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 @

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Maysville Kentucky: Six Degrees From Billy the Kid

John William Poe was born on October 17, 1850 and was raised on his grandfather's farm in Maysville Kentucky. By the age of 15, he had developed a yearning to go West and his travels took him to Missouri, Kansas, Texas, and eventually the New Mexico territory. He was a buffalo hunter, cattleman, stock detective for Charles Goodnight, lawman in Texas and New Mexico, and banker. John William Poe married Sophie Alberding on May 5, 1883. Their only child lived a few hours.

While serving as Sheriff of Lincoln County, New Mexico, Poe became friends with Pat Garrett and John Chisum. His most famous experience occurred when he accompanied Garrett to Pete Maxwell's ranch near Fort Sumner. Garrett went inside. Waiting outside, Poe saw William Bonney (Billy the Kid) enter the ranch house, though he did not recognize him. Moments later, he heard the gunfire when Billy the Kid was shot and killed by Pat Garrett. Later he wrote several articles for newspapers and books about the death of Billy the Kid and his experiences.

Note: There was a follow up to this article on 1/25/2007. You can find that here.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Suggestion Box

Hello folks. Today there will be no interesting facts about Maysville or anything like that. Today's post is all about you and what you want. As far as we know, the Maysville Kentucky Blog is the only blog in Maysville all about Maysville, all the time. We've been building some neat new features here behind the scenes and plan to roll them out very soon. But before we do that, we wanted to give the reader base a chance to speak up and tell us what they want to see here in the near future at this site. We want to see if what we think you want matches what you actually want.

So here's what you do. Send an email to the following address with any rants, raves, or ideas you may have. What have you liked in the past, what would you like to see more of, that sort of thing. Is the site easy to use? Do you have trouble using it? Is there a new feature you think it absolutely must have... Anything you can think of. You can, of course, send anonymous emails telling us off. That's fine too : )

So drop us a line in our virtual suggestion box. If what you're looking for is compelling enough, you just may see it here in the near future. I won't tell you what we've already got line up (it's all top secret hush, hush). But ultimately it's you that has control over what you see here. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Old Washington Stone Pavement Photograph


It's difficult to put a date on this photograph, but it's obviously of the Old Washington Kentucky main street. The stone pavement seen in this picture is said to date back at least 150 years and still exist in many areas along the main street today.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Nick Clooney in The Encyclopedia of Northern KY

An exciting new project is currently under way. It's called The Encyclopedia of Northern Kentucky, and it's slated to be published in 2007 by the University Press of Kentucky. Claimed to be the definitive guide to the history of Northern Kentucky, it will have 1,200 pages with over 2,100 entries. One of those entries (there's reportedly several on Maysville Kentucky and Mason County) is about local celebrity Nick Clooney.

Each Monday The Cincinnati Post prints excerpts from the forthcoming Encyclopedia of Northern Kentucky. Today's entry was Nick Clooney's, written by his wife, Nina Clooney.

Due to the necessity for their mother to find work in Cincinnati, Nick and his sisters Rosemary Clooney and Betty stayed in Maysville with their Grandmother Guilfoyle most of the time.

The children listened to radio broadcasts on Cincinnati station WLW, as well as other radio stations, and fell in love with the wonderful radio voices that spoke and sang to them. In their teens, they followed their dreams: Rosemary and Betty left Maysville to pursue successful singing careers and Nick took a job at age 16 at Maysville radio station WFTM, which launched a long and distinguished career in broadcasting.

The Full Nick Clooney Entry

More about The Encyclopedia of Northern Kentucky

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Bennie Anderson and the Drifters Free Concert

Tonight at 7pm at the Maysville Community & Technical College lawn, there will be a free concert with Bernie Anderson and the Drifters!
Formed in 1953, The Drifters are a trend setting Rhythm & Blues group with numerous chart-topping hits to their credit. First entering Billboard's Top 40 in June 1959 with "There Goes My Baby", The Drifters went all the way to the number two position. The hits were non-stop as the Drifters rose in popularity on Billboard's Top 40 on the Atlantic record label.

In September of 1960, The Drifters hit again with, "Save the Last Dance for Me", a number one recording that spent fourteen weeks on Billboard's Top 40. "Up on the Roof", made 1962 a memorable year followed in 1963 by the ever-popular "On Broadway". In July of 1964 The Drifters entered the Top 40 again with the unforgettable "Under the Boardwalk", a number four hit single that spent twelve weeks on the charts.

