Custer State Park in South Dakota

Custer State Park in South Dakota
We saw a LOT of these guys at Custer State Park in South Dakota!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Explorium of Lexington Kentucky

Here are a few pictures from my recent trip to the Exploratorium in Lexington. This place is, without a doubt, made for kids. I did see couples and adults here on their own.

We went with some friends and their children. I do think having kids with us enhanced our experience there!

I think it was around $6 for adults to go through, and it was a bargain at that price. It had a more educational tilt than many other kiddie type places, but it was still fun- not the mindless fun a kid might have in a ball pit.

I really appreciated some of their dinosaur items on display. Here is their web site:

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Old Postcards: Downtown Lexington

Obviously, the black and white photo card of downtown Lexington was an exciting find for me recently. It is a gorgeous photo on its own. Notice the streetcars and the horse and carriage.

Additionally, it is postmarked 1908. It is in great shape for a picture that is over a century old. I might try to find the area and take a photo from the same angle.

The "Main Street" card is postmarked 1943, as is the County Court House one.

The newer postcard, the color photo one of downtown, reads- The main business section of the modern city, is the trading center for 500,000 people. Founded in 1774, Lexington is the Home of the University of Kentucky, Transylvania College, World's largest loose-leaf tobacco market, Keeneland Race Track, Lexington Trotting Track, Historic Homes of Henry Clay, Gen. John Hunt Morgan, Mary Todd Lincoln. In and around Lexington, are the World's foremost Horse Farms and thousands of tourists enjoy their visit to Scenic and Historic Lexington.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Old Postcard: The Springs Motel, Lexington

This postcard makes me a bit sad. The motel was taken down not too long ago. It was sort of across the street from another uncertain building, Turfland Mall.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Old Postcard: Spindletop Stock Farm, Lexington

No info on the back of this one. It is labeled "Stock Farm". I do know that the place was once a horse farm, but it is now called "Spindletop Hall".

In 1959, the owner of the horse farm sold it to the University of Kentucky.

It is now the UK faculty, staff, and alumni club.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Old Postcards: Berea College

I am still on a Berea kick.

The back of the Presser Music Hall postcard reads: The Department of Music is housed in Presser Hall. Beautiful gray Auditorium, which boasts a seating capacity of 500 people and the Howard E. Taylor Memorial Organ, is located in the central portion of the building. Under trained leadership, instructions in voice, piano, organ and instrumental music, also chorus and glee club work is given.

The Lincoln Hall photo card is postmarked 1950, as is the Fairchild Hall card. The Draper postcard is postmarked 1946.

The black and white Lincoln Hall card is very nice. When I was a student at Berea, I would have to go here to register for classes, and to cash my paycheck. Everyone worked for the school, and they did actually pay you a little. If you owed the school money for books or anything, they would deduct it from your check. Still, they would leave you $15 no matter what. So, on payday, everyone was walking around with $15. I would imagine it is still the same today, but we could really stretch $15. I tell people today that $15 at Berea then was worth about $100 to me now.

I did not spend much time at the Music Hall. I did have a lot of music major friends. Most of them changed their majors though.

I had many classes in the Draper Building. It is modeled after Independence Hall in Philadelphia.

A few years ago, my wife and I passed through Philadelphia late at night. We stopped to see the Liberty Bell, and we saw Independence Hall across the street. We were both amazed at the resemblance. I figured it would be a larger version of Draper, but it seemed pretty much exact.

The Draper building was very centrally located, and generally convenient. My dorm through most of my time there was right behind Draper. I could wake up 5-10 minutes before my first class of the day in Draper, and get to class on time.

Fairchild Hall was a girls dorm when I was there. The college post office was located on the left side of the building.

BOOK: Images of America- Berea

Yes, this is another Berea post. I am proud of my personal connection, and I always get excited when a cool book like this one Berea comes out.

I might as well start subscribing to the books put out by Arcadia Publishing (does such a service exist?). I really like their products.

As with the other Arcadia books, this one is a very quick read, but it is loaded with great pictures. This book covers pretty much the entire history of the school- I even saw pictures from my time there in the 90s!

If you are not familiar with Berea College, you should be. This would be a great starting point. See any of my various other entries for more information on this great school.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Old Postcards: Boone Tavern Berea, Ky.

"Owned and operated by Berea College. Berea has given eighty years of service to the young men and women of the mountains of our Southern Appalachian States. Approximately two thousand students are welcomed each year to the Berea campus. The college receives no support from the state or from any denomination. It is largely dependent upon the gifts of men and women who believe in the mountain people and in the purpose and methods of the college."

