What if. . . there has been a vast conspiracy afoot, going back 20 years, and involving high-powered government entities, with the purpose being to thwart the East End Bridge by driving up costs to make the whole thing impossible?
What if the 55-acre Drumanard Estate, which bridge planners have believed is worthy of protection because it’s on the National Register of Historic Places, isn’t so historic and that the Olmsted plan that made it so was never implemented?
Is it feasible that wealthy bridge opponents, like River Fields, orchestrated a long-running lie to keep a bridge from coming? Wouldn’t that be a dastardly tale? There’s a press conference tomorrow being organized by a group called the East End Bridge Conspiracy that claims to have proof that just such a conspiracy exists.
Here’s the juicy details in the release announcing today’s event:
New information has been discovered in the form of historic documents that seriously questions the validity of the National Register status of the 55 acre Drumanard estate. The Drumanard estate is located at the eastern terminus of I-265 (Gene Snyder Freeway), and due to its National Register designation, the extension of I-265 across the Ohio River is proposed to be underground in tunnels, which will cost $261 million dollars. If this property is not on the National Register, then this proposed Interstate can be located above ground, thereby saving over $100 million dollars in taxpayer money.
The new findings clearly demonstrate that the Olmsted firm’s 1904 layout for Drumanard was never implemented, nor was it ever intended to be on the entire 55 acres. Other earlier findings determined that the house was not built per Olmsted’s layout. New evidence reveals that the landscape plantings were selected by the property owners and not per the Olmsted firm. And, there are more discrepancies in the National Register nomination forms, such as an incorrect architectural style (Tudor.)
But, perhaps the most startling new disclosure involves how state and local historic preservation officials manipulated the process in a deceitful and unethical manner. Individuals representing the Kentucky Heritage Council (KHC), the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), and the Jefferson County (KY) Office of Historic Preservation and Archives (JCOHPA) used unprofessional tactics on the owner of the Drumanard during the period of 1988 to 1992 in order to intimidate the owner in placing this property on the National Register solely for the purpose of blocking progress of the East End Bridge. The result has been costs approaching a billion dollars and decades of delays of the East End Bridge Project in what is being called one of the biggest travesties ever orchestrated against the citizens of Metro Louisville.
In summary, the Drumanard “boundary increase” of the entire 55 acres is not a historic property and should not be on the National Register of Historic Places. It demeans the status and integrity of all properties on the National Register due to its illegitimacy as well as the egregious process that placed it there back in the late 80’s and early 90’s. The Drumanard property should be promptly removed from the National Register and the taxpayers should be spared paying the hundreds of millions of dollars for tunnels under this non-historic location.