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Our Beginnings

Amazingly, Lexington had no organized preservation movement until 1966, and it paid the price with the loss of some important old structures.

But in that year, one particularly stately 19th-century home was bought and its new owner announced plans to raze it and build an office headquarters. That threat electrified civic leaders and plain folks, and out of their anger arose Historic Lexington Foundation. Soon enough, the plan was scuttled and the house, Beaumont, returned to private ownership, where it remains today.

There was a happy ending: the buyer, Kappa Alpha Order, a national fraternity, eventually bought a different, equally stately brick home built in the same era, Mulberry Hill — but this time, instead of replacing it, KA lovingly restored it — and once an adversary, KA Order is today an important HLF partner.

These articles tell the early story.

Matthew W. Paxton Jr., a co-founder of Historic Lexington Foundation, recalled the drama surrounding our creation in 1972 remarks to the Fortnightly, a Lexington discussion club. His remarks remain a vivid and valuable documentation.

Origins of HLF pdf

This article on Historic Lexington Foundation’s downtown efforts appeared in Commonwealth: The Magazine of Virginia, published by the state Chamber of Commerce,  in March 1974.

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