1851 – 1925
Grocer and Horsemen. Preston Kinzea Stone opened a small grocery store in Georgetown, Kentucky, during 1876 “with only two hundred dollars” to his name. He was extremely successful and expanded into the wholesale grocery business. He became wealthy and had a number of interests. He also became a horseman, with thoroughbred and trotters, and won the Kentucky Derby in 1891.
He was born in 1851 in Bourbon County, Kentucky. He grew up in Paris and Lexington. In the late 1870s, he established the Maud S. Tobacco Company, that manufactured the “Maud S. Twist” Tobacco. In April 1892, he incorporated the Old Kentucky Tobacco Company. This firm manufactured tobacco products from a three-story factory on Maddox Street in Georgetown. In 1892, he was a founder of the Georgetown Water Company, that operated the works for Georgetown and expanded into electrical generation (supplying the city’s first electric lights). He also owned the Victorian business block on the north side of West Main Street.
Stone also became involved in the horse business in the 1880s. His most notable thoroughbred was Kingman, which won the Kentucky Derby in 1891. Kingman also won the Phoenix Stakes at the old Kentucky Association in Lexington, Latonia Derby and St. Paul Free Handicap. His record of accomplishment was ten wins in twenty-eight starts, with purses of $19,365. He also owned Dick Welles (which in the 1890s held the world’s mile record for trotters), The Admiral, a standardbred champion, and Sweep (sire of 46 stakes winners).
He built a large mansion known as “Kenston” on West Main Street in Georgetown. It was built in the Romanesque style, with a three story circular tower and gabled roof. He frequently entertained there.
“Kenston” on West Main Street
In 1908, he sold his grocery businesses and turned to his other interests. In 1908, he became a founder in the Lexington Motor Car Company - becoming Vice President and majority stockholders. He purchased two of the first Lexington Motor Cars in 1909, one being a specially built luxury limousine (that was fabricated to his designs). He sold his interests in 1910 at a profit, after electing not to invest the funds to cover the growing working capital needs of the company.
He was the Mayor of Georgetown from 1914 to 1918. In 1922, he sold his rights to Big (Royal) Spring in Georgetown to the city for its municipal water works. He was also a founder and director of the Phoenix & Third National Bank and the Phoenix & Third Trust Company in Lexington during the 1910s.
His other interests included the Buffalo Springs Distillery (distillers of the “Buffalo Springs” and “Old Stamping Ground” Whiskies), Stamping Ground, Kentucky; Kingman Oil Company in Kansas (that owned thirty thousand acres), real estate ventures in five states (including Chattanooga and Birmingham); fifty three thousand acres of cotton and sugar lands in Cuba; and phosphates lands in Florida. [i]
[i] “Kinzea Stone,” by Tracey Gantz, The Blood-Horse, April 26, 1980, page 2236–44, Scott County Kentucky: A History, Lindsay Apple (Editor), Scott County Historical Society, Georgetown, Kentucky, 1993, page 228 –29, 231, 255, 261, 283, 290, 306, 342, 368 and 385, The Best of Scott County, Pediment Group, Vancouver, Washington, 2000, page 34, A History of Scott County As Told By Selected Buildings, Ann Bolton Bevins, Georgetown, Kentucky, 1989, page 236–38 and The Georgetown Times, Georgetown, Kentucky, March 11, 1925, page 1, column 3.