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 @ http://masoncountyky.blogspot.com

Monday, July 31, 2006

Why People Settled in Maysville Kentucky

I just got back from a trip to Washington D.C. and the route we took was strait through the Appalachian Mountains via West Virginia. Most of the trip was by interstate for timing, but on the way back we took some side roads because I wanted to visit the Mothman Museum in Point Pleasant. Driving through the Appalachians, I have a much better understanding of why people came to settle in Maysville Kentucky.

If you hop in your car and travel East less than an hour, you'll notice very quickly why Maysville became so popular. It's because you can draw a line between the mountains of the East and the plains of the Midwest, and that line passes right through this area. Sure, this area is still hilly. But if you go just East, those hills become mountains. Even the most modest mountain becomes an arduous obstacle when you're mode of transportation is a wagon.

The most direct route to Washington in those times would have been by river. The Ohio River travels up through the mountains to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Again, Maysville became an ideal place to settle for travellers by riverboat because this is around where those mountains end.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Dog Tax in Mason County, 1865


"Black" Lou Bullock from Mason County

The Kentucky General Assembly passed an act for the protection of sheep, approved January 31, 1865, that included a tax of $1.00 for each dog over six months of age, except that "each bona fide housekeeper shall be allowed to keep two dogs free of tax." The sheriff in each county was charged with collecting the tax, which was to go to support of the common schools.

"Black" Lou Bullock, known as a huntsman in the Orangeburg, Mason County area, poses (left) with his prize dog, circa 1890. In true Kentucky style, he seems to be saying, "Come and get that tax!"

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Old Washington Song

I'll tell you about a big meeting
That has made the Vanjanks all look blue,
It has lately been held in Kentucky,
To the honor of Old Tippecanoe.

From the East and the West came in thousands,
And the North and the South pour'd in too,
As if heaven and earth were all moving
In honor of Old Tippecanoe.

There were skiffs, forts, yawls and Log Cabins,
And a beautiful Maysville brig too,
All drawn upon wheels by fine horses--
Hurrah for Old Tippecanoe.

Farm wagons, canoes and stage coaches,
And carriages also a few,
Come up there all fill'd to overflowing
With the sons of Old Tippecanoe.

The air was all filled with bright banners,
Red, white, purple, green and true blue,
With inscriptions and mottoes upon them,
All about our Old Tippecanoe.

There was bread of all sorts in abundence,
And barrels of good pickles a few,
Prepared for the sons of Ohio,
By the friends of Old Tippecanoe.

On Monday the sun shone with splendor
Through on Sunday rains fell and winds blew,
But none of us cared for the weather--
True soldiers of Tippecanoe.

We march'd through the streets of old Washington,
And bravely drank hard cider too,
To show to the silk stocking gentry
How we'd stick to old Tippecanoe.

The ladies they flock'd to their windows,
In numbers, I say not a few,
And held out their star-spangled banners
All to the honor of Tippecanoe.

The Vans call us rag barons and dandies,
And only a ruffle shirt crew,
But they see now the bone and the sinew
All go for Old Tippecanoe.

Here's a long life to the men of Kentucky,
For to them there is honor due,
For their manly and good preparations
For the sons of Old Tippecanoe.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Maysville's Best: The Arts

The small town of a Maysville Kentucky, despite having only a dozen thousand people or less, is suprisingly strong when it comes to the arts. Sometimes it's simply an appalachian craft festival, other times it's a symphony orchestra concert, but whether it's music or theater or paintings, hardly a month goes by where groups and individuals in the city aren't presenting some sort of arts function.

The most obvious fine art project in Maysville is the Floodwall Murals located at the downtown waterfront. These nine murals (with more planned for the near future) depict Maysville's evolving history as a rivertown. There's also private groups that put on art shows periodically like the Ohio River Valley Artists Guild. Steve White, who has a gallery on Market Street, is probably the best known local painter. His gallery has many photo-realistic paintings of local buildings. The Kentucky Gateway Museum also houses historical paintings of the area.

The Maysville Players are a very active theatrical group that puts on theater projects several times a year. They began in 1962 with their production of "Our Town". Thirty-five years later, they are still active in the theater business. This makes the Maysville Players unique, as well as the oldest group of its kind in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The group's theater, The Washington Opera House, is the 5th oldest theater in the country and is currently under major rennovations.

