Our Current Featured Building
S. P. Kerr Building (1889)
The Kerr building in 2007, nearly complete
The S.P. Kerr Building, at the corner of North Main and West Broadway, is an outstanding recent example of Winchester's commitment to community revitalization and historic preservation downtown.
Originally built in 1889 as Eclipse Mills, the 32,000 square foot building has also been home to J.J. Newberry Co. (a five and dime store chain), and The Corner Drug Store.
Despite its long history, by 1999 the building was vacant and much deteriorated. The potential for structural failure combined with a lack of financial backing put the Kerr Building at risk for demolition. The Bluegrass Trust for Historic Preservation placed the Kerr Building on its "11th Hour" Most Endangered list.
Encouraged by the City of Winchester, Union Properties and Bailey Associates bought the property in October 2001 and set the building on course for a brighter future. Work on a comprehensive rehabilitation plan began in August 2002. The project was supported by a combination of funding from the Renaissance Kentucky program, faÃ§ade easement and tax credit programs, and private investment.
The rehabilitation was extensive and involved almost every part of the building. Workers shored up and replaced many structural elements that had been damaged by water. Leaks in the roof were fixed and deteriorated rafters, sheathing, and joists were replaced. Character-defining windows and storefronts were replicated to the original profiles with solid mahogany, and the exterior brick was carefully cleaned and re-pointed.
By December 2005--three years and almost two million dollars later--the building was ready for occupancy.
Today the Kerr building is home to 9000 square feet of commercial space and over 18,000 square feet of senior living space and the building remains an anchor in the Winchester Historic Downtown Business District. The unusual corbeled cornice and rock faced stone foundation, sills, and lintels accentuate the horizontality of the facade. Rusticated stone columns set off the building's rounded corner entrance. The original sign block, and a new rooster* once again herald the entrance to an active and vital building.
The Kerr building rehabilitation project could not have been successful without the support of the City Commission, the Mayor, and the community, all of whom worked to preserve and revitalize this icon of Winchester's historic downtown.