FRANKFORT, KY– Gov. Andy Beshear and the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet have announced that three Kentucky historic preservation projects will receive $150,000 in federal funding to help preserve African American history.
Each Kentucky project will receive $50,000 to continue efforts to preserve the historic sites.
Hotel Metropolitan in Paducah is one of the three sites to receive funding. The hotel will use their funding to restore the Purple Room, which was used as an after-hours gathering space for musicians traveling on the “Chitlin’ Circuit.” It opened in 1909, and served Black travelers at a time when lodging was segregated. The hotel hosted notables such as musicians Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington, and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.
In addition Cherokee State Park in Hardin will receive $50,000. The park, which is located in Kenlake State Park, was the first segregated state park and recreational site for Black Americans in the South. Today the park is used for weddings and other recreational activities. Funding will be used for interpretative signage and programming to tell its story.
The Palmer Pharmacy Building in Lexington is the other site to receive funding.
These funds are the result of grants created by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Nationally, 40 grants were given out, totaling more than $3 million. The African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund also participated in this grant program to help preserve historic African American sites and buildings.
“These grants further support the preservation of these irreplaceable historic resources that help identify and tell the stories of African Americans in Kentucky,” said Gov. Beshear. “Kentucky is so heavily represented in this year’s grant pool, and that speaks to the hard work of volunteers, non-profits, community advocates and state agencies that are dedicated to ensuring these important places are represented in our history.”