Photos from the Lexington Herald-Leader archives updated daily

Woolworth announces closing, 1989

The exterior of the F.W. Woolworth Co., Nov. 3, 1989, after it was announced that the five-and-dime store at 106 West Main Street would close its doors after 88 years in downtown Lexington. Woolworth, which opened its first Lexington store in 1901, had occupied this site since Sept. 9, 1948. Woolworth stores became fixtures in downtowns across the country, but the trend toward suburban malls and competition from discounters, including Kmart and Walmart, began to undercut the company by the 1960s. The company had signed a 40-year lease that was credited with keeping the store open during the 1960s and 1970s, when other retailers were forced to leave downtown Lexington. Lease payments were low enough that Woolworth could survive as the downtown declined and its sales decreased from the peaks of the 1950s and early 1960s. After closing, the building become one of Lexington’s most notorious eyesores, sitting empty for more than a decade before being torn down in 2004 and turned into a parking lot. The other buildings on that block were razed in 2008 to make way for the CentrePointe development. Photo by Frank Anderson | Staff

 

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Christmas shoppers at Woolworth’s, 1949

Christmas shoppers in front of the F.W. Woolworth store in downtown Lexington in December 1949. Click on the image for a closer look. The popular five-and-dime store opened Sept. 9, 1948, at 106-122 West Main Street. The store closed in 1990 and was demolished in 2004. The other buildings on that block were razed to make way for the CentrePointe development. Lexington’s shopping habits have changed markedly over the years — including where we shop and how we shop. In 1949, when 100,000 people turned out for the downtown Christmas parade and shoppers went to Purcell’s to see the elaborate department displays, no one could have imagined malls, Hamburg Pavilion, The Summit or Amazon.com. Read more here on how Christmas shopping in Lexington has changed in 70 years. Herald-Leader archive photo

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Bruce Springsteen, E Street Band at Rupp Arena, 1984

Bruce Springsteen sang and guitarist Nils Lofgren played during a Dec. 11, 1984, concert at Rupp Arena. “I’m a cool, rocking daddy in the U.S.A.,” Springsteen screamed during the opening of the show to the sellout crowd of more than 23,000 fans. Springsteen and his E Street Band opened the show with the title track to his album “Born in the U.S.A.” Before he sang another popular song, “My Hometown,” he took a moment to explain his involvement with local food drives and to urge support for the local God’s Pantry food crisis center and Good Foods Co-op. “If you’ve got a lot, then give a little,” he said before starting the song, “because this your hometown.” The Boss, as the New Jersey native is sometimes known, even tried his had at comedy with the crowd, who paid $16 for a ticket. During “Pink Cadillac,” he hushed the E Streeters to tell one of the many extended stories that were among the show’s highlights. This one had him explaining that the Garden of Eden, according the latest theologoical studies, was “10 miles south of Jersey City, off the New Jersey Turnpike. That’s why they call it the Garden State.” Other songs included “Born to Run,” “Cadillac Ranch,” “Glory Days,” and “Dancing in the Dark.” During an encore, the group busted out “My Old Kentucky Home” before closing the four-hour show. “You all must be pretty tired by now, right?” he said before donning a Santa Claus cap and preparing for the finale of “Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town.” Click here to see another image from our archives from the concert. Photo by Charles Bertram | Staff

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Christmas youth choir, 1983

Members of the Hillcrest Baptist Church youth choir performed during a Christmas program at the church on Dec. 21, 1983. This year, a traditional holiday sing-along, the Alltech Celebration of Song, will start at 3 p.m. Sunday in the atrium inside The Square in downtown Lexington. Photo by Charles Bertram | Staff

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Valley High cheerleaders in action, 1956

Valley High School cheerleaders whooped it up on  March 15, 1956 during the Valley-Henderson game in the Kentucky State High School Basketball Tournament at Memorial Coliseum in Lexington. Henderson won, 80-62. This year’s KHSAA State Competitive Cheer Championships conclude Saturday at Altech Arena. Herald-Leader Archive Photo

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UK volleyball team in SEC action, 1983

The University of Kentucky’s Kim Martinsen, left, and Marsha Bond defended a shot by the University of Mississippi’s Jennifer Maginnis in a match at Memorial Coliseum on Nov. 19, 1983. Kentucky won the SEC tournament match, 3-0. The 1983 team finished with a 44-7 record. They were the SEC champions with a 5-0 record and the SEC Tournament champions, and they made the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight. This year’s UK volleyball team will host the regional round of the 2017 NCAA volleyball tournament Friday and Saturday in Memorial Coliseum. The Wildcats play Brigham Young University at noon Friday. Photo by Ron Garrison | Staff

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Santa’s Forest tree lot, 1987

Steve Daniels, a worker at Santa’s Forest, a Christmas tree lot behind Hills Department Store in South Park Shopping Center, walked among the 2,700 Scotch pines and other evergreens looking for a tree to put on display in late November 1987. Photo by David Perry | Staff

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Front page the last time Kentucky played Northwestern in football, 1928

The front page of the Oct. 21, 1928, Lexington Herald, including coverage of the only previous football meeting between the University of Kentucky and Northwestern University, a 7-0 loss for UK. The two teams will play in the Music City Bowl on Friday, Dec. 29. Click on the image for a closer look. The football story runs down the left column. Among the other stories on the page include one in the lower right corner with the headline “What’s the odds? Telepathist will try to communicate with Mars.” The price of the 38-page newspaper was 5 cents.

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Gratz Park Inn opening, 1987

Elizabeth and Arlyn Wagner checked out a room of the new Gratz Park Inn during a tour of the downtown hotel at its official opening on Aug. 24, 1987. The inn was sold recently, and it closed last week for renovations that are expected to take several months. One of the new owners said the iconic downtown hotel will reopen in the spring as a luxury Hilton boutique property with a new name. Click here to an image from our archives of the building before it opened and sat empty for 11 years. Photo by Steven R. Nickerson | Staff

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World Coal Hole, 1983

Long before the CentrePointe development, another downtown block sat undeveloped. It was known by locals as the World Coal Hole. In July 1983, this was the block where the Phoenix Hotel once stood. The Phoenix was demolished in 1981 and 1982 by Wallace Wilkinson, who planned to use the site to build the World Coal Center skyscraper. It was never built, and the site eventually was developed as the Park Plaza Apartments, the downtown Public Library and Phoenix Park. Photo by David Cooper

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