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 @

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Mason County Relay for Life

The Mason County Relay For Life is the American Cancer Society's signature activity. It offers everyone in our community a chance to participate in the fight against cancer. Teams of people camp out at the Mason County High School football field and take turns walking or running around a track or path. Each team is asked to have a representative on the track at all times during the event. Relays are an overnight event, up to 24 hours in length.

Because Relay For Life is a community gathering rather than an athletic event, anyone and everyone can participate. Teams form from businesses, clubs, families, friends, hospitals, churches, schools, and service organizations. Team members share a common purpose — to support the American Cancer Society’s mission.

This year's Mason County Relay For Life to benefit American Cancer Society will take place Friday at 7 pm at the Mason County High School football field. Contact Tina Baker 606-759-7141 ext. 66177 or Kay Moss 606-759-3617 or visit the web site for more information.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Maysville Ferry Boat Postcard

Postcard depicting the Maysville Kentucky ferry boat (no longer in operation) that carried passengers from Maysville to Aberdeen across the Ohio River. The first ferry in Maysville was operated by Benjamin Sutton in 1794. The place where the ferry landed on the Kentucky side became known as Sutton's Landing and Sutton Street downtown is also named after him.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Memorial Day: Mason County WWI & WWII Fallen

This Memorial Day, the people of Maysville Kentucky remember the soldiers who died while serving in combat during World War I and World War II. Here are the fallen soldiers from Mason County who died in service during these two wars.

World War I Fallen Soldiers

Batis, Thomas, Pvt.
Beckley, Elgin, Pvt.
Bolender, Hugh E., Pvt.
Bramel, Arthur Glenn, Pvt.
Brierly, Mark, Pvt.
Brurly, Mark, Pvt.
Calvert, Joseph N., Lt.
Cooper, Thomas P., Pvt.
Cosgriff, Earl J., Cpl.
Davis, Joseph C., Pvt.
Frederick, Grover C., Pvt.
Louderback, Grover C., Pvt.
Mefford, John W., Pvt.
Phillips, William, Pvt.
Pollitt, Robert T., Pvt.
Purdon, Ernest C., Pvt.
Ruack, Alva L., Pvt.
Shoemaker, Albert B., Pvt.
Shoemaker, Lee Roy, Pvt.
Sidell, Ira F., Pvt.
Smith, Benjamin F., Pvt.
Thomas, John W., Sgt.
Williams, Daniel H., Pvt.
Wilson, Dale L., Pvt.

For more information about the National WWII Memorial that honors the 16 million who served in the armed forces of the U.S., the more than 400,000 who died, and all who supported the war effort from home, please visit:

To search the electronic World War II Registry of Americans who contributed to the war effort, or add the name of a loved one, click here.

World War II Fallen Soldiers

Bell, Clarence C., Pfc.
Blythe, Albert G., Pfc.
Bradford, Roscoe G., Pvt.
Bradford, Walter L., Sgt.
Brammer, Richard S., Pvt.
Brothers, Harold A., Pvt.
Bussell, Forest E., Pfc.
Catron, Irvin F., S Sgt.
Comer, John P., Tec 5
Cooper, Ernest W., Pfc.
Cullen, Edward A., S Sgt.
Deatley, Herman, Pvt.
Dermon, Virgil W., Pvt.
Dobbins, Robert, Pfc.
Estill, William E. Jr., 1 Lt.
Evans, George V., S Sgt.
Faulkner, Herman A., Tec 5
Follmer, William J., Pfc.
Frodge, Floyd, Pfc.
Gallenstein, John H., Tec 5
Gilbert, Floyd A., T Sgt.
Graybill, Earl H., Pvt.
Groce, Clarence E. Jr., 2 Lt.
Hampton, Roland T., Pfc.
Hall, William F., Pfc.
Hamm, Alva L., Pfc.
Harding, Joseph D., Pvt.
Hargett, Paul M., 2 Lt.
Haughaboo, William S., Sgt.
Janison, Ralph S., S Sgt.
King, James T., Sgt.
Linville, William T., S Sgt.
Matthews, Church M., Col.
McFarland, Paul L., S Sgt.
McGiboney, Knox P., 1 Lt.
Mineer, Charles D., Pvt.
Mullikin, William H., Pvt.
Muse, Henry R., Pfc.
Obanion, Woodrow S., Sgt.
Porter, James F., Sgt.
Richardson, Neal M., Pfc.
Shepherd, Edward D., Sgt.
Snipes, Dee C., Pvt.
Stambough, Warren G., 1 Sgt.
Taylor, John C., Sgt.
Turner, Floyd E., Pvt.
Vincent, Lawrence, Pfc.
Wallingford, Robert G., Pvt.
Walton, Newell W., Pfc.
Wilkes, Edmund W., Maj.
Willett, Clarence B., Pfc.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

