Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Recent History Making Nature Event

 Pine Knob Bluff on Blackburn Church Road looses a piece of it's rock.

Once again a section of the Pine Knob Bluff has fallen off and crashed into the Blackburn Church Road causing thousands of dollars damage to the roadway. 

 In January of 1994 another boulder fell not to far from where this most recent one did.  It is believed that this one is larger that the one in 1994. 

 This is the boulder that has fallen off and landed in the middle of the road. 

 Even though you can't see it, the rock is sunken several feet deep into the roadway. 

Some of the beautiful Crittenden County scenery that is to be
seen in the area.  

This balancing rock may be a threat in the future as it could possibly push the rock it is laying against off of the ledge.

The icicles hanging from the rocking bluffs made a beautiful sight as
 the sparkled in the sunlight like

A delightful day of sightseeing for the New Year's Eve, December 31, 2013.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Cave Spring Church and Community

The Cave Springs settlement in Crittenden County is about nine miles northeast from Marion.  Many years ago it was the home of about 45 families.  The farm homes were scattered about the hill sides and valleys.  It was a wooded areas that has many hills, bluffs, streams and a lot of natural beauty.  Today there are still several homes located around but not as many as it used to be.   

 One of the natural wonders of the area is the Blowing Spring.  There is a strong current of cold air blowing out of the cave.  You can see the bushes waving 100 yards below the spring.  The air seems warm in the winter and cool on a hot summer day, but the temperature of the air is always the same.

Cave Spring Baptist Church is located in the Pigeon Roost Valley just below the spring.  This spring is sometimes call Blowing Spring and sometimes Cave Spring.  When the church was established in 1870 they chose to name the church Cave Spring for the natural wonder of the area, and it was located close to where the little wooden frame church house was built.

This wonderful old picture of the Cave Spring or Blowing Spring was made in 1890 with two couples that had family ties to the area.  Left to right : John Smith and Rev. James F. Price,  ladies on the right are Nancy Elizabeth Smith, wife of John,  and Elvah Stewart Price wife of Rev. Price.  John Smith owned a farm near the area.

I have been to this Blowing Spring once, and it is was very beautiful, but not an easy walk to get to.  When I look at this picture I wonder how the two ladies in their Sunday best made it up the hill to the spring in such fine condition.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Dean and Shewmaker Monuments

Crittenden Press, Jan. 25, 1929.  Recently a handsome granite monument has been erected at the grave of the late Alfred Dean.  At the time of his death, Mr. Dean was living at his farm home, in the Forest Grove section, and he was buried in the family cemetery on his farm.  Having spent his entire life in that immediate
vicinity.  The marker was erected by Henry and Henry.

Mr. Dean known for many years known as one of Crittenden County's most progressive farmers.  He had attended County Court day on Monday and after the Court meetings he went to McConnel's Barber Shop and became suddenly ill with a heart attack.

He had reached his 88th birthday on February 8th, and was born on the Glendean farm and had lived there all of his life.  He father was the late Alexander Dean, member of a leading West Kentucky family.  Mr. Dean was a bachelor.


Nov. 1911.  Henry and Henry have just turned out from their marble works a fine monument to be placed on the lot of P. E. Shewmaker and wife in the Mt. Zion Cemetery.  This is a very artistic piece of work and one of the heaviest in the county.

Peter Ewing Shewmaker was by trade a carpenter and also a farmer.  Peter was born in 1831 and died in 1917. He traveled a lot of years in his youth but returned to Crittenden County in 1871.

Soon after returning he purchased, what is still known today, as the Shewmaker Farm, located five miles from Marion on the Fords Ferry Road.

 Along with farming, he ran a successful general store which was located on the farm near the site of the home place today. 

He was married to Sarah J. Duvall.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Old Man Winter Came Early

Old man Winter for December 2013 came early this year, with a winter storm on December 6th.  Sleet started during the night on Thursday night and continued on into Friday and then turned into snow on Friday afternoon.  We had about 2 inches of sleet on the ground and then 4-6 inches of snow, and winter doesn't officially start until  Dec. 21st.

The old Victorian Robert F. Haynes home on N. College Street made a pretty picture with the Evergreens and the snow.  Makes one think of Christmas's many years ago.  The home was build in 1895, although in need of some repairs it is still an impressive and stately sight.  One hopes it will be restored to it's former beauty.  Definitely one of the oldest standing homes in Marion.

The Crittenden County Historical Society's cabin sits across the street from the Haynes Home and it looked right at home on the cold and snowy day.   It has been recently re-chinked by Carlos Travis, a local man that loves old homes and log cabins.  All we need is a fire in the fireplace and smoke coming from the rock chimney to really take us back to pioneer days. 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Crittenden County Men Remembered at Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941

Today is Pearl Harbor day, 72 years ago today when the Japanese attacked the U. S. Navel Base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.  

