When you combine the one of the hardest working person in Lexington with one of the kindest person in Lexington you can’t go wrong. Congrats Fred Mills- a Lexington icon. You are one of our finest.
BY Jack Dobbs, Lexington Herald Leader
June 28, 2020
In 1963, Fred Mills went to work as an usher at the Kentucky Theatre on East Main St. in downtown Lexington. Now, Mills is being honored for his preservation work of the theater.
Mills, now the general manager of the theater, won the John Wesley Hunt Award from the Blue Grass Trust for Historical Preservation. The award is given to an individual for lifelong service to historical preservation in Central Kentucky.
“It’s greatly appreciated,” Mills said. “I’m definitely very surprised.”
Mills said in 1987, a fire broke out in a building next door to the theater, which has been in operation since 1922. Mills said after the fire, then- Lexington Mayor Scotty Baesler managed to convince the city council to approve a renovation project for the historic theater.
“I’ve been blessed over the years to tell everyone that I have the best job in Lexington,” Mills said.
Mills is one of 13 Central Kentucky individuals or organizations honored this year by the Blue Grass Trust.
The African American Heritage Trail in Lexington was given the Barbara Hulette award, which commends efforts to preserve history, heritage and sense of community in Central Kentucky.
The trail was funded by Together Lexington, a group of 19 business and community leaders who held a series of meetings about race and other issues in 2017. The story in Lexington’s Black community is told through 12 markers spread around downtown, with the central marker located next to the Old Fayette County Courthouse.
“The goal was to cover from slavery through the Jim Crow era and the Civil Rights movement,” said Rufus Friday, one of the members of Together Lexington, special assistant to the President of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System and former publisher of the Herald-Leader.