Since their chart-topping days, The Drifters have continued to entertain thousands on the concert stage and at corporate events and conventions from coast to coast. Combining their million selling hits with current chart favorites, The Drifters leave audiences everywhere filled with nostalgia and hungry for more.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Courtside With Danny Weddle

As most locals know, Danny Weddle is a sports commentator with WFTM radio. Now he's a blogger as well! For up-to-date info on Maysville Kentucky sports, check out the Courtside With Danny Weddle blog.
Everyone else is blogging, so I thought what the heck, let's give it a try... Maysville is a great sports town with a long tradition of championship teams... From the Mason County Royals football games to the state basketball tournament to the Buffalo Trails Multi-Sport Racing to the local golf tournaments there's always exciting action.

Link: Courtside with Danny Weddle Blog

Welcome to the blogosphere, Mr. Weddle! If anyone else out there has a blog or personal web site they'd like me to share with the Maysville community, drop me an email. We've got a pretty decent readership over here at the Maysville Kentucky Blog and they love reading about local stuff. (I know, it's rude to talk about you as if you weren't here, my apologies.)

Friday, August 25, 2006

Covered Bridges Festival in Flemingsburg

This Sunday is the Fleming County Covered Bridge Festival in Flemingsburg, from 9 am to 5 pm. Fleming County is the home to 13 of Kentucky's remaining covered bridges including the Goddard Bridge, which was recently rennovated [See: Goddard Bridge Restoration in Fleming County from our March 2006 Issue]. There will be live music, crafts and food. Contact 606-845-1223 for more details.

You may be wondering -- as I was -- what's the advantage of a covered bridge over other types of bridges? Sure, they look cool, but is there a functional reason beyond the aesthetics?

After a little research I found the answer. The purpose for covered bridges, which are especially associated with the nineteenth century, is twofold: (1) Covered bridges appear similar to barns and it is easier to transport cattle across the bridge without startling them, and (2) They provide for weather protection over the working part of the bridge. A bridge built entirely out of wood, without any protective coating, may last 10 to 15 years. Builders discovered that if the bridge's underpinnings were protected with a roof, the bridge could stand for 70, or even 80 years. Most covered bridges that are still in use today have been renovated using concrete footings and steel trusses to hold additional weight and to replace the original support timbers.

Another bit of trivia: In the early 20th century, covered bridges were sometimes nicknamed "kissing bridges", as the cover allowed seclusion for couples to kiss each other.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Video File: Delta Queen Passing By

Are you ready for Tall Stacks yet? The Steamboat Delta Queen passes by on the Ohio River, playing calliope music, also known as "steam piano". The Delta Queen often stops in Maysville Kentucky on its trips between Cincinnati and Pittsburgh.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Ohio Tobacco Festival Continues Despite Changes

This year's Ohio Tobacco Festival in Ripley Ohio (this weekend) should be interesting. Because the Farmer's Tobacco Warehouse isn't available and also because Front Street is mostly closed because they are currently constructing a riverwalk, some things have had to be moved around. Despite these changes, however, the festival coordinators expect it to be the largest one yet. It is, after all, a quarter of a century old. This year marks the 25th Anniversary of the Ohio Tobacco Festival.

From the Press Release:

Come to the historic river town of Ripley, Ohio, to celebrate the Ohio Tobacco Festival, featuring three big parades, antique car show, outdoor flea market, indoor craft show and commercial exhibits plus over 40 delicious food booths. Don't miss the queen pageant, tobacco show, tobacco worm race, talent show, arm wrestling competition, corn hole tournament, cheerleading competition and Sunday prayer breakfast. There are many more contests and free entertainment for the entire family. For information contact Ohio Tobacco Festival, Inc., P.O. Box 91, Ripley, OH 45167 Phone: 937-392-1590 or 937-373-3651

