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Historic landmark burned, razed by developers; Doc Burgess house held memories for Lawrence Countians;

PATRICK GAP, Ky. -- Few places swell the memory glands for Lawrence Countians like the 'Doc Burgess house', a landmark listed on the National Registry of Historic places in 1975.

The home, located on Rt 23 two miles south of Louisa, is legendary because it was one of the first sandstone houses built in the Big Sandy region before the Civil War. The stone house was most recently home to Dr. Francis E. Burgess, who practiced medicine in the home for many years and often wrote poetry about topics dear to his heart including the sandstone domicile.

Martin County entrepreneur Jim Booth purchased the property in 2009 and the talk around Lawrence County was that he was going to create a museum with the house.

Booth was quoted on WKYT-TV in November 2009 as saying he wanted to restore the home.

"I am proud to have had the opportunity to purchase the Garred-Burgess estate on Route 23 in Louisa. I realize there is a lot of history regarding this property and the Burgess home and am now in the process of restoring the grounds surrounding the home," Booth said.

"The home is in very bad condition, but I believe structurally it can be saved and remodeled at some point in time. I do not have  any immediate plans for the property, but I am looking forward to the development and potential of this parcel."

But Booth, who could not be reached for comment is now believed to have business plans for the site which sits beside well-traveled Rt. 23 two miles south of Louisa.

Especially since the March tornado destroyed much of the property.

Last night's fire was reportedly a "controlled burn"  because fire departments were not called to the scene immediately. All that is left is the sandstone shell and workers were on hand this (Friday) morning cleaning up around the house and preparing to knock down the walls. Every time I drove past that house I always knew I was close to home and the thought about tales of the house being a haven for slaves on the Underground Railroad filled my thoughts. Now that I know it was not, I will still remember the house and it's beautiful design each time I drive that way.


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