Valley of Neglect

In 1980, The Lexington Leader published “Valley of Neglect,” a special twelve-page section that documented the plight of residents in Irishtown and Davis Bottom (a.k.a. Davistown). Written by reporter John Woestendiek with photographs by Ron Garrison, the award-winning article contains research, interviews and images of Davis Bottom at a time of deteriorating housing conditions and abject poverty. However, the strong spirit of this tight-knit neighborhood is reflected in the words of residents – some who still call Davis Bottom home.

In 2012, writer John Woestendiek provided two original copies of the newspaper article to The Davis Bottom History Preservation Project for research and educational use. The newspaper was photographed and converted into PDF files for posting on this website with the permission of the author and photographer Ron Garrison. All copyrights are retained by The Lexington Leader.

The Lexington Public Library has preserved all copies of The Lexington Leader (now The Lexington Herald-Leader) in its microfilm archive. The Lexington Leader’s photographic archive has been provided to the Special Collections, University of Kentucky. Our thanks to John Woestendiek and Ron Garrison.