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Snakes on a Plain

Just north of us in Adams County, Ohio, is the 1,330 foot long, three foot high prehistoric effigy mound located on a plateau, known as Serpent Mound. Conforming to the curve of the hill on which it rests with its head near the point, the serpent winds back and forth for seven hundred feet and ends with a triple coiled tail. The neck is stretched out in a gentle curve, ending with open jaws around the end of a one hundred sixty foot oval, thought variously to be either an egg, the sun or the body of a frog. It is the largest effigy earthwork in the world. Archaeologists still debate over who built it, when, and why.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Kentucky 9, A Dangerous Road

The Cincinnati Post recently published an article on the dangers of traversing the AA Highway, which runs straight through Maysville Kentucky. Some key points from that article:

Construction on the John Y. Brown, Jr. AA Highway began in 1983. Parts of the road opened through the early 1990s until it was entirely completed in 1995. Originally known as simply the AA Highway; it was so named because it was meant to connect Alexandria to Ashland.

Sadly, since it officially opened in 1995, the 134-mile, mostly-rural highway linking Newport to the Ashland area in Eastern Kentucky has been notorious for accidents, some severe. Just since 2000, 50 people have been killed and 1,200 injured in more than 2,700 collisions on the route, which runs through six counties. Driver inattention and speeding, in combination with the numerous side road entrances and at-grade intersections have been claimed as causes.

In 2004, a State Transportation Cabinet study examined ways to address growing traffic and safety concerns along the AA, also known as Ky. 9, between its western terminus at Interstate 275 in Wilder and Maysville. It concluded that the best option would be to widen the road by an additional lane in each direction, close several intersections with side streets in each county, and create access roads to eliminate residential driveways that have direct access to the highway.

Full Story

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Uncle Tom's Cabin Slave Block Photograph

Uncle Tom's slave block at Washington, Kentucky. Originally, this was the site of the old courthouse and Washington was the seat of Mason County.

The courthouse was lost in a fire and was replaced with a school house. The site is now a private residence.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Lu Fuller, Kentucky Farmscape Painter

Morning Light, watercolor, 22" x 30", 2000 - by Lu Fuller, Maysville Kentucky
The American Founders Bank Woodland Art Fair, Lexington's largest free outdoor event for over thirty years, brings Woodland Park to life every third weekend in August (that's this weekend). Over 60,000 enthusiastic fairgoers attend this spectacular event. With 200 exhibitors, patrons can view a large selection of ceramics, sculpture, wood, jewelry, painting, metal, fiber, mixed media and photography. In addition to artwork, patrons can feast on a variety of food items, take in two days of music and participate in the Family/Children's Project area.


Maysville artist Fuller has a taste for painting flowers, but those works are outshone by her Kentucky farmscapes. Capturing a charm of yesteryear with the beauty of rural winterscapes, Fuller's watercolors are a reflection of her childhood spent at her family's farm. With the passing of her father, she inherited the land she trod as a child and finds continuing inspiration in her landscape.

"My parents used to say, 'She's out there drawing cows again! How's she going to make a living as an artist?'" she says. "Now I do 30 art shows a year, and since 1974, I've painted over 13,000 original watercolors."

A veteran Woodland Art Fair participant, Fuller marks her sixth appearance this year. New work awaits visitors, along with a new style that Fuller's particularly excited about: two images, one horizontal and the other vertical, that incorporate all four seasons within the canvas.

"It's exciting to do something you've never seen before, to have your own baby idea and to figure out how to paint the different skies of the seasons, especially in watercolor because I have to do it all at once," Fuller says. "But there's so much to paint here (on the farm). I'll never run out of ideas."

Full Story

Friday, August 18, 2006

Blue Licks Battle Re-enactment in Chicago Tribune

This is pretty cool. Our own Blue Licks State Park and the re-enactment of the last major battle of the American Revolution that is being held there this weekend made it into the Chicago Tribune.

From the Chicago Tribune:

The Battle of Blue Licks was the last major battle of the American Revolution.

It was fought on Aug. 19, 1782, almost 10 months after the British had surrendered at Yorktown, Va.

The park will host a re-enactment of the battle Aug. 18-20.

The battle, fought near the present town of Blue Licks Springs, with its historic salt springs, was a decisive victory for the British and their American Indian allies.

The 1,000 British regulars and American Indians ambushed and routed the 180 Kentucky militiamen, including Daniel Boone. In all, 72 of the Kentuckians were killed, along with three British soldiers and a few Shawnees.