Of course in the music arena, each fall there is the Rosemary Clooney Music Festival, which not only celebrates the music of Rosemary, but also celebrates music in general. It's a huge draw for music fans from around the country and is Maysville's biggest cultural event.

Various other cultural activities take place throughout the year, including many art festivals, smaller music festivals, educational symposiums and more. Together, they make Maysville the undisputed cultural center of the entire region.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Maysville's Best: The Bridges


Bridges may not seem all that important if you're not used to the Ohio River. But considering that the nearest bridges outside of Maysville Kentucky for crossing the river is at least an hour away in either direction, the importance of Maysville's not one, but two bridges, becomes apparent.

The original location of the Simon Kenton Suspension Bridge (pictured above) was up in the air in the 1920's, when the Ohio River crossing was first envisioned. Maysville was competing with Augusta on the location. Finally, on November 8, 1930, it was decided that the location would be Maysville.

The Simon Kenton Suspension Bridge opened to traffic on Nov. 25, 1931, originally with a toll. On August 1, 1945, the state of Kentucky announced plans to end the toll on the suspension bridge - then the only Ohio River span between Newport, Kentucky and Portsmouth, Ohio - on October 1. This was a much celebrated event, with a parade in downtown Maysville celebrating the "end of tolls" on the crossing. The Maysville's Rotary and Lions clubs also held celebrations.

In 2002, a $5.8 million renovation job replaced the deck of the Ohio River crossing. A fresh coat of battleship gray paint was also applied.

The William H. Harsha Bridge was later constructed as a by-pass of Maysville for truckers. The bridge, carrying US 62 and US 68 across the Ohio River one mile west of Maysville, was constructed from April 10, 1997 to its completion date on October 9, 2000 and became Kentucky's first cable-stayed bridge design. The last cable was hung on May 12, 2000. The bridge is named after the retired Ohio Congressman William H. Harsha.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Maysville's Best: The River


You can't have a Maysville's Best without a nod to the majestic Ohio River.

The Ohio River is a 981 mile long artery that flows through the Heart of America -- from Pittsburgh, PA, to the Mississippi River near Cairo, IL -- and it's such an integral part of the city, past and present. You'd have a hard time finding another town that has more river culture in its history than Maysville Kentucky and, unlike many of the larger cities along the river, Maysville has kept its river town identity. Today you'll find some of the best fishing, camping, and other recreational activities in Kentucky occur right on the Ohio River near Maysville. In the past decade or so, city officials have worked hard to make the landing a functioning and attractive port for the steamboats that still travel the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers like in the days of Mark Twain. The Delta Queen steamboat makes routine stops in Maysville as it passes through.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Maysville's Best: The Museums

One thing Maysville doesn't have a shortage of is museums... and we're even making more! Choose from any of the following:

The Kentucky Gateway Museum Center located at 215 Sutton Street, which carries an extensive array of Maysville history artifacts that, according to the City of Maysville web site, "transport the visitor through time as it tells the story of the region through dioramas and exhibits." Currently they are building a $3 million addition to house even more artifacts. If you want to know about Maysville and the region, this is a must visit.

Then there's the National Underground Railroad Museum located at the Bierbower House, which is a documented safe house on the Underground Railroad in Maysville. There you can view original kitchen and slave quarters where fugitive slaves were hidden under false floors. It's located at 38 West Fourth Street.

If you're looking to see how life was during the mid-19th century, you'll want to visit the Civil War museum at the Homefront Cafe, 34 West Second Street. In addition to rifles and muskets and military memorabilia that was used during the Civil War, you'll also find everyday items used by people from that era. They also have an extensive amount of agricultural items and medical artifacts from the time.

In Old Washington you can visit the Harriet Beecher Stowe Slavery to Freedom Museum, at 2124 Old Main Street, which offers artifacts, Civil War memorabilia, period furnishings and chronicles the life of Ms. Stowe, including her visit to Washington, Kentucky in 1833 which inspired the book Uncle Tom's Cabin.

Also in Old Washington is the Carriage Museum. This is a unique museum all about... you guessed it, carriages. See different makes and models of carriages used throughout the days before cars.

If you're a fan of vintage movies, take the short trip out to Augusta to see the Rosemary Clooney House museum which is where she lived while in Kentucky. They have pretty much everything Rosie including dresses she wore in her movies and other memorabilia, including a special section devoted to her role in White Christmas.

