The Bullitt County History Museum

Museum Newsletter - 09 Apr 2008

Friends of the Bullitt County History Museum E-Newsletter
April 9, 2008 , (Volume 4, Number 3)

Dear Friends,


>> Genealogical Society Meeting Saturday, April 19, 10:00 a.m.

Our regular Bullitt County Genealogical Society meeting will be held Saturday, April 19, at 10:00 a.m. at Ridgway Memorial Library in Shepherdsville.

Rod Smothers, a well-known pioneer-era re-enactor, will be speaking about his experiences with a Revolutionary War re-enactment group.

>> Ancestral Trails Book Fair April 12 and we'll be there!

We'll be at the Ancestral Trails Book Fair in Elizabethtown April 12, and we hope to see many of our Friends there. It runs 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Prichard Community Center in Elizabethtown. We will have a booth, and so will Betty Darnell, with her extensive library of books for sale. Some of our active cemetery documentation committee will also be there with some of that information.

>> 1917 Train Wreck Book Two debut at Ancestral Trails book fair

We will be debuting Book Two of Charles Hartley's work on the 1917 Train Wreck. Book One was published last October as part of our 90th anniversary memorial work of that most deadly wreck in L&N Railroad history. We have written often in this newsletter about that terrible wreck that took place in Shepherdsville December 20, 1917.

Charles has now followed up that very popular first book with a second one. The first book has now been slightly repackaged as The Wreck and includes a few pages of new information (if you have the first edition of that book, you can get the added information at our museum web site). The new Book Two, The People of the Wreck, adds 96 pages of information and photos to the story of the people killed or otherwise affected by the tragic wreck.

It is really a touching and informative work.

Pricing for the books will be $6 per book or $10 per two-volume set, if bought directly at the booth or at the museum. If mailed, there will be a $2 shipping and handling fee per book. Once again, Charles has donated the work to the museum, so all profits beyond printing costs go directly to the museum.

>> Extensive train wreck research work donated to the museum.

Charles says that with the completion of Book Two, The People of the Wreck, he is done with this subject, citing the depressing nature of such work on such a sad subject. Charles has donated his extensive collection of research about the wreck to our museum. Three 3 1/2 inch binders of information, along with CDs, are now stored at the museum and available for further research by all. Charles gives credit to his deceased friend, Tom Pack, upon whose previous work Charles built.

>> Carole Jackson-Powell on KET

Local artist Carole Jackson-Powell has done two very nice murals for our museum; one a large backdrop for our salt-making display, and the other a background for our 1917 Train Wreck display.

On May 10 & 11, Carole will be featured on Kentucky Educational Television (KET-TV) "Kentucky Life" with host Bob Shuffett. Check your local schedules. Alright Carole!!


>> Gearing up for festival season.

As already reported above, museum and genealogical society volunteers will be at several locations, spreading the word about our history and collecting new information. In addition to those already mentioned, we will be hosting a booth at the Mt. Washington Spring Festival, May 9 & 10. At that event, we might have a special treat! I think Gregg and Don Elden will be setting up a Civil War tent site and will be dressed, one as Union and one as Confederate. They are the organizers of the Civil War & Timeline encampment that will take place in Shepherdsville on September 13.

Also, we have been asked to set up a display and booth at the Interstate 65 rest stop, just south of Shepherdsville, on May 15 (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.). That is part of a state-wide tourism effort at all state rest stops. If you are passing through, stop by!

>> Gearing up for two major document and photo preservation projects ... and we need your help!!

Two very important opportunities are available to us to save hundreds of unique old documents and photos, but it's going to be a challenge! We will be needing to set up a portable computer and scanner and go off site to photo-scan hundreds of endangered old Bullitt County documents and photographs at a couple of locations.


I am looking for the donation or long-term lone of a laptop computer that can be hooked up to a scanner and that will write to CDs. Surely someone has an older used laptop that we can have. The projects will also be time consuming, as each photo is placed on the scanner and saved. So we will need volunteers willing to spend some time on this very critical project to save a lot of fading history before it is lost to time or some disaster.

Please consider supplying us with a laptop PC, a photo-quality scanner, or some time.

>> Before Ft. Knox property owner and cemetery plats donated.

Once again, Friend Gary Kempf has come through for us. Gary recently gave the museum a set of maps and data showing who owned what land when the federal government came in in the 1930's and 40's and bought it to create Ft. Knox. Many families were forced to leave their farms that had been in the family for generations, and there remains strong genealogical interest today in such information, if for nothing more than "to just see where a person's ancestors once lived, and who the neighbors were".

Gary also donated an extensive and detailed set of plat maps of many of the old cemeteries that were (or still are) on Ft. Knox property. Many of the plats document each individual grave, saving our cemetery documentation committee countess hours of work that might have actually been impossible otherwise.

Thank you, Gary, for you continued and invaluable support!

>> Looking for old home movies before it's too late.

Have any old video (perhaps 8mm or other) that was made in Bullitt County? Much of that video is fading and fading fast. Even if stored well, most of the old 8mm or supervideo home movie film turns black over time, completely destroying valuable old video for ever.

The museum is looking for some of that film to save, particularly film that shows the county. A home video might just be of the family unwrapping presents, but hopefully someone has film that, perhaps just in the background, shows the streets of Mt. Washington in the fifties, or Lebanon Junction in the forties, or perhaps a parade in the sixties.

We have no old moving pictures of Bullitt County and we would love to get some and save them to DVD.

Save them before they fade to black forever.

For Your Information...

>>Paroquet & Parakeet.

Paroquet Springs Conference Centre in Shepherdsville was named in memory of the famous health-water resort that existed at roughly the same location from about 1838 and into the early 1900's. The spelling "Paroquet" was reportedly a French version of "parakeet". The resort was named for the huge flocks of brightly-colored parakeets that seemed to like the salt-and-mineral-laden waters of the area.

But I have often wondered why we no longer see those birds any more.

Turns out that those birds were one of the only species of parakeets, called Caroline Parakeets, that lived in North America.

Note that I say "lived". They were hunted to extinction long ago for their beautiful feathers, which were used for lady's hats.

For a picture and story of the birds, check out this site.

>> New Web Site stuff

As is always the case, several more items have been added to our museum web site. Be sure to check it out often for new items.

Finally... April Showers, Floods and 1937.

Last summer I mentioned in these newsletters about the 1937 Flood, the greatest known flood in Kentucky, and about an interesting "coincidence".

I had noticed that while Kentucky was experiencing some record hot days during the summer of 2007, that those records were breaking previous records set in 1936, the summer before the '37 flood.


I called a local weatherman and was assured there is no correlation between hot summers and floods.

I am sure, well sort of sure, that he knew what he was talking about.

Yet, I am sitting here on my 55th birthday looking out at more April "showers". Rain has indeed been very heavy this year in Bullitt County. The Salt River and Rolling Fork River have burst out of their banks and flooded many parts of the county.

Nowhere near as bad as that disastrous 1937 flood that destroyed so much.

But enough to flood some businesses and homes. And enough to make many more a bit nervous. Indeed, I know I was beginning to review emergency procedures for the museum last week.

The rivers and streams are going back down again now, but more storms are predicted for most of the rest of this week.

Hmmmm. Just hmmmm.

Thank you for being a Friend of Bullitt County History.

David Strange
Bullitt County History Museum
Executive Director
Museum Phone: 502-921-0161

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: 12 Sep 2020 . Page URL: