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A trail through history

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Volunteers preserve Owen County’s farming past for next generation

By Molly Haines

As a result of the Owen County 20/20 Vision project and the Owen County Leadership program, Joy Bourne Morgan and three other Owen countians have banded together to preserve different aspects of farm life for generations to come.

Morgan, along with Harold Malcomb, Freida Smith and Elizabeth Prewitt began The Owen County Agricultural Heritage Trails by interviewing farmers throughout the county to get accurate details on farming in Owen County.

“We’re going to start documenting the information gathered by painting murals on some of the many tobacco barns through the county,” Morgan said, “and the murals will depict the different stages of tobacco.”

The committee hopes to begin its first depiction of farm life in Owen County   in the near future.

Morgan said the first mural will be painted on a peg barn belonging to Ronnie and Donna Dunavent on Hwy. 22 between Owenton and Sweet Owen.

“We’ve worked with Ronnie and his brother Glen on the project,” Morgan said. “Marie Cobb, a resident of Owen County, will be painting the first mural.”

Morgan said the project is a unique way to preserve the history of farming in Owen County.

“This is something that many people in the county can identify with and I think it will attract a lot of visitors who scope out small areas with a unique history,” Morgan said. “We don’t want our county to become just another anywhere U.S.A., we want to attract people through our heritage.”

Morgan said the trail will also serve future generations as an educational tool.

“Once my generation goes on, farming will likely become a thing of the past,” Morgan said. “This project is special to me because I actually grew up on a farm. I was blessed to be connected with a piece of land and to gain work ethic through farming.”

Morgan said the first mural will cost about $4,000 to complete.

“We’re taking donations for the first mural from people throughout the community,” Morgan said. “Community support for this project is necessary for future grant-funding for more murals.”

“Donations can be made in any amount by anyone,” Morgan said. “They can also be made in honor or in memory of someone.”

Morgan said those who wish to donate can contact her or any of the other committee members for more information on how to donate.

“We really appreciate all the farm men and women for sharing their stories,” Morgan said.

The Owen County Agricultural Heritage Trail committee will be looking for barns throughout the county for future murals. Those interested may contact one of the committee members for more information.

Morgan said work on the first mural will begin in the near future.

“We’re not sure that it will be completed this fall because of bad weather, but we will begin the first sunny day of spring,” Morgan said.