The Origin of the Term "Underground Railroad"

Many people are at least somewhat familiar with Maysville Kentucky's place in history as a stop along the Underground Railroad. The Underground Railroad is, of course, the network of people and safehouses that helped slaves escape the South in the early to mid-1800s. Some are less familiar with the story of how the term "Underground Railroad" came about, and what it has to do Maysville.

From the Louisville Courier-Journal:

The phrase "Underground Railroad" wasn’t used until 1831, when Tice Davids, a slave from Maysville, Ky., fled across the Ohio River into Ohio. The river was part of the Mason-Dixon line that separated the Southern slave states from the Northern free states.

As Davids fled, his white master followed him, determined that he wouldn’t let Davids out of his sight, according to Jerry Gore [from Maysville], an Underground Railroad historian and founder and CEO of Freedom Time, a company that offers historical presentations and tours of Underground Railroad sites.

When Davids reached the Ohio River, he jumped in and swam across. His owner watched carefully to see where Davids emerged on the other side. The master found a skiff at the riverbank and crossed the river himself, planning to catch Davids and bring him back. But when the slave owner reached the other side, Davids was nowhere to be found.

When questioned, no one would admit to having seen Davids. The slave master couldn’t believe it. To him, it seemed as if Davids had simply disappeared. "He must have gone on some underground road," the owner said. In reality, what had happened, according to Gore, was that "he had gone into the free black community," who helped him hide.

Full Story

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Ode to Equus

Behold the horse
Strength and grace
heaved up into one massive stately creature.
Legs like sculpture
Hooves of sharp river stone
Eyes big and gentle as moons.

Behold the horse
Muscle and depth
Streaming thunder.

Graceful even in shaking off flies
He stamps and the earth salutes
Resounding the echo of his beauty.

Behold the horse
We see ourselves reflected,
small in his eye, yet large in his heart

Ode to Equus - A poem by Kimberley Freeman

The 4th Annual American Road Horse & Pony Show is taking place at the Germantown, Kentucky Fairgrounds May 26th and 27th. Competitions include Roadster Divisions, Pleasure Pony, Cobtail, All-American Road Wagon and more. Show begins 7 pm each night. Contact 606-564-3766 for more information.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Video File: Kentucky UFO News Story

You may recall that we wrote about the Strange Death of Capt. Thomas Mantell in our March 2006 Issue. Capt. Mantell was the Air Force pilot from Simpson County, Kentucky who's plane mysteriously crashed while pursuing an unidentified flying object. From that article:

Captain Thomas Mantell was an Air Force pilot born in Simpson County, Kentucky, June 30, 1922. On a routine flight from Georgia to an air base in Kentucky, he was asked to change course and check out reports of a strange object in the skies, sighted by people across Kentucky. What he encountered was described by Mantell in a radio message to base as, "a metallic object or possible reflections of sun from a metallic object, and it is of tremendous size." Several people from Maysville, Kentucky, reported seeing the "strange craft." Twenty minutes later, people from Irvington and Owensboro reported a "circular craft about 250 to 300 feet in diameter" and "moving westward at a pretty good clip." It's about 190 miles from Maysville to Owensboro: 190 miles in twenty minutes is 570 miles per hour.