Finally, there's also tons of museums in nearby Ripley, Ohio... again, mostly dealing with the Underground Railroad, including the John P. Parker house, and the Rankin house, two people who helped many slaves on the pathway to freedom. There's also the Ohio Tobacco Museum which covers all things tobacco.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Maysville's Best: The Steeples


Maysville: City of Steeples 
This week is Maysville's Best Week. Over the next few days, we're going to show off some of the more interesting things around town that makes Maysville a unique place to visit.

First up, the steeples.

Maysville is sometimes called the "City of Steeples" and with good reason. They're the first thing you notice when you see the town. The First Presbyterian Church (right) and the First Baptist Church (middle), with their Gothic Revival styles, make up the more noticeable of these steeples, but there's many smaller ones around town as well, on public buildings and private residences alike. Most of the more interesting buildings in town have steeples or spires built in.

The church steeples of Maysville have always been what makes the city unique architecturally. Even in this 1862 sketch of the city, they're what sticks out the most. Back then, they were a beacon for travellers along the Ohio River.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Country Music Singer Jeff Bates in Concert

Heritage Honda of Maysville and Flemingsburg is partnering with Maysville Community and Technical College and the Maysville-Mason Co. Area Chamber of Commerce to present RCA Country Recording Artist Jeff Bates in concert Thursday, July 27, 2006 at 7:00 p.m. Bates is best known for his country hits “Long Slow Kisses” and “The Love Song” and his current release “One Second Chance”. The concert will be held on the front lawn of the Maysville campus.

Opening for Bates will be country music singer Cora Keller. Keller is formerly from Ripley, Ohio and now from Nashville, Tennessee.

Tickets are available online here, or you can pick them up at the following locations: Security Bank and Trust, US Bank, Integra Bank, People’s Bank, Citizen’s Deposit Bank, Bank of Maysville, Maysville-Mason Co. Area Chamber Office, Maysville Community and Technical College (Maysville, Rowan and Cynthiana Campuses), and Fleming County Chamber Office.

If you would like more information about the concert call 606-759-7141 ext. 66120.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Photo of the Simon Kenton Bridge, 1930s

Downtown Maysville photograph (from the Aberdeen side), just after the new Simon Kenton Bridge was built. Those who live in the area will notice quite a few changes since then. The Simon Kenton Bridge is a suspension bridge built in 1931 and originally opened with a toll. Those tolls were removed in 1945 to much fanfare - including celebrations from the local Rotary and Lions club, and a parade in downtown Maysville. It crosses the Ohio River and its main span is 1,060 feet long, and the total length of the bridge is 1,991 feet.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Hayswood Hospital Is a Tourism Draw?

Local residents have been debating what to do with the Hayswood Hospital for some time. In its, ahem, hay-day, it was a booming hospital for the local area with 87 beds available for patients from the surrounding area. Much like Meadowview Regional caters to the entire region, so did Hayswood before it closed in 1983. Today it is pretty much an eye-sore and there's a lot of debate on what to do with it. Residents wonder if it should be torn down or redesigned for some other use. What many of them don't realize is that it is already being used, by the living... and the dead! Muhahaha!

The Ledger recently wrote an article about proposed uses for the Hayswood building, including converting it into apartments or using the space to solve the growing parking issue downtown.

The article also touched upon the hospital's notoriety as a hangout for haunts. However it's not just haunted, it's also a popular destination for ghost hunters here and abroad. I personally know of several ghost hunters from Cincinnati who have made the trip out here, just to stand at the bottom of the hill and look up at it, hoping to catch a glimpse of the other side. They take photos of the building hoping that when the film is developed, a shadow or light phenomena called "orbs" might appear in the shot (some believe they've caught evidence on film of the ghosts in Hayswood).

Groups like the Louisville Ghost Hunters Society have also expressed interest in Hayswood and doing a thorough investigation of the grounds. The LGHS is a huge organization and was recently featured in two shows for the Sci-Fi Channel about the Waverly Hills Sanatorium, a hospital for tuberculosis patients near Louisville that closed in the 1960s.

These ghost hunters actually prefer an eye-sore : )

So, yes, currently Hayswood Hospital is a tourism draw, although slightly off the beaten path of other Maysville tourism draws like its place in Underground Railroad lore. The tourism element is partially because of people letting others know the stories behind the building, mostly online. Kudos to the Ledger for mentioning paranormalmagazine.com, which is another blog I write for and drop strange tales of Maysville whenever I come across them. Just for reference, the Haunted Travels Industry is booming and is estimated in the hundreds of millions.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

New York Times Writes About Maysville Kentucky

In October 1986, around the time PBS film producers were releasing The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, which was filmed in the area, the New York Times wrote a piece about Augusta, Maysville, and Washington called "Old Kentucky Towns" which provides a wealth of history about the area.

