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 @

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Neil Sedaka At The Rosemary Clooney Festival

According to Neil Sedaka's official web site:
It is hard to imagine the history of rock and roll without the many contributions of Neil Sedaka. For over four decades, Sedaka's timeless standards have helped change the face of popular music. With countless hit singles, and platinum and gold records, he is recognized as one of rock and pop music's legendary pioneers, and remains as vital a force today as he was when he first achieved his string of hits back in the late 1950's.

But although Sedaka's heyday was sometime ago, as one concert review pointed out:

If you're staying away from a Sedaka show because you think he's just another performer from the glory days of rock 'n' roll who refuses to grow old, think again.

Sedaka doesn't merely sing well for his age, he sings well for any age.

Nor does he merely pay tribute to himself during his concert, performing only his greatest hits, such as "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do," "Oh, Carol," "Calendar Girl" or "Happy Birthday, Sweet Sixteen."

He is not a caricature of himself.

Sedaka is a rare find from the glory days of rock and roll. As many performers become semi-retired and cease to grow as artists, Sedaka is continously refining his music. Just as recently as 2003, he released a new album with entirely new songs. As they say, Neil Sedaka is timeless.

Friday, September 29, 2006

The New Rascals

Kicking off the Rosemary Clooney Music Festival this weekend is a free concert tonight from 7 pm to 8:30 pm on the main stage at Market & Third Streets. There will also be a cookout on Market Street as well. The headliners for tonight's concert will be The New Rascals, featuring two members of the '60s rock band The Young Rascals, Gene Cornish & Dino Danelli.

From The Young Rascals Wikipedia entry:

The Rascals were an American blue-eyed soul and rock music group of the 1960s. When Atlantic Records signed them, they discovered, to their own dismay, that they already had another obscure group named the Rascals on the payroll. They decided to rename the group the Young Rascals. Felix Cavaliere (keyboard, vocals), Gene Cornish (guitar), Dino Danelli (drums) and Eddie Brigati (vocals) formed the band in New York City. Three-quarters of the group - Felix, Gene, and Eddie - had previously been members of Joey Dee and the Starliters. Eddie's brother, David Brigati, another former Starliter, arranged the vocal harmonies and sang backgrounds on many of the group's recordings, informally earning the designation as the Fifth Rascal.

Their first minor hit was "I Ain't Gonna Eat Out My Heart Anymore" (1965), followed by the #1 single "Good Lovin'" (1966, originally by the Olympics). Soon, the band began to mature as songwriters and released other hit songs written themselves, including "Groovin'" (recorded in 1967, it's one of their best-known hits), "It's Wonderful", "How Can I Be Sure" (which got to Number 1 in the UK when covered by David Cassidy) and "A Beautiful Morning" (1968).

Their best-remembered song was "People Got to Be Free" (1968), a passionate plea for racial tolerance. Unusual for their time, the Rascals refused to tour on segregrated bills.

In 1997, The Young Rascals were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

The EAT Gallery: A Maysville Landmark Reinvented

Like the beacon of a lighthouse, a neon sign welcomes you to a new gallery on Second Street in the heart of Maysville Kentucky that is more than just an art gallery; it's also a symbol of the revitalization efforts downtown. The orginal sign, which simply reads "EAT", has been completely restored and placed in its familiar position on the landmark building that served as a diner dating back to the 1940s.

Owners Simon and Laurie Watt hope to inspire others to reinvent Maysville's downtown historic district through the juxtaposition of the old and the new. Original sign, new heart.

From their web site:

The EAT Gallery features jewelry from four goldsmiths from around America and one from Germany. All items of jewelry are one-of-a-kind and are hand fabricated in gold and platinum with colored gemstones and pearls. There are also some wonderful natural gemstone beads in necklaces.

There is also an incredible array of hand carvings in stone. One piece which portrays a family of rhinocerouses took approximately 500 days to complete and weighs in excess of 300lbs. All around the gallery you will also find sparkling mineral specimens of Citrine and Amethyst from the mines of South America and fossils from the Atlas mountains of Morocco.