The battlefield is the centerpiece of Kentucky's Blue Licks Battlefield State Resort Park in Robertson County in Kentucky, about 48 miles northeast of Lexington along U.S. Highway 68.

Full Story

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Representative from Mufon at Aberdeen Library

What the heck is Mufon? It's the Mutual UFO Network, founded in 1969 in Illinois and grown to hundreds of chapters in every state, and across the world. It's one of the largest and most influential UFO investigation organizations out there. They were even featured in a couple of X-Files episodes. Still no clue? Then come down to the Aberdeen Public Library at 6 pm tonight to find out more!

Victor Hamm, a representative from Mufon, will be a guest speaker at the Aberdeen library as part of their "Evenings with..." series. The event begins at 6 pm and there will be refreshments served. Seating is limited, so make sure you show up a little early. It's in the meeting room (turn right as you enter). For more information you can call Lou Durbin at 795-0027.

The "Evenings with..." series features a new guest speaker about once a month. They give a speech and then you are able to ask questions. Each of these events are entirely free. More information about the "Evenings with..." series can be found at the Union Township Public Library web site.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The World Walker

Steven Newman is the only person documented to have walked around the world solo, making the trek between April 1st, 1983 and April 1st, 1987. He walked across 21 nations and 5 continents and wore out four pairs of shoes completing his voyage. He labored with farm peasants in Europe, worked in Moroccan salt mines, on Italian fishing boats, in a circus in Greece, in a school in the Thai jungles, and even as a newspaper editor in Australia. He's from nearby Bethel, Ohio and currently lives on a farm near Ripley.

From the

My dream of walking around the world was born in a nine-year-old’s excitable mind. It was during one of those frequent southern Ohio rainy afternoons, when my imagination was lost in the pages of a stack of old National Geographic magazines. Though the covers of that dignified periodical may have been worn and faded at the time, the beauty of the glossy photographs inside was still unmistakably very much alive. I knew then and there that someday I had to visit all those exotic lands and meet all those smiling faces.

Even now, nearly forty years later, I can still remember so clearly that night’s restlessness caused by the magic of those paper windows to the world “out there.” When my mother came into my bedroom, I remember looking up at her from beneath my blanket and saying, “Mom, when I grow up I know exactly what I want to do—be a writer and walk around the world!” At which point she chuckled and replied, “Oh, you mean you’ll be a soldier of fortune?”

“Yeah…,” I answered, not at all sure what a soldier of fortune was but sure that it sounded pretty exciting.

His experiences make up the book Worldwalk which he wrote to critical acclaim.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Robert Dafford Painting Murals

Many of the murals along the floodwall downtown were painted by artist Robert Dafford of LaFayette, Louisiana. The project began in 1998 along the flood wall on McDonald Parkway downtown. It includes nine murals about the history of the city from the 17th through 20th century. Next up: The mural committee is raising money for a double panel devoted to singer Rosemary Clooney's roots in the town and her Hollywood career.

Dafford is currently working on another mural in Covington, Kentucky, Tall Stacks, that will depict riverboats and should be finished in time for October's Tall Stacks festival in Cincinnati. In Covington, he's on his fifth year of a project to create 800 feet of murals - at least 15 and possibly as many as 20 - running south along the wall from the base of the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge to the gates of the public landing.

The Cincinnati Post has created a photo gallery of 22 images showing Dafford at work on the murals in Covington, adding details to almost finished murals: Mural Painting Photo Gallery (use the "Next" and "Back" links at the bottom to view them all)

Monday, August 14, 2006

The Maysville Kentucky Sky

"My mother always talked to me a lot about the sky. She liked to watch the clouds in the day, and the stars at night... especially the stars. We would play a game sometimes, a game called, what's beyond the sky. We would imagine darkness, or a blinding light, or something else that we didn't know how to name. But of course, that was just a game. There's nothing beyond the sky. The sky just is, and it goes on and on, and we'll play all of our games beneath it." - Steven Spielberg's Taken

Have you ever wondered what stars, planets, and constellations are up there in the Maysville Kentucky sky at a given time? Maybe you've recently bought a telescope and are wondering where to point it. If so, then you need the free new computer program called Stellarium.