That is from the back of the top postcard shown, it is used, and it is postmarked 1936!

The one under that card reads:
"Boone Tavern is at the center of the campus on the Dixie Highway, where the Cumberland Foothills meet the Blue Grass. Of the 2,000 students enrolled this year, 90% have come from the mountain counties of the Southern Appalachian States. To meet current expenses, the College must depend largely upon the donation of friends."

The postcards at the bottom of this entry are a bit more modern, but they are still, well, retro.

The very bottom postcard shown (night shot) is one I think I picked up at the Tavern when I worked there.

On a personal note, I am a Berea Alumni, and I love this place. I worked at the Tavern for a semester and I still stop by there.

I love the college, the tavern, and the shopping area.

I met my future wife at the Tavern!

The very bottom picture is not from a postcard, but it is a picture I took of the renovated area last time I was in town. The other photo is one I took from the corner a month ago.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Old Postcard: Old Talbott Tavern, Bardstown, Ky.

"The coffee Shop in the historic Old Stone Inn, now the Talbott Tavern, built about 1779- Bardstown, Ky. Old Kentucky Hickory Smoked Hams are shown hanging from the ceiling."

I used to stop here while driving back and forth between the two sides of Kentucky. It was cozy and nice. It looked like a movie set almost. It had that stereotypically perfect tavern feel. Set designers in Hollywood could not have created a more perfect looking tavern.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Old Postcard: Kentucky Dam, Western Kentucky

"TVA'S Great Kentucky Dam- across the Tennessee River in Western Kentucky- was built from 1938-1944 at a cost of $115,000,000.
The Gigantic dam, 206 feet high and 8,412 feet long creates the Kentucky Lake, which is 184 miles long and has a shoreline of 2,4000 miles- the largest man made lake in the world."

Random Thoughts on Friday

Yes, I know I have been on a postcard kick for some time, but they just look so nice!

I will try to get some posts up about my recent trip through the Carolinas and Georgia. It was a very baseball focused trip though, so check out my other blog for entries on several parks, and on the Ty Cobb Museum. I did spend some quality time in Savannah and I am still processing that beautiful city in my mind.

Not much else going on. I have been reading a lot, though I didn't have much time to read on my trip.

What is up with coffee shops trying to charge a cover? I ran across one recently (not in the area) harassing patrons to give a $1 on their open mic night. I had personally just spent $15 on a dinner and coffee there, and I thought it was classless that they were trying to get another $1 out of their patrons. Sure, its for charity, but I am pretty selective these days about my charities. Put on your open mic night and do a good job. If its a nice night, I will put a $5 in your cup afterwards. Trying to push your patrons to donate $1 is not a good move. I will not be by that shop for a cup of coffee, or a sandwich ever again. I hope that $1 goes a long way.

There used to be a coffee shop in Lexington that is no longer there. I went in with 3 friends one night. No one else at all was in the shop. 3 of us ordered large, expensive drinks. I am sure we were spending $4 each. The guy asked our fourth friend what she wanted, and she said nothing, she just came with us. The guy taking our order said that they had a "cover charge" policy, and if you didn't order anything, they still charged you for a small coffee.

I can totally understand this if you are near a campus, and kids are hanging out there all the time. Being that we had ordered 3 pricey drinks in our party, I thought they would appreciate the patronage of our party. They did not. We cancelled our other drink orders and left. I see why that coffee shop is no longer there.

I was in a coffee shop in Ohio several years ago (again, another one that is not there any longer). I was with 2 friends and we had been there for some time. 2 other people were in the shop with us.

A musical duo started to set up. someone working the bar came over and asked us each for a $3 cover.

Again, if things go well, I will put some money in the tip jar. If the music is above average, I am probably going to buy a CD from the performer. My friends that night were the same way. However, on this night, we did not stick around to see the performer. The three of us (over half of the crowd there on this night) left.

I do like to support the independent musician when I can, but trying to collect a cover from patrons is a lose lose for everyone.

Not much else going on (which is why I am rambling about cover charges at coffee shops).

Hey, did you go to goggle today? They have a really cool pac-man game on their main page right now, celebrating the 30th anniversary of the game!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Old Postcard: Lincoln Birthplace in Lincoln Memorial

I like this postcard a lot, because I think some of the modern postcards use the same picture for the cabin, but they aren't on textured linen.

This one is postmarked 1950, and gives the "fact" about this being Lincoln's birthplace.

"The Lincoln Cabin, where Abraham Lincoln was born, February 12, 1809, near Hodgenville, Ky.

Berea Kentucky

I don't know if anyone cares, but I thought I would put some pictures up of Berea to go along with the postcard pictures I am putting up on this blog.

I am going to have to get down to Berea again soon, and take some pictures of the buildings in the postcards and do a side by side comparison.

In these photos:

The newly renovated Boone Tavern. I would call this the backside of Boone Tavern, but I guess that depends on how you are looking at it. To me, this is the exterior area that looks the most different. It looks a lot nicer than it did while I was working there.

Mario's Pizza. When I was going to Berea, the good people at Mario's would DELIVER a Grizzly to you WITH a two liter for $10! Let me explain "The Grizzly." It was bigger than their large. It was BIG. It was thin, but it was big. 5 guys could pitch in $2 each and pig out. God bless Mario's. I still crave their pizza, and I make it down for their buffet every few months. I will have to get an honest review up of the place soon.

The big brick building is Blue Ridge. It was my freshmen dorm. I had a lot of fun there. It was a hike from all of the other buildings on campus.

There is also a picture of my buddy (and fellow Berea grad) Rick in Main Street Cafe. This was Fast Eddie's place when I was a student. I know Sune who worked with the Berea College Country dancers got this place going and he did a great job. I had a Reuben here last time I was in town, and I want one of those Reuben's right now! I have been stopped here pretty much each of the last few times I have been to Berea and I left happy.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Old Postcard: "Ashland" Home of Henry Clay

I don't have a date on this one, and there is no description on the back.

This is a bit of a personal favorite Lexington landmark. Old or new pictures all look amazing. It is very photogenic, and the last couple of times I have been there I have noticed photographers taking portraits, using Henry Clay's home as a perfect background.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Old Postcard: My Old Kentucky Home

"THE HOME was built as a summer home in 1795, over 135 years ago, by JOHN ROWAN, Sr., a young lawyer of Louisville, Ky. The bricks came from England, were landed at Newport News, Va., and brought to Kentucky on sledges in winter along the Indian trails, drawn by oxen, driven by slaves."

It is postmarked 1943.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Old Postcard: Wigwam Village

"At the Gateway to the Mammoth Cave Region

Insulated Indian Wigwams- Each with complete bath- Hot and cold water- Innerspring mattresses and solid hickory furniture- Cool in summer and warm in winter"

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Old Postcards: Cumberland Falls

Two more beautiful old Kentucky postcards. Take a moment to stare at the scans.

The top card gives this dated (but fun!) info:
The Falls are located in Cumberland Falls State Park and can be easily reached over a State-maintained road recently finished.
Cumberland Falls is sometimes called "Kentucky's Niagara." The Falls are about sixty-eight feet in height, average width about 125 feet. The tremendous volume of water that passes over the falls at times creates a roar and a mist of a young Niagara. The moonbow seen from the falls during full moon on clear nights is a natural phenomenon occurring in only two places in the world- Victoria Falls in Southern Africa and Cumberland Falls in Kentucky.

The bottom postcard is postmarked 1943.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Old Postcard: Mammoth Onyx Cave

The back of this postcard note:
The ease with which the visitor steps directly from a cedar-clad hillside, with blue sky and waving tree-tops overhead, into this gloriously tinted underground world, suggests that one has used the magic "Open Sesame" to gain admission.

Horse Cave Kentucky. See the cave or the museum, and catch a play by professional actors. This is a very cool and a very underrated area.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Old Postcards: Mammoth Cave

The color photo of the historic entrance reads on the back, "The old historic entrance to Mammoth Cave is the only natural entrance. It was discovered in 1799. There are also five artificial entrances."

The black and white card is actually postdated 1907!!! It is over a century old.

Random thoughts on Friday- Nashville

We recently took a little trip through the Carolinas and Georgia. I will get some posts up on those great areas later, but we had a great time. This was more of a baseball trip, so most of my posts will be on my baseball blog.

The Highlights were the Biltmore Estate and Savannah. We had a great time at each place.

It was very rainy on our trip. We drove from Augusta to Savannah with rain coming down fast and hard.

I am sure many people were thinking about Nashville and the rest of Tennessee this last week. My jaw dropped at some of the footage I saw on TV.

I know the Opry Mills Mall really got hit (I was thinking about it specifically because I kept seeing video of it underwater). Their site notes that they are still trying to get the place cleaned up and ready.

I love the entire city of Nashville. It is a good place, and I hope people will take a day or weekend trip down there as soon as they can to spend some money and support those guys.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Old Postcards: Covington, Ky.

There are two really cool religious landmarks in northern Kentucky. Actually, I can think of a couple more, but these the first two that come to my mind (the replica of Jesus' Tomb comes to mind too).

I know both of these are mentioned in some of my odd Kentucky travel books. I have visited both.

The Little Church card reads- Scarcely larger than a child's playhouse, so small that, including the priest, it can hold but three persons, this tiny church was build by "Black Friars." It is made completely of stone, even the roof, except for its single stained glass window and narrow door. In this shrine, the Friars originally worshipped in perpetual adoration.

It was sent from Newport in 1943.

The other postcard is unused. It gives statistics on the back about St. Mary's Cathedral in Covington. There are many interesting facts about it, so search it out. It is home to the largest rose window in the world.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Old Postcard: Waverly Hills Sanitorium, Louisville

I will have to write more about Waverly Hills in Louisville, probably around October, but I thought I would put up a scan of this cool postcard.

Thanks to the "Ghost Hunters" TV show (and other similar shows) this Kentucky landmark has recently become very famous as a haunted site.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Old Postcards: Frankfort Capitol Building

Beautiful pieces of art, and little historic documents! Click on the image, and get a good look at them. Go ahead, I will wait.

I told you!

The top one is unused and looks amazing.

The bottom one made a trip through the US post. It reads, "The Capitol Bldg. at Frankfort, Ky. is among the finest in the country, the Tomb being a reproduction of Napoleon's Tomb. Stairways are fashioned after the Paris Opera."

If I ended this blog entry here, you would think to yourself, "Hey, that was a nice blog entry!"

Well, there is a bit more. The bottom postcard was sent from a soldier to "Dad". The soldier was on his way to Ft. Thomas. "Free" is written where the stamp should go, and it is postmarked, December 7th, 1943. "Buy War Savings Bonds and Stamps" has been incorporated into the postmark.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Old Postcards: Owensboro Kentucky

I am still on an old postcards kick. I especially like the ones that show some of my favorite places. I REALLY appreciate the old linen ones that look like small paintings. You could frame these with a nice mat and they would look great. Some book stores and coffee shops have scanned old postcards and printed them several times bigger for wall art.

Here are a couple more postcards I found recently (courtesy of the great stamp shop in Louisville on Dupont Circle).

The top one shows the familiar bridge in Owensboro.

"The Owensboro, Kentucky Bridge over the beautiful Ohio River, opened for traffic in June, 1940, has direct connection to Indiana Route 66 and 45 to Evansville, Ind., Chicago, Ill., Rockport, Indianapolis, Ind. and Louisville, Ky. It is the shortest route between Indianapolis and Nashville, Tennessee."

The card showing downtown was sent through the mail. It is postmarked 1955, from Owensboro, sent to a friend in Maryland (I think there is something really exciting about a postcard, bought in the area, probably spending little time in that area, and then, decades later, finding its way back to that area!).

"County seat of Daviess County- was settled as early as 1977 and incorporated in 1817. The present population is about 40,000. Located on the Ohio River, Owensboro is 114miles west of Louisville, Kentucky and 40 miles east of Evansville, Ind. The trading area is about 235,000 people."

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Kentucky Aviation Museum Kentucky

I've heard about the Kentucky Aviation Museum for some time. It is one of those places that people talk about, but not that many have really been to it.

I checked it out and I was very impressed. There is something really nice going on in Lexington.

There is a large hanger full of planes and other aviation related items. Outside, there are more airplanes.

I guess I should say that I do not have a rich understanding of airplanes or how they work. My appreciation of flight is as an outsider. It is hard for me to really understand flight

The Kentucky Aviation Museum tries to cater to people like me.

I thought it was great that the place had several volunteers roaming around to answer questions and to help. I think all of these guys are former military.

When we walked through the front entrance, we were greeted by the a staff person selling tickets. It was $6 a person, which was very reasonable. The staff person told us about the museum, the planes around back, etc. I asked about events there, visitors, etc. All of my questions were answered thoroughly.

We went inside to see the planes and displays. I think I was most impressed with the "hands on" feel the place has. You can actually get inside of the planes! It is, to an extent, encouraged.

