The Bullitt County History Museum

Bullitt Memories Articles

David Strange wrote these "Bullitt County Memories" articles for The Courier-Journal that appeared in their Neighborhoods Section. The articles are listed here in chronological order. Click on the article title to go to its page.

Christmas and Bullitt County's First Roundabout

In Shepherdsville, many years ago, there was a circle of ground in the middle of the road at the intersection of Buckman and Joe B. Hall Streets (then known as Main and Second Streets), where the original 1800's courthouse once stood. After the old building was torn down around 1907, the town kept the roundabout, planted a tree in its place in the center of the circle, and eventually started decorating a Christmas tree there during the holidays for all to enjoy. (First published: 14 Dec 2011)

Train Wreck of 1888

This 1888 wreck occurred at Bardstown Junction, a few miles south Shepherdsville. Bardstown Junction was a pretty busy community back then, with its own depot, a store, railroad work buildings, and I think even a small hotel. (First published: 21 Dec 2011)

Sugar Valley Has a Deep History

Few people now remember the little community of Sugar Valley in Bullitt County. Indeed, it was almost forgotten entirely until the state came through widening a road some years ago, and an engineer, using an outdated map, went around trying to find a "Sugar Valley" that showed on that map. (First published: 28 Dec 2011)

2012: A Year of Anniversaries

As we began the new year of 2012, we recalled just a few of the many historical anniversaries that this special year marked. (First published: 4 Jan 2012)

Glass House Restaurant

An interesting example of how Bullitt County people and transportation have intertwined were the Kentucky Turnpike toll plazas and especially The Glass House Restaurant. (First published: 11 Jan 2012)

Brass plate Marks '37 High-water Mark

Most people never notice it when they walk through the main entrance doors of the Bullitt County Courthouse. A tiny brass marker on the inside door-frame, about six feet up. (First published: 18 Jan 2012)

Dueling and Its Connection to Bullitt Co.

"I do further solemnly swear (or affirm) that since the adoption of the present Constitution, I, being a citizen of this state, have not fought a duel with deadly weapons within this state nor out of it, nor have I sent or accepted a challenge to fight a duel with deadly weapons, nor have I acted as second in carrying a challenge, nor aided or assisted any person thus offending, so help me God." (First published: 25 Jan 2012)

Murder or Not?The Hagan-Barbour Feud

Fact is so often more interesting than fiction, and such is the case with local historian Charles Hartley's new book, Murder or Not? about a murder case in Bullitt County in 1904. This book needs no fictional characters or made-up storyline. Fact is more than enough to consume the reader's attention. (First published: 1 Feb 2012)

Stop Those Devil Wagons!

It was common in many areas in the early 1900's to fight against the coming of the automobile. After all, many people proclaimed, wide sales of cars could destroy the horse industry, cause all sorts of disturbance, and radically change the status quo. (First published: 4 Apr 2012)

The Courthouse Bell Mystery

Pay attention to the old photos of the Bullitt County Courthouse and you will notice that there was no clock in the tower back then. Even though the courthouse was built about 1900, to the best of my knowledge a clock was not installed in the bell tower until the mid 1970's. (First published: 18 Apr 2012)

The Last Great Tree of Shepherdsville

There is a photograph of Shepherdsville's main street in the 1920's (or perhaps a little earlier). The photographer must have been standing at the then fairly new one-lane Salt River bridge in town, looking north up Buckman Street (then known as Main Street). The trees were so thick that hardly anything else but a couple of buggies and a couple of cars could be seen. (First published: 2 May 2012)

The Old Stone Jail

The McDonald Brothers of Louisville built the Old Stone Jail in 1891. As readers know, the project was supervised by Robert Zimmerman, who later became a prominent person in the county. The McDonald Brothers company built jails and also built some courthouses around the state, such as the one in Columbia. Our old jail remains today in its original location and form, right next to the Bullitt County courthouse. (First published: 16 May 2012)

Metal Skates and Gravel Driveways

In the Bullitt County History Museum, sitting among a small display of antique toys, sits a pair of metal roller skates. (First published: 30 May 2012)

The Art and Struggles of Salt Making

Salt making in Bullitt County was the first industry in Kentucky, starting even before there was a Louisville. It was rough and hot work, but it could be very profitable. Between 1777 and 1830, Bullitt County salt was almost like gold to people as far away as Illinois. It was so profitable that one person traded his land in Oldham County for one iron kettle...and made money! (First published: 14 Jun 2012)

Old Shepherdsville Road

Why does a road called "Old Shepherdsville Road" not go anywhere near Shepherdsville? And if that is the "Old" Shepherdsville Road, where is the "New" Shepherdsville Road? (First published: 27 Jun 2012)

"Independence Day, The Fourth of July"

You hear a lot of grumbling about 'the government' in our country. Heck, on occasion you might hear it from me. It sometimes seems to be the American pastime. And there is certainly much to complain about. But you'll seldom hear anything bad said about "America." Especially on the Fourth of July. (First published: 4 Jul 2012)

