Union City Confederate Monument

Union City Confederate Monument
A very old and historic monument in Union City Tennessee to unknown Confederate dead.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Lincoln State Park near Springfield Kentucky

The Lincoln Homestead State Park near Springfield is a great state park that is a bit off the beaten path.  Like most of the other Lincoln related sites, you have to snoop around a bit to find it- but it is sure worth the effort!

There are two AMAZING cabins relating to the parents of Abraham Lincoln here.

There is the Lincoln Cabin on the property.  If I understand correctly, this is a reconstruction of the cabin that young Thomas Lincoln (Abe's dad) lived in.  It was built where the original cabin was located though, giving it some serious authenticity.  Even more exciting is the fact that inside of the cabin is a corner cabinet made by Thomas.  There is a bed there that they believe he also made.

A short walk from the Lincoln Cabin is the Francis Berry House, which is a very nice ORIGINAL two story cabin.

Nancy Hanks, Lincoln's mother, was living here while dating Thomas.  This cabin was located about a mile down the road but it has been moved to its current location at the park.  AND, legend has it that Thomas proposed in front of the very fireplace inside of this cabin.

One VERY cool feature about this state park is that the cabins and displays are pretty much totally open!  You can actually touch the corner cabinet made by Thomas.  You can walk around freely inside of the Berry home.

Also the Mordecai Lincoln home is a short drive from the cabins.  Mordecai was Thomas' brother.  It was not open, but you could get a good look around the grounds.

Back at the park near the cabins is a very nice memorial to Nancy Hanks.  Also on the grounds is a replica Blacksmith shop.

We really liked the casual, self guided tour here.  We were literally the only people around and felt like we had the place to ourselves.

There was a very friendly fellow at the gift shop where you bought your ticket (at a VERY reasonable $2.50).  He told us about the park, and we talked some about the various Lincoln Cabins.  It is nice to see people working at the parks who care about them!

Anyway, this is a great park that any fan of Lincoln should visit.  I know in the past they have done reenactments of the marriage of Thomas and Nancy.  It would be exciting to see that tradition brought back!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Calhoun Kentucky

Just a few pictures from Calhoun Kentucky, a nice little place.

I find myself going through Calhoun on my way to other places a lot, but it is always a treat to get a burger at Jays.

I love the Green River too.  It always makes me think of John Prine songs.  It is still pretty, but I saw several large items that had been dumped in it.  My dad says he once saw a fish in the Green River that he thought was a car at first.  There are some big fish in there!

I remember my dad buying the family's first VCR player in Calhoun.  Dad knew the guy running the shop, and talked him in to throwing in about 4 blank tapes on the deal (a huge bonus at the time).

We would rent movies at the theater/movie rental place in town.  I remember being young, and going to see kids movies at the small theater.  I think it was 50 cents or you could get in for free with 6 RC bottle caps.  That was in the 80s I think.  Anybody else remember doing that?

We had friends that worked for the local chiropractor, Dr. Strange.  He was in business for what seemed like forever.  He was always a great guy too!

Calhoun would be a great area to settle down in.  You have access to Owensboro, Madisonville, Greenville, etc. but it is still far enough away to keep its own identity.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Forgotten Historic Sites and the War of 1812

Check out the link to a great article by Lara Lutz.


Lara has written a very interesting article on sites relating to the War of 1812.  She takes a tour of a specific battle area that is not exactly well preserved.  It is still there and all, but the markers are obstructed..... and there is a Wal-Mart.

It sounds like efforts are being made to improve the sites, and there are folks around trying to preserve and remember what they can.

In my travels, I have found similarly hidden and forgotten sites.  As someone who likes to have a small souvenir of a visit to a historic place, I might make a visit to the Wal-Mart part of the trip.  A receipt, or a candy bar wrapper might be in my scrap book next to a postcard or magazine article about the place.  I have visited several historic and interesting locations where a mall, a post office and a general store now stand.  I am sure there are more that I can't think of right now.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Random Thoughts on Friday

You know I love music.  I especially love the independent regional acts.  The ones that you are lucky enough to catch in a park, or at a coffee house during a road trip- I really love these guys.

I had an experience recently though that was pretty negative. 

We saw this group on the road a couple of years ago and loved them.  I bought their cd.  I liked them on facebook.

THEN, I got messages all the time.  Literally, at least one daily about their new album, their tour, etc.  It became VERY annoying.  We were getting more messages about their upcoming album than messages from our friends.

As much as I love independent music, AND supporting the lesser known artists, we had to unlike them.  It felt wrong, we felt bad, but we had to.

The sad part about it is that I really love their albums (we own all of them except for their latest).  I would count one of their cds as an all time favorite.

It has poisoned our memory a bit on the music too.  Instead of thinking about a happy time of seeing this band in concert, their music will always make us think of an excessive amount of facebook spam.

I am reminded of the Tenacious D episode, where they try to give a fan the ultimate experience, and they end up stalking (and annoying) the fan.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Kelly Little Green Men Festival

This past weekend the very cool town of Kelly hosted their "Little Green Men Days" Festival.  I was very happy to realize that I would be in the area for the opening day!

This event is very family friendly.  In fact, they started things off with the Pledge of Allegiance, the singing of The Star Spangled Banner, and a prayer.  Gospel singing seemed to be a big part of the festivities too.  In fact, any festival goer could sing during the gospel open mic.

I wasn't at the event on Saturday, but I know local country performer Marty Brown played in the evening, and the alien/UFO influenced band Crashland also played.

I was really excited about meeting Geraldine Sutton Stith at the event.  I had read her book, "Alien Legacy" about her father's confrontation in 1955 with the aliens.  She was extremely polite and happy to talk about the incident, Kelly, etc.  She did about a 30 minute presentation on the Kelly-Hopkins Encounter.

If you are not familiar with the Encounter, I will include some links at the bottom of the page.  In a nutshell, a home was reportedly attacked by small goblin creatures.  Trust me, it is a much more interesting story than that (read Geraldine's book).

Think about 1955 in VERY rural Kentucky.  You had very limited communication ability..... this is a scary tale!

Luckily, the community has fun with their odd notoriety.

Other than Geraldine's presentation, I didn't notice much mention of UFO, ghosts, or other mysterious critters.

We did notice some interesting military aircraft in the area though!  I am sure that the conspiracy theorists felt that the government was keeping a close eye on things.  The fact that a military base is close by had nothing to do with it.

The festival is in a large field in Kelly.  If you are familiar with the town and the incident you know Kelly is very small.  The home where the attack reportedly occurred is literally right up the road from the festival (though I hear the current home occupents aren't thrilled about people coming by to check things out).  There really isn't much to see there anyway, so visiting this festival in August is the best way to celebrate Kelly.

For those of you who like to take road trips to see locations relating to ghosts, legends and the supernatural, this is a GREAT area.  I have mentioned Hopkinsville here before.  The grave of Edgar Cayce is in town as is the Pennyroyal Area Museum- which has interesting displays on the Kelly Encounter, Mr. Cayce, and other local oddities.

Less than an hour away is Adams Tennessee, home to the legendary Bell Witch- also mentioned on this blog many times.




Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Explosions in Indianapolis

Fox 59 in Indianapolis has reported on explosions right downtown.  This is one of my personal favorite downtown areas anywhere, and I hope everyone is OK.


Monday, August 11, 2014

Jeanne Mozier- West Virgnia author and fun character!

I have mentioned West Virginia author Jeanne Mozier here before........  She wrote a book that I love called "Way Out in West Virginia" which is about the best travel guide to a state that I have ever read.

I got a note recently that she appears in a great ArtVoiceWV video.  Check this out if you have a moment, it is short, but very well done!


Also check out the ArtVoice WV site-


Thursday, August 7, 2014

Floyd Collins and Mammoth Cave National Park (Part 2)

 After our cave tour in the morning and a nice lunch, we drove out to Sand Cave to meet Ranger Johnny for the "Sand Cave Almanac Caravan". 
I really like the way that this tour/caravan works out.  You drive your car to Sand Cave, which is not far from the main visitor center.  Once there the Ranger does a nice talk about the cave, and Floyd Collins.  Next, you and the others in the Caravan drive out to Floyd's home, following the ranger.  Lastly, you drive out to Floyd's grave.  It's another free program offered at times at Mammoth Cave.
I do think this one is a bit misnamed.  Sand Cave is one stop on this tour, devoted to the very interesting character, Floyd Collins.
If you are not familiar with Floyd, he was a cave explorer in the area, who died at Sand Cave in February of 1925.  There were various caves and Mammoth Cave entrances at that time, and finding a new one could be very profitable.  In fact, Floyd had one on his property already, but wanted to find another.
So, one day he is exploring and he gets his leg stuck while in Sand Cave (which, from what I understand, is more like a long hole in the ground than an actual cave).  He can't get his leg unstuck.  He will remain stuck for the rest of his life (which is only a couple more weeks at this point).

Friends and family tried to get food to him and help him, but it just didn't work.  The passage to get to him eventually collapsed.  Friends and volunteers worked on digging a shaft to try to get to Floyd but time ran out.

The story of Floyd Collins doesn't come close to ending there.  His body was eventually recovered, buried, put on display, stolen... well, it goes on and on until 1989 when his remains were finally buried in its current location.

