Owen County Historical Society News: Plenty of changes at Owen Co. museum

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By Bonnie Strassell

Even the younger crowd would have found it difficult to keep up with our “senior” builders as they erected a large picnic pavilion in the backyard of the historical society museum. Under the guidance of foreman Darrel Baker, the expert craftsmen — consisting of Jarl Lee Harris, Jim Acton, Bobby Gibson, Oscar Jacobs, R.C. (Pete) Dawson, and Arthur Kinman — dodged rain and thunderstorms as they erected the structure in a little over a week.
Our sincere thanks to the Owen Electric Company who sent out a truck and crew including Jeremy Wright, Kenny Widener, and Scott Howard to dig the holes for the 17 poles needed to support the roof.
Owen County Historical Society President Jeannie Baker spent most of her time during the past two weeks feeding the crew, planting flowers, cleaning and decorating the museum, and landscaping to assure that the museum is suitably dressed for the public on our Owen County History Day, which will have already taken place at the publication of this article. The dedication of the pavilion in the memory of Scott Hardin will have been held. Hopefully, the museum tours, and the food, fellowship, entertainment, and surprises will have successfully reached out to the communities of Owen County and created an interest in their history.
Exciting new exhibits are planned for the Owen County Historical Society Museum. We have acquired an air-powered calliope from the Cincinnati Museum Center and will be transporting it to our new Kentucky River Room in the next few weeks. Formerly the sun room, the Kentucky River Room will reflect the rich Kentucky River history of Owen County. With the calliope holding a place of honor, and surrounded by river pictures and perhaps recordings from Owen countians who remember the showboats and packet boats, the room will be a unique addition to the museum and an attraction for visitors. Sometime in August or September we plan to have a dedication day for the calliope, and the vice president of the Cincinnati Museum Center plans to attend the ceremony. Ashley Ford, Cincinnati Museum Center historian and calliope player extraordinaire, will perform showboat tunes on the calliope and all are invited to the celebration.
 Plans are also under way for adding research and family history materials to the Perry Room. With a laptop computer to assist those searching for ancestors, this room will serve the needs of the county and all those visitors whose roots are in Owen.
 The Perry Room will also display a large-screen television with a slide-show of the artifacts and exhibits upstairs, which will make possible a virtual tour for those who are unable to climb the stairs to the second floor.
 A new concrete driveway will be poured in the near future and a wooden back porch with railings will be built, which will afford a safer exit from our museum.
 All of these repairs and additions were made possible through generous donations of people throughout the country whose desire to preserve history was paramount. A great portion of the donations were made in the memory of Scott Hardin. The idea of donating money to the historical society in lieu of flowers presents an opportunity for a lasting memorial to the memory of a loved one.
New information will be offered on the Smoot-Walker Feud of Owen County at the next historical society meeting, July 14 at the I.O.O.F. Hall. Plan on attending and prepare to be surprised at new evidence presented by descendants of these feuding families.