Civil War in Bullitt County

In Bullitt County, as in most of Kentucky during the war, guerilla bands wreaked havoc, burning bridges and raiding towns and generally causing trouble, but having little real military effect. But the year 1862 was different. (First published: 25 Jul 2012)

Slavery Made Personal

It is often true that "what you touch, touches you." We had several such papers on loan a few years ago, for us to scan to our computer digital files. But I came across another just recently, as I sorted through one of our collections. Slave papers. Slave bill of sales. Now I "know" about slavery and I "understand" that it was wrong. But to personally touch a paper that was hand-written out the same as if one was selling a cow, and touching the folds in the paper from when it was folded up and placed in the "owner's" pocket... Now, I have to say, that touches me. It brings home, in simple terms, the reality of things. (First published: 8 Aug 2012)

Drag Racing at Cedar Creek

The Cedar Creek Dragstrip, later renamed the Bullitt Dragway, was home, for a time, for many colorfully-named cars and even more colorful characters. From 1955 to 1972, the Cedar Creek track, located on Cedar Creek Road in northern Bullitt County, was home of friendships and good memories that would last lifetimes. (First published: 22 Aug 2012)

A Moving Story about a Depot

Not many people still remember the old Shepherdsville railroad depot, now long gone, in its heyday, a time when people and cargo constantly moved through its doors. Fewer, still, know of the time when the depot itself was moved across the tracks. A pretty big feat at the time. (First published: 5 Sep 2012)

A Long Line of Friendly

I was speaking with a very nice woman the other day whose comments caused me to remember why I love Bullitt County. The woman's accent and fast pace of speech told me that she was definitely not a native, even before she told me where she was from. In fact, she had lived and traveled in many places across the United States and Canada before moving to Bullitt County to retire. (First published: 19 Sep 2012)

Airplanes and Airfields

Most people don't think about it anymore. But have you ever noticed that there is an "Airport Road" in Lebanon Junction? (First published: 17 Oct 2012)

Art Stamper and His Music

Art Stamper and his music is so well known and so loved in Kentucky music circles that part of State Route 550, in Knott County is named after him, and he is in a mural on the side of the Appalachian Artisan Center in his hometown of Hindman. But you might not know of his Bullitt County connection. (First published: 31 Oct 2012)

Herding Turkeys

If you ever visit the Lloyd House Museum in Mount Washington, look for a homemade model that hangs on the wall there. Most people do not notice it, and the ones that do probably wonder just what it is depicting. (First published: 21 Nov 2012)

Iron Stoves and Adoptive Children

Do you know about Bullitt County's connection to the "Shakers"? It involves an interesting combination of iron making and adoption. (First published: 5 Dec 2012)

Christmas Memories

As my life comes rapidly toward the end of its sixth decade, I choose more and more to cherish those simple little memories. Especially at Christmastime. (First published: 19 Dec 2012)

Flat Lick Road

There lies a stretch of road in Bullitt County named "Flatlick Road," originally spelled "Flat Lick Road," which is how I choose to spell it for this story. It's a fairly straight road, starting in Mount Washington and making a virtual bee-line northwest to Floyds Fork. (First published: 9 Jan 2013)

The Lynching of Mary Thompson

On June 14, 1904, Mary Dent Thompson, an African-American woman, age about 28 and wife of Ben Thompson, killed John Irvine, 44, a white land-owner in southern Bullitt County. There was no question that Mary Thompson did indeed kill John Irvine. She readily admitted it, before AND after her lynching. (First published: 23 Jan 2013)

Camp Crescendo

Located among some beautiful hills about two miles from Lebanon Junction in southern Bullitt County, Camp Crescendo, now known as Lions Camp Crescendo, is both musical in sight and in sound. (First published: 6 Feb 2013)

A Footrace to Louisville

The story of Ed Peacock and his legendary footrace to Louisville has been told several times over the years. (First published: 13 Feb 2013)

Bullitt County Woman's Club

Ninety years ago this year, in 1923, the Bullitt County Woman's Club was born. To be more accurate, the club was first formed as the Woman's Club of Shepherdsville, changing its name in 1927 to The Woman's Club of Bullitt County, to reflect its county-wide scope, and then finally to Bullitt County Woman's Club in 1934. (First published: 27 Feb 2013)

On the River

If you visit the Bullitt County Courthouse, and go into the south display room of the county history museum located there, you will see an old, silver-painted safe the size of a door. On that safe door, you will see a small painting of the Salt River. (First published: 13 Mar 2013)

Easter Sunday Memories

David Strange shares a personal story that might well touch memories of your own family past. (First published: 27 Mar 2013)

The Poor Farm

Most of us now living have become so accustomed to social security programs, that it is hard to imagine that not so long ago there was virtually no help at all for those in need. (First published: 10 Apr 2013)