Everything in this program seems to be made with the purpose of stunning the user. As soon as the interface is loaded, we are projected into an extremely realistic countryside scenario: wonderful green grass surrounding some barns and farmsteads, a clean blue sky in which we can see some rare star names, and below the symbols of the cardinal points. Though designed by a French programmer, it looks a lot like the Maysville countryside. Some other information is available on the screen: date and time, location and, at the bottom, a series of buttons controlling the visualization and the general appearance.

For example, if we press the button excluding the atmosphere, the sky will suddenly turn black and a large number of trembling and pulsing stars will appear. You can add constellation outlines, or even drawings of the constellations. Clicking the "Configurations" button and choosing the "Locations" tab, you can even change the view to Maysville's sky to see what stars, planets, and constellations are available right now, then use the time controls to see what can be seen in the sky tonight.

At 10 pm, looking East from Maysville, you can see the planet of Uranus. Though clouded by the Sun, at 7 am tomorrow morning, the planets Venus, Mercury, and Saturn will all be in the same general location in the sky. My favorite, and the thing I'll probably go out to see tonight, is the Maia Nebula, which is set to make an appearance around 1:30 am.

Be warned, the greatest thing about this program is also what makes it not work on every computer. It presents the sky in amazing graphic detail, and as such you'll probably need a newer computer with a decent graphic card and a decent amount of memory to run it. Also the locations map is a little small. Maysville is in there as a selectable town, but you have to poke around for it. If you don't have much patience, you might want to settle for a nearby city like Cincinnati. But if you can manage all of that, it's well worth it as this program turns the computer into your own private planetarium. Great for educating the kids in a fun way. Did I mention it's free?

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Pictures From the Civil War Living History Weekend

A war-worn band of rebels make their way through Old Washington's historic district. Lot's more available in this album thanks to "tkcomer".

Saturday, August 12, 2006

The Civil War in Maysville Kentucky

The Cincinnati Post covered the Civil War Living History Weekend taking place in Old Washington today and tomorrow, which accurately presents life as it was during Civil War times. Special activities throughout the weekend include demonstrations desifor the kids, a ladies tea, a dance on Saturday night, and, of course, the battles on Saturday and Sunday featuring artillery fire. All of these are free and open to the public.

From the Cincinnati Post:

Maysville's Washington Historic District is a unique 18th-century village of shops and museums built around a town square. The preserved period setting makes a perfect backdrop for the Civil War Living History Weekend, to be held Saturday and Sunday in the Northern Kentucky community.

Several historic figures will be seen in the village throughout the weekend. In addition to Harriet Beecher Stowe (played by Joyce Huggins of Cincinnati), visitors are likely to meet Abraham Lincoln (portrayed by Cincinnati's Stan Wernz) and Generals Robert E. Lee (played by Al Stone of West Virginia) and Jefferson Davis (recreated by Cliff Howard of Frankfort).

In a returning feature that proved popular last year, Lincoln, Lee and Davis will sit down together each day for roundtable discussions on a variety of issues surrounding the Civil War.

One of the favorite events for the ladies is the Saturday "tea" held at 2 p.m. on the courthouse lawn. Although this year's speaker, Lanette Parnell, will discuss mourning customs of the era, the tea is a lighthearted social gathering. It's also one of the photographers' favorites as many guests wear period costumes complete with purses, hats and parasols.

But the finest apparel is saved for the Saturday evening Gala Ball.

"Everyone gets into the spirit at the dance," said Jones, "men as well as women. And the public is welcome to join in. The reenactors teach everyone the steps and when the music starts it's really something to see."

Music this year will be provided by the 11-member Blue and Gray Brass Band. The dance will follow a 5 p.m. concert on the town square.

The highpoint of the weekend will be the daily artillery demonstrations, parade of the troops through town and the battle at Federal Hill.

Full Story

Additional info available at the Washington, Kentucky web site.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Maysville Family Fun Day

There will be a community get together and barbecue at the Washington Recreation Park today (Friday) at 4 pm, lasting presumably until dark. The event is sponsored by local area businesses and is hosted by the MaysvilleKYBBS. The City of Maysville has also donated all the ammenities of the park so they will be free and open to the public, including the swimming pool and mini-golf. It's a family-oriented event, so feel free to bring the kids. Planned activities include a live band and free food -- hamburgers, hot dogs, BBQ, veggie trays, etc. Door prizes will also be given away. Donations are appreciated.

