Monday, August 31, 2020
Sunday, August 30, 2020
Photo from Armstrong Archives
This photograph is a 1920s view of the first Christian Church building (1848-1926) in Harrodsburg. A group of ten responsible subscribers agreed to fund $4,500 for a lot and the construction of a church on this South Main Street location. The building to the left is the George Bohon Buggy Company. On the right is the Dixio Inn, a boarding house that served “delicious meals” to both boarders and locals.
Harrodsburg Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) is the oldest continuous congregation of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), chartered in 1803 and even pre-dating the denomination by several years. With ties to Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) founders Barton Stone (Kentucky) and Alexander Campbell (West Virginia), Harrodsburg Christian Church (HCC) was one of the original churches of the Springfield Presbytery.
One cannot tell the story of HCC without including such notable institutions as Bacon College (now Transylvania University), the College of the Bible (now Lexington Theological Seminary), and Kentucky University (now University of Kentucky). Harrodsburg Christian Church played a prominent role in the life of all three of those educational facilities. In fact, Bacon College President James Shannon and Professor Samuel Hatch served as the church’s first two regular preachers while the college was still located in Harrodsburg.
Photo from the Armstrong Archives
The current church was built in 1927. To prepare for our Bicentennial Celebration 2003, a $1.4 million renovation was initiated in 1998; completed in 2002. It has been said each generation builds on the accomplishments of the prior generation. The Harrodsburg Christian Church has had a vivid past with a membership which has sacrificed much to support the Lord’s work in Harrodsburg and beyond. A long line of distinguished ministers has shepherded the congregation, serving as our spiritual guides.
Today, Harrodsburg Christian Church is truly “embracing our past and touching the future” as we begin our third century of Lord’s work. Indeed, a storied past, but it’s our vibrant present and future which distinguishes us. Our Church life is characterized by freedom, under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. A very important slogan used by Disciples through the years governs our relationship to one another: “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, love.” Come celebrate Jesus with us!
Saturday, August 29, 2020
Excited that Helen Dedman provided this photograph of a collectors plate about Graham Springs! I will include this photograph in the new book I'm under contract for, Hidden History of Harrodsburg: Saratoga of the South. Thank you, Helen Dedman!
Friday, August 28, 2020
Thursday, August 27, 2020
On the corner of East Poplar and Main sits the Blue Front, one of Main Streets' most impressive buildings. Built in 1887 in the Queen Anne style, with Romanesque details of rough stone arches and a corner tower, it gives the street a feeling of substance. Its name was acquired from its best known business, the Blue Front Department Store, which operated there at the turn of the century. James Isenberg and his brother started out there with a dry goods store and quickly expanded into a department store which always seemed to be ahead of its time. Among its many innovations were an electric carrier system which took transactions to a central office where change was made, packages wrapped, and returned to the customer. During the local street fairs, which took place right in front of their businesses, the Blue Front provided a nursery with “20 nurses in uniform, cradles and swings” for children to be cared for, “throwing open its doors to make the store your home while in town.” After 58 years in business, the Blue Front closed in 1939.
These 1940s photograph shows Chenoweth Hall, a sad reminder of the beauty it once was. In the foreground is the semi-circle balcony overlooking the stage. The regular seats below cannot be seen because old merchandise, fixtures and other junk was brought upstairs when the Blue Front closed. The photo below is an up close look at the stenciling done on the walls and ceilings. This was not wallpaper - each stencil was hand painted. According to a 1991 quote by Mrs. Lucille Graves, “The Blue Front Theatre had the most beautiful ceiling and as a child I remember looking up and seeing the stars on that ceiling …” Harrodsburg native, Ralph Anderson, bought the Blue Front in 1988 and, after a lengthy renovation inside and out, returned the Blue Front to its original glory. However, the upstairs theatre is not open to the public.
Each Christmas Mr. Isenberg had a great party for all the children. Santa Claus came with a noisemaker for every child. Have you seen the Opera House on the second floor of this building? It was restored by the late Ralph Anderson to its original beauty. Many years ago the opera came to Harrodsburg and enjoyed this fine house as did the folks here in Harrodsburg.
Wednesday, August 26, 2020
Old Fort Harrod State Park is adding a mud oven to its historical living museum. David Coleman, park superintendent, is making the best of "down time" due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Photo from The Harrodsburg Herald.
The Blue Grass Fair and Horse Show, located at the city limits on Cornishville Street, opened in 1947 and closed in 1951. Owned by local horseman and business owner Glave Sims, the property, as seen in the above photograph, had a 5,000 seat grandstand, a quarter mile track, two barns that would stable 225 horses when full, surrounding acreage, and an 11 room house for family. The first show in June 1947 was a four-day extravaganza featuring a parade, a concert by the Lawrenceburg High School Band prior to the horse show, 10 classes announced by George Swineboard of Lexington, who would become a successful blood stock auctioneer. There was a carnival with 66 “clean and entertaining concessions.” Glave Sims won the blue ribbon competing at his own show in the roadster class. The bottom photograph shows the entry gate to the property.
Photo from the Armstrong Archives
In addition to the yearly horse shows, which were in June so as not to compete with the Mercer County Fair and Horse Show in July, the Blue Grass Fair Grounds hosted many other events. There were one-day plug horse derbies and mule races. The Blue Grass Auto Racing Association that was organized in Harrodsburg used the track to host interstate championship midget auto races featuring “big name drivers from surrounding states.” The Cross Roads Jamboree, a 2-hour radio show, was broadcast there in 1947. In addition to horse activities, there were foxhound, coonhound and bird dog shows.
From the Harrodsburg Herald, 1949, came this report by Jack Bailey on the road horse class at the Mercer Fair and Horse Show: “I recall playing the organ, probably ‘Roll Out the Barrel,’ in the center bandstand of the old bullring, with Jim “Buck” Ison shouting over the loud speaker, ‘let your horses rack on!’ And Glave Sims, I.C. James, Edwin Freeman, and Marshal Freeman all yelling ‘ye-ow,’ dust flying and horses in a white later. My, what a time that was. Those boys gave us something to remember for always." The competition among these horsemen was always fierce, often resulting in crashes in the ring. But their friendship was sold, and there was nothing any of them loved more than to be together in the ring for the Saturday night grand champion ship class. Glave Sims not only drove road horses, but also bred and trained them at his Blue Grass Farms, which was part of the fairground property.
Tuesday, August 25, 2020
The Arcade Livery, or Big Stable as it was also called, is pictured above at the turn of the century. The Harrodsburg Democrat of 1890 says: “Erected by R. E. Coleman in 1884, this well-equipped brick livery style is double-decked with inclined driveway. The stable extends from Main to Greenville Streets and "is large and roomy and equipped with cribs, mows, stalls, water works, electric lights and ladies parlor.” Another article written in 1885 called the Arcade “the largest, most commodious, and the best equipped stable in Kentucky. Its stock consists of drummers’ wagons, buggies, road carts, omnibuses, landaus, phaetons, and surries. Together with the best of horses. Prices are as low as the lowest.”
Monday, August 24, 2020
James Harrod drew an out-lot at Boiling Spring, also known as Payne’s Spring, about three miles east of Harrod’s Town. He proceeded to build several rude log cabins. Harrod built at Boiling Spring because he was guaranteed a bountiful, flowing supply of fresh water.
This 1951 photograph shows employees of the Harrodsburg Post Office who had more than 25 years of service with the postal system. Pictured from left to right in the backrow are J. P. Williams, Lucien Brewer, B. G. Alderson, James Graham, and M. S. Claunch. In the front row, from the left are: I. Ransdell, L. M. Reed, and W. R. Penny. The bottom picture shows J. P. Williams sorting mail by hand.
Sunday, August 23, 2020
Photo from the Armstrong Archives
This photograph shows one whole Main Street block of churches. On the left is the United Presbyterian Church next is the old Baptist Church, and on the right is the new Baptist Church under construction in 1961. When the new building was partially completed, the dismantling of the old one was begun. The present church was built at a cost of $554,262.
Saturday, August 22, 2020
Below is a list of pages, groups, websites, and blogs that pertain to the history of Harrodsburg or Mercer County, Kentucky. If your site is not listed below, please send a private message and it will be added.
Friday, August 21, 2020
This 1951 photograph shows Sportleigh Hall, a manufacturer of women’s clothing and Harrodsburg’s largest employer of local labor at that time, with close to 450 workers. It was formerly owned by Fred Weissman from 1940 to 1950, who made a success of the factory was himself an asset to the community by making a donation for furnishings to the new Mercer General Hospital. He left Harrodsburg in 1950 after a dispute over whether a new and similar industry should be encouraged to locate here. The Mercer Chamber of Commerce was formed out of this dispute. A long row of presses for shirts and coats is shown in the photograph at the bottom.
Thursday, August 20, 2020
Here are some AMAZING plates from Harrodsburg Churches. I will add more photographs as they become available. (They are listed alphabetically.)
Photo by Ann V. Morris
The Harrodsburg Cudahy Plant, which opened in 1942, was one of 25 Cudahy’s in the United States. Its products were shipped to sales centers all over the country. The local plant made cheese, butter, ice cream, and ice and bought milk and eggs from local farmers. You could buy 25 or 50 pound blocks of ice to take home and store.
In 1958 a fire swept though the Cudahy and destroyed approximately half the plant. A skeleton crew produced cheese while the damage was repaired and rebuilt. In 1977, a 50,000 gallon capacity silo which doubled the factory's production. At the time of this addition, Cudahy was the oldest industry in Harrodsburg. Cudahy purchased milk from 18 surrounding counties, with a large supply from Mercer County. In 1981, Cudahy was sold to Dairy Incorporated of Louisville
Wednesday, August 19, 2020
Here are more photographs of Mooreland House taken by Janie-Rice Brother for her awesome historical blog, Gardens to Gables. It would be worth your while to check out her blog of Kentucky
Photo by Janie-Rice Brother of Gardens To Gables
Photo by Janie-Rice Brother of Gardens To Gables
This is a long post, but after the George Rogers Clark Powder Run at Old Fort Harrod State Park I thought an explanation of the original po...
Photo from the Courier-Journal The Kentucky Brooklyn Bridge collapse on November 20, 1953 - highway 68 at the Kentucky River. Started in Ja...
Photo from Marita Frank This is a photo from December 1964 at a Cricketeer retirement party for Bertha Warner, shared by her granddaughter...
Photo by Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill Do you have a favorite Shaker artifact? When you think of Pleasant Hill, do any special objects co...