George Lawson Rogers

In a tiny little graveyard, almost unnoticed between the back yards of some modern, subdivision-type homes in northern Bullitt County, lies a small group of family graves. But much more can be said of this little graveyard than its slight appearance might suggest. (First published: 24 Apr 2013)

Survey Markers

Some of them are hiding in plain sight. In fact, you might well have passed within a few feet of one every day for years as you went to work, and simply never noticed it. Others can be very hard to find, placed high up on hilltops or driven deep into the ground, unintentionally providing a challenging game for hobbyists known as 'benchmark hunters.' But I bet you that every land surveyor worth his salt knows them well. (First published: 8 May 2013)

Memorial Day

Every so often, especially as Memorial Day approaches, my mind and heart reflects again on the unimaginable sacrifices given by so many military men and women over the years. (First published: 22 May 2013)

Blue Sundays and Closed-Store Wednesdays

It is already nearly forgotten, in all the rush of modern life. But just a few decades ago, Sundays and Wednesdays were much different in Bullitt County, and much of America. When I was young, there was something called "The Blue Law," and there were "workless Wednesdays." Individually and combined, these forced a slower pace of life, or maybe just reflected that slower pace of life. (First published: 5 Jun 2013)

The Water Pump

From as far back as anyone can remember (possibly back to the 1800's), that old water well served as a public source of drinking water and thus as a public gathering place. People would come from miles around to fill their cans and containers with what is remembered as "the best tasting water you could drink." (First published: 19 Jun 2013)

The Fourth of July is not Trivial

In 1776, the land was the realm of the Native American and the bear. By 1790, just fourteen years later, there were 74,000 settlers in Kentucky (By the way, today there are over 74,000 in just Bullitt County.). 1794 was the year of the last 'Indian' attack in Bullitt County, and 1799 marked the last in Kentucky. (First published: 3 Jul 2013)


Once upon a time in Bullitt County, there was a small community called Smithville. Sadly, like so many such pastoral villages across America, Smithville is now but a memory, and that memory rapidly fading with time. Today, there are mostly trees and brush and widened road where the village once stood. In fact, most readers of this story have probably traveled through Smithville, and didn't even know anything more had ever been there. (First published: 31 Jul 2013)

Hot Soda on a Summer Day

With summer beginning to close, let me tell you of a funny personal summer memory, and of a group of people who I am very proud to call friends. (First published: 7 Aug 2013)

Flight of the Balloon

On Monday, July 31st, 1837, something flew across the skies of Bullitt and surrounding counties that no one around here had ever seen. (First published: 14 Aug 2013)

Submarine Lost

Walk around the Lebanon Junction Cemetery, and you might come across a simple tombstone, maybe three feet tall, with an unusual bronze plaque mounted on the front. Look closer at that plaque, and you will see a long list of names. A list of eighty-seven men who were never heard from again when their submarine, the S.S. Kete, disappeared. (First published: 28 Aug 2013)

Fall is Here; Winter is Coming

As I sit writing this week's column for you, I look out from my porch and see summer beginning its miraculous conversion to a Kentucky Fall. (First published: 18 Sep 2013)

That 1912 School Exam!

The old exam went viral on the internet this year, generating 455,000 hits on the Bullitt County History Museum website in August alone. Interviews have been on national NBC Nightly News, The FOX News Channel, ABC, and most of the local TV stations. It has been on San Francisco radio, in the New York Daily News, Smithsonian OnLine, and the Huffington Post, just to name a few. E-Mails and letters have been received at the Bullitt County History Museum from nearly every state in the union, and a few countries. (First published: 25 Sep 2013)

The Shooting of Doctor Crist

In 1872, Bullitt County could boast of having two doctors with the same legendary last name. These were Doctor Henry Clay Crist and his twenty-three year old son, Doctor Ben Louis Crist. These two men shared a medical practice as well as a famous family history. And before the year was out, they would share death. (First published: 9 Oct 2013)

What Happened to David Phillips?

There is a mystery related to the terrible Christmastime train wreck that occurred in Shepherdsville, Bullitt County, Kentucky, on December 20, 1917 in which forty-nine people died. The mystery is about David Phillips, who was one of those casualties. (First published: 23 Oct 2013)

One Veteran of Many

George Threlkeld was born on October 5, 1874, to parents William and Sallie Threlkeld in a small home on Main Street where Stout's Hardware is now. Around 1886, father William bought property about a mile north on Bardstown Road and built a beautiful brick mansion for his family. But after only two years living there he abruptly traded the home to his wife's parents, George and Georgia Wigginton, for their home and farm in Plum Creek in Spencer County. (First published: 6 Nov 2013)

All Aboard the Kiddie Special!

