Susan Orlean, of the New Yorker, once said that living in a rural region exposes the body and mind to marvelous things: the natural world, the “particular texture” of small-town life and the “exhilarating experience” of open space. It’s not difficult to argue that. Located in a remote town in the hills of eastern Kentucky, Hazel Green Academy, set among the…
Revisiting an old friend several weeks ago at a whiskey bar, I was reminded of a famous Mark Twain quote.
Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough.
Just like the old friend, I repaid another visit to Old Crow Distillery in central Kentucky with several architects.
Tucked in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in Kentucky is Peyton’s Store. It’s a rural community of several households, named after an old general store that was once located along the roadway, but it’s nothing more than a wayside today.
Several years ago, I ventured inside the abandoned but historic William Tarr House in central Kentucky. I composed several photographs of the magnificent entryway, player piano and the collapsing rear. But with a backlog of photographs that span years and incomplete keywording in my internal image database, I thought that I had lost these images to the dust bin… until two days ago. I located these photographs on a backup drive, unedited.
“They say when you are missing someone that they are probably feeling the same, but I don’t think it’s possible for you to miss me as much as I’m missing you right now.”
– Edna St. Vincent Millay
In late February, I set out to explore the knobs of Kentucky and wander the back roads. Feeling at ease with being back in my home state but missing it dearly, I set aside some mellow tunes, cranked the window down and pitted myself against the cold with the heaters blaring. It was a melancholy and overcast afternoon which lent itself well to what I discovered.
The Chicago, St. Louis & New Orleans Railroad’s 34-mile Paducah-East Cairo line was constructed in 1902 and 1903 between East Cairo and Paducah, Kentucky. At the time of its construction, the Illinois Central operated two major north-south routes which converged at Fulton, Kentucky. Forming a “V” through Kentucky and Illinois, the western line passed through Cairo, Illinois while the eastern line went through Paducah. The completion of the Paducah-East Cairo route allowed trains to travel east to west and west to east without having to tour through Fulton.
When I attended the University of Kentucky, I traveled the back roads of my state – a lot. On one of my excursions, I came across the abandoned Buckeye School. Back then, its lot was filled with relics of the past, namely automobiles. Jaguar, Jeep, Land Rover and Volkswagen carcasses lay scattered around the several acre lot. But I never went inside the actual school, and despite my vows to find the owner of the property – I graduated from school and moved away.
A while back, I ventured to Krypton, Kentucky to visit a small closed surface coal mining operation. It is located along the CSX Eastern Kentucky Subdivision, which was formerly part of the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad.
The Frenchburg Presbyterian College in Frenchburg, Kentucky was the first high school in Menifee County and offered a broad education for 50 years. The facility closed in May 1957 after serving 500 students and 30 staff. After closure, the buildings became home to a nursing home and retirement facility that operated for a few years, and later, a Boy’s Rehabilitation Center by the Commonwealth’s Child Welfare Agency. Most of the buildings are used as residences or as offices.