Seeing Sand Cave and visiting Floyd's grave site are a real treat.  And, if you are a fan of caving, its a bit of a pilgrimage, but visiting his home is a bit more of a challenge, and I am glad that the National Park allows people the chance to see it.

This is just a great tour.  I would have gladly paid to go on this one it was so good.  Thanks Ranger Johnny and Thanks to Mammoth Cave National Park!

After our tour and spending a complete day at Mammoth Cave, we stopped at Big Mikes for some drinks and headed for home!

If you think the story of Floyd Collins is fascinating, check out the whole story in the book "Trapped!".  I reviewed that book several years ago,  check it out!



Monday, August 4, 2014

Floyd Collins and Mammoth Cave National Park (Part 1)

I do find myself in the Mammoth Cave area a lot these days.

Oddly, this was my first time inside the visitor center since it has been updated!  It looks great by the way.  Here is a link to some more information on the update:


I liked the way it was, but it now has a better flow in general.  There is also a nice museum area in it that is very impressive.

We arrived pretty much when the park and center opened, and we quickly got our tickets.  ON a nice day during the summer, tours do sell out quick!  It is always a good idea to get your tour tickets ahead of time for Mammoth Cave.  In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if all tours on this day ended up selling out.

We had a great guide on our Domes and Dripstones Tour named Matt.  He covered everything on this tour.  We had fun exploring the cave, and we got a great workout, as 500 steps are involved in this tour.

Its funny, Matt said that on a good summer day, tours sell out (there had to have been over 100 people on our tour).  On a winter day, however, there might be just a few people on a tour.  He said that he has done this same tour with only one person before.

I remembered back in the early 90s.  Me and a pal went to Mammoth Cave on a snowy day.  We did not notice any other visitors there that day.

After our cave tour, we stopped by the Mammoth Cave Hotel for lunch.  This place seems to have improved over the years too.  I had a nice wrap and some potato soup.  This was a nice, fresh meal reasonably priced. 

We stopped by the gift shop at the main visitor center, and at the hotel.  Both have different items.  We found postcards for $.50 at the main center, along with a large selection of books on the cave.  We found cool wooden postcards at the hotel.

Its kind of funny, I am always looking at Amazon, and in other places for new books (or interesting old ones) on Mammoth Cave.  Looking at the available books in the gift shop is part of the fun for me at a park visit.

One thing I don't think people appreciate enough about our National Parks is how readily available rangers are.  There were plenty around on our visit,  and these guys generally know everything.  You can just go up and ask them questions.

AND......  There are a ton of free things to do at the parks.  Mammoth Cave is no exception.  A cave tour does require a ticket (prices are $5 on up) but there are some cool things you can do for free!  So, after lunch, we did a FREE tour focused on Floyd Collins!  See my next post!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Corvette Museum in Bowling Green (again)

Yes, I know, I just mentioned the Corvette Museum in Bowling Green not too long again.  Forgive me for bringing it up again but..... the place is cool.

Actually, this is getting to be the "must see" spot for out of town friends.  People visiting Kentucky want to see the sinkhole. 

I got to see it shortly after it happened (see my previous entry).  They are allowing more access to the area now though, AND all 8 cars have been pulled out (only 5 were out last time I was here).

All of the recovered cars are displayed at the end of your museum visit.  Make no mistake about it, the hole, and the recovered cars, are now the main attraction here.

I have enjoyed both of my visits here.  I am always looking for an excuse to take a road trip to Bowling Green, and this museum is classy and cool.  The staff members are all helpful and casual and corvettes are fun.

Check out my photos! 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Lincoln Sites in Hodgenville

Stop me if I have told ya this one before.....
Some time back in my college days of driving back and forth between Berea and Owensboro, I stopped by my pal Eric's place for a brief break in my travels.
I knew that the Abraham Lincoln boyhood home was real close to the area.  Well, Eric offered to drive me out to it.
I remember us parking next to it on a rainy night.  It was dark.  My first thought was, "Hey, this looks OK.  Not a bad place."
I was looking at the building right next door to the boyhood cabin.  Eric corrected me and brought my attention to the actual cabin next door.... not a lot bigger than a nice children playhouse you might put in your backyard.
We stopped by that same cabin recently, and it was the first time that I have been by when an actual ranger has been there!  Our friendly guide showed us the inside of the cabin, and told us about the creek near a few steps away.
After stopping by the boyhood home, we went to the main National Park visitor Center and monument area, a few miles down the road.
At this location, there is the amazing monument that holds the symbolic birth cabin.  The spring that that family used at that time is still there too! 
Also on site is the privately owned, but still historic Nancy Lincoln Inn.  I really like this place too.  The friendly young staff person there mentioned to us that some of the drinks they sold were made from recipes used during Lincoln's time.  They also pointed out some sale items.  This cozy store was also a bit museum like, displaying various postcards, stamps, and scale dioramas relating to Abe Lincoln and the Park.  You must make sure that you go by the Inn on your visit. 