I no longer remember which year, but it was probably about 1959 or so, in the first or second grade, when my class went on a ride on the Kiddie Special. This was no mini-train, mind you; this was the real thing. With rail passenger traffic beginning to fade in the late 1940's, the L&N Railroad began a series of promotional excursions in an attempt to improve business. (First published: 19 Nov 2013)

Pitts Point - A Little River Town

There is much to be said about the town of Pitts Point, which once thrived, survived, and died, in Bullitt County. Certainly there is far more than this poor writer can say in this column. Author and historian, Gary Kempf, provided many pages about the town in his extensive compilation, A History of Fort Knox, published by the Ancestral Trails Historical Society in 2004. West Point historian, Richard Briggs, has also done much research and writing on the subject, as have a few others. (First published: 11 Dec 2013)

An Album of Memories

Memories come in so many forms. Some of them can be found in solid things, such as a particular toy, a tombstone, a photograph, or a friend. Some memories survive only in the heart, lost to everyone else when that one precious soul fades away. (First published: 18 Dec 2013)

The Loss of Christopher

One of the most traumatic events for my wife and I happened on New Year's Eve, 1975. And because of it, New Year's has never been the same. (First published: 1 Jan 2014)

Ed Croan and the Dog Tax Law

In 1902, Ed Croan, Representative for Bullitt and Spencer Counties, was concerned with damage being done to farmers' livestock by uncontrolled dogs. He began urging the Kentucky General Assembly to pass a dog tax of one dollar per dog to help compensate sheep owners who lost sheep to dog attacks. (First published: 15 Jan 2014)

The Bowman Valley School

Before it was moved and restored, David wrote this article about the Bowman Valley School. It was a small, frame, boarded-up building on the south end of Cooper Run Road. (First published: 2 Feb 2014)

Toll Roads

In 1849, Kentucky passed a law that better regulated the roads, and used tax lists to assign property owners to provide physical labor to maintain roads; the more land you owned, the more labor you had to provide. It appears that the county was divided into districts with each district having a road overseer. (First published: 16 Feb 2014)

The 1942 Tornado

In Kentuckiana, winter's cold was being replaced by the warmth of the coming spring. America was still reeling from the December attack on Pearl Harbor. Things were looking bleak all over the world, so a break from the chill would be welcome more than ever. (First published: 2 Mar 2014)

The Old, Old Shepherdsville High School

I guess a measure of a person being really old is when he can talk about something and needs to clarify that he isn't talking about just the old something or other; he means the one before that. The old, OLD one. (First published: 16 Mar 2014)

Plenge - Korfhage Farm

I could see the memories in the eyes of Steve Plenge as he showed me around the old family home. The area has many houses and people today, but when Steve was a child, there were no neighbors with which to play. Steve's mom said that it was the loneliest place back then. (First published: 30 Mar 2014)

William Dean Rouse. A Loss to War; A Loss to Family

William Dean Rouse. A Loss to War; A Loss to Family" /> (First published: 13 Apr 2014)

Joy Oder and One Step for Women's Rights

1966 was a time of rapid change in America. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was causing a transformation in the work place, and in society. As is often the case in history, much of the real change was happening one person at a time. (First published: 27 Apr 2014)

Memories of Mom

Many of my earliest childhood memories revolve around home, my older brother....and my mother. (First published: 11 May 2014)

Where Have All The Pickup Trucks Gone?

My brother used to tease me that, in order to live in Bullitt County, there must be a requirement to own an old pickup truck with a bale of straw and a dog in the back, and one headlight out. I would reply, 'My dog rides in the front.' He had a point, though. I had to admit that this pretty much described the truck that I, and many others, owned at the time. (First published: 25 May 2014)

Dr. Woodford Bates Troutman

Woodford "Woody" Bates Troutman spent his childhood in Bullitt County. His family heritage pointed naturally to success. His father, Charles Filmore Troutman, was part of a long line of successful businessmen. His mother, Ada Maud Bates, was from a family that included an equally impressive line of physicians. (First published: 15 Jun 2014)

Ann Christianson Troutman

Ann Christianson Troutman was born in Michigan on June 30, 1891. She was the daughter of Martin and Hannah Christianson, immigrants from Norway. By 1900, they were living in Crookston, Minnesota. (First published: 22 Jun 2014)

World War One and Memories on a Bronze Plaque

This year, 2014, marks the 100th anniversary of the beginning of what we now call World War I. Of course, the people in 1914-1918 did not call it World War I. In 1914, most did not yet realize the catastrophic human tragedy that was just beginning. None knew of the many horrific wars that were yet to come. (First published: 6 Jul 2014)

Casper Herps - A Remarkable Man

If you have done much research at all in the Bullitt County area, you have seen the work of Casper, and of his son, W. C. Herps. (First published: 20 Jul 2014)

William Casper Herps

William Casper 'W.C.' Herps, born on May 27, 1868, was apparently quite the father's son, becoming a surveyor like his father. In 1894, after illness prevented his father from continuing in office, W.C. continued the family political legacy when he became County Surveyor. (First published: 3 Aug 2014)


