Polishing an historical veneer

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Dentist turns downtown gateway home into office

By Ben Hyatt


A strong passion for historical beauty combined with a need for expansion for a growing dental practice has made for a perfect equation for one local dentist.

Records found in the Cynthiana-Harrison County Museum date the historical Palas building, located on the corner of Main and Bridge Street, back as far as 1877.

Standing the test of time, the Palas building, named after one of its former owners, is rich with history including serving as the home of doctors and as a tailor shop 

Not being totally cliche’, but things that stand the test of time, like the historic building, are what spark the interest of Dr. Neil Rush.

Dr. Rush, who came to Cynthiana in 1977 to begin a dental practice, has recently added value and a polishing  to one of Cynthiana’s historical buildings.

The project, or dream for that matter, began almost two years ago when Dr. Rush bought the corner building, located next door to his former office, in order to expand his growing dental practice.

The house, which was used as a rental property by former owner Gerald Whalen, was bought from Whalen by Dr. Rush and underwent a near full renovation.

“I brought up the idea of restoring the building to make it house my office and practice to my wife,” laughed Dr. Rush. “The look on her face as she inquired as to why I would undertake such a project at my advanced age was not the reaction I had hoped for.”

However, the temptation to restore the building, while adding some much needed space to his office, was overpowering enough to finally begin a restoration that took the saddened looking building back to its near original state.

“Our goal for the entire project was to restore the building and capture its original beauty,” said Dr. Rush. “There is a great historical appeal to the building and we wanted everyone to get to experience that as they traveled over the bridge into downtown Cynthiana.”

The restoration, added with a near 2,500 additional square feet of space for the dental practice area, now serves as a shinning reminder of the old historic beauty of downtown.

“My wife and I traveled around the city and even into historical parts of Lexington to find the look that we wanted,” said Dr. Rush. “After we found another building to model after, we set out to make something to be proud of.”

Inside the main office section of the building, patients are meet by originality from floor to ceiling including doors, baseboards and beautifully refinished hardwood floors.

“The main contractor, Steve Eads, did an outstanding job in using what was already here,” said Dr. Rush. “We were even able to bring back the outside facade of the building after some care and attention to detail.”

When asked why he chose to use an existing building to relocate his office, Dr. Rush said he sees a great need to preserve and take care of downtown.

“There are many people in the community that simply do not take time to care for the buildings in the downtown area,” said Dr. Rush. “However, there are those who are starting to see the importance of making a positive statement by investing some time and money into downtown.”

Dr. Rush said that he did not feel that the restoration was a financial burden, but an investment and asset for future generations.

“When the property became available, I saw an opportunity to take a liability and turn it into an asset,” said Dr. Rush. “The building will probably always be a dental practice now, so I see that I invested into our future and cleaned the entrance of our city up.”

Dr. Rush said his practice will continue to provide the same services at its new location.

“We have more room now and when I am ready to add more staff and possibly another dentist, I will have the space to do so,” said Dr. Rush.

 Dr. Rush said he is very thankful to his staff, friends and community members for the continued support and encouragement during the project.