Tuesday, September 15

The old Perry County Court House was destroyed by fire in the year of 1911. At that time the public square was occupied by a court house, jail, and jailer’s residence. The jail was a brick structure on the corner of the street which is now called Lovern Street, the street between the court house and the Salyers building. The jailer’s residence was a small brick structure of two or three rooms facing Main Street and between the jail and the court house. There had been a kitchen and dining room built to the jail out of lumber. There is where the fire started.

J. G. Campbell was county judge at the time. J. D. Bud Davis was County Court Clerk, Lee Daniel was Circuit Court Clerk, and with hard work all the deed books and record books in the two clerk’s offices were saved during the 1911 fire.

Judge Campbell immediately went to work to have a new court house constructed. A bond issue was submitted to the people but it failed to carry but Judge Campbell and the fiscal court managed to get a contractor to build the new Perry County Court House in 1912 on the credit of the county and it was paid for afterwards. At that time the water works in Hazard was not entirely satisfactory so a deep well was drilled at the back of the court house next to High Street and a large steel tank was erected and the water pumped into the tank. This furnished water to the court house and later it was extended on down to the county jail. The steel tank was later taken down and water was furnished by the city.

The court house clock has been out of order for many years but it did all right for awhile and then it quit. I don’t know why, but maybe it was no good from the beginning. I remember one time when I was County Attorney around 1914, I occupied the little corner office next to the Hurst Hotel and next to Main Street just off from the main court room. I was in my office one day and a bolt of lightning hit the court house on top of the belfry or the place where the clock is located. I know that it shook the entire building and raised dust all over the main court room. That may have caused the clock to stop, I don’t know. I know that several attempts have been made since that time to start the clock again and it would respond temporarily and then quit.

Sunday, September 13

Buckhorn Lake State Park is located off Kentucky 28 near Buckhorn in Perry County with a 3.4 mile access road to the lodge and park. Facilities include a boat dock with launching ramps around the 1,230 acre lake. Nestled in the scenic Cumberland Mountains, the lake has bass, crappie, and channel catfish. It is an impoundment of the Middle Fork of the Kentucky River. Recreation at the park includes beach swimming, picnicking and playground facilities.

Blending with the mountains all around Buckhorn Lake is a beautiful lodge made from native stone with a wood exterior. Two level wings on either side of the central building provide covered access to the dining room, lobby and gift shop.

Pleasing d├ęcor and comfortable furniture plus a striking view of the lake and the hills makes the lobby headquarters a great place for informal chats and relaxation. A glass-enclosed television room adjoining the lobby provides added privacy. The spacious glass wall, open beam ceiling, and a fireplace on the lake side also contribute to the atmosphere of comfort and relaxation.

All of the 24 luxurious rooms in the lodge have private patios overlooking beautiful Buckhorn Lake. They are located in wings which extend to both sides of the central lobby area. From the tiled entrance to the private patio, the rooms are designed for vacation comfort. Each has a television, telephone, two double beds and other modern furniture, thick wall-to-wall carpeting, tiled bathroom, and a spectacular view of Buckhorn Lake. All rooms are air conditioned and have individually-controlled heat.

A view of the lake is just one of the pleasant features in the modern and attractive dining room of the lodge. Private dining rooms can be created on either side by sliding oak-paneled partitions.

Saturday, September 12

Pretty as a post card. Those words perfectly describe the quality and beauty of many picture post cards that we see on those rotating racks at Fouts Drug, Hazard Drug, and other businesses in town. I remember the first time I discovered that these scenes were not from a movie, but from my very own town. It was as if we were famous. They don't just put anybody on a post card, do they? I thought that was reserved for Niagara Falls, Miami Beach or the Kentucky Derby. But Hazard, Kentucky?

I remember how proud I felt when I realized that the scenes that were displayed before me were my home. The colors were magnificent. At the time, it seemed that the only people who could produce such a perfect picture were the apparent magicians who made these post cards. My pictures never looked that, neither did yours. Not only did they produce scenic views of places I had taken for granted, they provided a history lesson of our town that couldn't be found in any school book. There were early photos of Main Street in Hazard, scenes of the first train in Perry County, and historic buildings that proudly overlooked the town. And we can buy these wonderful images for just a few cents? How can that be? What better way to say hello to a distant friend than with a postcard from Hazard. Even if I never purchase one, I'll be back tomorrow to give the rack a spin and look at these great images again.

Monday, September 7

In the early Forties we were all familiar with the Goose House. Thought it was a little odd but it had always been there. Just like the graveyard on down the road with all the little houses built on the graves. There was a grocery store next to the Goose House. I think the owner was named Pence. He and my dad were good friends and they occasionally went fishing together.

One summer weekend, Pence decided we would take the big truck and drive down to the Knoxville Farmers Market and get a load of watermelons for the grocery store. Pence had a son about the same age as me. On the way down we stopped over at Norris Dam and did some fishing. Me and the other kid eventually took a friend's motor boat out and we toured the lake. We fished some but mostly went swimming in the cool water. We both got a pretty good sunburn. The best fishing in Tennessee was on down near Etowah on the Hiwassee River. That's where my Dad was born and raised. The Hiwassee was full of big catfish, everywhere, and they were great to eat. I still get a glimpse of the river driving up and down I-75. The bridge crosses the river just south of Athens. Beautiful country. Every time I cross, I always think about running the trot lines early in the morning collecting all that catfish. In Kentucky we made a lot of trips over to Cumberland Lake. It was not very crowded back then. There was good fishing at Harrington Lake, too. What a great life that was...

Friday, September 4

Let's have some fun. Here I am sitting in the lobby of the Grand Hotel on Main Street in Hazard in 1952, wondering what the future holds. Your comments on the blog are my connection to 2009. I can only guess what Hazard will be like in the future but I can tell you for sure what's happening now, what is your past.

The sidewalks of Main Street are always busy, people everywhere. I see Lois Patterson who works at Newberry's, Chas Russell, the manager of the A & P Supermarket, and Ishmael Stacy, who runs the Ashland Service Station. On the other side the street is Ralph Reda. Ralph and his wife Rose run the grocery store at the end of the street. Carl Seal, who runs the Seal Motor Company, is talking to his wife, Bonnie. They live on Poplar Street. Carolyn Perkey, the clerk at Stiles Jewelry is standing outside the business, probably going to lunch. Leland H. Stiles is the owner. He and his wife Letitia live on Lyttle Boulevard. Hugh Beeler is the manager of the store. Lavelle Perkins is crossing the street. He is the ticket agent at the Greyhound Bus Station. He lives in Lothair. I see the Steele Drug Store just down the street, no sign of the owners - Eugene and Molly Blount, probably busy inside. Their seven year old son Richard is a handful.

Hazard has its share of grocery stores. Here on Main Street you'll find Bible's Market, Lykins IGA, & Reda's Grocery. On North Main there is Brewers, Bridge Grocery, Brock's Supermarket, Combs Grocery, Gabbard's Grocery, Gayheart's Market, Home Market, Osborne Grocery, and Pence's Super Market. There's the A & P and Bell's Market on East Main. The price of a loaf of bread is 16 cents.

Well that's the perspective from the Grand Hotel. Mildred Rudeen and John Snead are the owners. Mildred says hello to all the future Hazardites and keeps asking what a blog is. By the way, if you are ever in town stop by the Grand Hotel Dining Room for some good eatin'. You'll be greeted by Pauline Beams. Now let's hear from you guys so we can continue this conversation.