As a young man, I traveled quite a bit with my Dad, visiting small churches around the state where he often preached. Back then, many of those little old country churches did not have plumbing. A few still don't. So, if a time came in which a person needed 'facilities,' the only option was to pay a visit to the little 'outhouse' tucked over on the back of the property. (First published: 17 Aug 2014)

Bus Drivers - A Labor Day Salute

I sometimes imagine myself as a bus driver. Then I break out in a panic sweat and quickly think better of it. It takes a special kind of person to drive a big modern bus packed with (I'll say it politely) 'active' children. (First published: 31 Aug 2014)

Painting Trees

Maybe you remember painted trees, or have seen pictures. People would 'paint' tree trunks white, generally from the ground up to as far as a child could reach. It was pretty common back to 1890, and quite likely long before. At one time, mostly from the 1940's through the mid-60's, it seemed like nearly everyone painted their trees. In fact, I'm told if someone didn't, they stood out as odd. (First published: 14 Sep 2014)

The Murder of Joseph Lavine

On June 20, 1889, peddler Joseph Lavine was visiting the home of the Collings family near the town of Belmont in southern Bullitt County, selling his wares. According to court and newspaper reports of the time, Thomas Mitchell, 'a tramp,' approached the house, asking for buttermilk. (First published: 28 Sep 2014)

Precious Memories

Recorded history is almost always a poor attempt to write what we think is true, while of necessity leaving out the minutiae that make people who they are, and thus leaving out the details that cause history to take place in the first place. These details are the unspoken, the unheard, the precious memories that matter really only to one person. (First published: 12 Oct 2014)

Lady in Lace

When I first began hanging out around the Bullitt County Courthouse many years ago, I heard whispers about a ghost in the building. The ghost was said to be a well dressed young lady in a formal, turn-of-the-century, floor-length dress. The color was beige, with lots of lace, almost like a wedding dress. (First published: 26 Oct 2014)

One Phone Call Away - A Veterans' Day Story

Frank Hatfield, former Bullitt County School Superintendant, shared his story about a unique long-distance call he made while in the navy. Read David Strange's rendition here. (First published: 9 Nov 2014)

Life and Death. When Hearses were used as Ambulances.

David Strange reflects on a time when funeral home hearses were regularly used as ambulances, and relates a serious incident that had a humorous side to it. (First published: 23 Nov 2014)

The Snowstorm of 1994

As with many winter weather patterns in the Ohio Valley, on January 16, 1994 we were on the edge of either rain or snow. Some predicted several inches of snow; others predicted just a wintery mix of snow and rain. Nobody predicted what we got. (First published: 14 Dec 2014)

The Pioneer Winters

On December 17, 1777, the Continental Army led by George Washington set up winter quarters at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. During that horrible winter encampment, nearly 2500 American soldiers died of starvation, disease, malnutrition, and exposure. The endurance of the army that winter, and its emergence as a fighting force the following spring, is one of the key moments in the American Revolution for Independence. (First published: 21 Dec 2014)

In The Eyes of Children

I suppose that every county and hometown has them. Class photos. Yearbook photos. Young people, perhaps now long since passed away from age, preserved forever in the black and white of their youth. Have you ever really looked at such pictures? Look deeply into the eyes, frozen in time. Study the faces, the body language, and imagine what these young people might have been thinking. What were they expecting in life? With so many horizons yet to discover, what did they achieve? What hardships and what joys were they yet to experience? (First published: 28 Dec 2014)

Leaches District

No, I don't mean the creepy blood-sucking worm, the leech. I am talking about a political district that once existed in Bullitt County, Kentucky. (First published: 18 Jan 2015)

Leaches District, Again

The mystery of the naming of the Leaches District is solved! (First published: 1 Feb 2015)

A 1932 Valentine Letter

John Silver, son of Ruby Lee Troutman and Ed Silver, sent a copy of a great old letter to me the other day. I think you might get a kick out of it, on this Valentine's Day weekend. (First published: 15 Feb 2015)


Most memories are tinged with both joy and drama. It's why we remember them. Just think of the memories that you have collected through this winter. Some are no doubt pretty serious; hopefully some are at least touched with joy. (First published: 1 Mar 2015)

The Lions Clubs, Part 1

In Bullitt County, as throughout the nation following World War II, volunteer community service organizations such as Lions Clubs were blooming. (First published: 15 Mar 2015)

The Lions Clubs, Part 2

The Lebanon Junction Lions Club was the first one in the county, receiving its charter on June 25, 1945. LJ was a bustling railroad town in those days, booming with all the railroad-hub activity of war and commerce. In 1945 it was one of the largest cities in the county. The Lions Club thrived along with it, serving as a community leader in the good years and through the bad when railroad activity declined. (First published: 22 Mar 2015)