The grand opening of the gallery at 46 West Second Street will begin with a party tonight (Thursday) from 6 pm to 9 pm. Coinciding their opening artfully with the Rosemary Clooney Festival, the gallery will also be open throughout the weekend from 11 am to 6 pm.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Dennison Keller, Rosemary Clooney Festival Host

The upcoming Rosemary Clooney Festival this weekend will be hosted by WKRC reporter Dennison Keller. According to the Ledger Independent, Keller has close ties to the Maysville Kentucky community. He was born in Ripley, Ohio and attended school in Mason County. He's also a very enthusiastic fan of the entire event and has reported on it in past years while providing film footage of the concert.

The Ledger quoted Keller as saying: "You have the meal, the entertainment and Maysville lit up with the stage under the spires. It is really extraordinary."

Want to know more about Dennison Keller? Check out his video biography we found on the web: Click here for video

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Money, Money, Money

After learning that the State funding for the Russell Theater renovations came through to the tune of $250,000 (See: Nick Clooney On The Rosemary Clooney Festival), I decided to look up in the official Kentucky Budget where else State money is being invested in Mason County. Here's the breakdown according to Kentucky's Budget.

May's Lick Community Center, $300,000
Maysville Riverwalk, $660,000
Lewisburg Fire Department, $300,000
Russell Theater Renovation, $250,000
Underground Railroad Museum, $50,000
Health Department, $500,000

Woot! Over 2 Million! Nice score

Monday, September 25, 2006

Exploring the Maysville Academy Site

This is the site of the former Maysville Academy. It's located on the hill in downtown Maysville Kentucky just off Fourth Street. President Grant went to this academy in the fall of 1836, at the age of 14. The building itself was erected in 1829 by contractor Thomas G. Richardson. In its day, it was one of the most famous institutions in the Ohio Valley. In recent years it was torn down to make way for condos that never actually got built.

The remaining structure has these little narrow windows built into the rock wall facing the river. Presumably these "rifle slits" were installed because the builders feared an attack by river. That's my dog there getting ready to pounce on me.

The stone steps approaching the site from Third Street contain this marker that reads: "High School 1879". Now, I've always heard of the place being referred to as the Maysville Academy. Perhaps it changed hands and became a high school later. 1879 would be 50 years after it was first constructed.

This mysterious plaque is embedded in one of the walls. I have no idea what it means or what language it is. I tried a few translators to no avail. Looks like a grave marker though. Have we found the final resting place of Jimmy Hoffa?

Update: On of our readers, Ken, let us know that the "Hafan" part means "Haven" in Welsh.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Big Rock ATV & Dirt Bike Park

In 1999, after a severe drought forced Maysville Kentucky rancher, Duke Ford, to give up the cattle business, he found himself wondering what to do with all that land just sitting around unused. It was a substantial plot after all -- nearly 2000 acres. After mulling it over a bit, Ford came up with an idea that led to one of Maysville's more interesting recreational attractions.


Big Rock ATV park consists of nearly 2000 acres of riding area near Maysville, Kentucky. The terrain itself consists of many large wooded valleys and long open ridges. There are miles and miles of trails completely in the woods. The trails themselves consist of dozer made trails and rider made trails. There are plenty of challenging hill climbs to satisfy the most hardcore riders, and plenty of easy trails for kids and beginners.

Visit, one of my recent web site designs.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Updated RSS Feed

What the heck is RSS? Put simply, RSS (Really Simple Syndication) allows you to read the content you want, when you want to, wherever you want to. It's a cross-platform, portable way of formatting content so that the articles you see here can show up, for example, on your personal Google homepage. Google's personalized homepage allows you to subscribe to RSS feeds like the one we publish so that you never have to remember to check the site for updates. Your homepage is updated automatically whenever there's something new to read.

Some browsers even have the ability to "bookmark" feeds. For example, in Firefox you can click the orange RSS icon (lower right hand corner of the latest version) to subscribe to a live feed. When you subscribe, you'll see bookmarks to all of the recent articles here under the "Bookmarks" tab in the toolbar. You can also download any of the free software-based feed readers available on the web. They work a lot like email inboxes.

