Hugh Meriwether | Bluegrass Architects to Know

Hugh M. “Bud” Meriwether 1899-1979

Above, a Nicholasville home designed by Meriwether

Active from the 1930’s to the 1970’s, architect Hugh Meriwether’s residential portfolio includes historic “revival” homes for modern living across across Lexington & Central Kentucky. While his work spans a variety of architectural styles, Meriwether is well-known for his residential work in the Colonial, Georgian, or Greek Revival styles. Homes designed by Meriwether can be found in the Fairway, Ashland Park, & Chevy Chase neighborhoods, with some later works in the Island, the Colony, and Parkers Mill areas. His craftsmanship, sense of proportion, and appreciation for the timeless have made his homes highly-coveted a half century or more later.

Homes by Meriwether can be found across the Fairway, Ashland Park, & Chevy Chase neighborhoods, in addition to the Colony & others

With an expertise in historic architecture, Meriwether at times lectured at the University of Kentucky & hosted his own radio show on the subject. He was deeply inspired by the work of “masters” before him while insisting his work remain relevant to the modern era rather than homages to the past. Meriwether also often used “reclaimed” materials in his buildings in a time when modernism was taking hold, rescuing an antique mantel from a home on Stone Road for his personal residence on Parkers Mill. 

Called “Bud,” Meriwether was the son of a Louisville contractor, educated in Louisville, and later studied at the University of Chicago and Harvard until a “nervous breakdown” bid him home. After serving during World War I, he continued his studies at the University of Kentucky, opening a branch of his father’s contracting business in Lexington and serving as an architectural consultant for the Kentucky Department of Education.

Meriwether was also an engineer and land surveyor who earned extensive contracts for government buildings, medical facilities, and educational institutions. Among his many projects were the UK Medical Center, Memorial Coliseum, the Lexington Theological Seminary, and even the LaGrange & Pewee Valley state prisons. (Memorial Coliseum was constructed at the direction of famed coach Adolph Rupp. Of Rupp he later recalled, chuckling, “I was very fond of him but I could have kicked him all the time,” especially when Rupp rejected his flooring suggestion and later “came around fussing and fussing, wanting us to do it over again the way we wanted in in the first place.”)

His comprehensive study of low-income housing, documented in photos and community lectures, informed his work on housing projects including Aspendale. Meriwether often said he was most proud of his work on the Kentucky State Capitol annex, built in the Italian Renaissance style.

Meriwether further nurtured his creative side, writing poetry and founding a cultural group that brought both Judy Garland and Bob Hope to Lexington for performances. In his later years, Meriwether became a developer interested in originating new neighborhoods with the same gravitas and sense of permanence each of his works demonstrate.

While far from a comprehensive list, the homes below were each designed by Meriwether. Can you help us add to the list?

“Boxwood Hall,” 319 Ridgeway Road (later his widow’s personal residence)

115 E Fairway Drive

116 Holiday Road (personal residence)

211 Barrow Road

221 Henry Clay Blvd

236 Holiday Road

301 Holiday Road

402 West Maple Street, Nicholasville

951 Cooper Drive

1650 Ashwood Drive

1867 Parkers Mill Road

1879 Parkers Mill Road (personal residence)

2087 Norborne Drive

2129 Island Drive

3217 Tates Creek Road

4021 John Alden Lane

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