For more information, visit this thread at the MaysvilleKYBBS.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

The New York Herald, 1862

"Morgan’s guerillas in Kentucky do not seem to be progressing so favorably as was supposed. Reports via Maysville yesterday state that our cavalry had overtaken Morgan’s band on the road to Owensville from Mount Sterling. After an hour and a half’s fight Morgan’s forces were completely scattered, and the cannon and horses captured by him at Cynthiana were retaken, as was also a large portion of the stolen property. The rebels lost twenty-five killed. Our loss is twenty killed."

- July 23, 1862, The New York Herald, describing the situation of Morgan's Raiders near Maysville Kentucky early in the Civil War.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Video File: Mambo Italiano Next Gen

More than one critic has called the music of Rosemary Clooney timeless. Now we have proof. This video shows how Maysville Kentucky's own Girl Singer is still influencing the next generation today. Rosemary's Mambo Italiano, as performed by Savannah. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Blogging 535 Miles of Underground Railroad

Reporter Chris Lackner has walked 193 miles of the more than 535 miles from Kentucky to North Buxton, Ontario, on a journey that mirrors the route in the pivotal book Uncle Tom's Cabin, which was inspired in part by the life of Josiah Henson, a man who found freedom in Ontario.

Making most of the 500+ mile journey on foot, Chris has been visiting the people and places that connect the region to this fascinating history, including our own Jerry Gore, his walking companion on the day the series launched (the journey began in May's Lick). The 60-year-old from Maysville, Kentucky, is the descendant of famous fugitive slave Addison White.

You can follow along with Chris as he travels back in time, stays in jail, crosses the Ohio River, and blogs about the characters he meets along the way at The Ottawa Citizen web site.

Monday, August 07, 2006

A Baptist Minister Invented Bourbon

Since we were talking about the Pogue Distillery yesterday, and since Pogue is famous for its bourbon -- in fact, all of Kentucky is famous for its bourbon whiskey -- I thought I'd tell the ironic story of how a Baptist minister invented bourbon.

In the frontier woodlands that was Kentucky during the late 1700s, cash and coin was rare and bartering was a common method of doing business. Many ministers were paid tithes in grain, which became a lot of grain. It became more than any church could consume and therefore many of the ministers went into the distillery business. One of these ministers, Elijah Craig, ran a small distillery in what was then called Bourbon County. Elijah Craig was notoriously cheap. One day he had an idea to burn out the insides of the oak barrels he aged his whiskey in so that he could get more use out of them. He quickly found that people seemed to like the flavor imparted by the burnt barrels better than the regular oak aged whiskey, and thus bourbon whiskey was born.

The ironic part is that Baptists later became the champions of the temperance movement and Bourbon County, now called Scott County (just a few counties over from us), has a large Baptist population. The birthplace of bourbon whiskey is today dry as a bone. Although technically a dry county, legend has it that several casks of Elijah Craig's original bourbon were placed inside the columns of the administration building of the equally Baptist Georgetown College (which Craig had founded).

See also: How Bourbon Got It's Name from our March 2006 issue.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Pogue Distillery Historical Marker

The Ledger Independent recently reported that the Pogue house and distillery has received one of the Kentucky historical markers that mark places of historical interest throughout Kentucky.

Here's a picture of the original distillery that operated from 1876 to 1973:

And here's a list of Mason County Kentucky Historical Markers and where to find them (It hasn't been updated to include the new marker yet).

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Maysville Had More Millionaires

The Cardinal is one of Amtrak®'s prestigious Superliner® trains. According to their brochure, "you will experience the comfort and relaxation of train travel while enjoying the beauty of white-water rivers and falls of West Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley, the Allegheny and Blue Ridge Mountains, and the natural scenery of Virginia horse country." Sounds fantastic! Where do I sign up? The brochure also includes blurbs about the stops along the Cardinal Route and what you can expect to see at that stop. Here's the entry for New York:

NEW YORK: The Big Apple is a place unlike any other. From the lights of Broadway to the heights of Wall Street and the breathtaking Statue of Liberty to the stately Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York is full of attractions. No matter where you go or what time you go out, you'll find New York is truly "a city that never sleeps."