So, how do you use it? Subscribing to a RSS feed is easy. Just click the orange RSS icon in the right column and follow the instructions on the RSS page:

Subscribe to the RSS Feed for Maysville Kentucky Blog

It's that easy!

Learn More About RSS

Friday, September 22, 2006

Nick Clooney On The Rosemary Clooney Festival

Just today, the Cincinnati Post released Nick Clooney's article about the upcoming Rosemary Clooney Festival that takes place in Maysville Kentucky, the weekend of September 30th.

Designed to publicize and raise funds for the restoration of the Russell Theater in Maysville, the location of the premiere of Rosemary's first movie in 1953, the event has been enormously successful. Unfortunately, as Mr. Clooney points out, no matter how successful it is, it only makes a dent in the several million dollar renovation costs. More successful has been the raising of awareness over the restoration efforts. This has led to repeated state-sponsored grants. Although those have dried up in recent years as money ran tight, Mr. Clooney is pleased to announce that there has been another state grant of $250,000, finalized just this past Wednesday. The ink, as they say, is still fresh.

This year's benefit concert hopes to tackle two causes simultaneously. The first, of course, is the above mentioned renovation awareness, hopefully reinvigorated by the new grant. The second is the fight against cancer.

From the article:

This year, the concert also will benefit the Rosemary Clooney wing of the cancer treatment facility of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., where she was treated during her final illness. So two great causes will be highlighted by your presence at this year's show.

Full Story

If you want to help in the promotion of the Russell Theater renovations, download and spread the unique Rescue the Russell Theater E-Card I designed especially for that purpose. It's a free download. Check it out.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Video File: Chris Lofton in Action

After yesterday's post and the mixed comments added, I thought I'd post video of Maysville native Chris Lofton (Number 5) in action. Warning: Don't watch if you absolutely hate Tennessee.

And for diehard UK fans, here's Kentucky kicking Tennessee's butt : )

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Why Is Maysville Kentucky Cheering Tennesee?

Tennessee basketball coach, Bruce Pearl, visited the Mason County Fieldhouse last night to a warm welcome of Kentuckians wearing orange T-Shirts and shaking orange and white pompoms. The high school band was even playing Rocky Top. The crowd gave him a standing ovation, Mayor Cartmell gave him a key to the city, and State Rep. Mike Denham presented Pearl with a certificate making him a Kentucky Colonel. So why all the Tennessee love from a city that has historically been rivals?

It's because of one very talented basketball player, Chris Lofton. The Maysville native, Lofton, led Mason County to the 2003 state basketball championship. After he was passed over by Kentucky recruiters, he finally signed to Tennessee where he's flourished with a 44.9-percent accuracy through two seasons. As Bruce Pearl announced to Maysville audiences, Tennessee named Lofton its 2006 Male Athlete of the Year.

Mason County loves Chris Lofton, so Mason County loves Tennessee.

Full Story

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Maysville Founded deSha's Turns 25 Years Old

For 25 years deSha's has provided fine dining to the Maysville Kentucky community. Although there are now satellite restaurants in both Lexington and Cincinnati, Maysville's location was the first to be opened by its parent company, The Tavern Restaurant Group, in September 1981. Happy Birthday deSha's!

From deSha's Web Site:

The Tavern Restaurant Group was founded by W. N. Sanders in 1973. Mr. Sanders continues to own and operate the group, has more than 35 years of experience in the restaurant industry.

The original deSha’s is located in Maysville, Kentucky and was opened in September 1981. In 1985, Sanders opened his second deSha’s in Lexington, Kentucky. And, in 1990, he continued to shift his commitment toward full service dining by opening his third deSha’s in northeast Cincinnati.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Video File: Magee's Bakery

Surfing around YouTube, I found this video from the folks over at Magee's Bakery. Be warned, this video will kick your sweet tooth into overdrive and your stomach will rumble! Magee's is, of course, the family owned bakery that's been serving the local community with uniquely regional transparent pies for decades. You can find more about Magee's Bakery at their web site:

Sunday, September 17, 2006

May's Lick Corn Maze Opens Today!

