Frankfort Heritage Lecture Series

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The Frankfort Heritage Lecture Series explores themes in Frankfort and Franklin County cultural history - the big, small, and tangential - including the people, places, events, industries, and organizations that shaped our community and environment. The series also includes topics in historic preservation such as architecture, archaeology, public policy, and more.

Registration opens one month prior to each event. For more information, contact Diane Dehoney at (502) 352-2665 x108 or

Sponsored by the Frankfort Heritage Week Coalition and PSPL.

Dr. Richard Taylor

Photo of Dr. Richard Taylor

Bourbon enthusiasts worldwide are familiar with Col. E. H. Taylor, Jr. for his reputation as the founding father of the modern bourbon industry. However, the Taylor family's influence on Frankfort can trace its roots back to the earliest pioneer days of Kentucky. This presentation will discuss the lives, influence, and legacies of select early members of this prominent Kentucky family, including surveyor Hancock Taylor, Commodore Richard Taylor, Reuben Taylor, half-brothers "Black Dick" and "Hopping Dick" Taylor, and their relation to the founders of Leestown for whom the town was named.

Dr. Richard Lawrence Taylor is the author of numerous collections of poetry, two historical novels, and several books relating to Kentucky history, including Elkhorn: Evolution of a Kentucky Landscape. A former Kentucky Poet Laureate, he has received two creative writing fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts as well as an Al Smith Award from the Kentucky Arts Council. Educated at the University of Kentucky (bachelors and Ph.D. in English), he also holds a masters degree (English) and a J.D. from the University of Louisville. Practicing law for a few months, he gave up legal practice, a leave-taking he regards as his gift to the Commonwealth of Kentucky. During graduate school he taught in high schools across Kentucky with the Poetry-in-the-Schools Program through the Kentucky Arts Council, editing an anthology of student writing called Cloud Bumping. 

Embarking on a career in education, he taught at Kentucky State University in Frankfort until retiring in 2008. During that time he taught in the Governor's School for the Arts as well as serving as director of the Governor's Scholars Program on two campuses. He also spent a year in Denmark as a scholar-teacher in the Fulbright Program, also teaching a graduate course at Kangwon University in Korea as well as short periods teaching abroad in England and Ireland in a studies-abroad program. He has received publication awards from the Kentucky Historical Society and the Thomas D. Clark Medallion for his Elkhorn book as well as receiving a Distinguished Professor Award at KSU. Recently retired after fourteen years from Transylvania University as Kenan Visiting Writer, he is co-owner of Poor Richard's Books and lives on a small farm outside Frankfort, Kentucky.

Mack Cox

Photo of Mack Cox

The first of two short lectures will explore early Frankfort furniture dating from about 1795 to 1820. The second documents decorative inlay in early Kentucky furniture from the same period. The first will be developed for this presentation and the latter was developed for a conference organized by Winterthur Museum in Delaware and the Philadelphia Museum of Fine Art titled “The Wonder of Wood: Decorative Inlay and Marquetry in Europe and America, 1600-1900” that occurred in April of 2022. Both will be fast-paced, graphics-rich introductions to Kentucky furniture made before the steamboat era when the Commonwealth was commercially isolated from the east coast by a vast wilderness and was part of the early American West.

Mack Cox is a researcher and collector of early Kentucky-made furniture. A Kentucky native, Mack received BS and MS degrees in geology from Eastern Kentucky University and pursued an oil and gas career from which he retired in 2017. He and his wife Sharon began collecting early Kentucky material about 2005, and their collection was covered in the July/August 2011 issue of The Magazine Antiques (“The Kentucky Collection of Sharon and Mack Cox” by Daniel Kurt Ackermann). In 2013, their collection covered 34 pages, and was described as “one of the finest assemblages of antebellum Kentucky material” in the book Collecting Kentucky 1790-1860 by Lacer & Howard.

Mack currently serves on the executive committee and board of the Henry Clay Memorial Foundation. He also serves on advisory boards for the Colonial Williamsburg Art Museums in Virginia, the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts (MESDA) in North Carolina, and The Magazine Antiques in New York City. He, along with his wife, Sharon are regional representatives for MESDA’s Object Database and have submitted over 100 surveys of Kentucky material. He has lectured at numerous Kentucky locations and for the Decorative Arts Trust in Philadelphia, the Washington, D.C. Decorative Arts Forum, Winterthur Museum (Delaware) and the Philadelphia Museum of Fine Arts, the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts, Colonial Williamsburg, and Historic Deerfield in Massachusetts.

Kentucky furniture is not well documented and the connections to Kentucky are being lost at an alarming rate. Mack’s primary mission in retirement is to discover and document Kentucky furniture groups to guide future studies and he is considered a leading authority on Kentucky furniture.

Registration begins March 1.

Dr. William "Drew" Andrews

Photo of Dr. William "Drew" Andrews

The rocks under our landscape play a critical role in defining the shape and the characteristics of the land we live on. Landforms, streams, resources, and natural hazards are all related to the geology of an area. This presentation will explore the ancient geologic environments and processes responsible for the rocks and landforms around Frankfort, and discuss how rocks are important to our history, transportation, recreation, and economy.

Dr. Drew Andrews is the Acting Director of the Kentucky Geological Survey (KGS), where he has worked since 1996. Most recently, he was the Head of the Geologic Mapping Section of KGS. With expertise in geographic information systems (GIS), geomorphology, and geologic mapping, Drew is also an adjunct assistant professor of geology at the University of Kentucky's Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences.

A life-long Kentuckian born in Frankfort, Drew received his Ph.D. in Geological Sciences from the University of Kentucky, is a Fellow of the Geological Society of America and the Kentucky Society of Professional Geologists, and is licensed as a professional geologist in Kentucky.

Registration begins April 1.

Tressa Brown

Photo of Tressa Brown

American Indian communities have been in Kentucky for more than 11,000 years. When Euro-Americans settled here, Shawnee, Cherokee, and Chickasaw, among others, already lived here. Myths and misconceptions about American Indian people permeate many sources of information. We all dispel some of the myths about native people that persist, discuss Kentucky's native heritage, and briefly review its long history.

Tressa Brown received her B.A. in Biology and Anthropology at Transylvania University and her M.A. in Anthropology and Museum Studies from Arizona State University. She is currently the coordinator for the Kentucky Native American Heritage Commission, the Kentucky African American Heritage Commission, and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission. She has worked for the past 25 years providing Native American educational programming for schools and the public.

Her primary focus has been to identify the stereotypes and myths about Native Americans in general and Kentucky's Native people in particular. Her position at KHC is to provide accurate information to educators and the public about Kentucky's American Indian history, the diversity of Native cultures, as well as the issues affecting Native people in contemporary society.

Registration begins May 1.

Past Presenters

Roda Ferraro

Keeneland Library's traveling exhibit, The Heart of the Turf: Racing's Black Pioneers, highlights the lives and careers of 80 African American horsemen and women from the mid-1800s to today.

Howard W. Cox

A fresh examination of the life and crimes of the highest-ranking federal official ever tried for treason and espionage, American Traitor examines the career of the notorious Gen.

Jessica Stavros

In the late 19th century, famed American artist and poet Robert Burns Wilson made Frankfort his adoptive home. During his time here, Wilson had a deep friendship with fellow artist Paul Sawyier and Mary Mason Scott, the last member of the Brown family to live in Liberty Hall.