The original Penn Station station was a magnificent structure, designed to resemble the Baths of Caracalla in Rome. It was demolished in the 1960s to make way for Madison Square Gardens, which now stands above the current station.

And, um, here's the blurb for Maysville Kentucky:

MAYSVILLE: Locals say that at one time, Maysville had more millionaires per capita than anywhere else in the United States. It is also the home of Rosemary Clooney, once a popular singer.

LOL, I think they need a new copy researcher. That's the best they could do?

Friday, August 04, 2006

A Quest for Family History

A relative warned him: Don’t go digging up ghosts. But Jeff Biggers crossed the Ohio River, seeking his ancestors’ long-buried history in Maysville Kentucky.

From the online travel magazine World Hum:

"Heading south, I crossed the Ohio River on a clattering bridge into Maysville, Kentucky. No one in my family had been back to this town in over four generations, dating back to 1865, when my great-great-grandfather crossed the river in the opposite direction, heading northwest to Illinois. He left behind a successful hemp farm. He never spoke about his Biggers family again; two generations later, my grandfather in Illinois wasn’t even sure if we came from Kentucky. In truth, he didn’t want to know."

Read the full story of Biggers' quest to find his family history in Maysville Kentucky.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Thinking Cool Thoughts

Well someone broke the national air conditioner. All across the country record heat waves are making it a very uncomfortable summer. Here in our own little corner of the world, it's pushing 100°F but feels like the inside of an oven. What to do... think cool thoughts... think cool thoughts... think ice... think lots of ice... think... glaciers!

The Ohio River formed roughly 2.5 and 3 million years ago according to its article at Wikipedia. It was created during an Ice Age (cool) when glaciers (cool) dammed portions of north flowing rivers. The largest of these ancient rivers, the Teays River, formed many of the segments of the Ohio River today. The ancient rivers were rearranged or consumed by glaciers and lakes.

From Wikipedia:

The upper Ohio River formed when one of the glacial lakes overflowed into a south flowing tributary of the Teays River. Prior to that event, the north flowing Steubenville River (no longer in existence) ended between New Martinsville and Paden City, West Virginia. Likewise, the south flowing Marietta River (no longer in existence) ended between the cities. The overflowing lake carved through the separating hill and connected the rivers. The resulting flood would have been very dramatic and exciting to see. The floodwaters enlarged the small Marietta valley to a size more typical of a large river. The new, large river subsequently drained glacial lakes and melting glaciers at the end of several Ice Ages. The valley grew with each major Ice Age.

Many small rivers were altered or abandoned after the upper Ohio River formed. Valleys of some abandoned rivers can still be seen on satellite and aerial images of the hills of Ohio and West Virginia between Marietta, Ohio and Huntington, West Virginia. As testimony to the major changes that occurred, the valleys are actually found on hilltops.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Germantown Fair Photograph, 1854

The fair in Germantown Kentucky has long been called "Old Reliable", and with good reason. Since 1854, the Germantown Fair has provided summertime entertainment for area residents. Horse shows, beauty pagents, rides, games, floral and agriculture exhibits, tractor pulls and more. Pictured above is the first Germantown Fair in 1854. It's a photograph that was used in the creation of one of the murals downtown. The Old Reliable Fair is going on now through August 5th at the Germantown fairgrounds. For event schedules, visit here.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Why People Settled in Old Washington

Maysville and Old Washington Kentucky today are pretty much the same place. Why historically were there two separate settlements?

To answer this question, you simply need to do the following: Hop in your car and drive to downtown Maysville near the riverfront. Put your car in neutral and push it back up the hill to the Old Washington area. Your family can help you with this task and for this exercise you are allowed to attach a horse or ox to your car, if you have one. If you can successfully push your car all the way up to Old Washington without it falling back down on you, then you know why people settled in Old Washington. They were just plain tired! : )

Old Washington started off as a camp for people to rest after trekking up the hill from the river -- pulling wagons and supplies in what was typically an all day event. Over time, people settled to cater to those travelers or (as I suspect, jokingly) they were just too tired to continue along. In any case, Old Washington became a pioneer truck stop for points elsewhere.

How come they didn't just stay in Maysville? That part's easy. It was originally Indian territory and settlers didn't want to linger. Old Washington became a safe place that settlers felt that, if they reached by nightfall, they would be protected.