The May's Lick Corn Maze opens today at the Burwell Farm in May's Lick, just a few miles south of Maysville Kentucky, off US 68. Go about nine miles south on US 68 and turn right at the yellow blinking lights onto Rt. 324. From there, go to the stop sign and turn right onto Main Street. Then you go approximately 300 yards and look for the corn maze sign, and turn left into the parking area. The maze is open weekends now through Halloween (October 31st).

From the May's Lick Corn Maze web page:

The maze is situated on a working 120 acre parcel in May’s Lick, KY. Formerly a tobacco farm, we now raise cattle & goats, grow asparagus, and harvest fall decorations. As part of our effort to diversify, we opened our first maze in 2001. This year’s maze is a whopping 8 acres and with our Trivia Contests and cash prize Jackpots, the maze will keep you challenged and confused as you wind your way through the labyrinth.


Saturday, September 16, 2006

Simon Kenton in 1864 Harper's Magazine

Incorporating the International Magazine of Literature, Art, and Science, Harper's was a journal devoted to fiction, essays, cultural and political commentary. In its long history, the publication has changed names several times. In 1913, it was called Harper's Monthly Magazine, and in 1976 the name was shortened to simply Harper's Magazine. This publication appeared monthly, and should not confused with Harper's Weekly, another popular journal of the time.

In February 1864, they published a comprehensive article on local frontier legend Simon Kenton and his life. The full text of that article is available at the link below:

Simon Kenton: Harper's New Monthly Magazine

Friday, September 15, 2006

Mel Hankla As Simon Kenton

Mel Hankla has played the character of Simon Kenton for over nine years and will be appearing in character at this weekend's Simon Kenton Festival in Old Washington. "I average about 35 performances (of Kenton) a year," Hankla said in a recent interview with Lexington's Herald-Leader. "I tell stories from Kenton's childhood, as an 80-year-old man." Everything Hankla uses as props and clothing are historically correct, down to the smallest details of materials used and methods of manufacture.

Although lesser known than Daniel Boone, Simon Kenton was a very important figure in Kentucky history. "I can make a good argument that Simon Kenton did as much for Kentucky as Daniel Boone," Hankla said. "Kenton didn't have John Filson as a press agent. That's why Boone became famous while he was still alive."

Hankla is not just as expert on Simon Kenton, but also an expert on flintlock rifles as well:

In 1984, Hankla was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts folk art apprenticeship to study 600 hours under legendary longrifle maker Hershel House of Woodbury. House builds iron-mounted Southern longrifles that are recognized as unique interpretations, based on what early explorers carried into Kentucky around 1760. "It was a life-changing experience, and I have to give Hershel credit for encouraging my interest," Hankla said.

As a member of the Contemporary Longrifle Association, artisans who study and re-create the rifles and accouterments of the 18th century, Hankla continues to build longrifles in a style reminiscent of North Carolina and Virginia. He said he sells what he builds but doesn't take orders.

Full Story

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Splitting the Crowd

There's a lot going on this weekend around town. There's the Simon Kenton Festival, the Chrome & Cruise Car Show, the Vine Music Festival, and the Pig Out on Market Street. It's rare that you see so many activities to choose from in one small town, and I love it! The problem is that you actually have to choose. I don't know if the scheduling conflict was intentional or an accidental flub, but I have to question the wisdom of overlapping events in a town of limited event-goers.

Here's the crux of the matter: I want to go to both the Vine Music Festival and the Pig Out on Market Street and it's not possible to do so and enjoy both events in their entirety. Both events begin around 4pm and end around 10pm. The Simon Kenton Festival, although shops are open until 5pm, usually wraps up around 4pm, so that's not really a problem. And although the Chrome & Cruise Car Show is scheduled for the same time slot as the Simon Kenton Festival, you can easily enjoy both. This just isn't the case with the Pig Out and Vine events. Spend some time at the Pig Out, for example, and you're missing part of the concert, and vice versa.

