Abandoned, historic homes get help from KY Trust

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Beyond the cracked paint and wooden boards, Eric Whisman sees the past, present and future. ""They have a great story. Every building has a great story."

Whisman met WKYT's Miranda Combs outside an abandoned house in Mason County. "It's sort of a 1850s Kentucky typical gothic revival inspired building," he explained. "It's probably been empty for--from looking at the roofline and some of the work that's been done to it--I would say about 20 or 30 years."

Whisman is in the business of connecting the past to the present. He's the executive director of The Kentucky Trust for Historic Preservation. "It's actually a connection to our history, to our ancestors that built this country and left us all these great places, left us our communities."

Some homes are on Whisman's radar to make sure nothing happens to them. Others, they have a made a deal with the owners. "We have the option to purchase this at a set price and we agreed upon with the owner which allows us to market it for sale to find someone to be the next steward of the property," he said as he took Combs through a large abandoned home also in Mason County. "It's pretty stable and ready to go."

"We try to focus more on the rural landscapes, the places that don't have an advocate or that have been forgotten," Whisman said. The Trust has saved several hundred buildings in Kentucky.
Whisman said Kentucky has the fourth most buildings on the National Historic Register. And an even bigger distinction: 31 properties are National Historic Landmarks.

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