County trying to remove restrictions on Crawford House

Published 4:17 pm Monday, January 25, 2021

Historic Perryville home in need of repairs

Boyle County Fiscal Court wants to create a deed of correction saying certain restrictions on the Crawford House in Perryville were not meant to apply, said Boyle County Attorney Chris Herron. He said the county has been working with the U.S. Department of the Interior National Park Service to get them on board. The house is currently in bad condition and the county hopes it can serve a useful purpose in the future and be restored, according to Herron.

The building has historical significance linked to the Battle of Perryville and is therefore registered with the National Park Service. Herron said historically, the building was used by Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg as headquarters during the battle. A spring in the back of the house gave water supply to troops, he said. The structure is located at 935 and 881 Harrodsburg Road in Perryville.

In 1932, Boyle County fiscal court acquired a tract of land in Perryville by the Chaplin River and, in 1938, fiscal court acquired an adjoining tract of land. The Crawford House was on one of these two tracts, Herron said.

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In late 1983, fiscal court created a deed of restriction regarding the tracts as it received federal assistance from the National Park Service in accordance with the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act of 1965, Herron said. According to one of the law’s requirements, the property couldn’t be converted to use for anything other than outdoor recreation uses by transfer, sale or other manner unless with written approval by the Secretary of the Interior. At this point, the county still owned the property, but it has not owned the property in years. Ownership over the property has shifted multiple times.

Early 1998, fiscal court conveyed the land to the Perryville Battlefield Preservation Association, which is now the organization Main Street Perryville, via a charitable deed of conveyance. The county imposed six conditions on the deed for PBPA to follow.

Then, the property was conveyed back to the county in late 2011 because PBPA said it could not adhere to one of the conditions, Herron said.

“Specifically, PBPA said it could not adhere to condition number four which reads ‘That said property be adequately maintained to include weed and grass control and routine yearly maintenance to preserve integrity of all structures (excepting the clapboard garage which is beyond repair; the standards imposed on the PBPA shall be no greater than that exercised by the fiscal court; photographs may be taken to establish a baseline record of current conditions,’” Herron said in an email.

Now that the county had the property again, in 2015 the fiscal court “deeded the land with house to the Commonwealth of Kentucky, for the use and benefit of the Department of Parks, an agency of the Commonwealth of Kentucky,” Herron said.

“At that time the entire property including the house was valued at approximately $30,000,” Herron said. “Boyle conveyed to the Parks as Boyle felt the Commonwealth of Kentucky by and through the Finance and Administration Cabinet acting on behalf of the Tourism, Arts, and Heritage Cabinet could do a better job securing and preserving the Crawford House (situated on such tract of property) as a structure of historical significance and otherwise enhance the condition of the property to afford the public the opportunity to enjoy that historical significance.”

Herron said since the house is now in bad condition, the county wants an approximately one-acre tract of land that would include the Crawford House to be created “via survey.”

“If we can go back in time and remove the restriction of it not being converted to other than public outdoor recreation uses (whether by transfer, sale, or in any other manner) without the express written approval of the Secretary of the Interior then the one acre with Crawford House could be sold to a private purchaser,” he said.

Herron said that “supposedly,” a potential buyer has expressed interest in the house, restoring it and turning it into a bed and breakfast. He said the county is simply trying to remove a restriction accidentally placed on it when the deed was conveyed from the county in hopes someone will restore the property.

“We just don’t want the building to fall down as it has great historical significance,” he said.