There's unfortunately only a limited number of people in the regional area who attend these types of activities. Splitting the crowd hurts both events. I only mention this because it's not an isolated case. Recent past events have suffered poor attendance as well because of scheduling conflicts. Cooperatively working with other event planners in town can only help the success of all involved.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Vine Music Festival

The Vine Music Festival, featuring Christian Contemporary artists, will be held September 16th on the lawn of the Maysville Community & Technical College, 4 pm to 10 pm. In case it rains, the event will be moved to the Mason County Fieldhouse. Contact 606-564-6960 for more information. Headlining the concert will be Nashville hip-hop artists GRITS.

Formed in 1993, GRITS gained national recognition with the remarkable 1999 disc Grammatical Revolution. Among other accolades, the album earned the group a Billboard Video Award and an appearance on the nationally syndicated radio show Sway & Tech. GRITS went on to sell 125,000 copies of their 2002 album Art of Translation. The hit off that album, "Here We Go," was part of the soundtrack for Jack Nicholson's film Something's Gotta Give. Their music has also been featured in television shows like America's Next Top Model, Pop Stars, Boston Public, Resurrection Boulevard, BET's Rap City, The Real World, Tough Enough, and MTV Cribs. GRITS has shared the stage with such top artists as OutKast, Jay-Z, Nappy Roots, Ice Cube, DJ Shadow, De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, Goodie Mob, and Monica. They've been written about in magazines like XXL, Spin, Vibe, Billboard, The Source, URB, Rap Pages, Rap Sheet, and now, ahem, The Maysville Kentucky Blog : )

"Our lives are reflected in our music, and that's the bottom line," explains GRITS member, Bonafide. "That's the essence of GRITS. We just do us and keep it as real as possible, and that's why our songs are so personal."

GRITS MySpace Profile
GRITS Official Web Site

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Annual Art Auction, September 15th

The Ohio River Valley Artists Guild will be having their Annual Art Auction this Friday, September 15th, starting at 6:30 pm at 504 Duke of York Street in Old Washington. Magee's Bakery will be catering and there will be a bartender as well, so cheers! (Park at the Washington Rec Park. They'd like to reserve the limited parking for the elderly and disabled, and the trolley car can ferry you over). A wide variety of work by local artists will be on display and, of course, up for auction.

From the Ohio River Valley Artists Guild web site:

ORVAG's goal is to “support area artists, both with peer group and outside educational opportunities; to promote the visual arts within the community and area; and plan and execute various outreach programs that include guild members, students, and other organizations within the community that would promote the visual arts and enhance the local environment.”

Monday, September 11, 2006

Edward Thomas Earhart, Kentucky 9/11 Hero

Edward Thomas Earhart, Age 26, Salt Lick, Kentucky
About than an hour away from Maysville, tucked away near Morehead in Eastern Kentucky, is the small town of Salt Lick, population around 350. Five years ago today they lost a beloved member of their community in the 9/11 attacks, the only person from Kentucky to have died that day.


"Edward Thomas Earhart, age 26, died tragically on September 11, 2001 during the terrorist attack on the Pentagon.

"An aerographer's mate first class for the U.S. Navy, Edward Thomas Earhart was at the Pentagon when it was struck by American Flight 77. Earhart's job involved scanning weather radar and giving reports to ships or airplanes.

"His great-aunt, Charlotte Thomas, said that during Earhart's last visit home to Salt Lick, Kentucky, he talked to his 4-year-old cousin's preschool class about clouds and weather. Thomas said her 26-year-old nephew liked working at the Pentagon. 'He was completely satisfied with the work he was doing,' she said.

"Survivors include his parents, two sisters and three grandparents."

Sunday, September 10, 2006

The History of Orangeburg Kentucky

Often the history of small towns are overshadowed by larger towns where things have become consolidated over time. Although that is a natural trend that occured all over the place as better transportation, like automobiles, were invented, it doesn't change the fact that these small towns still hold a great place in the historical record. For example, the small town of Orangeburg Kentucky, in southeastern Mason County, is overshadowed by the larger town of Maysville, where much of the region's businesses and schools have consolidated. Still, Orangeburg is steeped in pioneer lore and has a few unsolved mysteries of its own.

Like this one:

By legislative act of February 29, 1836, the town of Williamsburg in Mason County became known thereafter as Orangeburg.

