The Bullitt County History Museum

Museum Newsletter - 28 Nov 2011

Friends of the Bullitt County History Museum
November 28, 2011 (Volume 7, Number 12)

Dear Friends,


>>AOL E-Mail Problems?

Our Friends that need to know this are, unfortunately, the ones who won't get this message. But maybe you can help get it straightened out. For some months now, most of our Friends that have AOL e-mail services are not getting these newsletters. I can't get to anyone to correct the problem, but it seems that AOL is blocking them. I only send the newsletter to people who request it, but it does go out to hundreds of people. If anyone out there can get this fixed, please do, so our many friends who use AOL and its affiliates can receive the newsletter again.

>>Holiday Closings.

The Museum will be closed for the Christmas holiday December 26.

>>Special Christmas Social in December.

The December meeting of the Bullitt County Genealogical Society will be our annual Christmas Social event. It will be held at the regular place and date: December 17 at Ridgway Memorial Library in Shepherdsville. But the time is changed to 11:00 a.m. It will be a pitch-in, potluck, dinner. This year, attendees are also asked to bring a $5 unisex, genealogical present of some kind for a random gift exchange.

>>Genealogy Quarterly Coming Out Soon.

The next quarterly edition of "The Wilderness Road" will be mailed out to Society members soon. If you are not a member, this quarterly alone is worth the annual $15 price of membership. Go to this page to join or renew membership.

>>Holiday "Light-up" Events in Bullitt County:

*Light Up Shepherdsville December 2. Starting at 6:30 p.m., Shepherdsville features a pretty darn good night-time parade with lighted vehicles and floats along Buckman Street. They usually have Santa Claus arriving by a specially lighted fire-truck, and Christmas carols as well. The city park, by the river, is heavily decorated and lit with seasonal decorations that can be enjoyed by driving through the park.

*Light Up Mt. Washington December 3. Lighting up the town in Mt. Washington for the holidays will take place between 5 and 8 p.m. at the Mt. Washington City Plaza and the Mt. Washington First Baptist Church. Free hot chocolate and cookies, entertainment, pictures with Santa, clown (making free special shaped balloons), petting zoo including among others a camel and llama, carriage rides, craft making and gifts for the children. Food for purchase will be available (hot dogs, pork chops, steak sandwiches). Of course, we will light up the Plaza after dark.

*"Old Tyme Christmas Open House" at Lloyd House December 11. On December the 11th, the Mount Washington Historical Society will be having a Christmas Open House at the James M. Lloyd House, located at the corner of Dooley Drive and the old Bardstown Road, from 2 until 7 PM. There will be refreshments and door prizes and something for the kids, not to mention all of the wonderful history to be shared. This will be a grand reopening of the museum house. It has been closed for a while due to needed repairs, but much work has been done, and this will be worth seeing.

Activity...(Lots of Documenting Going On!)

>>New Book by Edith Blissett, 1926 Pioneer News.

Prolific documentarian Edith Blissett has added yet another book to her large collection of transcribed newspapers. This one is the entire collection of the 1926 local newspaper The Pioneer News. Edith has been doing this for many years now, reading the old local newspapers from microfilm and transcribing them into indexed books. If not mistaken, I think she has now done all from 1907 through 1926. A huge volume of work, and they are all available at our museum research room.

>>2554 35mm Slides scanned into our photo archives.

I have mentioned the project before, but it is now complete. One year ago, Penny Pack gave the museum two metal boxes of 35mm photographic slides that had been taken by the late local historian (and Penny's husband) Tom Pack.

The slides were of everything from photos Tom had taken himself, to photos he took of older photographs and maps. Two thousand five hundred and fifty-four of them.

The problem for us was transferring these photos into a more modern, usable, form. Thanks to our great Volunteers, in July we launched into scanning them all into a digitized computer format, text-imbedded with information for easier searching. Bob Cline bought and donated a 35mm scanner. And Volunteer Brenda Rittman offered to start scanning them.

So, nearly every Thursday for the past five months, Brenda has spent most of her day scanning, one-by-one, each photo and typing information about the photo into its digital file. About a month ago, Volunteer Beverly Owen also joined in on Mondays scanning the photos. (Photo of Brenda and Beverly shown here with the slides and scanning computer).

The addition to our collection is so large that it took me most of a day just to run a backup of the files!

These photos have now been added to our collection and are accessible on any of our computers at the museum.

This was quite a labor-intensive effort, and many thanks go to our dedicated Volunteers: Bob Cline for his donation of the equipment, which will help in future projects as well; especially Brenda Rittman for many long hours sitting at the computer; Beverly Owen for her help; and of course, Penny and Tom Pack for taking, preserving, and donating the photos in the first place.

Oh, and one more time a thank-you for Geek Squad City's donation of our computer system, without which we wouldn't have the capacity to store and access such large collections.

