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. We scour the web and local media for news from and about the area, and present a daily digest for our readers. Everyone is encouraged to participate by leaving their own thoughts and comments.

Monday, January 22, 2007

The Pulse: Dad's Workshop

This week's Pulse comes from "ekalb" and his blog post reminisces about old Kentucky barns:

I saw this on's Flickr stream and was reminded of the many summer visits to my uncle's farm in Maysville, Kentucky. It always smelled of oil and grime with a rush of fresh country air scented by the huge fields surrounding it. I spent hours exploring all the facinating piles of parts, containers, cabinets and obscure tools. Mostly out of sheer boredom being so far out in the countryside. But every once in a while there were inspirations to tinker and figure how something worked. Time would flash away and it would be time to leave too soon.

Read the full post

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

Sunday, January 21, 2007

1942 Photo of Maysville's Streetcar Rails

Maysville Kentucky used to have a streetcar that rode on rails through the downtown and Eastside area. This photograph from 1942 shows where the rails once were (I believe this is a street on the Lower Eastside, but I might be mistaken). It's long since been paved over, but Maysville's streetcar history is honored today in faux rails installed on Market Street and a streetcar that makes an appearance during festivals and parades.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Civil War Museum & Coffee Shop

I saw this article in the Maysville Magazette a few weeks ago and was waiting for them to put it on their website so I could link to it. It's about the Homefront Cafe on Second Street in downtown Maysville Kentucky. The Homefront Cafe is a full-service coffee shop that just happens to be a museum as well, covering the mid-19th century with a wide range of original and reproduction items on display (think Starbucks if it was started in the South during the 1800s). I should mention that the Homefront is ran by my folks, Lanette and Ernie Parnell. Hi Mom!
If you ask the Parnell's, they will say that it is a constant work in progress. It doesn't take one long to ask the question, "What more can be done to the Homefront Cafe?" Something unique to Maysville, it has a life all its own. With a coffee house theme and Civil War Museum to boot, this place is sure to draw the interest of the local or the out-of-towner.

After owning a traveling Civil War Museum and touring across the country, the Parnell's decided it was finally time to locate a place to call home. Something permanent was needed. That is how, last July, they ended up in Maysville, KY. Their museum, no longer viewed out of the back of their diesel truck, now sits in the back of the Cafe. Don't let the site fool you; the entire place is full of historical artifacts, books, and information that will make the average history buff salivate. (We haven't even talked about the food, yet.)

Although the menu isn't huge, it caters to the common appetite. Steaming home-made soups are offered everyday. Who knows what will be in the pot when you stroll in.... The Homefront Cafe has served about every kind of soup imaginable, from Chicken Noodle to Portabella Mushroom. It even comes with a fresh-baked homemade serving of their very own flat bread. You can smell the aroma when you walk in the door. Mmmmm!

Not hungry? Feel free to sit down with your computer in their Internet Friendly wireless Cafe. Enjoy a Latte, Coffee, or Sweet Tea. If you forget your computer, then read a book, or pursue the extensive collection of books adorning the shelves both up and downstairs.

Full Story

Friday, January 19, 2007

Dave Tomlin: Maysville Baseball Player

Dave Tomlin was born June 22, 1949 in Maysville, Kentucky, and went on to become a a Relief Pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds (1972-73 and 1978-80), San Diego Padres (1974-77), Montreal Expos (1982 and 1986) and Pittsburgh Pirates (1983 and 1985). He helped the Reds to win the 1972 NL Pennant and 1973 and 1979 NL Western Division.

Used primarily against lefthanded hitters, Tomlin averaged 60 appearances a year in relief for the 1974-77 Padres. He was traded to Texas with $125,000 for Gaylord Perry in January of 1978, but in March was sold to the Reds, who had first signed him in 1967. He went 9-1 in '78, despite a 5.81 ERA. He spent most of the 1980s in the minors, and in 1982 he led the American Association in appearances.

Tomlin's pitching stats can be found at Sports Illustrated.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Maysville Kentucky Invented Earmarks

You may have heard the term "earmarks" in the news recently in reference to pork-barrel spending in Congress. It was a hot topic in the recent elections and is surfacing again as newly elected representatives take their chairs. It's a controversial funding scheme - a sort of sounds-shady-on-the-surface way in which lawmakers pad federal bills with funding for state and local projects.

The most famous of these earmarks is the "Bridge to Nowhere". Tucked away in a federal bill was a $225 million funding authorization to connect an Alaska town of 14,000 to an island of 50 people. Critics call it a waste of federal resources on what should be a state matter.

Diverting federal funds to pet projects isn't anything new, however. Mary Todd Lincoln (Lincoln's wife who happened to be from Lexington) once convinced a congressman to hide appropriations to pay for her huge White House redecorating debts in a complex list of military appropriations.

What you may not know is that Maysville Kentucky invented earmarks, or at least is at the heart of what can be argued as the first earmark controversy. In 1830, the Maysville Road bill provided for the federal government to buy $150,000 in stock in a private company to fund a 60-mile long road connecting the towns of Maysville and Lexington. The U.S. Congress passed the bill, with a 103 to 87 vote in the House of Representatives. It was subsequently vetoed by President Andrew Jackson who claimed the bill was unconstitutional since it only dealt with Kentucky.

Historians have speculated, however, that Jackson rejected the bill because it was pitched by his arch-rival Henry Clay. It has also been speculated (at least by me), that Jackson actually vetoed the bill because he once got stuck in the mud while traveling here from Lexington. As a prank, someone turned the road sign outside Paris that pointed to Maysville, causing Jackson's horses and carriages to become mired in mud several miles east of Paris.

Whatever the reason for the veto, this was a landmark decision in the history of how the federal government deals with state and local governments. In addition to the Maysville Road veto, there were seven other vetoes of public works projects that came soon after, including roads and canals. Obviously with the recent debates over earmarks, we are still dealing with the same political issues today.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Simon Kenton Bridge: It's The Size That Matters

Maysville Kentucky's Simon Kenton Memorial Bridge is the 95th largest suspension bridge in the entire world, according to the list of suspension bridges by size at Wikipedia.

OK, so that may not sound that big. It's also true that the 323 feet of the bridge's main span doesn't really measure up to the 1,191 feet of the world's largest suspension bridge (over in Japan). But we did beat out the puny (290 feet) Tjeldsund Bridge in Norway. Norweigan bridges. They're so tiny.

Most importantly - for sheer river rivalry's sake - is that our Simon Kenton Suspension Bridge kicks Cincinnati's John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge's butt, as I'm sure the frontier woodsman Kenton himself would have won out in a fist fight against the architect Roebling. The fist fight's not really important though. What is important is that our bridge beats their bridge by a whopping... alright, so it's just one foot. Cincinnati's bridge is 322 feet long compared to Maysville Kentucky's bridge at 323 feet. But I still say that one foot is a big deal. Yep, imagine if the bridge had a one foot gap missing in the center of it and then tell me the size of the bridge doesn't matter.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Maysville Kentucky's Hemp History

A farmer in North Dakota is poised to become the nation's first licensed industrial hemp farmer pending approval from the DEA. North Dakota is among the seven states, including Kentucky, that have authorized industrial hemp farming. The plant is used to make an amazing array of products because of its sturdy fibers. If the farmer in North Dakota is approved, that may mean that Kentucky farmers might have a new cash crop, and regain some former glory.

According to a historical marker located near the entrance to the Maysville Community College on US 68, Maysville has a hempy past. It reads: "The only major hemp-producing Ky. county outside the Blue Grass area. The 1810 crop income was $70,000. Maysville second to Louisville in finished hemp products, 1830s. Nicholas Arthur's factory, using horsepower, was one of several ropewalks, long buildings for spiral winding of hemp fibers. It processed yearly 600,000 lbs. of rope worth $41,000. See over."

The other side reads: "Hemp in Kentucky - First crop grown, 1775. From 1840 to 1860, Ky.'s production largest in U.S. Peak in 1850 was 40,000 tons, with value of $5,000,000. Scores of factories made twine, rope, gunny sacks, bags for cotton picking and marketing. State's largest cash crop until 1915. Market lost to imported jute, freed of tariff. As war measure, hemp grown again during World War II. See over."

The controversy over growing hemp is that it is very similar to marijuana, especially in appearance. While hemp doesn't have any of marijuana's hallucinogenic properties, law enforcement officials fear that it may be used to hide the illegal growing of marijuana plants.

Ahem, apparently that appears to be a Kentucky tradition as well. Two states from our great country have the dubious honor of being in the top five global producers of marijuana. One of them is California (any surprise there?) and the second is... you guessed it, Kentucky. This may be because hemp grows all over the state. You can even find hemp along interstate highways.

Bluegrass isn't the only kind of grass Kentucky exports.

Full Story

Monday, January 15, 2007

The Pulse: Chamber of Commerce Awards

This week's Pulse comes from Misty at MySpace and her blog post is about winning an award from the Kentucky Press Association and the upcoming Chamber of Commerce Awards:
I recently found I'd won at least one second-prize award in the annual Kentucky Press Association competition, and was thrilled to death with that.

Possibly even more thrilling (mostly because it came out of the blue) was I found I am a finalist in the Printing/Marketing category for the Maysville/Mason County Area Chamber of Commerce's annual awards ceremony.

Granted, this award encompasses a much smaller area, and I'm one of 10 finalists and I don't expect to win. However, someone had to think well enough of me to nominate me to even be considered for the award, so I'm very pleased.

Read the full post

Congrats Misty!

The Chamber Awards ceremony will take place on January 27th at the Washington Opera House. I checked and still no web-related categories. C'mon guys, that's sooo 1990s. : ) Actually I'm only half-serious. John Carpenter, the Chamber's Executive Director, knows the importance of the web to Maysville. Under his direction, the Chamber has maintained their comprehensive website ( for many years now. It was one of the first official sites for the local area. Carpenter himself even kept a blog of the Chamber's activities for a time. Now if only all that tech-savvy can translate to the Awards.

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

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Maysville Kentucky Martin Luther King Celebrations

Martin Luther King Day is tomorrow. Despite the weather, celebrations were scheduled today by the local chapter of the NAACP, including a march from Scott United Methodist Church to Bethel Baptist Church. Bethel Baptist Church, as you may recall from previous posts, was founded by Elisha W. Green in 1845. Green was himself a champion of rights for African Americans in the local area.

Jerry Gore was scheduled to give a speech after the march as well. We've mentioned him before at this blog and with good reason. Gore is the foremost authority on the area's ties to the Underground Railroad. As the great-great-grandson of Addison White, Ohio's famous fugitive who escaped by the Underground Railroad, Gore is directly tied to African American history in the region. He's also appeared in historical documentaries produced by KET and was featured on the History Channel's "Save Our History: The Underground Railroad" which aired in 53 million homes.

Martin Luther King Day is the only United States federal holiday commemorating an African American and one of only three to commemorate an individual person. story with photos

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Vue de la Riviere, Maysville, Ky. Postcard (1907)

Reads: Vue de la Riviere, Maysville, Ky.

Personal postcard sent by someone traveling by boat from Pittsburg, Pennsylvania to Memphis, Tennessee. Shows a bird's eye view of 1907 Maysville Kentucky, pre-suspension bridge. The suspension bridge was built in the 1930s.