Legend says that the reason behind this name change was to avoid confusion between the town and the Williamsburg in southeastern Kentucky, now the county seat of Whitley County. However, further investigation sheds doubt on the legend, as that community was known as "Whitley Courthouse" until 1882, when it was changed to Williamsburg. This was nearly fifty years after the name change for the Mason County town. The reasons behind the change may be lost to history, but apparently the town was renamed in honor of a prominent local citizen and landowner, Providence Orange Pickering.

The story of Orangeburg is a fascinating tale in the larger story of American exploration and settlement. For the full story, you absolutely must check out this article refered to us by historian Ken Downing:

The Early History of Orangeburg, Mason County, Kentucky

Saturday, September 09, 2006

St. Patrick's Fall Festival

This weekend is the St. Patrick’s Fall Festival at the St. Patrick School, downtown Maysville. There will be games, auctions, food, raffles, and live music. Special new events this year include a video game tournament... cool! One of the video games in the competition is Dance, Dance Revolution. Since there's really no way to describe DDR, I thought I'd throw in a visual presentation.

It's a bit like Simon Says for your feet. You follow the arrows on screen, and whoever follows them the closest wins. Get ready, it's a dance off!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

New Orleans Influence in Maysville Architecture

I know I'm a little late, but it's the thought that counts. As a sort of homage to the victims of Hurricane Katrina around the anniversary of the disaster, I wanted to give a nod to The Big Easy by showing their influence on our own little corner of America known as Maysville Kentucky.

The name of our downtown hotel, The French Quarter Inn, aside, the fact that Maysville really loved New Orleans while they were building the downtown area is easily seen, especially in some of the row houses you'll find down there. The New Orleans influence still shows in the ornate iron grillwork and Steamboat Gothic trim, a style of trim involving soaring gables embellished with ornamentation.

The reason for this influence is the river, like many other things historical around here. These buildings date from the early 1800s when area merchants would take local grown tobacco and bourbon down river via steamboat to sell in New Orleans, where a relatively large population had already congregated. On the return trip, they would bring back the latest fashion and trends from New Orleans and integrate it into the growing city here.

The most direct influence of New Orleans and the construction of buildings in Maysville, however, involves our town's second mayor, William Phillips. Still standing downtown is a building known as Phillips' Folly. It got that name and still keeps it to this day because while building it, William Phillips over extended himself and ran out of money. He ended up running off to New Orleans. Only through a lucky streak while gambling in New Orleans was he able to return in 1828 to finish the building.

Now that's New Orleanian influence!

Maysville Remembered Fondly

Today's post comes from Jimmy McElfresh II who grew up in Maysville Kentucky and wanted to share his memories. He still has two cousins living in town.

Maysville Remembered Fondly

I love the Maysville blog! My name is Jimmy McElfresh II, I grew up there in the late 50's and 60's. My grandmother was Janie Mae Thackston, she owned a thrift store on Market street. My Uncle Cotty, John Henderson & Aunt Cecil, had a farm in Washington. My Aunt Betty lived close by. Aunt Betty could knock out a picher of beer and a Tomato Pie (Pizza) faster than any elderly woman I had ever seen. That was a treat for me and my sister Jayne, just to watch and wait for her belch. My father Jimmy McElfresh I, was raised in Maysville and was also a Veteran of Korea.

What I remember most was my MamMaw had an apartment above Grandaddy's pool hall (Floyd Thackston) on Market street. We took walks a 4 am as he loved to walk. My Mammaw taught me some good values and would give my sister Jayne and I, 50 cents for every pair of socks we sold. I remember Kreskies where I would get me orange slices (candy) my sister would buy the red hots. Sadly when Grandaddy fell on the ice, he was never the same. I hope to pay one last visit to Maysville, before I get to old.

In his later years a stroke kept Grandaddy confined to bed, I was glad to tend to him. When he wanted to have a beer with his best friend Pat O'Brian, he or Pat would give me and Jayne .25 to get an ice cream cone around the corner. We knew it was only .10 a cone! We always knew where the ice cream parlor was, as a civil war cannon was shoved into one of the sidewalks next to the parlor. I also remember the wall that protected us from the Ohio river and the roar of the train at night. To a little boy, Maysville made him a better man. I am a Vietnam Era Vet who never forgot his roots, even though I live out west, Maysville is the town I shall always love and hold dear to me in my heart. I miss you Mammaw & Grandaddy, Good Night and save a place for your Grand -Son, Jimmy.

