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Preservationists Racing to Meet Fundraising Goal to Restore Historic Plantation House


Preservationists say they’re making progress toward their fundraising goal for the restoration of a 19th century plantation house in Bardstown, but a deadline is looming.The group is trying to raise $500,000  for Anatok.   The property, now owned by nearby Bethlehem High School, was the birthplace of Daniel Rudd, a former slave who became a prominent journalist and the founder of the National Black Catholic Congress.Bethlehem officials say the school needs room to expand, and originally planned to dismantle the antebellum mansion and use some of its elements for an outdoor classroom and a monument to Rudd’s legacy.  Preservationists won an injunction to stop the work.  Under a mediation plan, the group has until the end of this month to raise the money needed to turn the home into classrooms and a fine arts center.  "This is a very important site and every little bit helps.  It matters to everybody and it certainly matters to the legacy of Daniel Rudd and to the students of Bethlehem High School," said Rachel Kennedy, executive director of Preservation Kentucky, which held a press conference today at the Cathedral of the Assumption.    The cathedral, like Bethlehem, is part of the Catholic Archdiocese of Louisville. Kennedy says the group is about $64,000 shy of meeting a challenge grant that would put the total at $300,000.     

Rick Howlett is host of WFPL's weekly talk show, "In Conversation." Email Rick at rhowlett@lpm.org.