>>Asa Overall Ledger Book Complete.

Dr. Asa Overall was a well-known doctor in the county long ago. His 1907-1909 ledger book was loaned to the museum for copying and we have now completed scanning the 300 pages onto computer, and, like previous projects, the images are text-imbedded with names for easier searching. With a little study, these pages can yield information about births Dr. Overall performed (charging 9 dollars by the way), deaths, and more.

>>Cemeteries Cleaned. Most people don't realize it, but there are some 300 cemeteries in Bullitt County. And I guess at least 200 of those are overgrown or poorly maintained. But many are cared for, thanks to regular hard work by people who privately volunteer their time and resources. There are several, but the people I know of that do the most cemeteries are Ken and Barbara Bailey. In cooperation with friends, such a Dennis Mitchel, and family members, I think they annually clean five or six family cemeteries that otherwise would be neglected. Dennis cleaned and even fenced the James Samuels cemetery recently.

This is often hard and hot work, that has to be done year after year. My sincere appreciation goes to people around the county and state who do this kind of respectful work.

>>Web Site Additions.

Additions to our web site have grown since last time. To see what is new, visit our Latest Additions page.

A Bit of Christmas Trivia...

Look at the front of our county courthouse really closely, and you will notice nails in several places up high in the mortar of the bricks. Follow those nails and you can see a pattern of sorts. Years ago, county government decorated the building with strings of Christmas lights for the holidays and those nails were to hold the lights. The light bulbs were those big, colorful ones that are old-fashioned now and yet so nostalgic. I remember those lights and miss their wonderful red, green, yellow, and blue colors, and I miss the time when the building would be decorated in all its gaudy, yet somehow respectful high style for the holidays.

The museum still places a very nicely decorated tree at the top of the grand staircase each year that shows nicely in the front window.

For Your Information...

>>Once-Available Social Security Information Restricted.

Old Social Security applications are sometimes used by genealogical researchers to find names of parents and other information. Now access to those files have been dramatically restricted. It's a reflection of the rise in identity theft, I suppose, but I am told that access to such government files have been restricted to 100 years from the birth of the applicant.

>>1940 Census Info Becoming Available.

Census records are an invaluable research resource for genealogists and the 1940 census records will soon be coming out (there's a 70 year privacy rule) Check out for more info.

>>A Bit of Bragging on My Brother.

My brother and I remind each other of "The Country Mouse and the City Mouse." I love the country atmosphere of Bullitt County, and he loves the "Big City" of downtown Louisville. Well, over the years my brother Dale has restored the most beautiful old mansion down on 3rd Street in Louisville, and the house is being featured with a 12 page spread in the December issue of the national magazine "Victorian Homes". Congratulations to my big brother on a wonderful preservation and restoration job. By the way, did you know that Louisville is home to one of the biggest collections of Victorian-era homes in the country?


"A Christmas Tree Hazard"

I've heard this story over the years and perhaps you can help me with the facts.

Maybe you know that the first Bullitt County Courthouse was built around 1804, and that it was a "roundabout" courthouse; that is, built in the center of an intersection of streets, which traffic would go around. That Bullitt County courthouse was built in the intersection of Buckman and Second Streets and was torn down sometime after the current old courthouse was built in the early 1900's. (in the photo, you can see the area of the street where the courthouse was; about where a boy is standing by a tree in this 1908 flood pic; Salt River bridge in background.)

And that is where this Christmas story begins.

After the original 1800's courthouse was torn down, the circle of ground where it had stood in the middle of the street was maintained for many years, and for some time a Christmas tree was set up during the holidays in that circle for all to enjoy.

But I am told that a problem arose one Christmas that brought that tradition to an abrupt end.

As the story goes, one night the County Judge at the time had, shall we say, "partaken a bit too liberally of the holiday spirits". Driving down the main street of town, he failed to notice the big brightly-decorated Christmas tree in the center of the intersection and "plowed right through the middle of it". Some have joked that he might have seen two trees and decided to go between them.

Well the next day, again as the story goes, the tree was declared a public hazard and never set up again. In fact, the entire little circle was paved over and eventually forgotten.

Now, I don't know for sure if this story is true, but I am assured that it is. I don't know which judge it was (don't know that I want to know) or when, though I am guessing it must have been in the 1940's or before. Certainly, a number of people who I have asked about this story quickly grin slyly and say they could guess who it might have been. Bullitt County, as all counties, has had its share of colorful characters.

But can't you just imagine that scene, and how the explanations would fly like so many pine needles in the breeze?

Perhaps this is not the usual Christmas time story, but hopefully a little story you will enjoy.

Have a Merry Christmas everyone, and a happy, happy holiday season.

But don't get too much into the "holiday spirits".

We want to keep all those Christmas trees safe out there.

Thank you for being a Friend of the Bullitt County History Museum.

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

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: