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Founded in 1782 as Kentucky’s second city, Stanford also was located on the Wilderness Road, making it one of Kentucky‘s most significant early towns.  Accordingly, Stanford became the county seat of Lincoln County, the largest of Kentucky’s three original counties, the other two being Jefferson and Fayette.  

Stanford’s development did not continue apace with it’s counterparts in Kentucky’s other two original counties, Lexington and Louisville.  Because of this more modest growth many significant structures that might have been razed for new development were spared.  New construction that did occur has added to the architectural flavor of our town. 

Some simple log and stone buildings such as the Presbyterian Meeting House from Stanford’s late 18th century role as a wilderness outpost survived to be joined by more ambitious 19th century architecture.  This era’s dwellings and commercial structures, usually imposing brick such as our downtown business area, are now the backbone of Stanford’s historic district.  The Victorian builders near the turn of the century expressed their growing prosperity with large, richly designed wood homes and businesses.  A large number of these houses survive and have been preserved.  Stanford’s twentieth century construction, perhaps lacks some of the charm and aesthetic sophistication of our earlier buildings.  However, the concrete, glass and low profile structures of this era are an important component of Stanford’s historic district, completing the tale of our town’s changing attitudes on building, working and living.  

Today’s Stanford recognizes it’s architectural character as a tremendous asset deserving of preservation and protection.  At the same time, the town is vibrant with modern families living and working in the Historic District.  To help balance the needs of historic preservation and modern function


Stanford’s Architectural Review Board reviews all remodeling and new construction projects that occur in the Historic District.  Consisting of citizens who live or work in the Historic District, the ARB recognizes that many traditional materials and building techniques are more expensive than their modern counterparts.  By becoming involved early in the design process the ARB can suggest colors, materials and signage that helps the property owners achieve their remodeling and budgetary objectives while still contributing to the character of Stanford’s architectural heritage.

Click here for details about the Architectural Review Board. (PDF)