Jimmy McElfresh II

See also Maysville 50 Years Ago: One Man's Recollections from our April 2006 Issue

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The Moneyless Man (1875) by Henry T. Stanton

Henry T. Stanton was the editor for two early Maysville papers and contributed many articles to periodicals printed during the 1850s before becoming an Adjutant General under John C. Breckinridge and John Hunt Morgan of the Confederate Army. In the last years of his life, he devoted much of his time to writing poetry. In 1875, a man traveling through Maysville Kentucky asked Stanton to write for him “a poem that would draw tears from any audience.” The following is what he wrote...

The Moneyless Man

Is there no secret place on the face of the earth,
Where charity dwelleth, where virtue has birth?
Where bosoms in mercy and kindness will heave,
When the poor and the wretched shall ask and receive?
Is there no place at all where a knock from the poor
Will bring a kind angel to open the door?
Ah, search the wild world wherever you can,
There is no open door for a Moneyless Man!

Go look in yon hall where the chandelier’s light
Drives off with its splendor the darkness of night,
Where the rich-hanging velvet in shadowy fold
Sweeps gracefully down with its trimmings of gold,
And the mirrors of silver take up and renew,
In long lighted vistas, the ‘wildering view:
Go there! at the banquet, and find, if you can,
A welcoming smile for a Moneyless Man.

Go look in yon church of the cloud-reaching spire,
Which gives to the sun his same look of red fire,
Where the arches and columns are gorgeous within,
And the walls seem as pure as a soul without sin;
Walk down the long aisles, see the rich and the great
In the pomp and the pride of their worldly estate;
Walk down in your patches, and find, if you can,
Who opens a pew to a Moneyless Man!

Go, look in the banks, where Mammon has told
His hundreds and thousands of silver and gold;
Where, safe from the hands of the starving and poor,
Lies, pile upon pile, of the glittering ore!
Walk up to their counters-oh, there you may stay
Till your limbs grow old, till your hairs grow gray,
And you’ll find at the banks not one of the clan
With money to lend to a Moneyless Man!

Go look to yon judge, in his dark-flowing gown,
With the scales wherein law weigheth equity down,
Where he frowns on the weak and smiles on the strong,
And punishes right whilst he justifies wrong;
Where juries their lips to the Bible have laid,
To render a verdict they’ve already made;
Go there, in the court-room, and find, if you can,
Any law for the cause of a Moneyless Man!

Then go to your hovel! no raven has fed
The wife who has suffered too long for her bread;
Kneel down by her pallet, and kiss the death-frost
From the lips of the angel your poverty lost;
Then turn in your agony upward to God,
And bless, while it smites you, the chastening rod,
And you’ll find, at the end of your life’s little span,
There’s a welcome above for a Moneyless Man!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Lorimer Johnston, Filmaker From Maysville Kentucky

Though maybe not as well known today as some of our other Maysville Kentucky celebrities, Lorimer Johnston (1858-1941) was a writer, actor, and director during the early decades of the 1900s.

Though he has a huge list of credits to his name over his thirty year Hollywood career (including 29 films he acted in, 28 he directed, and 9 he wrote), as a fan of old Bela Lugosi horror films, I choose to point out that he had a small part in the 1939 film Son of Frankenstein.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Limestone Creek's Part in the American Revolution

Limestone Creek (405 miles) occupies a large space in Western story, for so insignificant a stream. It is now not over a rod in width, and at no season can it be over two or three. One finds it with difficulty along the mill-strewn shore of Maysville, Ky., the modern outgrowth of the Limestone village of pioneer days. Limestone, settled four years before Marietta or Cincinnati, was long Kentucky's chief port of entry on the Ohio; immigrants to the new state, who came down the Ohio, almost invariably booked for this point, thence taking stage to Lexington, and travelers in the early day seldom passed it by unvisited. But years before there was any settlement here, the valley of Limestone Creek, which comes gently down from low-lying hills, was regarded as a convenient doorway into Kentucky. When (1776) George Rogers Clark was coming down the river from Pittsburg, with powder given by Patrick Henry, then governor of Virginia, for the defence of Kentucky settlers from British-incited savages, he was chased by the latter, and, putting into this creek, hastily buried the precious cargo on its banks. From here it was cautiously taken overland to the little forts, by relays of pioneers, through a gauntlet of murderous fire.