I love historic sites that have some mystery.  The Lincoln cabins do not disappoint.

First off, it is a little confusing keeping each cabin straight.  There is the birth cabin, inside of the monument.  Then there is the boyhood cabin.

I won't even try to explain the source of each cabin, but if you really want to try to figure out the origins of each, you've got some work in front of ya!

I think one of the cabins was built from logs from a cabin that MAY have used some of the Lincoln family logs to build it.  I also remember hearing that the Jefferson Davis boyhood cabin was displayed at one time with one of the cabins.  Somewhere in all of the confusion, some of the Davis cabin's logs probably mixed with the Lincoln ones.  If someone has a definite explanation for the two cabins, please comment!

AND, one of the rangers mentioned to me that there is some debate among scholars as to the exact location of the boyhood home.  Some think the original location may have been on the other side of the creek.  I was told that, when they put that cabin there in the first place, there was an old timer in the area that remembered the Lincoln cabin sitting at the exact location that the current cabin sits.  AGAIN, if anyone has any thoughts about that, I would love to hear them!

Anyway, I really love the drive out to this National Park.  I love getting there, and I love spending time there.


Friday, July 25, 2014

Eva Kor and the Candles Museum

I wanted to share a GREAT article from Lisa Trigg with tribstar.com.

Our friend Eva Kor recently welcomed Rainer Hoess to her Terre Haute museum.  He is the grandson of Rudolf Hoess.  His views go against his grandfathers. 


Random Thoughts On Friday

Since I have been unable to get on the road much lately, I have been catching up on some reading!  LOTS of it!  Still, I think I pick up books more quickly than I can read them.

The other night, I went to my local Half Price Books and spent less than $10 on 4 books that have been on my "to read" list for some time!

I have a bad habit of starting a book, getting about half way through, and then I will start another book.  The books I am currently reading are all on my nightstand.  There are 6 there right now...  AND, there are two in my car.

There is also another dilemma that happens.  One book or source mentions another book or article that gets me thinking.  Well, I have to track that book down too.  Let me give an example.

I was reading up on one of my favorite cities, Salem MA. the other day.  I was looking over an article about the disputed location of Gallows Hill.  Check out the link here- 


Daniel Boudillion mentions in his article a book by Salvatore Trento.  So, I looked up books by Mr. Trento and found a few that looked interesting.  Now, I am reading one of those volumes and looking up books and sites that he mentions.  More on Trento's books later,  but I love how reading about one interesting topic can get you interested in another!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

George Washington 1912 Tobacco card

Here is another old Royal Bengals tobacco card I found recently, of George Washington!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

"Ashland" Home of Henry Clay

 I found this very cool tobacco card recently, made by the Helmar company in 1910.  It shows, and tells about Ashland in Lexington!

Monday, July 14, 2014

William Henry Harrison by Gail Collins

I really like this "American Presidents" series of books.  The volumes are short enough biographies to not feel overwhelming, but they are big enough to include all of the information most of us will want to read.

This is a great, easy to read effort from Gail Collins.  She covers Harrisons life, family, and brief time in the White House.

After reading this book, I kind of feel like Harrison is the underdog President, who, in some ways, really wasn't a Presidential contender type, but he came in to the picture and barely got in- briefly.

Harrison lost many smaller elections, and tried to get significant political jobs, but often it just never worked out.  When he ran for President in 1840 it seemed that his best qualification was that he was not the unpopular incumbent president, Martin Van Buren.

During this time, Harrison presented himself as a humble frontiersman from a log cabin (somewhat of a play on an insult by the opposing democrats) which worked for him, though it was inaccurate.  He also was one of the first candidates to openly and aggressively campaign for himself.

I enjoyed reading about Harrisons dealing with Indians during his earlier political life.  Tecumseh is a fascinating foe for Harrison.  I would expect any person interested in the career of the 9th President would develop an interest (and probably an admiration) for the Native American leader.

There is more to William Henry Harrison than just his brief time as President (the shortest time in the White House ever) and his all time longest inaugural address.

Friday, July 11, 2014

WH Harrison 1912 Royal Bengals

So, I am on a William Henry Harrison kick after visiting Grouseland in Vincennes.  I picked up an old tobacco card of the man recently from 1912!  Check it out!

I love these old cards, and their relationship to history.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Vincennes Indiana

Here are some photos I took of Vincennes Indiana while we stopped by to visit Grouseland.  This is a great little community, right on the Indiana/Illinois line.

There are several historic sites we weren't able to see here, as we were on a time limit, but I hope to get back here soon!