This whole week (October 4th – 11th) was the *52nd Annual Logan County Tobacco & Heritage Festival*. Yes, that’s right, where I am from we celebrate tobacco. Look we just don’t have anything better to do, ok?
I love all things historic. One of the events was a historic walking tour in Russellville A.K.A. the county seat, on Thursday. I stopped by and picked up Gypsy’s youngest sister and then dropped by to pick her and Memphis up as well. I found out there was much I didn’t know, and much I still don’t know about the county I grew up in.
Many of the buildings in town are more than 100 years old. Some of them I didn’t get pictures of, but some I did. The little old lady giving the tour was speedy. I had trouble keeping up with her. I’ll just grace you with a few photos and some info on the buildings. Anyway…
The public square, which isn’t a square, but an oval, was the beginning of the tour. I actually took these pictures after the tour because we didn’t cross the street during the tour. The 2nd and 3rd courthouses were located on the square from 1820-1904. There are several of those historical markers, a big ass cannon that I would LOVE to hear actually shot, a great fountain, and a few memorials.
The inscription on the plaque says:
6 PDR Field Cannon Model 1842. Used in war with Mexico in 1846. Re-bored and rifled about 1861 to use 3.8 inch James or Hotchkiss shells indicating Civil War use. Mr. Marion Humphries, a local jeweler and businessman, was instrumental in fitting the cannon with a complete new carriage. This was completed on September 3rd, 1994. All labor, material, and money were donated by many area citizens.
Uh… that is a fountain. That’s about all I can say on that one. Now I want you to resist the urge to laugh after I tell you this, ok? When I was little, I thought the soldier in the Confederate memorial thing was THE boogeyman. I honestly thought that at night he came alive and was the boogeyman. Now stop laughing.
This is the Harrison-Hite Building. Built in 1887. It’s the location of the Logan County Chamber of Commerce currently. The man who built it, Carter Harrison and his son operated a casket factory, a grocery, and a furniture store in the building. W. T. Hite bought the building in the 1920’s and made it Russellville’s first gas station. *Extra credit: Jesse James was said to be related to the Hites’. Cousins.*
She may look like a little old lady, but the Energizer bunny is hiding somewhere in her legs. She kept going and going and going…. She was a plethora of knowledge though. I’d like to pick her brain.
The Bibb House was built in 1820 by Maj. Richard Bibb, a Revolutionary War officer, who freed 29 of his slaves in 1829 and paid for their passage to Liberia, and provided for the liberation of his remaining slaves by his will at his death in 1839. One of his sons developed Bibb lettuce. Another became Chief Justice of the Kentucky Supreme Court, a United States Senator, and a member of President Tyler’s Cabinet. More on Reverend/Maj. Bibb later.
I love this house. It is called Courts Hall. It was built in 1890 by Winn Courts. This house sits at an intersection that is labeled as “Governors Corner”, but only one governor ever lived at the intersection, John Crittenden. When I was much younger, I wanted to live here. In truth, I still want to live here. I think it’s the turret. Maybe the porch or the chimneys, but definitely the turret. I would love to take a peek inside.
I don’t attend church, but find most I’ve seen to be beautiful in some way or another. The Trinity Episcopal Church was built in 1891. The original wrought iron fence surrounds the church. The tour guide said that during the war most metal was taken for use with the military, but they gave the churches a choice and this church chose to keep their fencing. She also said that if you hadn’t seen the inside then you were missing one of the best churches in town. The sign outside said, “Enter rest and pray. Anytime.” So later in the day we returned. She was right.
I think we might actually have broken into this church, but the doors didn’t seem locked. Just stuck.
The two house located on the corner of these streets are connected by a tunnel that runs under Main Street. Useless trivia, I know. The tunnels were likely used for the Underground Railroad because the church across the street was a helper in getting slaves to freedom.
I said that I would get back to Maj. Bibb earlier so now I am. He had something to do with the building of Bibb’s Chapel in the Auburn area although I can’t seem to find any info on the subject. The tour guide had said that his burial place was located in the middle of a soybean field in Echo Valley. I knew of a sign that said Bibb’s Chapel Cemetery so we decided to go check it out. We did find the cemetery, but not Maj. Bibb here.
As you can see, it’s in a state of disrepair. The gentleman in the house by the gravel road leading to the cemetery said it was public and we could go down to it. I’m not sure who actually owns the property, but I can’t help but wanting to take a lawnmower, shovel, wheelbarrows and the like and fixing this place. Many of the gravel stones were toppled over or unreadable. The worst part was that several of the graves were only obvious by the sunken ground that was clearly where a casket should be.
We did find the site of Rev./Maj. Bibb’s burial. It was in the middle of a field. It was also so grown up with weeds we could barely walk among the stones and things. The tour guide had said that his site had been restored, but I beg to differ.
All in all, it was a pretty informative day. Later that evening we attended a tour of a large cemetery in town, but the lighting wasn’t the greatest so we didn’t take any photos. That tour wasn’t as interesting as I had hoped it to be.
Look for a post tomorrow of the Festival Parade. Enjoy.