods daily WltiJ traveling to the county seat for the monthly 'Court Day."" While Paint Lick itself was one of the county's crossroad communities its commercial area contained a larger gr uping of commercial buildings than what normally occurred in those communities. It appears the town aspired to the importance of the rural county seat town. A rising agricultural economy and multiple transportation options during the Period of Significance facilitated those aspirations. In creating their own version of a county-seat landscape, the men and women of Paint Lick were asserting their town's identity as a commercial center, a social center, and the nucleus of a rapidly-changing agrarian community. This development did not happen elsewhere in the county's other crossroad communities, nor did it appear to happen by following a recorded_ plat nor with the financial benefits that the county seat town naturally enjoys. This district' s significance comes from more than its mere anomalous form. Paint Lick's district is important for indicating the time when the rural community in Kentucky still was the center of daily commercial acti jty, and ambitions for growth could be realized by the agricultural economy. As tmnsportation improvements in rural Kentucky began to allow people to drive farther for commercial pun:hases crossroad communities began to decay; some disappeared altogether. Shortly after the close ofthe Period of Significance, the focus of con;unercial and social interactions for those farmers shifted from the nearby crossroad community to the county seat town, and even later, to regional commercial centers, such as Lexington, farther from the county. Paint Lick's commercial businesses, by contrast, continued to serve their customers well into the 1970s, confirming the strength of the community's earlier ambitions."

Posted to the NRHP 2-24-2014


District (10,443)
Garrard County, Kentucky (74)
In operation (2,240)
Kentucky (4,332)

Update Log 

  • August 22, 2014: Added by Dave King