Recently a news team from Evansville, Indiana did a segment on the story, exploring some of the controversy surrounding the event.

Watch the Video Here

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Old Washington Kentucky Web Site

For those of you who don't know, in my day job I get to design web sites. A recent project that I particularly enjoyed working on is the new Old Washington, Kentucky web site that just came online in the past few weeks. Since I'm a fan of local history, working historical elements into the design was a welcomed break from some of my other projects.

For our readers out of town, Old Washington Kentucky was founded in the 1700s and maintains much of its old Kentucky pioneer feel to this day, with well maintained original log cabins. Even the post office in town is a log cabin. Recent projects have even gone so far as to bury powerlines so that the immersive feel of Colonial America is kept intact - it also doesn't hurt the bidding with Hollywood when a pioneer village is needed in a historical movie : )

They've made great efforts to keep their historical identity, and of course that reflects in the design of the web site.

Check it out:

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Brother's War: A Mason County History

Special thanks to historian Ken Downing for finding this gem.

Based on the oral history of Joseph Ross Davis (1853 - 1943) of Mason County, Kentucky, The Brother's War is an attempt to convey a sense of spirit and understanding on the part of an eye witness to the Civil War, especially as it related to the residents of Mason County, Kentucky.

Joseph Ross Davis, as the author writes, "was an ancient white-haired neighbor, a retired gentleman dairy farmer with a rather straight back for old age and a slow but determined gait, when he strolled out to visit the neighbors." He was also a gifted story-teller with first hand experience of the Civil War. "He regaled Daddy, me, and my siblings during the early 1940s, the time of the Second World War. All of us liked history for it was part of being situated near the historic pioneer town of Washington, in Mason County, Kentucky. He seemed intent on establishing his own record on the 'War.' We listened with attention for he resembled the shoot of a stressed old oak, striving desperately for some form of new life at the end of the journey. Our family became his ear, willing audience to his quest for verbal immortality."

The Brother's War is required reading for anyone interested in the history of the Civil War in Kentucky or anyone interested in the history of Mason County. It's one thing to read about history. This narrative puts you in history.

The Brother's War PDF version (recommended)

The Brother's War HTML version

About the author: Fr. Al Fritsch, SJ is Mason County native who is considered an authority on eco-spirituality. He's the author of several books about the Appalachian region and co-authored Ecotourism in Appalachia (from The University of Kentucky Press). He also maintains the Earth Healing web site, which lists much of his work.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Downtown Maysville Photographs

Maysville is a popular destination for photographers on the go, as we've shown through galleries by traveling photographers from as far away as New York. Here, Lexington blogger "Brad" shows off photographs he took while visiting us in March.


Monday, May 22, 2006

A.M. January House Photograph - Mid-1900s

This federal style home was that of Judge A.M.J. Cochran, built by his grandfather Andrew McConnell in 1838. This photograph was taken some time between 1920 and 1940. I may be mistaken, but looking at newer photographs, it looks as if an addition was later built in the back replacing the open air balcony you see here.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

America's Rhineland and Baker-Bird Winery

German immigrants had established roots in the local area by the mid-1800s. Many said that the Ohio River reminded them of the Rhine River back home, and so they felt comfort in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky regions. They dubbed the area, "America's Rhineland".

The Germans settlers also brought their knowledge of wine making with them and by 1856, premium wine was being produced in Augusta, Kentucky. Reportedly, wineries in the area made some of the finest wines in the United States at the time.

Baker-Bird Winery in Augusta, Kentucky, is the oldest estate winery in America. During the mid-nineteenth century it produced premium wines, provided safety during a Civil War Battle, and witnessed a new era of freedom in American history. Recently it re-opened with a tasting room in the cellar and a wine shop. Visitors can also experience a vineyard/historic winery tour which gives visitors a wine tasting experience in a historic setting.

The Winery features a unique atmosphere and hospitality. The retail shop offers an array of interesting items and goods produced by local artisans.

More information about the winery is available at the Baker-Bird Winery web site.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

The Asparagus Expressions

Given the task of creating a unique expression from asparagus, these artists really came through in the paintings below, shown at a special art exhibit in the May's Lick Presbyterian Church during the 10th annual May's Lick Asparagus Festival. In case you are wondering, that really bizarre but colorful second painting below is titled: "Asparagus Salad". Just for clarification : )


Friday, May 19, 2006

Face of Jesus Discovered in Asparagus Plant

A gardner in the UK dug up this 30 inch Asparagus plant which he claims is the face of Jesus. Full Story
Call it divine intervention or just an interesting coincidence, but what better way to kick off the Asparagus Festival in May's Lick Kentucky this weekend than showing off this discovery (pictured left) of what the gardner who unearthed it calls, "The Face of Jesus". The face was discovered earlier this month when the British gardner was moving the plant out of a pot where it had been growing for 10 years.

"It's the most weird thing I have ever seen," said the gardner.

"The roots are fantastic. You can actually make out a thorn crown around his head, his eyes and nose.

"I've heard about Mother Theresa's face being seen in a bagel but I thought this was much better."

The 10th Annual Asparagus Festival in May's Lick takes place on Main Street this Saturday, May 20th. Events include art, food, crafts, bed races, and a tractor parade. For information contact 606-763-6823 or

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Pardon My French

Marquis de Lafayette was a national hero in both France and the United States for his participation in the French and American revolutions for which he became an Honorary Citizen of the United States. His real name was Marie-Joseph-Paul-Yves-Roch-Gilbert du Motier, marquis de La Fayette (now say that five times fast!) Of course to the Kentucky tongue he is known simply as "Lafayette".

When Marquis de Lafayette visited Kentucky in 1824-25 (see mural depiction downtown), Kentuckians were so enamored of the guy that they began giving French names to everything they could think of. And we've been butchering the pronunciation of the names ever since : )

For example, Lexington resides in Fayette County, named for Lafayette. No one knows what happened to the "La" and it ended up being pronounced "FAY-et" county, though Lafayette is properly pronounced "La-FEET"! Ha! Ah well, I guess our Lexington friends would rather live in Fayette County than Feet County. Then you've got Versailles, Kentucky, pronounced "ver-sales" around here instead of the proper "ver-sai". Louisville is neither the Anglicanized "Louis-ville" nor the more French "Lou-ie-ville," but simply the Kentucky fried "Lou-vull". Mon Dieu!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Purple People Bridge Climb

Two of the things I love about Maysville Kentucky, incidentally they're two things Maysville is known for to the outside world, are its bridges, the Simon Kenton Memorial Bridge and the newer William H. Harsha Bridge. I'm completely envious of Wes Hagerman, one of the engineers who make routine inspections of the bridges (see: "Maysville Bridge Photos, Interesting Viewpoint" from our January Issue) for his opportunities in climbing the bridges.

Now us civilians can have the same experience, on the Newport Southbank Bridge through the Purple People Bridge Climb. Nicknamed the "Purple People Bridge," it connects Cincinnati, OH to Newport, KY and is 2,670 feet in length, spanning 140 feet from the river at the tallest point. Beginning in June, participants will have the opportunity to climb "over the top" of the Purple People Bridge. Throughout the experience, they will be able to view beautiful vistas of the riverfront and the Greater Cincinnati / Northern Kentucky areas.

Apparently the experience of climbing over a bridge like this is unique to this area. There's nothing like it elsewhere in the country which leads me to this question: How can we get something like this set up for the Simon Kenton Bridge? : )

More Info on the Purple People Bridge Climb

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Video File: Maysville Joyride!

Warning: May cause motion sickness

With a video camera strapped to the top of a remote control car, we take you on a joy ride through the small Ohio River town of Maysville, Kentucky.

Don't forget, you can share this video with friends and family by clicking the "email post to friend" icon below.

