Manchester Street Stories: Latitude’s Interview with Ferrell’s Donny Washbish in Lexington

Manchester Street Stories: Latitude’s Interview with Ferrell’s Donny Washbish in Lexington

Manchester Street Stories is an informal collection of stories and anecdotes featuring neighbors who live and work on Manchester Street in Lexington Kentucky’s Distillery District. Interviews and photos by Latitude Artist Community (now located on Manchester Street).

Interviews and photos by Sherri McGee and Morgan Alexander with Donny Washbish of Ferrell’s Care Care Center

“Doc” Ferrell was the original owner of of the Ferrell’s property many years ago.
Washbish says, “Semi Trucks would fill up on fuel and deliver it to gas stations in the region. The company stayed in the Ferrell family for years. His sons worked for him, and eventually it became an  auto mechanic shop. Once Mr. Ferrell passed away, the family sold the business.”
Washbish opened his business on December 1, 2005, retaining the name as it was already “well known.”
The neighborhood has changed in the seven years since, with the biggest shift coming from the “the addition of the Newtown Pike Extension, also known as Oliver Lewis Way. That new bridge totally redirects the flow of traffic from Manchester Street. I have seen a decrease in the number of customers. Fortunately, my wife does the marketing, so we haven’t been hit too badly. I find it interesting that the extension bridge sends traffic directly to the Alltech Brewing Co.

As for possible expansion at the nearby Rupp Arena, he says, “I’ve been to a few town meetings, and should probably go to more. I’m not sure I understand the idea of Manchester Street becoming ‘downtown.’ To me, downtown stops at Rupp Arena. Extensive renovations and expansions to the current Rupp Arena are enticing.It is outdated. I have been to the new Yum Center in Louisville. And, let me tell you, it is very nice! However, I have heard that it is already losing money. It cannot generate enough money to justify building it.”

His business’s location alongside Town Branch puts him at the center of another ongoing downtown discussion, uncovering the creek. He says, “the idea of another walking/biking trail, park, or Arboretum would just be competing with what we already have. I think the idea is to create something similar to San Antonio’s famous River Walk. Let’s face it, Town Branch is a creek! And, what would we do with the railroad that runs right over it? …I’m all for urban renewal and support[ing] new business, but I feel this section of Manchester Street is better left as industrial. We have the rock quarries, the landfill, and the recycling company, all of which operate very large, heavy, noisy trucks.”

Ferrell’s is positioned in one of Manchester’s low spots, and he points to a stain on a door of the office where the water came in during a 2006 flood. “The water did not come from the Town Branch creek,” he explains. “When they built up the railroad tracks, it created a very large gulley on either side of the tracks. Water can not be standing on tracks because the trains will not run. Rain came down from the small hills behind us, was caught in the ditch along the tracks which directed flood waters right into Ferrell’s parking lot, garage, and even on up into the office! The creek, however, did not overflow!”

He adds, “I took photos of the ‘river’ by the tracks. I contacted RJ Corman. His engineers came to take a look. They basically told me they couldn’t do anything about the situation. I started making phone calls to railroad/transportation department heads. I finally got in touch with the man at the very top…in Washington, DC. The very next day, trucks and workers arrived from RJ Corman to correct the problem.”

But back to cars. What’s the most memorable model he’s seen there? “I have a friend who owns a beautiful Porsche that’s worth $170,000. He brings it in from time to time.”

Leading to the final question: could he get a 1977 AMC Pacer back on the road? “Bring it in!” he says, “We’ll take a look at it.”

This article appears on page 14 of the November 1 print edition of Ace Weekly.