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Bonnie Strassell - Owen County Historical Society

  • Cemetery tour tells stories of past Owen countians

    The small granite marker seemed insignificant surrounded by larger, more elaborately carved tombstones. The name etched on top of the stone, Colorado Grant, was unknown to most, yet the man buried beneath the gravestone truly touched the lives of Owen countians in the early 1900s, for he gave them a glimpse of the western frontier.

    On a hot day a few weeks ago, as sunlight bounced off tombstones and baked visitors, the Owen County Historical Society and the Owen County Public Library joined together to visit Owen County’s past.

  • Blue Wing Inn shines light on Ky. history

    Though seemingly endless, the narrow winding road eventually reaches its destination at Browns Bottom, where the historic  Blue Wing Inn welcomes visitors.

    Formerly the summer home of Mason Brown, the inn was built circa 1850. Its Greek Revival architecture is punctuated by  gingerbread trim galloping delightfully around the house, adding character to the exterior.

  • Young Owen countians overcome early childhood struggle

    In the 1800s famine hit Ireland and more than 2 million Irish immigrated to America. The Brown family was part of this seemingly unending wave of starving yet determined people who looked to a new life and a new land of opportunity.

    The Browns settled in Virginia, and not long after the births of their children, both died, leaving behind four young orphans.

  • Farm-fresh biscuits were cornerstone of Owen's cuisine

    “Certainly no bread in America has been more popular over a longer time than baking powder biscuits. In fact, in many homes they were baked three times a day in great quantities, and were eaten hot, with butter and honey or preserves, along with every meal.” James Beard, 1881.

  • Owen Co. remains ‘home’ for those who have traveled far and wide

    Perhaps it’s memories of the lay of the land or reminisces of our childhood that evoke a longing for the place of our birth. Maybe it’s the remembrance of parents and grandparents whose daily lives reflected an era of the hardworking folks that helped create a prosperous and enduring America.
    Whatever the reason for our nostalgia, the stories of our lives give insight into our past and are treasures to share with future generations.

  • Ky. caves aided in gunpowder production during War of 1812

    The War of 1812 saw Kentuckians volunteering by the hundred of thousands. Many would never set their sights on home again; yet the dream of a nation, unfettered by the yoke of the British crown and free from the constant harassment of Indians, compelled them to fight.

  • Former News-Herald editor documented early Owen Co. life

    John Forsee, an early editor of the News-Herald and native Owen countian, wrote a history of the county in 1936 under the Federal Writers’ Project. This project was created in 1935 as part of the United States WPA program to provide employment for historians, teachers, writers, and librarians. Its purpose was not only to help these white collar workers but to focus on the historic and cultural resources of the United States.

  • Traveling preachers proved influential in local church history

    After the Revolutionary War until well into the 19th century, a group of dedicated stalwart men traveled the wilderness of America to spread the Gospel throughout the newly formed republic.

    With Bible in pocket and gun in hand, early circuit riding preachers left an indelible mark upon America and the American people; and through their untiring efforts they fanned the flames of religious fervor that spread across the land like a wildfire.

  • Owen's Squiresville had its own notable, noble residents

    With a variety of hair-raising twists and turns, the narrow road snakes along from Highway 22 to Perry Park. On its travels it passes through the once thriving community of Squiresville, and the road itself took on the same name.

    Early Squiresville family names, Arnold, Ligon, Lusby, Minor, Minch, Reeve, Montgomery, Morgan, Nuttall, Thomas, Stivers, and others are still prevalent in the area today.

  • Backyard clotheslines serve as reminder of 20th century life

    In the 1900s it was a common sight in most backyards. During the summer it gleefully skipped through the air, wrapping its ends around sturdy trees or poles secured in the ground.

    Clothespins provided a solid anchor on its expanse, and for many years the lowly clothesline seemed to bask in the attention of the American family.

    A long, forked wooden pole propped in the middle of the line would lift the laundered clothes to just the right height for youngsters to duck under as they galloped about in their pretend world.