Monday, May 15, 2006

The Writings of Caleb Atwater (1833)

From The Writings of Caleb Atwater (1833) describing his visit in 1829:

Maysville is one of the most important towns on the river, between Wheeling and Cincinnati. It presents, from the river, an unbroken front of elegant brick buildings; the streets are well paved; has a good landing, and appears better from the water, than almost any town on the banks of the Ohio. It contains twenty-eight stores of dry goods, three of them large wholesale ones; one large queensware and china store; four groceries; an iron foundry; an extensive paper mill; a manufactory of stone ware, whose make is superior to almost anything of the kind any where; three large churches, belonging to the Presbyterians, Baptists, and Methodists. As a place of business, it ranks second in this State, Louisville being the first.

It has derived some notoriety from the President's rejecting the bill appropriating money towards making a road from this point to Lexington; the only effect of which veto, we hope, will be, to rouse up the energies of the people of Kentucky to make the rejected road, and all others necessary for the public convenience, in this State.

If we know the people of Kentucky, and we think we do, they will rise up under the pressure of the veto, in every part of the State, and commence and carry into effect, a system of internal improvement, which will do honor to the present population, and be useful to generations yet unborn.

The people of Maysville, for intelligence, industry, enterprise, and sterling patriotism, are surpassed by none in the Union.

The rejected turnpike is in progress, and will be made in a reasonable time. The people along the whole line of this road, are as hospitable, as intelligent, and as worthy citizens, as any in the State. The town of Maysville was formerly called Limestone; and was either the starting point, or the place where many an Indian expedition ended, in early times.

The completion of the Ohio canal will be of vast advantage to this place, where all the hemp and tobacco of the State will be brought from the interior, intended for a northern market. Here, too, the foreign goods for the central parts of Kentucky, will be landed. The country back of Maysville is rich and fertile, and the farmers among the best and most wealthy in the west.

It contains about three thousand inhabitants, and is increasing in numbers, wealth, business, and importance, every hour. A steamboat runs daily between Maysville and Cincinnati.

The situation of the town is high, dry, and healthy. Stone for building is abundant on the spot, and every article used by the builder is plenty, cheap, and good.

It must increase rapidly in all respects, and forever be a town of importance.

Why the authors of maps of the United States have neglected, as many of them have, to notice so important a place as this, seems strange indeed.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

James Biggers Tailor Shop, 1845 News Clipping

Reads: Tailoring. James Biggers would respectfully inform his old friends and customers and the public generally, that he has commenced the above business in Washington, Ky., where he is prepared to do all kinds of work in his line in the best style. He solicits a share of the public patronage. His shop is immediately opposite the Post Office, where he can be found at all times. Washington, Ky., Oct. 15, 1845-2mow

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Submarines in the Ohio River

I know, it's weird, but according to Cincinnati's CityBeat, there's an urban legend circling around that a submarine was once spotted in the Ohio River. There were apparently eye witnesses to the strange event. "Back in 1961, I saw a submarine, honestly," says Janice Forte of the Cincinnati Historical Society. "We were just standing down by the river and somebody says, 'My God, look at that!' It was not submerged, and it was headed north. Nobody wrote about it in the papers, that I saw. It was really strange."

Cincinnati papers also wrote back in 2002 that a local veterans' group was trying to get the Navy to come off the U.S.S. Cincinnati, a nuclear submarine launched in 1975, when it eventually becomes decommissioned. They hoped to submerge it near the Newport Aquarium and turn it into a local river tourist attraction.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Artist Aaron Houghton Corwine (1802 - 1830)

Aaron Houghton Corwine, Oil on canvas, 26 x 22
Portrait Artist Aaron Houghton Corwine was a well-known and highly skilled artist from Maysville living in the early 19th century. Edward Dwight, the only author of note on the artist to date, praises his ability to "get a perfect likeness and to capture an expression of vitality."

