From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Lee's Row and Davis Bottom (Lexington, KY)

This area of Lexington is also referred to as Davis Bottoms, and of late, Davistown. Writer J. Kellogg called Lee's Row an "antebellum Negro settlement." It is one of the oldest and poorest areas of Lexington; today the entire area is separated by the Versailles Road viaduct from the Irishtown neighborhood. Lee's Row and Davistown were developed by African Americans at the end of the Civil War on what was at that time the periphery of the city at the bottom of a steep hill along the railroad tracks. In 1880 there were 45 households in Lee's Row and 30 households in Davistown; when combined the neighborhoods made up one of Lexington's nine Negro neighborhood clusters. White families started to move into the area in the early 1900s, making up 50% of the population by the 1950s. Forty years later, whites constituted 65% of the residents. In 2003 plans were developed to raze the homes in lower Davistown in preparation for the extension of Newtown Pike and a 155-unit housing development, playgrounds, a park, and other development. For more see J. Kellogg, "The Formation of Black Residential Areas in Lexington, Kentucky, 1865-1887," The Journal of Southern History, vol. 48, issue 1 (Feb. 1982), pp. 21-52; "Negro Urban Clusters in the Postbellum South," Geographical Review, vol. 61, issue 3 (July 1977), pp. 310-321; "Live in 'The Bottom,' they stay because it feels like home, neighbors say," Lexington Herald-Leader, 11/15/1995; and "Neighborhood will be razed for road extension - Davistown meets Newtown Pike longtime residents anxious about changes," Lexington Herald-Leader, 11/15/2003.


Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: The Journal of southern history (periodical)
NKAA Source: Geographical review (periodical)
NKAA Source: Lexington herald-leader (newspaper)

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Lee's Row and Davis Bottom (Lexington, KY),” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed April 20, 2021,

Last modified: 2017-07-19 17:51:17