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The Central Kentucky Chapter is the oldest of AIA Kentucky’s chapters. Established on February 3, 1908, it was the state’s only AIA chapter until 1952 when the Eastern Kentucky Chapter was organized. AIA Kentucky was formed in 1962. Known as the “CKC”, this chapter has always been headquartered in Louisville, with AIA members throughout the central, southern, and western regions of Kentucky.
Louisville architect Charles Clarke was selected to be the first president. He was also the first Kentucky architect to join the Western Society of Architects in 1882. But he died on March 9, 1908, and his partner, Arthur Loomis, fulfilled the remainder of the year as president. Loomis was a well-known architect who created many local landmarks: Speed Art Museum, Conrad-Caldwell House, Levy Building; St. Peter’s Church; St. Paul’s Church; etc.
To promote architecture in the city and state, the chapter presented an exhibition of architecture in 1912. This event involved all the prominent Kentucky architects of the period. As a result, a book was published that catalogued all the building projects that the various firms had produced. This book is still referenced today as a valuable historical resource.
James Murphy, who was president when this exhibit was held, was a very active member of the chapter. He was the brother to D. X. Murphy, whose firm created Churchill Downs, the old Jefferson County Jail, and other notable buildings. Their firm still operates today under the name of Luckett & Farley. James Murphy was a vocal advocate for better civic design and planning. His efforts eventually led to the state’s first planning commission in 1928, of which he became the first chairman.
The list of former presidents is a ‘who’s who’ of legendary architects within Louisville and Kentucky, a few of which are: Mason Maury; Brinton B. Davis; Herman Wischmeyer; C. Julian Oberwarth; Frederick Morgan; Frederick Louis; as well as several father and sons: Arnold Judd, (Sr. and Jr.) and Thomas Dade Luckett (II and III).