The Lions Clubs, Part 3

Join David Strange as he describes the North Bullitt Lions Club, the Lioness Club of Mt. Washington, and the Crescendo Lions Club in this final article on the Bullitt County Lions Clubs. (First published: 29 Mar 2015)


This story is not intended as a detailed study of genealogy or an accurate representation of the origins of family names. It is just an introduction, an example if you will, of how names can change over time and place. (First published: 19 Apr 2015)

Hubert Clay, A Man of High Esteem

There are certain people in the world that are just plain worth respecting. Not because of the big things they accomplished in life, though Hubert Clay can certainly be credited with a few of those, but rather because they respect others. (First published: 3 May 2015)

Bernadeen Wheatley

Agnes Bernadeen Wheatley was one of those restless and courageous young girls who wanted to move out into the world; who wanted adventure... and succeeded in it. In the slow-paced world of 1920's farm-country Kentucky, however, there didn't seem to be much chance of that, especially for a female. (First published: 17 May 2015)

Second Place Trophy

I am thinking about the remains of a trophy that I found while exploring the Salt River back in 2005. Several of us were walking the river, downstream from the Highway 61 (Buckman Street) bridge in Shepherdsville. I say walking the river because at certain times of the year you can do just that. (First published: 31 May 2015)

Flag Day

Flag Day commemorates the adoption of our U.S. flag by the 2nd Continental Congress in 1777. President Woodrow Wilson established the day of recognition by proclamation in 1916, but it wasn't until August 1949 that National Flag Day was officially established by an act of Congress. (First published: 14 Jun 2015)

Ode to the Baloney Sandwich

As part of our long road trip to grandma's, we would often stop at an old country store along the way for a baloney sandwich. As Dad says, 'it was real near a tradition.' I can still remember the creaking sound of the wooden screen door, with its colorful metal Rainbo Bread sign, as we walked in to order our lunch. (First published: 28 Jun 2015)

William Dean Rouse. A World War II Friend Found

On this seventieth year since the death of William Dean Rouse in World War II, I have an interesting follow-up to his story that I wrote about in this column on March 30, 2014. Perhaps you remember it. (First published: 12 Jul 2015)

Washing Cars on the River

There was a time, not so many hot summers ago, when air conditioning was rare or non-existent. Electric fans and open windows gave little relief from stifling heat. There were few swimming pools, especially for regular folks. In the country, city water was rare. Cisterns or wells often provided only a limited supply of water that had to be conserved for more important things. Ah, but in the countryside there was something better than artificial pools or electric fans. (First published: 26 Jul 2015)

Dr. Bruce Hamilton

Dr. Bruce Hamilton is a long-time icon of medical care in Bullitt County. I think of him every time I look at his medical kit on display at the Bullitt County History Museum. (First published: 2 Aug 2015)

The Lone Grave

The details of the Lone Grave story vary about as often as the story is told, but let me tell you this compiled version that I like to think is true. (First published: 23 Aug 2015)

A Book of Memories ... with your help

We plan to print More Bullitt County Memories, that will contain another ninety of our best stories, many with expanded content. It's a work of love, and we will again be donating all profits to the Bullitt County History Museum, where we volunteer. But we need your help this time. Printing costs have risen dramatically and that makes publishing the book almost cost-prohibitive. We are looking for some help to offset some of those publishing costs. (First published: 30 Aug 2015)

Jeremiah Vardeman "Uncle Vard" Crenshaw

In this never-ending season of political campaigning, I thought you might enjoy this story from 1894 about how J.V. Crenshaw won a race for State Representative of Bullitt and Spencer Counties...while riding a mule. (First published: 13 Sep 2015)

Crawfish Fishin' in a Crawfish Hole

Did you ever go crawfish fishin' in a crawfish hole? If not, well, you've missed out on a grand childhood activity. (First published: 27 Sep 2015)

October Rain

As I write this column today, sitting at my desk in my Peaceful Valley home, the first cool, drizzling rains of autumn are coming down. I can hear the little hollow thuds of raindrops striking leaves already fallen on the ground; the tap, tap, tap of the light rain rippling along the gutters and dripping down the spouts. (First published: 11 Oct 2015)

Trick or Treat!

The coming of Halloween later this week brings to mind all sorts of memories. For me, one of my earliest recollections in life was going 'trick or treating' with my brother Dale through the neighborhood. I was dressed as Bugs Bunny, complete with plastic face mask, and my brother was a skeleton. (First published: 25 Oct 2015)

The War of 1812

Judy Richardson, a longtime volunteer at the Bullitt County History Museum, recently completed over two years of research on the War of 1812 with an emphasis on its connections to Bullitt County. The result is two three-inch thick binders of information. (First published: 8 Nov 2015)

Mt. Washington

There were only a few hundred adventurous settlers in all of Kentucky in 1776. But by the 1800's, settlements were popping up everywhere, partly enhanced by the many land grants given by the government to pay former Revolutionary War soldiers. David Leach/Leitch (of Leitchfield, Ky. fame) was one of those. His land grant of 1400 hundred acres included the land that would become Mt. Washington. (First published: 22 Nov 2015)

