Wed August 7, 2013
Demolition of Historic Bardstown Mansion Halted Again
Anatok will remain standing for at least a few more months.
A judge has reinstated an order halting the demolition of the antebellum mansion in Bardstown.
The owner of the home, Bethlehem High School, has for years planned to deconstruct the building as part of a campus expansion project, but preservationists argue that it should be saved because of its historical significance.
The plantation home, named Anatok by one of its owners, was built in 1847. The property was the birthplace of Daniel Rudd, a former slave who founded the National Black Catholic Conference and rose to prominence as a newspaper publisher.
The campus expansion plan calls for Anatok to be taken down and some of its elements incorporated into an outdoor classroom space. Memorials would also be constructed to honor Rudd and the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, who founded Bethlehem and lived in Anatok when it was a convent.
But preservationists won a restraining order last year to halt the project, and under a mediation agreement were given until the end of April to raise $500,000 toward the home’s restoration and transformation into a fine arts center and classroom space. The deadline was later extended until May 31.
About $300,000 was raised by the May deadline. Bethlehem announced plans to proceed with the deconstruction and began preliminary work in July.
Last week, preservationists went back to court and won reinstatement of the restraining order until a November 6 review.
Bethlehem Principal Tom Hamilton says the school cannot afford to renovate and maintain the home on its own and needs room to grow its campus.
Preservationists say the two sides should be able to save the home in a way that will meet the school’s needs.