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Vacant Shotgun Houses to Be Transformed Into Artist Homes

Five abandoned shotgun houses on the 300 block of Orchard Street in Covington are in the midst of being transformed into "Shotgun Row", a series of renovated homes aimed at artists.

The five shotgun homes were part of seven constructed in the late 1800s and though they are now functionally and mechanically obsolete, Kentucky historic guidelines prevent the structures from being razed. Followig much research, it was determined tat an innovative strategy could re-purpose the houses into something special and ideal for artists looking for a new live-work space.

The Kresge Foundation, a $3.1 billion private national foundation supporting oportunities for artistic expression while fostering revitalization in underserved communities, awarded a grant to the Center for Great Neighborhoods and now work is underway.

The shotgun floor plan is one room wide and several rooms deep and these particular homes were built for laborers hoping to live near their places of employment and Downtown. According to the plans for Shotgun Row, the architectural style can be traced back to African and Haitian roots. The term "shotgun" derives from American folklore that if a shotgun were fired through the front door, the bullet would go through the house and exit the back door, unobstructed.

The houses at 315-325 Orchard Street are part of the Lee-Holman District that was nominated for the National Register of Historic Places in 1996. A quarry likely operated along Orchard Street, an idea buoyed by the discovery of an indentation along the street. Other workers that lived nearby once included wagon-makers, seamstresses, cabinet builders, cigar makers, bricklayers, and laborers. A foundry, a lumberyard, a cotton mill, and small groceries also lined the street in its earlier days.

The Center for Great Neighborhoods has developed many properties in the neighborhood and Shotgun Row faces the site that will eventually house an even larger housing development currently in the works by the Catalytic Development Fund.

One space in the middle of the Shotgun Row development is intended to be used as a sculpture garden.

See renderings and floor plans as well as more information here: Shotgun Row

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