Lebanon Junction

My main memory of downtown 'LJ' is as a pleasant, sleepy little town; so calm in the evenings that children play games on the city streets with little worry of traffic; so quiet that one can hear the laughter of families emanating from nearby homes and crickets chirping on the summer air. (First published: 6 Dec 2015)


This time, allow me to tell you a little about the city of Hillview in north Bullitt County, next to the Jefferson County line. (First published: 27 Dec 2015)

Pioneer Village

Pioneer Village is one of the county's relatively newer cities. It was formed partly for the same reason as the other cities in that area. Rapid growth generated by thousands of new jobs in nearby Jefferson County in the 1960's and 70's generated strong demand for affordable homes. (First published: 3 Jan 2016)

Hebron Estates

Hebron Estates is one of a cluster of five cities in the northern part of the county and the third smallest, with a population hovering around 1100. Formed in part to prevent being annexed by nearby cities, Hebron Estates city founders such as Pat Burke also simply wanted the neighborhood to be the master of its own destiny. (First published: 17 Jan 2016)

Hunters Hollow

Hunters Hollow is the smallest of Bullitt County's eight cities, and by small I mean tiny. The little pie-slice-shaped city, located between East Blue Lick Road and Hillview Boulevard in northern Bullitt County, encompasses less than one tenth of one square mile of territory. (First published: 31 Jan 2016)

Fox Chase

Though one of the younger of the eight cities in Bullitt County, the community of Fox Chase has one of the more interesting histories. I particularly like the surprising source of the name. (First published: 14 Feb 2016)


In 1793, Adam Shepherd set aside 50 acres of a 900-acre tract of land on the north bank of Salt River and laid out streets and lots. On December 11 of that year the state of Kentucky, barely one-year-old itself, officially recognized this new city of Shepherdsville. (First published: 28 Feb 2016)

Bullitt County and its Communities

In addition to the cities described earlier, there are of course many unincorporated communities across the county such as Belmont, Clermont, Cedar Grove, Kings Church, Nichols, Wilson Creek, Zoneton, and neighborhoods such as my own Peaceful Valley. Each town, community, and person has unique, wonderful, memories; many of which we have told you about in this column over the past few years. (First published: 13 Mar 2016)

Bullitt County's Traffic Lights

I vaguely remember a time when there were only three traffic lights in all of Bullitt County. Charlie Long tells me that the first was a simple red-only flashing stop light in Shepherdsville at Highway 44 and Highway 61 in the heart of town. Shortly after that came a similar light in Mt. Washington at 44 and the old Bardstown Road that flashed red in one direction and yellow in the other. Steve Masden tells me that the yellow flashing light in Lebanon Junction has been there since at least the mid-1950's. (First published: 3 Apr 2016)

Shepherdsville's Salt River Bridge

If you drive through Shepherdsville and over the Salt River Bridge, you might think nothing of it. Oh, you might happen to glance over and catch a quick glimpse of the river as you rush along your way. If you take the time, you might see a couple of stork-like herons wading the waters in the distance when the river is low. When the river is high, your attention might be drawn to the ferocity of the deep, fast-moving waters. (First published: 10 Apr 2016)

Giving and Getting Directions

When I was a young man in 1978, my wife and I drove down "to the country" for a meeting of a group of churches that was being held near Cave City. We had never been there but the directions seemed simple. "Go to Highway 31 and turn left at the red barn. You can't miss it." (First published: 24 Apr 2016)

Remembering the Poor Farm Again

Poor Farms were county or town-run residences where paupers (mainly elderly and disabled people) were supported at public expense. They were common in the United States beginning in the middle of the 1800s, and declined in use after the Social Security Act took effect in 1935. (First published: 1 May 2016)

Misremembered Memories

Memory can be a confusing and flawed thing in historical writing, as well as in everyday life. I remember when I was writing a history of a church several years ago, one elder member pointed out that he was a charter member of the church. (First published: 15 May 2016)

Major John Jacob Peacock

Somewhere in the Hessey Cemetery in Mt. Washington, lies the body of Major John Jacob Peacock, along with other veterans and civilians whose memorial stones no longer stand in their honor. The little cemetery, tightly located in a subdivision on the corner of Branham Way and Highway 44, is well-kept by the city. But memory fades of those who rest there, because of the loss of markers over recent years. (First published: 5 Jun 2016)

For Lack of 17 Cents; A Fathers' Day Story

By and large, I hold to the belief that all are created equal, and I stubbornly cling to the great American dream that anyone, through hard work and sacrifice, can succeed. But I think we all know, deep down, that in The Great Footrace of Life, the runners start out at different places on the track. Though generally possessing equal gifts at birth, Life's realities affect what each of us, from our earliest days, can do with those gifts. (First published: 19 Jun 2016)

