Where in the world: Gone but not forgotten, 2 Elm Street

Published 5:58 pm Thursday, July 29, 2021

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By Harry Enoch

Contributing Columnist

In 1976 the Kentucky Heritage Commission, in cooperation with the Clark County Historical Society, began a historic sites survey of Clark County.  The results were published in a report entitled, Survey of Historic Sites in Kentucky, Clark County.  Copies of the report, which locals refer to as the “Blue Book,” are available for viewing at the library and for sale at the Bluegrass Heritage Museum.

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The Blue Book contains small cropped images of many of the recorded sites.  The resolution of these printed images is low.  However, film negatives of these photographs are very high quality.  Images for all the Winchester buildings in the survey have been digitized at high resolution and are available for viewing at the Museum.  Of particular interest for this series of articles are the photographs of historic buildings that no longer exist.

The following description of the house at 2 Elm Street appears in the Blue Book:

“This central-hall-plan, one-and-a-half-story house appears on the 1877 Sanborn Map and is one of the earliest remaining buildings in Poynterville, Winchester’s traditionally black neighborhood.”

In July 1867 Wiley T. Poynter (1838-1896) had a 65-acre tract of land laid out in 52 lots and platted as “Poynterville.” The new subdivision was bordered on the north by Walnut Street, on the east by First Street, on the south by an extension of Washington Street, and on the west by “the old Paris Road,” which today is called Elm Street.  Poynterville was the first of many suburbs created in Winchester’s history.

The house at 2 Elm Street was originally located in Brunerville.  One year after Poynterville was laid out, the heirs of John Bruner established an adjoining suburb that they called Brunerville (1868).  Brunerville lay on the west side of Elm Street and was framed by Walnut, Upper and Washington.  The Brunerville name persisted until sometime in the 20th century, after which time the area was presumed to be part of Poynterville.

In 1872 William Rowe, of color, purchased lot #21 in Brunerville for $34.  When he sold the lot three years later for $300, there was a house on it.  Although he lived here for many years, little has been learned about Rowe.  He never appeared in the census.  We can only document his presence in Winchester from 1866 through 1891 through his numerous land transactions.  Rowe purchased and sold 7 lots in Poynterville, 2 in Brunerville and 3 in Winchester.  Most of these were acquired as vacant lots and sold with houses on them, suggesting that he may have been a builder.  Sometime after 1878 Rowe declared bankruptcy, bringing his business ventures to a close.

Several of the deeds name his wife Martha.  Martha was widowed when she died of heart disease in 1920.  Doctor John H. Tyler attended in her last illness.  She was buried in Daniel Grove Cemetery.  

In 1875 Marcus Reynolds purchased the house at 2 Elm Street.  We know a little of his history.  He was born in Madison County in 1835.  During the Civil War (1865) Marcus enlisted in the Army at Lexington.  He served as a wagoner in Company B of the 119th U.S. Colored Infantry.  His unit saw action in various parts of Kentucky before the regiment was disbanded in April 1866.

In 1870 Marcus lived on Colby Bybee’s farm at Aaron’s Run in Montgomery County, and worked as a farm laborer.  A few years later he moved to Winchester.  He died February 14, 1888, and was buried in Daniel Grove Cemetery.  His grave is marked by a military headstone.

Marcus’ wife name was Ailsey or Elsie.  She received a widow’s pension for his service in the Civil War.  No further record can be found for her.  

The next owner of the house is uncertain because there was no deed of sale from Marcus or his wife.  Later owners of the property include Washington Ashley, Alfred Ashley (1890), Julia and William Cofer (1907), Elizabeth and Chester Skinner (1949), Sonny and Hazel Skinner (1997), Arthur Lee Weathers Jr. (2017) and Keith Weathers (2018).

The landmark house at 2 Elm Street was razed several years ago.  

Picture legends

Map shows the original boundaries of Poynterville and Brunerville.

2 Elm Street, 1977

2 Elm Street, 2013