The Bullitt County History Museum

Museum Newsletter - 31 Oct 2011

Friends of the Bullitt County History Museum
October 31, 2011 (Volume 7, Number 11)

Dear Friends,

Announcements (lots of announcements this month)...

>>Holiday Closings. The Museum will be OPEN election day, November 8. But we will be closed for Veterans Day, November 11, and also closed for Thanksgiving, November 24 & 25.

>>Genealogical Society Meeting November 19. Wilma Lemons, Bullitt County Genealogical Society recording secretary, will demonstrate how to use message boards on Rootsweb and other genealogical sites. Election of officers for the coming year will also be held. The meeting is at its usual place, in the meeting room of the Ridgway Memorial Library in Shepherdsville, at 10:00 a.m. Refreshments will be served.

>>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.

>>New Book by Betty Darnell. Betty Darnell has published yet another book of transcriptions. This edition, "Bullitt County Marriage Records 1846-1855" is now available at the museum for $30. Betty also donated a copy of the book to our museum research library.

>>Shepherdsville Fire Department Research. Some Friends at the Shepherdsville Fire Department are trying to develop a history and photo collection of the department. I found a photo in our collection of the department in 1958, but that is about all we have except for a couple of 1927 and 1930's building fires.

If anyone has old photos of the Shepherdsville Fire Department (or any of our fire departments for that matter), we'd love to get a copy.

>>A renovated Kentucky Military History Museum at the State Arsenal in Frankfort will reopen to the public with a ceremony at 2 p.m. EST on Veterans Day, Friday, Nov. 11. The museum at 125 East Main St. in downtown Frankfort is operated by the Kentucky Historical Society and the Kentucky Department of Military Affairs.

The Kentucky Historical Society's "Kentucky Military Treasures" exhibition will be on display in the reopened museum. In addition to artifacts, the exhibition features stories of Kentuckians who fought in battles spanning nearly 200 years of conflicts - from the War of 1812 to more recent engagements in Afghanistan and Iraq.

>>Looking for weatherproof storage space. The museum is in need of some long-term, dry storage space. We have pretty much ran out of storage room at the museum, and need a place to safely store about eighty boxes of books/papers and currently-surplus equipment such as microfilm readers and a desk. A space something like 100 square feet or so would be enough. Free and relatively close to the museum is of course what I hope for. Please let me know if someone might be willing to help us with that.


>>This newsletter marks the seventh year of the existence of our museum, and the seventh year of my service as Museum Executive Director. I think, when I started, I expected to do the Director job for maybe two years.

It's been an amazing ride, and seems to me as only a couple of years, and at the same time as if a lifetime. As always, I remain so thankful for everyone's support over this grand time.

>>Volunteers remain very busy. Even with two or three volunteers at the museum, most days are quite busy lately. I don't know how often now that it seems we start the day, start working on in-house projects or helping visitors do research, and then we look up at the clock and it's already 4:00 and time to close. "Whew!" and "Already?" are common refrains.

So be patient with us if we have trouble helping you or getting back to you right away. We're doing our best! Volunteering at the museum is both invigorating and exhausting sometimes!

>>New Civil War display coming. Volunteer Barbara Bailey and I will be expanding our museum displays about the Civil War. Some of the area currently used for a display about the 1920's will be used for this. America is in the midst of its 150th anniversary of the Civil War, which started in 1861. 1862 was a year when quite a bit of Civil War activity happened in Bullitt County and we hope to be telling more about that in the coming year.

By the way, 2012 also marks the 200th anniversary of the beginning of the War of 1812 (despite the name, it actually lasted several years), and we'll be doing some things related to that as well.

>>Bernheim Forest Book donated. A nice, large new book "Bernheim Arboretum & Research Forest", by Sharon A. Receveur and Tavia P. Cathcart was recently donated to the museum by our friends at Bernheim. Thank you!

>>Booths: The museum recently had an informational and book-sales booth at a Chamber of Commerce event, and our Bullitt County Genealogical Society had a booth at the Louisville Genealogical Society book fair.

>>1959 Bullitt Plane Crash article published. In 1959, a "Thunderbirds" air show jet plane crashed in Bullitt County near Bardstown Junction. An article about that was published this month in the "Friends Journal", Fall edition. That magazine is a publication of the Air Force Museum Foundation and we have a copy at the museum. I hope to have more on this next month.

>>Web Site Additions. As I reported last month, our web master, Charles Hartley, has been updating the format of our hundreds of web pages.

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

For Your Information...

>>Civil War info. Did you know that one name for the Civil War was "The War to Suppress Yankee Arrogance"? How about "The Brothers War"? I haven't checked this site out very much, but it has a lot of information, including this list of 26 different names the Civil War was called. Check out this site.

>>FaceBook fan? You really need to check out Mt. Washington, Bullitt County, historian Bobby Darnell's FaceBook page. He has collected an enormous selection of local historic photographs and freely displays and discusses them at his site. On FaceBook, search for "History of Mt. Washington, Kentucky."

>>Access many old newspapers, maps, and photos at the Kentuckiana Digital Library.


"The Lady in Lace"

I am writing this final section of this month's newsletter as I watch for "Trick or Treaters" to come to my door on Halloween night.

With that in mind, my thoughts are drifting toward ghosts and goblins.

So tonight let me tell you about the "Lady in Lace".

When I first started hanging out around the Bullitt County Courthouse years ago, I started hearing about a ghost in the courthouse.

A ghost of a young lady, well dressed in a formal beige, turn-of-the-century, lacy, wedding-like dress (recreation photo shown here).

If you know the courthouse, you know that our museum is located in the front section of it. And you know about the grand staircase.

The staircase is where you are most likely to see "The Lady in Lace".

The standard story is that while you are walking up the staircase, you see, out of the corner of your eye, a young lady walking up the staircase just behind you, to your right. When you turn to say hello, or just to see who it is, dressed so oddly, there is no one there. Did you see her? But no one is there.

No one is there.

Now, I like to say that my philosophy about ghosts is that "I don't believe in them, but I don't want to make them mad either."

But I was telling this story to a person several years ago. This person had worked at the courthouse, and I noticed that as I told the story, and described the ghost, the person began to get a little pale. I asked what was wrong, and she told me how she had once, late at night when she was alone in the building, turned down a hall toward a door. And there, reflecting in the glass of the door, she saw a young woman, just as I described, standing behind her.

Greatly startled, the person quickly turned to confront the stranger.

But no one was there.

The person told me that she had never told anyone about that experience. Until she heard my story, she had never known about the Lady in Lace.

She had only seen her.

Now, I've tried to figure out the original source of the story.

The lady is never said to be aggressive or particularly scary.

Just there.

Perhaps this all comes from 1917, when a number of bodies were laid in the courthouse after 48 people were killed in a terrible train wreck just behind the building. The deadliest train wreck in Kentucky history.

Or perhaps it is from one of the many murder cases held in the old courthouse over the years.

Or perhaps it is just a made up fantasy.


Just pay attention when you walk up the grand staircase alone, or walk down the lonely halls at night.

Maybe you are not as alone as you think.

Have a happy Halloween.

And 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: