Friday, July 31, 2020

Arnold's Florist and Greenhouse Calendar 1957

Thank you Jerry L. Sampson, for the awesome historical photograph and information.

"I was really tickled that I found this calendar. Its the only one that I have found that features local real people, the LOGUE family from 1957. At this time I think they were still in the basement of the Avalon Inn. Though in 1965 they are listed at 216 West Office St. The Avalon Inn was razed in the very early 1960's. BTW: A paper on the history of the floral industry / greenhouses in Mercer County would be great for our upcoming birthday."

Solar Farm Debate in Harrodsburg

Robert Moore

Harrodsburg Herald Staff

Developers appeared before the Mercer County Fiscal Court Tuesday to

Adam Edelen of Edelen Strategic Ventures, a co-developer of the project, called renewable energy the greatest economic transition since the invention of the internet. Edelen said the majority of Fortune 500 companies are committed to switching to renewable energy. He said Toyota, the world’s second largest automobile manufacturer, has promised to be completely renewable by 2040. He said every single company that owned factories in Mercer County had committed to switch to renewable energy.

“Folks, this is where the world is going and there is no going back,” Edelen said.

Edelen said some question whether the $150 million project would generate revenue locally. Edelen said the development would pay $260,000 to the county a year with no depreciation over the life of the project.

While noting Mercer already has one of the largest solar facilities in Kentucky, he called the

“Do not advertise to the world that this county is closed for business,” Edelen said. He said the developers, who have already held one meeting with neighboring property owners and were interested in hearing more imput from the community.

“We’re trying to do the right thing,” he said.

Photo by

Drew Gibbons, senior development director and project manager at Savion, the other developers for the solar farm, said the process begins with the fiscal court approving a text amendment to the zoning ordinance which would allow solar farms as conditional uses in some agricultural districts. Once that is approved, Savion would assemble an application for the conditional use permit.

“We’re just starting the conversation,” Gibbons said.

The board of adjustments and appeals would vote on the conditional use permit, he said. In addition, Savion has to win state approval for the project, which could take at least eight months. If all goes well, the project could be operational by 2022, he said.

Gibbons said Savion has built 21 projects in nine states.

The proposed solar farm would be capable of generating 175 megawatts Gibbons said. It would be located on the old Wilkinson farm. The site is 1,900 acres, with 1,200 acres for the project. He said there would be no need for predrilling or concrete footings. Once completed, the project would have about half a million panels.

The proposed location is flat and open and close to Lexington and Harrodsburg as well as high power transmission lines.

Gibbons said the developers had already met with some neighboring property owners. In addition, Savion has created a Facebook page and website. They are planning more public meetings, perhaps virtually. They are still trying to figure out a way to hold an in-person meeting with current COVID-19 restrictions, Gibbons said.

Asked about the local economic impact, he said the project would generate up to $9 million in revenues for the county over 35 years. Gibbons called it a low impact project which generates no noise and no emissions. Payments would not depreciate or decrease.

He said the project would be 300-600 feet from the nearest residence. Gibbons said the biggest concerns are about the visual impact.

He said Savion is working on pushing back from the residential area at the southeast and drafting a landscaping plan, placing a vegetative screen in front of fencing

Tim Darland asked about the difference between a text amendment and zoning change.

Gibbons said the current ordinance does not allow them to even apply for a permit. He said the text amendment would not allow the project to proceed without county review and permission.

Magistrate Ronnie Sims asked about a buffer between homes and the solar farm.

“How visible is that going to be?” Sims asked.

Gibbons said Savion would discuss alternative fencing, including “agricultural-style” fencing and vegetative screening.

He said engineers are working to move back the panels so they won’t impact the view. They are also creating simulations of the view with vegetative screening.

Photo by the Courier-Journal of the 

He said once the panels were up, people will barely notice them, although some in the crowd who had gathered at the fiscal court meeting scoffed at the idea.

Commissioner Jackie Claycomb asked about a decommissioning plan. Gibbons said Savion would be willing to put up a bond for decommissioning the facility once it has reached the end of its usefulness.

Asked about jobs, Gibbons said up to 200 people would be employed during construction while two to five people would be employed at the solar farm.

Gibbons said solar farms are not built on spec. He said there is a customer lined up to purchase power from the solar farm, although he would not directly name the customer, saying those negotiations are confidential.

When Magistrate Dennis Holiday noted

Asked about property values, Gibbons said no studies have shown that solar projects have a negative impact on property values.

He said that, unlike the KU solar farm in Burgin, it would ultimately be in the county’s hands to decide if Savion had done a good job.

“We’re just getting started,” Gibbons said.

Judge-Executive Milward Dedman asked about public meetings. Gibbons said it depends on the county’s schedule. He said the developers would want to see the text amendment approved before holding another meeting. In addition, they would hold more public meetings when they submitted their conditional use permit application.

“I think it might make more sense to hold a public meeting when we have a permit application,” Gibbons said.

The fiscal court took no action. Judge Dedman said there will be a public hearing on the text amendment. He said he would distribute the findings to magistrates to consider.

Dedman said he wanted them to have plenty of time to review the information.

Mercer County Attorney Ted Dean reminded the magistrates that they are considering the text amendment only.

“This is not a vote for this specific project,” Dean said.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Kentucky Long Rifle

Photo by

Among James Harrod’s most prized possessions was his long rifle and legend holds that it was among the longest, the straightest, and the truest in the wilderness. Harrod’s long rifle was tailor made by the old Pennsylvania Dutch and legend holds that it was among the longest, the straightest, and the truest in the wilderness. Although known for years as the "Kentucky rifle", the celebrated long rifle of muzzle-loading days was developed on a Pequea Valley farm in the Mennonite region of southern Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. It was a Swiss gunsmith, Martin Meylin, who developed this new type of firearm, known interchangeably as the Pennsylvania rifle or, in what became the Bluegrass State, the Kentucky rifle.

A typical Pennsylvania rifle was made for the western hunters and weighed from seven to nine pounds with its overall length a symmetrical fifty-five inches from muzzle to butt plate. It could fire a .45 caliber led ball from three hundred yards and kill a man or beast. Its small bore, long, heavy barrel with flint lock required only a small charge, making it exceedingly accurate. The short-muzzle European guns lacked the range for killing buffalo from two hundred yards and used more gunpowder then the Pennsylvania rifles. Later, the Pennsylvania long rifle, which eventually became known as the Kentucky Long Rifle, was the primary defense and hunting weapon at Old Fort Harrod.

Making a rifle in the 1700's was a slow, painstaking task requiring about a week's time. The cost would vary from $10 to $50 or more depending upon the ornamentation and engraving applied to it. The early locks were entirely handmade down to the smallest screws, springs, and pins. The stocks, which were made of native curly maple, were selected for the beauty of its grain. Many were embellished with intricate carved designs. Patch boxes, thimbles, trigger guards, butt plates, and the various inlays which were found on the long rifles were fashioned from brass or silver and usually decorated with delicate engravings.
Photo from Real World Survivor

The barrel was the most important part of the rifle and required the most skill. Rifle comes from the German word

Most often owners liked to express the personality of their rifle by giving it a name such as "Old Sure Fire" or "Deer Killer," or in the case of Davy Crockett, “Old Betsey”. For a rifle to continue working properly, it had to be religiously cared for. The locks had to be oiled so the hammer worked correctly, and flints had to be picked sharp. Bullets had to be filed smoothly and the deerskin used to wrap them in must be oiled so the bullets did not stick to the barrel.
Photo from the Armstrong Archives

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Old Fort Hill Cemetery or Pioneer Cemetery

 Historical postcard

On a portion of the Schoolhouse Square in Old Fort Harrod was the first pioneer cemetery. Old Fort Hill Cemetery, later known as Pioneer Cemetery, began with the settlement of Harrodstown, and was situated under the very shadow of Fort Harrod. It was the custom in early pioneer times to have the burying ground in proximity to the fort, where it could be properly protected from the savage foe, and in some instances the burial took place within the stockade.

This “Little God’s Acre,” holds peacefully the pioneers of Fort Harrod and is Kentucky’s oldest burial ground. The cemetery is unique in that there are eight distinct periods of grave marking, from the rude stones on which the settlers had no tools with which to carve name of date to the Italian marble so long in use in a later century. The cemetery is entered by old-fashioned stone stiles built by the descendants of the five McAfee brothers and their mother, Jane McAfee, outstanding settlers of the first period.
Photo from Armstrong Archives

The Woman’s Club of Harrodsburg erected the great boulder of native stone in the park honoring General Clark’s memory. Clark lived in Fort Harrod and while sharing the dangers of the settlers, realized that if the little colony was to live, the Native Americans and the British allies were to be subdued and many of his most gallant comrades in the conquest of the Northwest were from Fort Harrod. His perilous undertaking began when he left that Fort to lay his plans before Patrick Henry, Governor of Virginia.
Photo from Armstrong Archives

The first white child to be buried in the State is entombed in this primeval God’s Acre, and the dust of many of those courageous men and women who braved the perils of a pathless wilderness, has made sacred this historic spot.

One of the noted pioneer women of the state lies buried here. Ann McGinty lived most of her adult life at Fort Harrod and she departed this life in 1815. She brought the first spinning wheel to Kentucky, made the first linen and linsey, “linsey woolsey”, out of the lint of the nettle, and of buffalo wool. She was married three times, first to William Poague, who was killed by the Indians, then to Joseph Lindsey, one of the victims of the Blue Licks battle, and later to James McGinty.
Personal photo

A number of victims of Native American warfare and of savage ambush are here interred, and several of those wounded in the Battle of Blue Licks, and who afterward died, are buried here, while as late as 1833, some victims of the cholera scourge found a resting place in this old cemetery.
Every foot of ground seems to have been utilized, while several graves are outside the old stone wall surrounding the enclosure. There are approximately five hundred graves are here, possible more, and for the most part, these are unmarked.

At an early date, a gate in the stone wall faced northward toward the fort, and a narrow aisle divided the cemetery into halves, but finally this space was filled with graves, and the gateway permanently closed.
Historical postcard

Here are eight distinct types of grave markings to be found in this interesting and historic spot of ground; first, the rude unlettered surface stones, which constitute the greater number. Second, by two layers of large flat stones placed over the grave, one layer above the other to protect the occupant from wild beats, which then abounded, or the prowling foe. Third, by rough limestone head and foot markers, rudely rounded and pointed by the first stonemason’s hammer.

Fourth, by large blocks of birdseye limestone, hewn in a peculiar coffin-shaped form, by later skilled workmen. Fifth, by slabs of flinty rock, crudely lettered, either with the initials of the deceased, or occasionally with the name, age, and death. These markers have proved the most lasting of any, some of them being still legible after one hundred and twenty-three years of exposure to the weather. Sixth, a tall sandstone slabs of later date, but badly worn. Seventh, carved sandstone sarcophagi, also showing the ravages of relentless time, and eighty, by a simple white marble slab, the first and only one in this quaint city of the dead.

These markings clearly define the progress of civilization at the date of burial, and the materials to be had at the time.
 Historical postcard

Monday, July 27, 2020

Martha Stephenson – Education at Bacon College

Photo from UK Library

Harrodsburg historian, Martha Stephenson, was extremely interested in learning about the history of education in Harrodsburg. The following is a portion of one of her articles written for the Harrodsburg Historical Society’s newsletter:

“EDUCATION SINCE 1775 … aprons, white sunbonnets trimmed with scarlet lute-string ribbon; during summer, pink 'awn dresses with apron and bonnet like those used in winter."

Contemporary with all the schools (since the thirties, at least), that I have been writing about, was a teacher of notable renown in Harrodsburg and neighborhood, Prof. Ayre Askew, locally named-oftenest, Tobias Askew. One man dates him as a teacher as far back as 1810. He gives it on testimony received from his mother, who was born in 1819.

I am sure of making no mistake if I place his professional career as early as 1830; for the record of his marriage to Miss Trower, of Mercer county, is dated 1829, and teaching was his life-long profession. He was from Charleston, Virginia, and there is a general tradition that he came to Harrodsburg before the end of the eighteenth century.

He was a preparatory teacher for boys; was principal of the preparatory department of Bacon College after 1841, as has been mentioned in the account of that institution. He taught Greek and Latin in addition to English; and, if he was not liberally educated according to college standards, he as least was thorough as far as he advanced.

A distinct individuality and a forceful personality distinguished him. He exercised the severity of temper and discipline that McMaster and other historians mention as a general characteristic of the early New England school- masters, which gave origin to the appellation, "Knights of the birch." But, according to several testimonies, Prof. Askew's chastisements were penal- ties for violated law or neglected duty, and not mere outbursts of temper.

Apropos of this is the following story, narrated by one who was his pupil in the early fifties. The school was not graded, but a heterogeneous assemblage of boys filled the room. While the master was busy with a class, some unemployed boys slipped, one by one, out of the room until five had made their exit and got together behind a low fence to play a game of cards. They had not found out that Mr. Askew could see everything above and below, before, and behind, but they suffered an increase of knowledge very soon.

Prof. Askew missed the boys, and he too slipped out and arrived unobserved on the opposite side of the fence, just as one of the boys called out "Spades is trumps, and I have the left bower." Leaping over the fence, Teacher Askew shouted, "No, switches are trumps, and I hold the right bough."

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Friday, July 24, 2020

Widening HWY 127

 Photos from Carol Cummins-Rogers

These photographs are courtesy of Carol Cummins-Rogers, taken by her grandfather in July 1970. This is the widening of HWY 127/College Street from two lanes to four lanes. Her grandfather took these photos from his front yard. The old IGA grocery store is across the road. McDonalds was only a thought at this point and not yet built. The valley beside her grandparents' garden is being filled in. She believes John Landrum bought the land from the Buggs of The Redwood Restaurant. This is where Sonic now sits. You can see Stone Manor.

Photos from Carol Cummins-Rogers

Photos from Carol Cummins-Rogers

Photos from Carol Cummins-Rogers

Photos from Carol Cummins-Rogers

Photos from Carol Cummins-Rogers

Photos from Carol Cummins-Rogers

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Jane Coomes

Concurrent with the coming of the women and children to Kentucky in the spring of 1775 was the presence among them of a teacher for children. She was Jane Coomes, wife of William Coomes, and together with other pioneers, migrated from Maryland to Kentucky. They were the first Catholic immigrants to Kentucky, so far as history records. This group came out of Maryland in the spring of 1775 and reached Fort Harrod on September 8 of that year.

Jane Coomes has two large historical credits to her name in the early records of Kentucky. First, with the aid of some men or boys in the party who could be spared from sterner duties she manufactured the first salt that was made in Kentucky. This was during a stop for a few weeks of the party journeying to Harrodstown at the Drennon's Springs located near the present site of Frankfort.
Second, she was the first teacher who taught school in the state of Kentucky. Jane Coomes' little school was built of the customary round logs with no chinking between them. It had a dirt floor, a slab door hung on deer thongs, and only one window. According to one authority, this window was covered with doe skin and another with greased paper. A mammoth fireplace, which extended along the entire east wall, had an opening at the south end through, which sections of logs could be hauled in and fitted over andirons. The seats were made of puncheons set on peg legs; there were no backs. A dunce stool stood in the corner, a rod for chastising nearby.

Mrs. Coomes taught the beginners the alphabet which was inscribed on paddle-shaped pine shingles. These paddles were equally useful to impart knowledge or inflict punishment. They were imitations of the hornbooks of Queen Elizabeth's time. Dillworth's speller and the New Testament were the sole textbooks. When they studied the Bible and hymnbooks. They learned to write and solve number problems from copies set them by the teacher. Charcoal and smooth boards took the place of paper and pencil, and the juice of oak balls were used for ink.
It was a 'blab school' where all studied aloud, their swaying bodies keeping time to the tune of their ABCs. Perhaps the children studied as hard - being grateful for any opportunity to learn - as the boys and girls of today do, who have cultured teachers and attractive textbooks. This teacher was a woman of more education than was common for women at that time. The fact that the Coomes’ school was kept despite the hardships and irregularities of pioneer life, although for perhaps only three or four months during the year, proves the high estimate put upon education by the founders of Harrodsburg.

She and her husband and sons were good Roman Catholics and remained steadfast in their faith. Jane and her husband and sons remained in the fort for nine years, during which time William took an honorable part in the defense of the Fort Harrod, through the siege of 1776-77. He cleared land and helped with the provisioning of the fort. One of the sons was in the famous battle of Blue Licks, where he was mortally wounded.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Burford Hill or John L. Bridges House

Personal photo

Burford Hill or the John L. Bridges House (729 North Greenville Street),  circa 1817, is a one-and-a-half story Federal style home which was built for John L. Bridges and his wife, Anna Adair Bridges, the daughter of Governor John Adair. Bridges, a judge of the Circuit Court, was a Mercer County Representative in the State Legislature from 1817 to 1820. The house was sold to Daniel Burford in 1862 and became known as Burford Hill.
Photo by Tom Eblen

Bridges’ house was classic Federal architecture, with large Palladian windows and an elegant double Georgian front door. Burford Hill’s intricate woodwork is thought to be the work of the renowned Mercer County craftsman Matthew P. Lowery. The house was built with a three-year bay, one and one-half story central pavilion. The west wing burned, was removed, and later replaced. 

The bricks, burned locally, are laid in Flemish bond while the arched, fan-lighted doorway is protected by a small Doric portico topped with a steep pediment. The gable roof is separated by small dormers while the front porch boasts a mid-nineteenth century Greek Revival addition. This home also features a portion of the home with a bedroom, living area and bathroom for a mother-in-law suite.
Photo by

From Lowery custom woodwork inside the home to the salt-water pool in the back, this home was constructed during the presidency of James Monroe and remained a secluded site on 10+/- acres and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

The Transylvania Company

Photo from George H. Honig

The Richard Henderson Company, under the leadership of Judge Richard Henderson of North Carolina, was established in 1773 to conduct speculative ventures. In March 1775, this company transformed into the Transylvania Company and Henderson helped negotiated the Treaty of Sycamore Shoals with the Cherokee Native Americans.  Henderson was an important man in the east – a colonel in the militia, a noted orator, a judge – a self-made man who had dreams of a great fortune in the West. He had a vision of taking over Kentucky and making it a separate country with himself as supreme ruler, or at least a new colony with himself as governor. When trying to describe the glory and bounty of Kentucky, Henderson said,
“A description of the country is a vain attempt, there being nothing else to compare with it, and therefore could be only known to those who visit it."
Photo from the Robinson Library

Monday, July 20, 2020

Pulliam/Curry House

Current home photo by the new owners

This spacious circa 1857 Pulliam/Curry House (414 North Main Street) was begun around 1856 by Monroe B. Pulliam and completed by Daniel Curry and his wife, Martha Jane Forsythe, in 1857. The Gothic Revival style is shown by the board and batten siding and lacy bargeboards. Steep gables decorated with gingerbread, and walls of board and batten are textbook features of the Carpenter Gothic Style. 
Photo by Gardens To Gables 

Daniel Curry was a noted mid-nineteenth century builder as well as a Kentucky legislator. This is Harrodsburg's house of seven gables. The front porch features four sets of paired columns spaced to frame the handsome doorway complete with sidelights and transom. A double lancet window/doorway opens onto the second-floor balcony formed by the flat porch roof. The interior of the home retains its original woodwork and flooring. The home has 11 rooms plus two baths. The home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 
Personal photo

The Pulliam/Curry House is currently under new ownership and renovations are in progress. You can watch all the excitement on the Pulliam/Curry House Facebook page

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Images of America: Harrodsburg

Images of America: Harrodsburg
Bobbi Dawn Rightmyer
Anna Armstrong

Anna and I had an awesome time researching and writing this book. We are currently working on another Arcadia book, Images of America: Old Fort Harrod State Park. The deadline for the new book is June 2021.

Images of America: Harrodsburg is $21.99 and available at:
Beaumont Inn
Old Fort Harrod State Park Gift Shop
Jerry L. Sampson Antiques
The Harrodsburg Herald
Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill
Amanda's Crafts
Joseph-Beth Booksellers (Lexington)

Or you can send a private message or email to:
For a flat $5 delivery fee, we can ship anywhere in the United States.
(Contact us for rates outside the United States.)

Friday, July 17, 2020

Diamond Point

Personal photo

Diamond Point (488 Price Avenue) is one of Kentucky’s finest examples of Greek Revival architecture with its textbook "Minard Lafever" doorway.  An unusual portico features two round columns flanked by two square piers and a narrow balcony accessed by three upstairs doors ornaments the fa├žade on the second level.