We asked one of the volunteers if he could show us the planes outside (you can see the planes behind the hanger, but it is required that a volunteer accompany you). Our guide took us outside to show us around.

There is a view of the Lexington airport here. We were able to see some planes come in and take off.

Plus, we got to see the planes.

Steve, our guide, went out of his way to inform us about the planes, and some of the features on the planes. What was great was the fact that he really gave our friends 4 year old son the VIP treatment. He explained the airplanes to him, AND let him stand on the wings for some photos! Steve explained in very easy to understand details how the planes worked. His explanations were perfect for our 4 year old friend (and for me!).

Steve was great, even giving our friend a flying copper type toy that was very appreciated.

The museum gift shop is well stocked with books and souvenirs. I picked up my usual patch.

Check out their web site. I will have to attend some of their events. I know they have had astronauts, innovators, and the Doolittle Raiders reunion in the past! WOW!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Lincoln Family wedding chapel

I am still on a Fort Harrod kick. There is just so much there!

Here are a few pictures of the Lincoln Marriage Temple.

Honest Abe's parents were married in Springfield Kentucky in 1806. The chapel has been transferred to this site. A bigger building has been built around it to protect it.

It is amazing that it is still around, and still in good shape. The park allows a good amount of access to the building.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

BOOK: Mammoth Cave and the Kentucky Cave Region

This is another fun "Images of America" book that is easy to reading in one sitting. In fact, I would almost consider this a fun picture book, with some interesting facts added.

I appreciate this series of books, they usually offer a good intro to a topic, and they give the most significant points to a topic.

Personally, I like a little more info in general. I like a detailed history.

Then again, sometimes you read a book, and you feel overwhelmed with facts, figures, stats, and technical information.

This book gave a great overview of the main facts of the cave and area. The cave wars, Floyd Collins, tourism, and mummies found in the cave are all covered here. If you know all about those facts of the cave don't worry. There are some photos here you have likely not seen before.

I learned some stuff too. I was totally unaware that some of the early tour guides might give signed postcards to those on the tour! I think that is a neat idea!

I love reading about the early tourism. Now, if I want to see the natural wonder, I can just hop in my car, go there, take a tour, and be back home in a day. Heck, I could probably visit Big Mike's and even take in a Hot Rods game in that day trip! Travelers just a few decades ago did not have the luxuries we have now when it came to transportation. Simply getting to the cave might be an adventure.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Osage Orange Tree- Old Fort Harrod, KY.

According to the Old Fort Harrod web site, this tree is taller and broader than the national champion, but it cannot claim the national champion title because of it's split trunk. The tree is in the park area, and it is between the Fort structure and the Mansion Museum in the Old Fort Harrod Park.

Old Fort Harrod State Park, Kentucky

Old Fort Harrod might be a new favorite day trip for me. This place is very cool, and I am already looking forward to my next trip there!

The Fort itself is a reconstruction of the original 1st settlement in Kentucky (the original settlement was established in 1774). They have done a great job on the replica site.

It looks like what you would expect an old fort/settlement to look like. It is gated, with animals, and houses on the inside.

They give you a map when you buy your ticket explaining the rooms, relics, etc. The original fort was built around a spring, and there is a spring here!

The person in the gift shop told me that the original fort was located across the road, where a parking lot for the park is located now.

That is just the start of this park. There are several other things here that are worth a separate entry on their own. All of the attractions are within walking distance of each other!

The oldest cemetery in the state is in the park area. There is a very large Federal Monument on the property that honors Kentucky Pioneers

The affordable ticket into the Fort includes a admission to the Mansion Museum. We had a lot of fun in the museum too! They have SEVERAL hand written items from Abe Lincoln. Many historic artifacts, letters, and musical instruments stood out to me. A piece of a tree with "DB" is on display from an area where Daniel Boone spent a lot of time. The museum house itself is a spectacle, and all of the A list type museum items are icing on the cake. This is not a museum to be missed.

In the park area is the church where Lincoln's parents were married. More on that one later, but they have built another building around it to protect it!

Harrodsburg has an a great downtown area with some fun shops and places to eat.

The Fort's namesake, James Harrod is an interesting and mysterious character too. He kind of disappears from the pages of history. In fact, I am trying to research him a bit right now, and I simply cannot find enough information on him!

June 19th and 20th the park will be hosting the Fort Harrod Settlement and Raid. I will have to make a note of this, because it looks great.