Maysville Kentucky Blog

The Maysville Kentucky Blog is your guide to the beautiful and historic small town of Maysville Kentucky, snuggled into the rolling hills along the Ohio River. Though this blog has been discontinued, you can get your Maysville Kentucky fix over at Ken Downing's Mason County Kentucky Blog @

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Chapter The Last; Nothing More To Write

Update: The historical tradition of Mason County Kentucky continues in Ken Downing's Mason County Kentucky Blog »

The title is a little misleading. There are in fact a great number of things that make Maysville Kentucky what it is and much of the story is yet untold. It's just how Saint Huckleberry ended his American tale, and I am just borrowing. A recent conversation with a complete stranger left me wondering how far I can personally take the story. I won't go into the details, but it left me thinking that I am a Kentuckian, not a Maysvillian. The story should really be told by someone who is. While the difference may be lost to some folks, it's no small thing, and I try my best to be as honest a man as I can be. While I may return to the story one day, I must, sadly, take my leave indefinitely.

The blog itself isn't going anywhere. According to the statistics, well over a hundred people pass here daily and I'll be keeping the archives up for them as well as future travelers. I'd also like to send a personal thank you to Mr. Ken Downing, who is true a Maysvillian, if ever there was one. His enthusiasm for the tale kept it going. I'd also like to say thanks to those who linked here, or mentioned us out in the blogosphere. Speaking of which, there's no reason not to continue the tale fellow bloggers. Just because I'm stepping down is no reason for you not to step up. With that in mind, I'll be leaving my email address up. Anyone out there with a related blog that wants to be linked to, drop me an email and I'll add it here.

I'm also releasing all of these posts into the Creative Commons. Click that little button below to learn more about it, but it basically says that you can pilfer the archives for your own purposes. Many of the images here are self-created or expired copyright, but you might want to double check on those. Some of them I just linked in and may not be released by their respective copyright holders.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

I'm sorry my friends. As Huckleberry said, nothing more to write. I'll leave you with our first post, dated November 6, 2005 below.

Yours ever,

Jeremy Parnell
March 6, 2007

A Wave Hello

One of the more charming things we encountered when my wife and I moved to the Maysville area many years ago is that when you drive along any of the roads in Maysville, and wave to a passing driver, they'll wave back! Most times they will return a smile as well. These are the things that make a small town great. As the years have passed, we have seen our Super Wal-Mart move into the area, bringing with it a small army of chain stores and restaurants. We've also seen many of our neighbors come and go. Just in the last two years, maybe as far back as five, we've seen this small town of neighbors grow like small towns tend to do across America. There's more business in the area, more people, and more traffic. Still, as times change as inevitably as leaves turn in the fall, the heart of Maysville has remained the same. Today we can look back over the seasons and see what we've always seen - people waving hello.

Other Maysville Kentucky Bloggers:

Mason County Kentucky Blog - Author Ken Downing

<send me your web address and I'll list it here>

Monday, March 05, 2007

Video File: Kerouac On The Steve Allen Show, 1959

Jack Kerouac was here! That's not too surprising. On The Road is full of so many cross-country adventures it'd be more surprising if he hadn't come through Maysville Kentucky at some point. But I actually have evidence, and I am surprised that this passage escaped me. My photographic memory must have been out of focus because, strangely, I remember the next part clearly. In any case, Kerouac wrote in On The Road:
I took the Washington bus; wasted some time there wandering around; went out of my way to see the Blue Ridge, heard the bird of Shenandoah and visited Stonewall Jackson's grave; at dusk stood expectorating in the Kanawha River and walked the hillbilly night of Charleston, West Virginia; at midnight Ashland, Kentucky, and a lonely girl under the marquee of a closed-up show. The dark and mysterious Ohio, and Cincinnati at dawn.

Ashland to Cincinnati by bus goes through Maysville Kentucky in the years before 1957 when the book was published. I can't imagine it taking any other route, especially with a reference to the "dark and mysterious Ohio" that suggests it followed the river to Cincy.

What a great find! Truth is, laying out all of the above is just subterfuge so I can get away with posting the following video of Kerouac reading excerpts from On The Road on the Steve Allen Show in 1959. If you have no idea who Kerouac is, watch the video:

Like many literary heroes, Kerouac succumbed to cirrhosis of the liver, the result of a life of heavy drinking, ten years after this show aired.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

New 2,100 Mile Underground Railroad Cycling Route

Maybe it's a little early to be talking about spring considering it is still quite cold outside. Spring is on the horizon, however, and when it does dawn with warmth, we will naturally be thinking about outdoor activities. One activity that seems to be greatly tied to the area is bicycling. I started noticing a number of cyclists flowing through the area some time back, but now they have even more incentive. Maysville Kentucky is a key point on a new 2,100 mile cycling route that follows the trail of the Underground Railroad from Mobile, Alabama, to Owen Sound, Ontario.