Remembering Nick Simon

What is a man to say about a good man gone? It is difficult for good people to stay in this world. There is so much that needs to be done, so much that can be done, yet so few willing to do it. (First published: 26 Jun 2016)


What does 'GED' stand for? I was surprised recently when I was given several different answers, even from official sources. But most everyone knows what it is. Especially Wavy Mayes who was the first in Bullitt County to earn his. (First published: 24 Jul 2016)

Hebron in Bullitt County

In northern Bullitt County, Kentucky, there is an area in which it seems all things are named 'Hebron.' There is Hebron Lane; there is also Hebron Presbyterian Church, Hebron Lane Church of Christ, Hebron Middle School, Hebron Cemetery, the Hebron Building, and even the relatively recent city of Hebron Estates. But there was never an actual community or town of Hebron. (First published: 7 Aug 2016)

The First Bullitt County TV

Sitting behind a screen door in a Bullitt County History Museum display room, an old television merrily plays away. It is a 1948 Admiral, said by its original owner to have been the first TV in Bullitt County. (First published: 21 Aug 2016)

Cowboys and Indians

I vividly remember back when I was a little boy, waiting anxiously for the weekly TV showing of 'Gunsmoke.' Without fail, I was always ready and waiting, as the entire family settled in to watch. I stood there in front of the TV staring intensely at the screen, six-shooter loosely set in my artificial-leather holster, fingers flexing restlessly over the gun handle, and black cowboy hat slung low over my brow, ready to do battle. (First published: 4 Sep 2016)


I was watching a movie not long ago, in which Jesus was being baptized. As he walked down into the waist-deep water of the Jordan River, greeted by John the Baptist, I thought, 'OK! This is it. At least THIS movie will show someone being fully plunged into the water.' But then John the Baptist reached down, scooped up a little water in his hand, and sprinkled it on Jesus' head. (First published: 18 Sep 2016)


There is a two-story farmhouse located at the extreme eastern tip of Bullitt County on Kings Church Road, very near Jefferson County and right at the Bullitt/Spencer County line. In fact, the house is so close to the county line that the front of the property is in Bullitt County and the back is in Spencer. This, as a sign in the front yard says, is 'The Doctor's House' and is part of today's unusual story. (First published: 2 Oct 2016)

Tanning Leather - The Theophile Conrad Story

Theophile Conrad, the only child of Martine and Caroline Conrad, grew up in France. By 1851 he was planning a career in business and studying the methods of tanning. Now this is not tanning like actor George Hamilton made famous, with his perfect tans. It is a process to make raw animal skin into leather. (First published: 16 Oct 2016)

Bullitt County's First Courthouse

If you visit Bullitt County's courthouse today, you see a classic bell-tower structure that was completed in 1900. If you look closely, you might notice that the larger back portion of the building has been added in recent years, though it nearly matches the older front section. (First published: 30 Oct 2016)

Three Bridges at Blue Lick Creek

Few folks see it as they race along Highway 61, just north of Shepherdsville. Fewer still know what it is. But for those who do, it's something to look for, if only to see if it is still there; and to remember, or perhaps imagine, what times were like back then. (First published: 13 Nov 2016)

Gap in Knob

Gap In Knob was once a narrow opening among several knobs, or hills, in Bullitt County. A fairly major branch of the Wilderness Road passed through the knobs a couple of miles to the west, called the Blue Lick gap, and several routes of travel, such as Floyd's Fork were available in the flatlands farther to the east. Gap In Knob lay in between, sandwiched between Coleman Knob and MacDonald Knob, on a direct line between Shepherdsville and Louisville. (First published: 27 Nov 2016)

Benjamin Summers House Saved

The log cabin, sometimes known as the Benjamin Summers house and also as the Christman house, does have quite a history. Thanks to extensive research by Daniel Buxton, as well as Lynn Eddington, Bob Cline, Barbara Bailey, and Sherry Lee, we now know a lot more about this home and its remarkable residents. (First published: 11 Dec 2016)

Christmas 2016 Series Farewell

While preparing these 'Memories' stories over the past five years, one of my joys has been looking at old photographs. I particularly like looking at photos of young people who have long-since grown up, lived their lives, and perhaps even passed on long ago. I like to look closely into their eyes. What were they thinking way back then? What aspirations? What realities? How did their lives turn out compared to what they had dreamed? (First published: 25 Dec 2016)

The Bullitt County History Museum, a service of the Bullitt County Genealogical Society, is located in the county courthouse at 300 South Buckman Street (Highway 61) in Shepherdsville, Kentucky. The museum, along with its research room, is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday; and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday. Admission is free. The museum, as part of the Bullitt County Genealogical Society, is a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization and is classified as a 509(a)2 public charity. Contributions and bequests are deductible under section 2055, 2106, or 2522 of the Internal Revenue Code. Page last modified: 27 Jan 2021 . Page URL: