Past giving way to future in Bardstown, Ky.
BARDSTOWN, Ky. (WDRB) -- Bardstown is known as a place that preserves its history. But one of the city's oldest homes is about to be torn down. In this case, the past is giving way to the future.
The Anatok mansion has been on this spot in Bardstown since before the Civil War. But by the end of this year, Anatok will be history.
Built in 1847, the mansion is best known as the birthplace of Daniel Rudd, a slave who went on to become a journalist and civil rights pioneer.
It's been empty for years, but most recently served as a convent and a private residence.
"It was built by Bardstown craftsmen," said Dixie Hibbs, a preservationist who lived in the house in the 1970s and 1980s.
"It was a great place to raise children and have friends over. We've had lots of wedding receptions and wakes," said Hibbs.
The house belongs to the Archdiocese of Louisville and is on the campus of Bethlehem High School. The school plans to tear down Anatok to make way for an outdoor classroom and amphitheater.
"It could be used as a place of education, or reflection, or prayer, or whatever right in the middle of our campus," said Hamilton.
Attempts by preservationists to raise a half-million dollars to save the house failed.
But passions are still running high. WDRB's interview with Hamilton was interrupted by Bardstown resident Ann Johnson.
"I think it's a shame to see this house destroyed," said Johnson.
But Hamilton says the foundation and part of the walls will be saved, and the bricks used for a walkway. He says the school is spending $175,000 to deconstruct Anatok piece-by-piece. Work is scheduled to begin this week.
"I think we can develop this property into something that fits the school but, at the same time, creates an appreciation for its historical nature," said Hamilton.
"When it's gone, it's going to be missed. When it's gone, the only thing that's going to be left are the memories of the people who enjoyed it," said Hamilton.
Hamilton says it will take two years to finish the new facility once Anatok is gone.
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