According to Jeff Lee, a cycling enthusiast from Mayslick who emailed us about the route:

This is a pretty big deal in the world of bicycle touring - there will be hundreds of people riding their loaded touring bicycles through our area this spring and summer, and for years to come.

I did a solo coast-to-coast bike trip last summer from Virginia to Oregon, following Adventure Cycling's TransAmerica route. I met people from all over the world who were doing it; I think it will be extremely cool to see all kinds of people bike through our area this summer.

I'm excited. Now that I know the length of the route, I will definitely be hounding cyclists for tales of their adventures. Speaking of which, here's Jeff's online journal he kept during his trip last year. He says he carried a laptop with him on the bike, and updated the site whenever he could:

Crossing The Country On A Cannondale »

You can find more information about Jeff's route and the new Underground Railroad route that passes through Old Washington and Maysville at the Adventure Cycling Association's website.

Thanks Jeff.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Looking to the Past, Moving Forward

In the interest of full disclosure, that's me there on the right. I dress for comfort, reject name-brands, and give little thought to my appearance. Most times that's how I go out in public. I dress up a little when it's appropriate, but that's the default me. I think my wife even bought that sweatshirt at Wal-Mart and those aren't Nikes I'm wearing. They're not even Chuck Taylors. I'm about as generic as it gets. It's not the best of, but is, modern wear.

I think it's important to say all of that because, with it, what I say next may come as a surprise. I miss the old days.

There was an article in the Cincinnati Post recently, talking about Case's Men's Wear closing downtown. The clothing shop has been a fixture of downtown Maysville, Kentucky, for 39 years. The article talked about the closing in the greater context of Main Street America falling victim to the Wal-Marts of commercialization and the olden days of when men and women would dress up to just go out in public. If you were a man, you wore a suit, a woman, skirt and blouse, the article said.

It may be Wal-Mart that caused the closing of shops like Case's but it's a whole other trend that has led to people like myself dressing down. Dressing up is always the classier way to go. That hasn't changed. What chipped away at that idea was an individual's yearning to express themselves individually. Instead of the IBM gray suit and tie, we have a multitude of ways an individual can express themselves, up to and including on the extreme end, Mimi from the Drew Carey show.

What we have really lost, and the article sort of conveys this, is a sense of communal spirit and identity. In our quest to find endless individual expression, we have lost the greater context of ourselves as individuals in a community of others. That's a real loss. Shops like Case's come and go, styles of fashion change with the times, but its not our fashion sense we have lost. We've lost each other.

What we need to find is not a better suit, or a better price. We need to augment our sense of self with a communal identity. That's what makes a town a town. As we move into the future, we need take with us that pearl from the past.

Full Story

Friday, March 02, 2007

Drama on the Court: Smith vs. Lofton

Uh oh, Maysville Kentucky is all about UK, and UK basketball. The University of Kentucky's coach is Tubby Smith. The biggest thorn in Tubby's side is Maysville-native Chris Lofton, who after being passed over by UK recruiters has led the Tennessee Volunteers in to an upset of Florida, the team that has usurped Kentucky’s spot atop the SEC. Some are calling for Smith's job and saying Lofton opened the door to it, like another Maysville-native who writes for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Mark Bradley.

Bradley wrote:

I’ve always been the holdout who believed, despite ample rumors to the contrary, Smith wasn’t leaving Kentucky for any other job anywhere, but now I don’t know. When the AD can’t publicly support the basketball coach, is it time for the coach to go?

And if Tubby departs, won’t Lofton — a Maysville guy, of all things — be remembered as the player who opened the door?

Full Story

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Union Monument & Women in the Civil War

We were talking the other day in The Pulse about how Maysville Kentucky and Mason County were mostly sympathetic to the South during the Civil War. This isn't to say that there wasn't a strong Union presence as well. Probably because of its situation as a shipping port on the Ohio River, Maysville had to cater to both interests. A large gathering of Union proponents took place near Maysville in 1861. An artist who attended that event wrote:

"This was the largest gathering I have seen for years. There were speakers from Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee. Among those from the last-named State was Hon. Horace Maynard. Colonel Charles Marshall, a prominent citizen of this community (Mason), contemplates the establishment of a camp in the vicinity of this place."

Maysville was also instrumental in shipping arms to Union troops on the frontlines in the South.

