Raving on the river

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Historical society celebrates heritage and impact of local waterway

By Molly Haines

Showboats and calliopes may seem like a thing of the past, but the past was alive and well during Kentucky River Day held Saturday.
Special guests included authors William Grier and William Ellis, who told stories of life on the Kentucky River.
The Owen County Historical Society and Kentucky-American Water sponsored the event.
Owenton Mayor Doug West, who remembered sand barges traveling along the Kentucky River from his days as a Monterey resident, made opening remarks.
“Everything has changed now,” West said. “You can’t go back and live the history again, but the memories are there and (the historical society museum) is a place to observe those memories.”
The event coincided with a new exhibit in the museum’s parlor, which includes photographs and posters illustrating life on the Kentucky River for residents of Owen County.
Grier, author of “The Five Lives Of the Kentucky River” entertained guests with stories of showboats that once traveled the river.
“(Showboats) were a very real thing and they played a huge part in entertaining the people of the Kentucky River,” Grier said.
Kentucky American Water Operations Superintendent/Northern Division Bill Wulfeck was on hand during Saturday’s event and announced KAW is donating $2,000 to the historical society over a period of two years.
Wulfeck said KAW hopes the donation will help educate Owen County students on the importance of the Kentucky River and its impact on water supply.
Owen County Historical Society member Bonnie Strassell said a little over 100 people attended the event.