Marker, signs showcase neighborhood identity

Over the years, our neighborhood has been identified by many names. On the deeds to our homes are such designations as Morningside, Morningside Addition, Eastside, Bullock Addition, McGarvey Addition and Mentelle Park, which represent some of the neighborhood’s many subdivisions and developments over the past 129 years.

160822Mentelle Sign007In an effort to clarify why we are called the Mentelle Neighborhood and what our boundaries are, the Mentelle Neighborhood Association embarked on a landmark sign project.

A Kentucky Historical Society marker was installed on Mentelle Park to explain some of the neighborhood’s history, including the famous Mentelle School where Mary Todd Lincoln was a student. (For a more detailed account of that history, see this website’s history page.)

Secondly, several smaller signs welcoming people to the neighborhood have been installed in the right-of-way of streets along our boundaries, which reach from Richmond Road to National Avenue and from Walton Avenue to Mentelle Park and Memory Lane.

Our neighborhood is fortunate to have a diverse population of talented people. We hope that by increasing the neighborhood’s sense of identity, more residents will want to participate in neighborhood projects and activities.

All the best,

Ann Olliges, Marker/sign project leader

Want a street tree for your yard?

The Mentelle Neighborhood Association has received a city grant to plant street trees. MNA matches the grant money at $100 per tree. Property owners pay only one-third of the cost: $100 for each tree, 2 inches in diameter, delivered, planted and mulched. That’s $300.00 value.

Tree“Street tree” specifications require these trees to be planted on the strip between the sidewalk and the curb, or within 10 feet of the sidewalk.

Requests will be recorded in September; payment will be due Sept. 30th.

Please send your request to:

Kentucky Underground will be called in October to inspect each location for compatibility with utility lines underground and overhead. After all the properties pass inspection, Lexington’s Urban County Forestry Program issues a blanket permit for the trees.

Chris Yarber of Earthworks will plant the trees in November.

This is the fifth street tree project the MNA has done over the past eight years, each time resulting in new trees that benefit our neighborhood in many ways. It is a great opportunity to have positive impact on our community for years to come! The trees add life and character to our streets, cool homes, clean the air, reduce stormwater runoff, increase property values, attract wildlife, and grace our environs with beauty.

Thank you for your interest in this project to improve the environment of our neighborhood.

Elaine Cook


Jewish Food Festival is Aug. 28

The 113-year-old neighborhood congregation Temple Adath Israel is preparing to present the first Lexington Jewish Food Festival from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 28.

2015ChrisTemplateMany of the foods on the sampling menu aren’t available in local restaurants: matzo ball soup, potato knishes, borscht, latkes and kugel, among others. The emphasis is on homemade, using fresh, local ingredients including produce from the Temple’s community garden, a 2014 Lexington in Bloom award-winner.

Additionally, there will be a bake shop with challah, babka, strudel and more, all of it made by temple members, and TAI is bringing back H2Oy, water bottled specially for the temple by Highbridge Springs in Wilmore.

Festival visitors will have a chance to visit the historic sanctuary, and an open Torah scroll will be on display. The temple also has a Holocaust museum, the first such permanent exhibit in Kentucky.

Tickets for the festival are $18 a person; children 12 and younger may piggyback on an adult ticket. Each ticket will allow up to 16 samples, depending on the value assigned to each sample. (Fun fact: The ticket price was chosen because the number 18 is significant in Jewish culture, festival co-chair Pat Shraberg said. In Hebrew, each letter has a numerical value. Letters 10 and 8 spell the word Chai, which means “living” or “life,” so the number 18 is considered to be good luck.)

The festival will be in the social hall at Temple Adath Israel, 124 North Ashland Ave. More information is at

‘United in Spirit’ concert Wednesday

Concert ALL WELCOME blue

7 p.m., Wednesday, July 13th

Historic Saint Paul Catholic Church, 425 W. Short St.

Featuring Lexington musicians coming together to share their talents and to help build a civilization of love. Performers include: Dr. Tedrin Lindsay, Prof. Bradley Kerns, Dr. Schuyler Robinson, Svitlana Merlichenko, Svetlana Alkhasova, Elaine Humphreys Cook, Barbara Rogers and the Music Ministry from Saint Peter Claver Church.

Lorne Dechtenberg, Ph.D., of Temple Adath Israel will render the chant for the fallen.

Reception to follow at Brossart House, next to the church, courtesy of Lexington Diner.

In cooperation with Josh Mers and Lexington Fairness, Shelia Bayes Fine Jewelers, Rich Greissman, Double Take Photography, Sarah Brown Designs, P G Howard Designs, Patrick Morgan, Mickey Hobbs and Jerry Meyer.

National Avenue gets a brewpub

MirrorTwin2A new brewpub is coming to Mentelle Neighborhood this summer. Mirror Twin Brewing plans to be open in August at 725 National Avenue as part of the Warehouse Block development. The space will include the first permanent location of the food truck Rolling Oven Pizza. Mirror Twin has three more days to go on a Kickstarter campaign to raise $15,000 in startup capital. Donors will receive prizes. Welcome to the neighborhood!

Great day for neighborhood history

Ann Olliges, who initiated the historical marker project, unveiled it.

Thanks to everyone who helped make today’s Mentelle Neighborhood historical marker dedication and history program a great success.

And thanks to our special guests: Vice Mayor Steve Kay; Council Member Jake Gibbs; Bettie Kerr, the city’s director of historic preservation; Becky Riddle and Rick Adams of the Kentucky Historical Society; Mentelle descendant Randy Runyon and his wife, Elizabeth; Maureen Peters, president of the Blue Grass Trust for Historic Preservation; and longtime Mentelle Neighborhood resident Martha Jane Stone.

A working narrative of the neighborhood’s history is at this link.

160522MentelleMarker14 160522MentelleMarker12 160522Mentelle10

Tom Eblen talks about the history of Mentelle and Bell Court neighborhoods.
Tom Eblen interviews Martha Jane Stone, who has lived on Cramer Avenue since 1933, about her memories of the neighborhood.
Mentelle descendant Randy Runyon, a professor at Miami University in Ohio and author of an upcoming book about the Mentelles, talks about his ancestors’ role in history.


(Photos by Maureen Peters, Caryn Huber and Tom Eblen)

Marker unveiling, history program begins at 2 p.m. Sunday

Don’t miss the unveiling of our neighborhood’s new Kentucky Historical Society marker at 2 p.m. Sunday in the first median of Mentelle Park near Richmond Road. Vice Mayor Steve Kay and Council Member Jake Gibbs are among the confirmed guests.

After brief remarks, we will walk over to Bell House, 545 Sayre Ave., for a history program at about 2:30 p.m.  Herald-Leader columnist Tom Eblen, a Mentelle Park resident, will give a presentation about the shared history of the Mentelle and Bell Court neighborhoods. He also will do a brief “interview” with Martha Jane Stone, who has lived in the same house on Cramer Avenue since 1933, about her memories of how the neighborhood has changed.

And a special treat: Mentelle descendant Randy Runyon, a professor at Miami University in Ohio who is writing a book about the Mentelle family, will give a brief talk about his ancestors.

After the history program, all neighborhood residents are welcome to stay for the semi-annual Mentelle Neighborhood Association meeting. This won’t last long, but it is your opportunity to ask questions, get information and get involved in your neighborhood.

See you Sunday!