We quoted the blogger saying that "only one such monument was erected to Union soldiers and that was to the soldiers of mountainous Lewis County on the Court House lawn in Vanceburg." That's not entirely accurate. It is true that only a handful of Union monuments were built in Kentucky after the Civil War, but Mason County has one of these rare monuments in the Maysville Cemetery (pictured above). It was erected in 1887 to honor the men who volunteered in the Union Army from Mason County, Kentucky (perhaps the blogger meant directly after the Civil War).

What makes our monument unique is that it gives a nod to the role of women in the Civil War. In the nook of the second section from the bottom is a female figure personifying Memory. Very few war monuments across the board have any type of female presence, which is odd because they play such prominent roles in wartime. During the Civil War, they worked in hospitals, as spies for both sides, and in other capacities. There are even some documented cases of women dressing as men to fight alongside their husbands.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Craft Kills: Radical Lace & Subversive Knitting

Althea Merback, Gloves, 2005, Wire-knitted silk, Collection Kentucky Gateway Museum Center
Another great lead from the Ledger Independent: The Kathleen Savage Browning Miniatures Collection will be a key feature at the Kentucky Gateway Museum Center when construction is complete and it opens later this year, but pieces from that collection are currently on display at The Museum of Art and Design in New York City. Four pieces in total by micro-knit artist Althea Merback are loaned from the collection, including a pair of ancient-Greek-inspired gloves (pictured left-above).

The exhibit is called Radical Lace & Subversive Knitting. A spokesperson for the museum said the exhibit "explores the phenomenal rise to prominence of knitting, crocheting and lace making in the world of contemporary artists from around the world." Yeah, maybe, but it's much cooler than that.

According to the museum's website, the exhibit, which features 27 artists from seven countries, explores "[r]adical reformers in the world of knitting and lace making [that] have overthrown the status quo from the inside out. In the space of ten years, knitting has emerged from the 'loving hands at home' hobbyist's den into museums and galleries worldwide."

Some pieces even provide social commentary. One piece, for example, highlights the countries that have publically detonated nuclear weapons. Another piece uses "computer software that translates video images into 'knitted' images to educate about sweatshop labor." Freddie Robins's Craft Kills piece (pictured right-above) is described as "a self-portrait that plays with our notions of craft as a passive activity."

Full Story

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

R.I.P. Eagle Creek Covered Bridge

I was reading the recent coverage in the Ledger Independent about the Flood of '97 and was immediately reminded of a bridge that I loved, that used to be over Eagle Creek, just north of Ripley, Ohio. It fell victim to the rising waters that swept through the area 10 years ago this week. It was a historical covered bridge built in 1872 and they had just built a modern parallel bypass in the hopes of preserving it for future generations. Sadly, their plan backfired. The supports on the new bridge caused the water to flow with more force, and the Eagle Creek Covered Bridge was lost.

Eagle Creek covered bridge

It's not the most devastating thing to have happened during the flood. I believe several people lost their lives. The Ledger reported that the flood cost Maysville around $100,000 to keep the water out and in areas not protected by a floodwall, the costs were much higher.

Still, without diminishing all of that, the bridge over Eagle Creek is what I remember. I spent a lot of time around it during my teen years, since my parents lived just up the road. Yes, I admit, some of those sweetheart J + ? carvings were mine. Though I'm about a decade older, haven't carved up historic landmarks in quite some time, and have a new sweetheart, things like that aren't supposed to just wash away.

R.I.P. Eagle Creek Bridge.

For more photos of Ohio covered bridges, click here.

Monday, February 26, 2007

The Pulse: Maysville Kentucky Was Confederate

This week's Pulse is from "Crow" at MySpace. Her blog post quite extensively covers the history of the Civil War in Kentucky, but here's the blip about Maysville:
After the war Confederate monuments were erected over the state, on court-house lawns, in cemeteries, and in city parks. However, only one such monument was erected to Union soldiers and that was to the soldiers of mountainous Lewis County on the Court House lawn in Vanceburg. This is said to be the only statue of its kind south of the Ohio River. Lewis County was intensely loyal to the Union and is a Republican party stronghold, quite different from its neighboring county of Mason to the west, which has Maysville as its county seat, a town steeped in the traditions and charm of an old Southern river town.

Read the full post

Two counties side by side. Lewis County went Union. Mason County went Confederate.

The Pulse is a weekly series at the Maysville Kentucky Blog where we pull something we found in the blogosphere that relates to Maysville and share it with our readers.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Fossil Hunting in Maysville Kentucky

Fossil hunting is considered to be a relaxing and rewarding year-round hobby and the Maysville Kentucky area is a favorite spot for fossil collectors across the region.

Pictured here is the Dry Dredgers Group on a fieldtrip to Maysville in 2003. The Dry Dredgers are an association of amateur geologists established in 1942.

More Pics