Future of historic Kentucky log house at stake in potential donation to rural county

Published: May. 4, 2021 at 1:13 PM EDT
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HYDEN, Ky. (WYMT/Lexington Herald-Leader) - A historic log house where pioneering nurse-midwife Mary Breckridge lived for decades could soon become a tourism hub in Leslie County, the Lexington Herald-Leader reports.

The home is where Breckridge lived as she ran Frontier Nursing Service, now Frontier Nursing University (FNU), in the county.

FNU said in a news release that it has offered to donate the house and other property to a non-profit group in the county.

“We’re exploring it, absolutely,” said Joel Brashear, chairman of the Leslie County Community Foundation.

The foundation and Leslie County Betterment Inc. asked FNU to donate the property at Wendover, but have not made a decision on whether to accept the offer.

This is due to some “concerning” conditions on the donation including a lack of information on the buildings’ condition.

The home is a National Historic Landmark and operated as the Wendover Bed & Breakfast and Retreat Center until the COVID-19 pandemic forced FNU to close it to the public.

In the release, they estimated the property’s value at around $2 million. However, an assessment from the county property valuation administrator’s office places the property and its surrounding 21 acres at around $240,000.

“While we are sad to say goodbye to Wendover, we are very proud to be able to offer this gift to the people of Leslie County,” Stone said. “We hope that it serves them well and that many more fond memories are made there.”

Frontier Nursing has cut ties in recent years with the county where it was founded, moving most of its operations to Woodford County in 2017.

The relationship was further strained in August 2020 when the university removed a 15th Century stained-glass window of Saint Christopher from a stone chapel on a hill overlooking Hyden that had stood on the property since it was donated by a school benefactor back in 1960.

The organization donated the Hyden campus to the county, which is considering possible uses for the buildings such as a hub to provide teleworks jobs, according to Brashear.

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