I know little else about Diamond Point other than the fact the Harrodsburg Tourism Commission is located here. If anyone has any personal information or photographs about Diamond Point, I would love to hear from you.
Photo in public domain
 Photo by Harrodsburg KY
Photo by Explore UKY

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Return to Harrodstown

Photo from the Armstrong Archives

After the Battle of Point Pleasant, on March 8, 1775, James Harrod led a group of 40 or more men and returned to Harrodstown to stay at the first permanent white settlement west of the Alleghany Mountains. Flooding had ruined many of the structures built the previous summer and the land was soaked, so these cabins were abandoned, and the decision was made to construct a log fort on the hill west of the Big Spring. The site of the fort, to be started later in the summer, was chosen by Harrod because it had several good springs and good view of the town site and the adjoining countryside.
Personal historic postcard
Fort Harrod was started in late 1775 and finished in early1776 and was located about one-half mile south of the Big Spring. It was built on higher ground than the 1774 Big Spring’s encampment because the higher ground allowed an unobstructed view in all directions.  There were numerous springs at the newer site with a natural spring being located within the walls of the fort.  This spring was a primary water source for the people of the fort and always supplied them with a constant water supply. 

Fort Harrod was built of hand-hewn logs ten to twelve feet tall in a "parallelogram" configuration measuring 264 feet by 264 feet. Thousands of trees were cut down and the bark peeled off. The bark had to be removed because it made the fort more prone to fires set by the Native Americans. The logs of the ten-foot-high stockade were embedded in a trench and were pointed to make notches in which riflemen on the fire walk could rest gun barrels and fire without being seen from outside. First, the base wall was built with a blockhouse on each end. On the south side of the fort, the cabins' walls formed the actual stockade wall. The chimneys were kept inside the walls so Native Americans could not stop them up. Then the three remaining walls, called stockades, and the blockhouses in each corner were built.
Personal historic postcard

Blockhouses were not only military centers but leader’s dwellings.  Their ample size also sheltered families in times of danger.  In 1776, the Fort Harrod community population of about two hundred included thirty-seven outlying farm families, who lived in the fort only when under Indian attack.  The farmers planted seeds they brought from the east and ate the game and wild fruit of the new frontier.
Photo by The Harrodsburg Herald 1944

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

The Flags of Harrodsburg

British Flag

Harrodsburg, in its existence, has been under four flags. However, the main theme of the town's flag depicts the history of the city leading up to the time that Kentucky became the 15th state admitted to the Union. Each star in the garland wreath represents important steps in Harrodsburg and Kentucky history.

June 16, 1774 – Founding of Harrodsburg

October 10, 1774 – Battle of Point Pleasant in which Harrodsburg fought in Lord Dunmore’s War under the British flag.

June 6, 1776 – George Rogers Clark and Gabriel Jones elected to the Virginia Assembly, requested aid from Virginia and asked that a separate county be formed.

December 31, 1776 – Kentucky County established with Harrodsburg as the seat of government.
Colonial Flag

February 25, 1779 – Captain Leonard Helm of Harrodsburg raised the first American flag over conquered territory of a foreign nation.

November 1, 1780 – Kentucky County was divided into three counties – Lincoln, Jefferson, and Fayette – with Harrodsburg as the seat of government – the beginning of the system of Circuit Courts.

March 3, 1783 – Kentucky formed its first Judicial District with Harrodsburg as the seat of government. From this our system of Federal Courts evolve.

August 1, 1785 – Mercer County formed out of Lincoln County with Harrodsburg as the county seat.

June 1, 1792 – Kentucky admitted to the Union.

Confederate Flag

The flags of Harrodsburg include British; Colonial; Confederate; and the Stars and Stripes.

The members of the Harrodsburg Historical Society planned the design of the flag, had Mrs. Jesta Bell Armstrong Matherly serve as artist and the Annin Flag Company of New Jersey execute it in cloth. The Society presented it to the City of Harrodsburg on June 16, 1961.
American Flag

Harrodsburg Opera House

  This is a photo we had never seen and Belinda S Kurtz shared this from another group. “Wasn’t Bob Martin that used to run the radio statio...