Cell Phone Tour


Architectural Tour

Architectural as Public Art and History

I think that the public art, the art that you find in the public places, the buildings themselves, actually give you a sense of grounding, of who we are as a people, of what happened during those periods of time…it tells a story about the people and about the times and about the materials they had to build with. From an interview with Dr. Mary Sias, President of Kentucky State University

The stops on this tour include some of the most significant buildings in Frankfort and represent a diversity of styles. If you have always been fascinated by architecture but have difficulty identifying the characteristics that make the different architectural styles distinct, download the Architecture on the Frankfort Public Art Tour Power Point for a quick guide. These buildings introduce you to the diverse architecture of the Capitol City, but there are many more buildings that are worth exploring, many more that help to tell the story of the people, the times, and the materials that make Frankfort unique. No doubt, your own community has its own rich architectural history. Happy exploring!

  • Art or Architecture?

    The Floral Clock 

    We usually think of architects designing buildings, but they are often called upon to design other things. An interesting challenge for William C. Livingston of the architectural firm Oberwarth and Livingston was to design a “floral clock” to be built on the lawn of the Kentucky State Capitol. The clock has become a major tourist attraction and almost every school field trip to the state capitol includes a visit to the clock. The face of the giant clock is a 34-foot wide planter that weighs 100 tons and is suspended above a reflective pool of water. The clock face is composed of more than 10,000 flowers that are grown in greenhouses near the state capitol. The minute hand is 20 feet ... Read More

  • Beaux Art

    Kentucky State Capitol

    Although Frankfort has served as the state capitol since Kentucky became a state in 1792, it was not officially named the capitol until 1904, when the legislature voted to spend one million dollars for a new capitol to replace the 1830 capitol. Not long before, in 1893 the Chicago World Fair had featured large exhibits of Beaux Arts architecture, a style then popular in France. The World Fair exhibit had a huge impact on architects in the United States, including Frank Mills Andrews, a native of Iowa who practiced in Chicago, New York City, Cincinnati and Dayton. When Andrews was selected as the architect for the new Kentucky State Capitol, he included many striking architectural features, sculptural enri... Read More

  • Brutalism

    Hathaway Hall

    Hathaway Hall is the primary classroom building at Kentucky State University. Constructed in 1967, it was considered by many to be the most advanced piece of architecture in the state of Kentucky, replicating the work that was being done by progressive architects in Europe. It was designed in the Brutalism Style, which features cast-in-place concrete that is poured into forms and left raw so that you can see the imprint of the wooden form. It is unique because it has an open breezeway he ld up by round columns under one of the wings. It has a flat roof, which was a new feature of buildings at that time, and is devoid of ornamentation. The classroom windows are placed near the ceiling, which allows light to pour in... Read More

  • Federal Era

    Liberty Hall, 1796 

    Liberty Hall, built for Senator John Brown in Frankfort between 1796-1803, is the finest example of early federal-era architecture in Kentucky. Other early Kentucky buildings display elements of the style but the refinement and sophistication of Liberty Hall is unparalleled. It features a pedimented three-bayed central pavilion, whose focus is a beautiful colonnetted doorway with a fine Palladian window above, and having a lunette (half moon) window set in the pediment. The exquisite cornice carries left to right across the entire façade. Above the gabbled roof rise a pair of equally balanced and substantial chimneys,... Read More

  • Greek Revival

    Old State Capitol

    Designed by Gideon Shryock, the Old State Capitol introduced Greek Revival architecture to the United States west of the Appalachian Mountains. With its portico and fluted columns, it made the statement that Kentucky was a progressive state, looking to the future. Built of Kentucky River limestone, it features a rotunda on top, which floods the interior of the building with light. Another significant architectural feature is the double, selfsupporting staircase.


    Progressive for Its Time- Sara Elliott


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  • Prairie Style

    Zeigler House 

    Built in 1910 for the Rev. Jesse R. Zeigler, the Prairie Style Zeigler house is the only Frank Lloyd Wright designed structure in the state of Kentucky. Frank Lloyd Wright is considered the greatest of the 20th Century American Architects. Sue Stodola, who owns and resides in the house with her husband, cherishes the art glass windows throughout the house. The leaded glass motif became the logo of the Frankfort Public Art Tour. The wide exterior overhangs provide protection from the elements and serve as an example of the Prairie Style emphasis on horizontal lines. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Zeigler house is a private residence that is open to individ... Read More

  • Second Empire, Chateauesque

    Old Federal Building 

    Built of Kentucky and Indiana limestone in 1887, the Old Federal building served first as the federal courthouse, then as a post office, and most recently as the Paul Sawyier Public Library. The harbor master was located on the top floor because of the excellent view of the Kentucky River. When the public library moved into its new facility, Kentucky State University purchased the building and was awarded a one million dollar historic preservation grant to renovate the building to serve as a downtown campus. KSU plans to preserve the unique features of the building, such as the cupola, and to restore as much ... Read More

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