From The Filson Newsmagazine:

Aaron Houghton Corwine was born in Maysville, Kentucky, to Amos Corwine, an early settler of Mason County. Before becoming an artist Aaron was "a ploughboy, for which he never showed much taste," according to the antiquarian historian Lewis Collins. Collins' mythic history of Corwine includes an episode of painting his father's barns and fences with "grotesque figures" which were so "fanciful and striking" that Amos determined to give "him the opportunity to pursue the inclination of his mind."

After a brief period of study with a local portraitist, an unidentified Mr. Turner, Aaron set off for Cincinnati in 1818. Bearing a letter of introduction to Dr. Daniel Drake, an eminent surgeon, his talents soon attracted sufficient sponsors for further study in Philadelphia with the renowned Thomas Sully. Sully found him to be "gentle, full of kind sympathy and delicate taste." Having acquired all the knowledge he needed to establish himself as an artist he returned to Cincinnati in 1820, becoming that city's first resident portraitist.

Corwine’s best known, and best documented, self-portrait has been in the collection of the Mason County Museum in Maysville since the early 20th century. In that work the artist has chosen to depict himself in a highly romantic style, clad in a coat with a fur trimmed collar, high on the planar field, and with a “strange, pensive, and quizzical expression” on his “handsome youthful face,” according to Edward Dwight. Painted in England at a time when the artist was already aware of the tuberculosis that would prematurely end his life, the expression may be a manifestation of his own awareness of impending doom.

Full Story

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Cincinnati Versus Lexington Google Battle!

I was visiting Google today when I noticed they had a link to their newly released tool called 'Google Trends'. Somewhat intrigued, I clicked the link to find what at first glance seemed to be a pretty boring statistical analysis tool. You can enter various keywords (up to five) to find out what their search volume is on Google, comparing the world's interest in your favorite topics. Google Trends also displays how frequently your topics have appeared in Google News stories, and which geographic regions have searched for them most often.

So I started poking around and found out very quickly that this isn't some boring academic tool, it's a gladiator arena! You can use it to pit one thing against another and see which one wins out in popularity.

Let's start with the major cities nearby: Cincinnati versus Lexington. Cincinnati is the clear winner, although not by much. Strangely the most searches for Cincinnati was from some place called Dunkirk (???). Now let's pit Maysville's past and current exports against each other in the Tobacco, Bourbon, and Hemp competition. As you may have guessed, tobacco is the heavyweight here. More surprising is that both bourbon and hemp are neck and neck, registering about the same popularity. Poland seems to have a huge interest in hemp, by the way. Finally, let's see where local celebrities Nick and Rosemary Clooney stand in comparison to each other. Again, pretty evenly matched. Of course Nick had more news coverage on him during his recent campaign for Congress.

Google Trends is a lot of fun, so check it out. You can also use it to do more mainstream popularity searches, like... ahem... pitting Lindsay Lohan against Jessica Simpson to see which girl is more popular. You know, for purely academic reasons of course : )

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Computer Friends of Augusta Kentucky

Meet Freddy Firewall, one of the Limited Second Edition of Computer Friends
What are Computer Friends? They're pint-sized collectible companions designed to sit on your monitor or desk and keep you company as you use your computer. It just so happens that they are also made in this area, the creation of Ron and Del Bloom, owners of Twin Creeks Farm, just outside of Augusta Kentucky.

Computer Friends are really cool and come in a variety of personalities and ethnicities. They have catchy names like "Larry Laptop" and "DJ Download". Pictured left is "Freddy Firewall," who's sworn duty is to protect your computer from nasty viruses. OK, so I made that up. His real job is to "put a smile on anyone who works-or-plays at a computer," according to creator Del Bloom.

You just never know where computer friends might show up. Two were recently photographed trying to infiltrate the Beehive Tavern in Augusta. They're everywhere!

More about the Computer Friends line of dolls can be found at

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Marshall Key's Tavern in Old Washington

There was a recent article in the Cincinnati Post about Old Washington's Marshall Key's Tavern which opened last year under the new management of Dave and Tammy Johnson from Phoenix, Arizona.