From the New York Times article:

Augusta, Maysville and Washington are three small pioneer towns in northeast Kentucky - a gentle and pastoral land with a savage history, where old buildings are left to tell some of the story. And the Ohio River keeps rolling on...

You see rolling hills and fields in varying intense shades of green, limestone cliffs, red barns and blackened tobacco sheds with tin roofs that shine in the sun, a few covered bridges along back roads. This is good fishing, hunting and hiking country. People are warm and welcoming to strangers. And the birds do ''make music all the day,'' as Stephen Foster wrote.

Full Story

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Video File: Man of Constant Sorrow

Partly because the song is about a man from Kentucky, partly because it features George Clooney - a Maysville Kentucky native - and mostly because I just love the song and the movie it's from, here are the Soggy Bottom Boys with "Man of Constant Sorrow" from O' Brother Where Art Thou. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Lavender Hills of Kentucky

With the tobacco industry in decline, farmers in the area are turning to other crops to make up the difference. According to a recent article in the Cincinnati Post, one farm family in Bracken County Kentucky has decided to go Lavender. No, not the color. They've decided to make Lavender, the herb, the base of their farming operation.

Previously the Charles and Judy Brothers family was unaware of lavender's status as a cure-all, do-all cash crop. With the help of their daughters (including Teresa High of Maysville Kentucky), they began researching Lavender, whose properties turned out to range from easing aching joints to keeping fleas off dogs; from freshening clothing and rooms to adding flavor to food.

In their research, they learned about the lavender-growing efforts in the State of Washington, and how it added a tourism element to the mix. Lavender attracts visitors to view the farm and the eye-pleasing plants, and then you can offer the visitors lavender products for sale. A year ago they started growing the plants, which surprisingly to them was a lot like growing tobacco.

Now it's Kentucky's first lavender farm, and the endeavor has an impressive name - Lavender Hills of Kentucky. Products soon will be for sale in a small gift shop near the lavender field (and at their web site). There are lavender-filled pillows, sachets to put in closets and drawers to improve the scent and repel moths, and bathroom pomanders enhanced by the steam from a shower. Lavender Hills of Kentucky is still a fledgling operation, and they would like to find some type of wholesaler or distributor to buy the product. In the meantime, the family will offer lavender in their gift shop and at various fairs and festivals around the area.

Cincinnati Post article
Lavender Hills of Kentucky web site

Monday, July 17, 2006

Solid Ground Gospel Group Records Album

Solid Ground, a gospel music group from the Maysville Kentucky area, was recently at a studio in Goodlettsville, Tennessee, completing vocals on their upcoming project on the MorningStar / Signature label, a division on the Eddie Crook Company. Group member Darin Thomas is also known for writing well-known songs such as “Just Another Miracle” and “When Jesus Speaks” as recorded by the Ruckmans and “It Was You” recorded by the Kirklands. Projected street date for the new project is scheduled for Fall 2006.

Pictured in the studio are Solid Ground members along with Engineer Adrian Payne and Vocal Producer Scott Russell of the Eddie Crook Company.

Solid Ground Web Site

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Stanley Reed: Supreme Court Justice From Maysville

Stanley F. Reed (1884 -1980), at the time of his death, was the longest lived Supreme Court Justice in American history. He lived in Maysville Kentucky before heading off to the University of Virginia to study law. He also studied law at Columbia University and later in France, but strangely he never actually obtained a law degree. In fact, he was the last person to serve as a Supreme Court Justice without possessing a law degree.

After studying abroad, he returned to Maysville to practice law. His reputation soon spread to other states, so much so that the Hoover Administration tapped him for government as counsel for the Federal Farm Board in 1929 and later as counsel for the Reconstruction Finance Corporation in 1932. President Roosevelt appointed him to the Supreme Court in 1935, where he presented the government arguments for numerous "New Deal" cases. Reed was generally considered a moderate and often held the balance between the liberal and the conservative members of the court in split decisions.

From the Supreme Court Historical Society:

As Stanley Reed never forgot Kentucky, neither did Kentucky forget him. He was invited back to speak at county fairs and on other occasions. In 1957 Maysville observed Stanley Reed Day and renamed in his honor the street where he once had his law office. Chief Justice Warren and Justice Sherman Minton attended those festivities. At his death his hometown newspaper wrote that "we here who knew him as a fellow townsmen feel that the Nation was the richer for his shining integrity, the depth of his wisdom, and his profundity of knowledge."

Full Story

Saturday, July 15, 2006

What To Do on a Hot Day in Maysville

Someone turned up the heat around here and tomorrow's supposed to be worse. So what do you do on a hot summer day in Maysville Kentucky? Luckily (and I mean really lucky for such a small town), Maysville is home to the Paradise Breeze Water Park.

Doesn't the above picture just cool you down? In addition to the pool and water slides, Paradise Breeze offers Go Kart racing, a batting cage, arcade games, and a cafe. Lifeguards are always on duty.

Paradise Breeze Web Site

Friday, July 14, 2006

Best Catfish Hole in Kentucky

Where's the best place to catch catfish in Kentucky? According to KentuckyGameandFish.com, it's the Ohio River. They recently ran an article with the three best catfish holes in the Commonwealth. At the top of the list is our own Ohio River. From the article:

Jeff Adkins, 46, and fellow catfish angler Earl Elliott, 30, both from Morgan County, were after their favorite fish on the Ohio River near Maysville when friendly competition broke out between the two fishermen. Their rivalry ended when a monster whiskerfish was hoisted onboard.

"Earl was catching some big fish," Adkins says. "He had landed three nice-sized channel cats, and I told him I'd catch one that would make three of his biggest. A short time later, I got lucky and pulled in a 47-pound flathead."

Adkins and Elliott are known for seizing every opportunity on the mighty Ohio to angle for catfish. Whether in a boat or camp-fishing from the bank, these two experts have proven that trophy catfish are available all along the northern perimeter of the Bluegrass State.

Flatheads, blue catfish and channel cats are the dominant species for Kentucky anglers. And along with the Ohio River, several inland lakes provide excellent catfishing opportunity as well.

Full Story

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The Clooney's Irish Roots

Researchers working for Ancestry.com have traced the geneaologies of popular celebrities using the massive amounts of data gathered in Utah during the past century by the Church of Latter-Day Saints. The company has also collated 13 million US census records dated between 1790 and the 1930s, the most recent records in the public domain. Using this information and searching technologies, and working backwards from famous descendants living today, they have determined the orgins of famous people's families. Some of them come from the British Isles.

According to the 1880 American census via Ancestry.com, the great-great-grandfather of George Clooney, the actor, immigrated from Ireland and became a jeweller. His son Andrew became mayor of Maysville Kentucky, and campaigned with the help of George’s singing aunts — Rosemary and Betty (sisters of Nick) — who were radio stars.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Fleming County Fair: Ewing, Kentucky

The 29th Annual Fleming County Fair is going on throughout the week at 5194 Ewing Road in Ewing, Kentucky (just south of us). Rides start at 6pm each evening. This year they've added a new event: The Cornhole Tournament. Cornhole, for those of you outside our area, is probably not what you think. It's a lot like horse shoe tossing, but uses a bag of corn and a plywood constructed hole instead of a sandpit, like the bean bag tossing you probably did is a kid. Folks around here really enjoy tossing the ol' Cornhole bag. Other events include the Carnival, Agricultural Exhibits, Home Interior/Crafts, Livestock Shows, Youth Exhibits, Youth Contests, Horse Shows, Youth Market Livestock Auction, Baby Contests, Little Miss/Mister, Miss Teen Kentucky, Miss Kentucky County Fair, Demolition Derby, Tractor Pull, and the Garden Tractor Pull. The fair continues throughout the week and ends on Saturday. Call 606-267-5981 for more details.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Are We News?

I guess so. Or at least popular news service Topix.net seems to think so. Since starting the Maysville Kentucky Blog last year, we've been linked to by several sites across the web. None that we know of have been as prominent in web traffic as Topix. They are a popular news aggregation service containing news from thousands of sources, sorted geographically for US cities, as well as a wide variety of subjects. According to Alexa Traffic Rankings (one of the better web traffic monitoring services), they reach an average of 800+ million users per day.

Imagine our surprise then, when we go to find news about Maysville, Kentucky (www.topix.net/city/maysville-ky) and learn that many of the articles are ours : ) It's the same with Augusta, Kentucky (www.topix.net/city/augusta-ky).

So, hey, if you've got something to say and you want me to put it out there, send me an email. If I like it, I'll digiprint it for you.

Monday, July 10, 2006

1913 Augusta Kentucky Flood Photograph

1913 photograph of the flood on Third and Upper Streets in Augusta Kentucky. Featured is a woman on horseback in the flooded street. The horse is drinking the flood waters. Although you can't see it here, the message on the back says, "All most every frame house in lower end of town was moved some distance or turned in some way, loss will be great. -- Bedford Hagen." Hagen was an employee of Augusta Liberty Bank.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

1899 "New South" Riverboat Photograph

1899 photograph of the "New South" river boat run by the Memphis & Cincinnati Packet Co., with decks full of passengers and their family watching from shore. This photo was taken from the Maysville Kentucky side of the river. Across the Ohio River you can see a couple of landings on the Aberdeen Ohio shore.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Video: Local Clogger, Kenneth Fithen, on NBC

As part of the clogging ensemble, All That, Aberdeen Ohio native Kenneth Fithen made it to national primetime television on NBC's America's Got Talent. More background in this Ledger article, but I thought I'd track down the video. Enjoy ladies!

Friday, July 07, 2006

The Beat Goes On

When a colleague passes away, it's right and proper to say a few words on their behalf. No one actually died in this case, but the Mason County Beat newsmagazine did close up shop after publishing their last issue on Thursday, citing the cost of publication as the reason for saying farewell. I did the math in my head, and I can just imagine what those costs were. Each week 5,000 copies were distributed around town. Even at conservative printing costs, paying the writers, paying expenses, etc., the cost can rack up quickly. Quite a bit for the local economy.

When looking at the Maysville Kentucky Blog's statistics, I doubt I could afford to physically print and distribute it, even with advertisers. And it's just a humble digital hamster cage-liner : )

The Beat got their start last summer publishing alternative news and stories. Throughout publication, they gained some critical acclaim, including earning several Kentucky Press Association awards within the first four months of existence. Readers around town enjoyed their offbeat humor and say they'll miss looking for features such as "Fake Ads" and "Monkey Business" each week.

While the actual Beat is gone, its spirit lives on in the people who wrote for it, according to their final issue entitled, "Any Last Words?" Staff writers talk about their positive experiences working for the newsmagazine, lessons learned, and even leave us with the cryptic message, "And who knows; maybe we'll be baaaaaaack." I don't think we've heard the last from the Beat staff.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Cycling America

Blogger and cycling enthusiast "Mike R." recently came through Maysville, Kentucky on a bicycle trek that's led him from Columbus, Ohio, to Mt. Orab, through Ripley, into Maysville, Kentucky, Old Washington and south to Dry Ridge, then over to Indiana. And that's just as far as he's come already. His goal is to bike all the way to Mobile, Alabama. That's about 825 miles and covers almost 80% of the North to South distance between Canada and the Gulf of Mexico. Along the way he's stopping in at points of interest along the Underground Railroad, which of course is what brought him to Ripley, Maysville, and Old Washington.

The bike is called an "Air Caddy" and it's pretty cool looking. I have to admit my ignorance of cycling when I say I've never seen anything like it. Below is a picture of "Mike R." and his bike.

From his blog, The Speed of Bike:

"I cycled out of Mt. Orab this morning to get to one of the key spots on the Underground Railroad: Ripley, Ohio and then on to Maysville, Kentucky. Ripley was only about 30 miles down the road. At 9 am on a Sunday morning it was a quiet place, so I rode down to the water to look across at where so many slaves had crossed to freedom....

"We had a powerful day, standing where giant souls stood and worked. It felt like standing on the bank of the Jordan that place of liberation for Israel. Here, people found liberty, but at far greater risk."

Full Story

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Parade Pictures

My dad, Ernest Parnell (owner of the Homefront Cafe on Second Street) on the right, and my Aunt Pat (visiting from South Carolina) on the left, riding a three-wheeled bicycle in Maysville's July 4th Parade. Both career military people, between the two of them they have almost half a century of combined military service. Both also a little off-kilter, they get kicks out of things like three-wheeled bicycles. The bicycle here has been in the family for years.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

4th of July Celebrations

Here's a list of activities that are going on downtown to celebrate the 4th of July:

3:30 pm Mini Marathon - Market & 2nd Streets
Sponsored by Limestone C.A.R. ($1.00)
4:00 pm Patriotic Scavenger Hunt - Market & 2nd Streets
Sponsored by Limestone C.A.R.
4:30 pm Ed Greifenkamp Park Dedication - Water Plant - E. Second Street
4:45 pm Bicycle Decorating Contest - Rotary Park
Sponsored by Wald LLC
5:00 pm Community Band at Second Street Mall
5:30 pm Parade Line-Up
6:00 pm Parade - Grand Marshal Colin Faris
7:00 pm 5-K Run - Sponsored by Knights of Columbus
7:00 - Dusk Picnic at Limestone Landing
("Jingles the Clown", "Hey Mr. DJ", Ice Cream, Snow Cones, Etc.)
Dusk Fireworks

Monday, July 03, 2006

The Battle of Blue Licks

Since July 4th is tomorrow, and since I've been watching "The Revolution" series on the History Channel, I thought I'd point out the Revolutionary War in our own area by linking to the Wikipedia article on the Battle of Blue Licks. As a side note, don't forget to take part in the large number of activities scheduled for the July 4th celebration downtown, taking place throughout the day. Also, tonight Ripley, Ohio, is having their annual fireworks display. It's just a few miles down river, so be sure to stop in.
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From Wikipedia: The Battle of Blue Licks, on August 19, 1782 was the last major battle of the American Revolutionary War. The battle, which took place in the frontier country of northern Kentucky, near the present-day town of Blue Licks Springs in Robertson County, occurred almost ten months after the surrender of the British commander Cornwallis at Yorktown. The Battle of Blue Licks was a decisive victory for a combined invasion force of 1000 British regulars and Native Americans from the Ohio nations, over a force of 180 Kentucky militiamen. It is considered by historians to be the "low point" for the Americans, in the struggle for possession of the western country beyond the Appalachian Mountains. Full Story

Sunday, July 02, 2006

The Mysterious Kentucky Yahoos

There's been a long running debate about where Internet behemoth Yahoo! got its name. In literature, the Yahoos were large, hairy, man-like creatures as described in Jonathan Swift's classic Gulliver's Travels. Whether or not they got the name from Gulliver's Travels is anyone's guess.

Kentucky, according to legend, has its own Yahoos.

In the book Daniel Boone: The Life and Legend of an American Pioneer (1992), the author claims Boone told "tall tales" about "killing a ten-foot, hairy giant he called a 'Yahoo.'" Reportedly Gulliver's Travels was one of Boone's favorite books and he carried it with him when he ventured into the woods.

In a 1957 issue of the journal Western Folklore, folklorist Leonard Roberts reported that he had collected "four or five versions" of what he called "a curious and strange legend" he encountered in isolated regions of the Kentucky mountains. The stories involved large, hairy wild people who lived in the woods. In one version of the story, the wild person is specifically called a "Yeahoh." The Kentucky Yeahoh was described as repeatedly making the sound "yea-hoh, yeahoh"; Swift described his Yahoos as uttering their own sounds in a similar manner. Could the Kentucky legends be a reference to Swift's "Yahoo"? If so, it could be evidence that Boone's tall tales survived over one hundred years of retellings in the Kentucky highlands.

Of course we could just go out on a limb and say it's Bigfoot : )

Saturday, July 01, 2006

The Walkers in Hollywood

Tuesday evening Dorothy "Dot" Wood passed away in Los Angeles at the age of 99. As a Maysville resident for over 60 years, she was well known in the local community and will be missed by many (Ledger article).

Among her survivors is daughter Eleanor "Ellie" Wood Walker, who attended Maysville High School before moving to California where she married Robert Walker, Jr.

Ellie has appeared in several movies and TV shows over the years, earning her the credit of the first woman to ever play Diana Prince/Wonder Woman on television. She also had a part in the movie Easy Rider along with Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, and Jack Nicholson.

Her husband, Robert, is the son of actors Robert Walker (Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train) and Jennifer Jones (The Towering Inferno) and has countless film credits to his own name.

During the late 1960s Ellie and her husband took an extended trip with famous actor Ryan O'Neil, along with many others (perhaps to film a movie). O'Neil's daughter, Oscar winning Tatum O'Neil, and Ellie's children were left with Dot Wood while away. All four kids went to Woodleigh school for a period of time.

Today, Ellie and Robert live in Taos, NM.

Special thanks to Ken Downing for the background information for this article.