- From On the Storied Ohio, 1903

George Rogers Clark was the older brother of William Clark (Lewis and Clark Expedition) and was one of the great American military heroes of the American Revolution.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

The Cox Building, Never a Masonic Temple?

Special thanks to Ernie Parnell at the Homefront Cafe for the background information for this article.

Recently, the City of Maysville Kentucky bought the Cox Bulding on the corner of Market and Third Streets downtown so they could keep it from falling into disrepair and possibly use it for city offices, tourism, etc, although no concrete plans are in place. Reportedly, they paid $200,000 for the landmark historical building.

Also known as the Masonic Lodge, it was built in 1886 by former Kentucky Lt. Governor, William H. Cox. Cincinnati architects, Craspey & Brown, were contracted to construct this building as well as the old Maysville High School. It was built in the Queen Anne Style, which was popular in the late 1800s and was marked by fine brickwork, tile-hung upper stories, corner towers, and deeply shadowed entrances among other features. It was built out of pressed brick and red Bedford stone trim. Some of the cooler features of the structure include an upper floor ballroom with a beautiful chandelier, gargoyles adorning the roof, and the incredible stained glass work on the front of the building. Scattered throughout the structure are the All Seeing Eye, Hammer, Hour Glass of Time, and the Red Cross built into the turret's tiling. These are all symbols of the Masons. Interestingly, the Red Cross on the front turret doesn't appear in older photographs of the building, indicating that it was added at a later time. It is believed to have cost $100,000 to build.

Throughout it's history it has held many different businesses including the old post office and Kilgus Pharmacy, which was a popular hangout for teenagers when it was in business.

Very interestingly, however, is that according to legend, it was never actually used for the purpose it was designed for, that is, being a meeting place for the Masons. According to some local historians, Mr. Cox built the building as a gift for the Masons if they promised to vote his son into the Masonic Order. Apparently, there was a falling out and Mr. Cox's son was not considered worthy enough to become a Mason, and so the building was never given to them.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Herb Farm @ Strodes Run

We were talking recently about the fallout from the tobacco industry and how many farmers in Kentucky are looking to other means of generating new revenues (See: Lavender Hills of Kentucky from our July 2006 Issue). Agritourism is one of these methods for improving the viability of small farms and rural communities. What adult isn't interested, at least a little, in how their food is produced? What child wouldn't want to visit a farm and see a live duck, pet a goat, ride a donkey, or maybe pick fruit right off the tree? It's a wholesome, inexpensive vacation that the entire family can enjoy.

One local farm takes agritourism seriously, The Herb Farm @ Strodes Run. Not only is it the first certified organic farm in Maysville Kentucky — as in avoiding chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and the other things that make you glow in the dark — but it is also has many services available for the curiosity seeker looking to learn more about agriculture.

From The Herb Farm @ Strodes Run web site:

Our 4,000 square foot herb barn features Sweet Annie Cafe', catered meeting space for your gathering, antique shop and a regional farmers market featuring fresh herbs, produce, crafts, honey, jellies, jams.

We offer educational farm tours for adults and attentive children. Some of the things you can see and learn about on the tours include: Historic Lashbrook cemetery, ancient Indian trail to Blue Licks State Park, horses, mules, donkeys, goats, Molly the Scottish Highlander cow, honey bees, dogs, cats and area wildlife.

You can learn more about The Herb Farm at their web site: I think I will head out there myself to see if "Molly the Scottish Highlander" cow does indeed wear a kilt : )

Friday, September 01, 2006

Video File: Something Lost in Translation

I could write something about this, but I think it'd spoil it.