From the Cincinnati Post:

Longtime residents of Phoenix, Dave and Tammy Johnson headed to the hills, so to speak, last year after concerns about rising crime rates and a skyrocketing population in their hometown. They wanted to move into an old house and had a desire to own a "mom and pop"-type business.

After searching on the Internet for a home that had some history behind it, they wound up venturing to southern Ohio. House hunting eventually prompted them to cross the Ohio River into Kentucky...

When he and Tammy toured Washington Hall, a former grand hotel on Old Main Street built circa 1820, they decided they'd like to open an eatery that specialized in home cooking served up in a historic setting. Last November, they did just that.

Full Story

Monday, May 08, 2006

Kentucky Declared Most Stylish State

According to the March issue of Esquire magazine, Kentucky is the most stylish state in the country. No, I'm not making this up. They actually said: "The most stylish state in America is ... Kentucky. The bluegrass state has cranked out nine major style icons with a modest population of four million people. Beat that, New York!"

The Esquire senior associate editor responsible for the selection, Christopher Berend, explained: "When you tell other people, they think you're kidding, but it's true... As we stated in the issue, it's not necessarily the number of style icons that they have or iconic traditions like the Derby. It's really about the fact that the individuals that have come out of that state, whether by coincidence or not, have become style touchstones for a lot of men."

So what touchstones makes Kentucky such a stylish state? According to Esquire, they are: George Clooney, nephew of Maysville-born singer Rosemary and son of Nick; the country-rock group My Morning Jacket from Louisville; the Kentucky Derby; Louisville-born heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali; actor Johnny Depp from Owensboro; Gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson from Louisville; retired New York Knicks guard Allan Houston from Louisville; game-show host Chuck Woolery from Ashland and Col. Harland Sanders, founder of the Louisville-based Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Full Story

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Maysville Supports Its Troops

In a parade that blows away any parade I've ever seen in Maysville Kentucky, the local community showed up en masse to support returning soldiers of the 301st Chemical Unit of the Kentucky Army National Guard from Iraq today.

There were some firsts here, I believe. Never have I seen bleachers put out for a Maysville parade before, which I am sure was appreciated. Also, I've never seen confetti raining down off one of the tall buildings on East Second before. To me it felt like one of those Washington, D.C. parades, and I know I'm not alone in saying, nice touch!

Starting off appropriately with a colorguard of young men, the parade wound its way through the downtown area.

Behind the colorguard was the returning soldiers carried by local volunteers in convertible cars, with the name of each soldier on the side. One thing I noticed (which goes to show how much Maysville supports their troops) is that when they ran out of convertibles, people volunteered other vehicles, such as a pick-up truck with a soldier in the back. Of course the porsche was nice also : )

Then came the National Guard, the High School marching band, a convoy of Harley Davidson motorcycles, and the Fire Department. Directly behind them were community supporters like local businesses and candidates running for office. One of the cool things here was a model airplane decked out in desert camouflage and presented by Hardymon Lumber. I really want one! Also (another first I think), trailing near the end of the parade was the Maysville Transit Authority picking up onlookers so they could ride in the parade as well.

Maysville really went all out on this parade and it showed. Excellent job!

Finally, though most had already moved on by then, came the last vehicles in the parade... the street sweepers. How often do parades end with these guys? Let's give them a round of applause as well!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Traxel's Restaurant

One of our readers who read the article "Maysville 50 Year's Ago: One Man's Recollections", from guest blogger Ken Downing, wrote that she enjoyed the reminiscing, but that she believes that it missed one of her favorites: Traxel's Restaurant.

Jane B. Johnson, in Swanzey, New Hampshire writes:

When I was a child, my mother shopped almost every Saturday in Maysville. It was an adventure for me, sometimes more positive than others, but I could look forward to going to Traxel's if we were in town at lunchtime and I had 'been on my best behavior'. For a little farm girl it was a big step toward elegance. The waitresses' uniforms were grey dresses with little white aprons and accessories. There was at least one gentleman busboy who looked to me like a butler because he was dressed in black and white and sometimes had a white tea towel over one arm. The floor was very shiny and the tables and booths were of dark wood with some small wire chairs and tables scattered in the mid section. At the front of the store near the entry there were glass counters containing candies.

Most times Mother and I shared a club sandwich, the likes of which we never had at home, and other times we might each have an ice cream sundae or an ice cream soda. Fountain cokes and iced tea were special there, too. It was rather 'other worldish' for me and I felt very priviledged to be there to practice my 'good manners'.

Traxels is just one of my Maysville Memories that are very dear to me.

Friday, May 05, 2006

The Asparagus Bed of Mason County

One of our readers asked, "Why is May's Lick called the asparagus bed of Mason County?" Those outside the area would naturally assume that it's because May's Lick grows a lot of asparagus, right? Not exactly. It's actually surprising to find that May's Lick grows very little asparagus, especially considering that they seem to have this strange fascination with the plant, and even have an annual festival all about asparagus. So where does this obsession with asparagus come from?

I had to delve deep into the bowels of the web to find this one. It's an article from the Cincinnati Enquirer dated 2002:

Over the years, the fields around May's Lick have been known for nurturing tobacco, corn, hemp and maybe a few illegal crops. But the story goes that nearly a century ago, a banker named Sanford Roff declared May's Lick the “asparagus bed of Mason County.” Considering townsfolk probably grew even less asparagus then than they do now, this slogan was more about marketing than the true state of agriculture. Mr. Hoff's theory was that asparagus grows in fertile soil and May's Lick is blessed with fertile — although mostly clay-red — ground.

So what Mr. Roff really meant was May's Lick was prime property, and it could be the asparagus bed of Mason County — if people tried.

Full Story

So there you have it. The May's Lick Asparagus Festival, and the whole story of being the 'asparagus bed of Mason County' has little to do with the actual plant itself, and a lot more to do with a dream of a better tomorrow - a prosperous future for the residents of Mason County rooted in the soil. Now that's pretty cool, don't ya think?

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Video File: Homefront Cafe

These are some random video clips of the Homefront Cafe on Second Street, a Civil War museum and coffee house located in historic Maysville, Kentucky.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Don't Dye Your Chickens, Even After They Hatch

"No person shall sell, exchange, offer to sell or exchange, display or possess living baby chicks, ducklings, or other fowl or rabbits which have been dyed or colored; nor dye or color any baby chicks, ducklings or other fowl or rabbits; nor sell, exchange, offer to sell or exchange or to give away baby chicks, ducklings or other fowl or rabbits, under two months of age in any quantity less than six, except that any rabbit weighing three pounds or more may be sold at an age of six weeks. Any person who violates this section shall be fined not less than $100 nor more than $500." - Kentucky Revised Statutes 436.600 (Passed 1966 Ky. Acts ch. 215, sec. 5.)

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Maysville Academy Photograph Mid-1900s

Where General U.S. Grant attended school at Maysville. Ulysses S. Grant entered this academy in fall of 1836, at the age of 14. Grant's home was in Georgetown, Ohio; he stayed with his uncle nearby while attending school. One of the most famous institutions in Ohio Valley, it was taught by two eminent scholars, Jacob W. Rand and W. W. Richeson. This building erected circa 1829 by Thomas G. Richardson, contractor.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Blue Licks State Park History

There was an interesting article published recently at about Blue Licks State Park. In the article it talks about the American Revolution, in which Blue Licks is famous for being the last major battle (nevermind the fact that it was actually fought 10 months after the British had surrendered at Yorktown, VA). Also tied into the article is this story, lesser known:

The 580-acre park is home to salt springs that attracted prehistoric animals, including mastodons. The springs also played a key role in American Indian life and attracted pioneers like Boone.

In the 1800s, the mineral springs were a popular Kentucky health resort. The water was also bottled and sold as a general health remedy.

Great read. Apparently, the park is also home to Short's goldenrod, a federally endangered plant species. It is protected on three preserves totaling 53 acres within the state park. I didn't know that one. Check out the full story here.