  Crittenden County had one native son to lose his life that fateful day, that terrible day in history when the peaceful harbor at Hawaii was attached.  His name was Thomas Collins, son of Thomas and Janie Collins.  

Thomas W. Collins was born August 8, 1921, and enlisted at Louisville in the Navy, on Nov. 8, 1939, as Apprentice Seaman.  He was sent to the Great Lakes Naval Training Station for seamanship instruction, and later transferred to the USS Downs.  He was stationed at the U. S. Naval Base at Pearl Harbon in the Hawaiia Islands, and was listed as Fireman 3rd Class, while attached to the Downs a destroyer ship.

He was killed on December 7, 1941, in the Japanese attack on the Hawaiian base.

 His body arrived in the states in October 1947, a Military funeral was held at the home of his brother, Eugene Collins and his remains were buried in the Rock Springs Cemetery in Wheatcroft, Ky next to his father.

Wilbur K. Hunt, another Crittenden Countains, was awarded the Silver Star for Conspicuous Gallantry in Action on December 7, 1941.

The Silver Star is presented to Wilbur K. Hunt, Technical Sergeant, U. S. Army Air Force, for heroism in action while serving with the 22d Material Squadron during the attack on Hickam Field, Territory of Hawaii, by Japanese forces (aircraft) on 7 December 1941. 

 Technical Sergeant Hunt performed exceptional service and displayed outstanding bravery in assisting the Squadron Commander of the 22d Material Squadron in dispersing the squadron under fire and bombardment of positions of vantage to deliver return fire and to secure adequate cover and safety, thus contributing in reducing the number of battle casualties.  

The heroism displayed by Technical Sergeant Hunt on this occasion reflected great credit upon himself and the military service.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Marion 1907 Grade School Graduating Class

Meet the Marion Graded School Graduating Class of 1907. 

This is part of the 1907 Graduating Class of Marion Graded School.  Some of the class were unable to have their picture made with the group because of sickness.
Back row, #1. Maude Gilliland, 2. Mary Coffield, 3. Cecil LaRue, 4. Marion Clement, 5. Lizzie Gilbert, 6. Addie Maynard, 7. Maurie Boston, 8. Ruby Cook, 9. Eva  Clement, 10. Jimmy Rankin, 11. Curt Hardin, 12. Maggie Moore (Teacher), 13. David Fohs, 14. Katie Shephenson, 15. Madaline Jenkins, 16, Mamie Love, 17, Anna Allen Elgin, 18. Aubrey Cannon, 19, Mildred Rankin, 20. Mae Cook.

The only cloud to mar the pleasure and success of the "1907 Commencement" was the fact of so many of the pupils being ill, an epidemic of measles being abroad in the city.  Eleven of the graduates were unable to attend the ceremonies.   

Noted with pleasure the name of Miss Ruby Cook, of Crayneville, who wins the honor of being Valedictorian of the 1907 class of thirty-four graduates of the eighth grade.  She being the daughter of Dr. O. C. Cook, the well known physician of Crayneville. 

And also that of Miss Ruth Hill, the daughter of H. O. Hill, of Chapel Hill, as Salutatorian.  These honors are won by hard study and these young ladies deserve much praise.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

New Steamboat on The Cumberland

Steamboats and Paddle Wheelers were a big part of Crittenden County history.  In the early days before roads were available, the river was the transportation for the county, we are surrounding on three sides, by the Ohio, the Cumberland, and the Tradewater.  

Here is an article from the July 1920 Crittenden Press, telling about the New Steamboat, Grace Devers. 

The new steamboat, Grace Devers, owned by Capt. F. O. Devers of Dycusburg made an excuration trip to Cave-In-Rock.  The board had a good crowd which was very orderly and seemingly very enjoyable.

The Grace Devers was built for the Cumberland River trade between Dycusburg and Paducah, making daily trips between these point.

Capt. Devers is well known to many independent readers, all of whom wish him great success.   The people here at Dycusburg are greatly pleased over the fact that our new passenger steamer, the Grace Devers is making daily trips on schedule time from Dycusburg to Paducah and return.  

On her maiden trip we celebrated equal to the signing of the armistice on the maiden trip down by firing guns and throwing a vast number of bouquets after her, which floated triumphantly after her on the calm surface of the picturesque Cumberland.

The boat is named for Mr. Devers' wife, who is a very charming and hospital lady and who has toiled with great earnestness and faithfulness in assisting her husband to get the boat completed.

An ad that appeared the the Press about an upcoming event for the Grace Devers.  Sounds good to me, would have loved to taken the trip with them. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Eli Nunn Civil War Letter

In the days of the Civil War, families were always anxious to hear from their family that was away in the war.  John Nunn, an early pioneer settler of Crittenden County who lived in the Bells Mines section, received a welcome letter from his son, Eli L. Nunn in 1862.  Eli was born May 24, 1842.  He was quartermaster in Company A., 13th Kentucky Cavalry, C.S.A.  The letter reads as follows:

September 4, 1862, Dear father, I am in camp near Paris Tenn., and living very well at present.  I have been in two fights and heard the bullets whistle. I have been in every skirmish since I've been out and I am ready for another one.  

Home is the best place in the world but I have got my foot in it now and I will stand like a man as long as I am able.

Pa, I'll say this to you if they do take your negroes away, I will come back if no misfortune happens to me.  Pa, as to my clothing, I have two shirts and two pair of pants, one suit of each.

Tell mother ot kiss John and sister for me, give the rest of the children my love and all inquiring friends.

I'll close my letter,  Yous truly, E. L. Nunn

 Eli and four of his children, Eli sitting on their front porch,  daughters, Nell, Mable and Eva and wife Maria, about the year 1899.  House was located on Hwy. 365. 
Eli Nunn did make it through the war and returned home to Crittenden County.  He married Maria Amelia Phillips, Nov. 24, 1870 and they had a family of eight children.

He was a prosperous farmer and well known and respected by all his friends and neighbors.

Eli and Maria were buried in the old Nunn Family Cemetery, not too far from their home.  Later their bodies and the bodies of Eli's parents, John and Emily Nunn and of their children, Harriet and Kittie Nunn, were moved to the Mapleview Cemetery at Marion.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Honoring Our Veterans Used to Be a big event

Thank you Veterans for your service.

This article is from an old Crittenden Press about 1957.  The Veteran's Day program was held at Fohs Hall.  It must have been a beautiful program.

Fohs Hall was the scene for a very colorful and interesting Veteran's Day assembly presented by the Marion American Legion Post.  After the student body and guests were seated, an honor guard, consisting of William Duke Taylor, J. R. Tharp, Wendell Travis and Guy Sullenger, presented the colors.

The Marion High school band played the National Anthem and Rev. Roy Ridenour gave the invocation.  The pledge to the flag was then given by all.

The guests, recogonized by Mrs. Tohmas Tucker, were Mrs. George Wynn, state Auxiliary officer.  Mrs. John Quertermous, president of the Marion Auxiliary, Howard stout, post commander and William Allen, judge advocate of the state.  Mr. Allen was guest speaker and gave a stirring talk on wars, starting with earlier ones and working up to the Korean conflict, the meaning of our flag and what Veteran's Day will mean in years to come.

An American flag was presented to Mrs. Reba Gilliland, principal of Marion Grade School by Peggy Brown.

To add to the celebration, the band marched from Fohs Hall to Main S.t, down Main to Carlisle, down Carlisle to the High School, playing the individual songs for each branch of the service.

* I don't believe these individual service songs are played much anymore.  When I was growing up we knew the verses to all the the branches, Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force and we would sing them.  They are beautiful songs with lots of energy behind them.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Land For One-Time Smelter Plant Now Preserved

Finally, after 56 years of being bargained and traded for, will the beautiful hills, rocky bluffs and lush  forests of the old Bells Mines community finally have their final destination in history?
Back in 1957 family homes and farms dotted the countryside as you went past Bells Mines church, which had been there since 1891.  Today many of the family names are in the old cemetery next to where the church house used to be.  The cemetery is all that is left of this once coal mining community.

These families sold their home and land to Alcoa and moved to different places.  The buying of all the land by Alcoa was the end of this community.    The Alcoa Company had first said they were going to build a smelter plant here.  But as time went on the dream of this happening faded.  

Finally in 1998 Alcoa states that due to existing domestic smelting capacity being reduced there was no need for a new facility of this kind, and they put the land up for sale.

Kimball International Inc., bought the Alcoa timber land.  One of the nations' leading furniture makers.  They kept the land and did some take some of the timber, and used the pasture lands for grazing a cattle operation.

Finally after years of not knowing what would happened to this beautiful and perhaps endanger natural forest area, it has earned it's place in history and it's final destination. 

On October 23, 2013 - 4,241 acres of this Crittenden County property (plus 2,571 acres just across the Tradewater River in Union County) was dedicated as the newest wildlife management area and state forest. 

The Nature Conservancy, The Conservation Fund, The Forestland Group, U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service Forest Legacy Program, Indiana Bat Conservation Fund and the Stream Mitigation Fund, are incredible partners who made this outstanding area possible. 

After all these many years, the land is finally realized for it's beauty and importance to our area.

A nice legacy for the one-time old coal mining town and community of Bells Mines, started those many years ago in the very early 1800's.  May your history live on.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Our Fluorspar History

 Our Fluorspar industry, we thought last year,(2012) was on its way back but once again the hope of that dream has faded into the background.  The old mining districts were busy with the activity of men and machines making test drills and plans for another new beginning.  Now the land lays idle once again with the earth holding on to its minerals.
  The J. Willis Crider Fluorspar Mill in 1958.  
Located at Mexico, Kentucky
In 1958 the county was still represented by only a few companies who where active.  But this would be short lived for the American mined fluorspar was fast being replaced with huge tonnage being imported from foreign lands, and which was produced by cheap foreign labor.  The fluorspar companies urged Congress to increase the present tariff and to put stronger restrictions on import products.  But they didn't respond and we lost the fluorspar industry.

One of the companies that was still in operation but on a small scale was the J. Willis Crider Fluorspar Mill that was located at the small community of Mexico, about 7 miles from Marion.  They were processing fluorspar and bariate for the general market.  They produced gravel fluorspar and only one shaft was operating for fluorspar and there were stripping operations going on for bariate ore.

 My father, Billie Travis, at this time was office manager, and superintendent of the operation.  This picture was made in 1958 with him standing in front some of the spar gravel. 

Many old gravel drive-ways and parking lots in the area were lined with this spar gravel.  Most all of it has been covered with asphalt or concrete over the years.  But once, long ago, it was fun to search for these small sparkly pieces of purple fluorspar that was found in the gravel.   They looked like tiny jewels.  I have many.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Our Fluorspar History

Our Fluorspar history goes back to the1800, some early items in The Crittenden Press tell of some of the activities of the mines.  In Dec. 1880, the Frances community iems tell that the Yandell spar mines are in operation again, and Mr. Yandell is washing spar and delivering it at Dycusburg for $5 per ton for the finest.  The Yandell Mine was the first to haul their spar to Dycusburg to be loaded on barges on the river.

Jan. 30, 1902 - Fluorspar mining was a much needed boost for the Frances community as it had no money paying jobs available for the men.  With the boom of the mining Frances became a veritable bee-hive of miners, prospectors and capitalists all in a rush to bet for their financial condition by developing the spar mining business.

Almost a stone's throw from Frances was located the Asbridge mines, which was opened about 1898.  This mine worked by four or five men, and the profit from this mine in a year was over $8,000.  

Within eight feet of the Asbridge mine is the McClelland mines, which promised to be even a great producer of spar than the Asbridge.  The mine was opened in December 1902 by Mr. F. A. McClelland.

The Hodge mine said to be the largest and best paying spar mine in the world is only one and a half miles from Frances.  It puts out from forty to sixty tons a day.  Mr. Johnnie Hodge, upon whose land this mine is located it is said gets three thousand dollars a year as royalty, while the owners of the mine receive from this property and some other mines in the county a net income of more than four hundred and fifty dollar per day.

The Yandell and Tabb and the Tabor are the names of some of the other mines, all within a radius of three miles of Frances, or Needmore.  They are all doing a fine business and new mines are being opened every week.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Thomas J. Yandell, Marion Business 1894

Thomas J. Yandell, Jr., one of the best known men in the county in 1894.  He was born in Crittenden County
in 1859 and was reared on the family farm. 

He was the son of Mr. John A. Yandell, one of the pioneer citizens of the county.

At the age of twenty he left the farm and began teaching in the public schools.  In 1890 he was in the merchantile business.

In 1892 he accepted the position of assistant cashier in the Marion Bank, (Marion's first bank).

On Jan. 19, 1887 he married Miss Katie Franklin.  They had two daughters, Katherine and Mable.

Thomas J. Yandell, Jr. died Sept. 8, 1934 and is buried at the Mapleview Cemetery, his wife Kate Franklin Yandell, died Oct. 17, 1934.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Granville Franklin Clement, Early Crittenden County Settler

Granville Franklin Clement was born in 1808 in Virginia.  He was the eldest son of Isam and Sarah Rudd Clement.

In 1818, Granville's family migrated from Charlotte Co. Virginia, to western Kentucky to what was then Livingston County.  (Became Crittenden County in Jan. 1842)

Granville married Margaret Saline Phillips, in July 1833.  Shortly after their marriage, Granville and Margaret built their home on land which they purchased from her grandfather, Samuel Lofton.

This land was in the eastern part of the county, on what is today Hwy. 120.

The Grandville F. Clement home, was later known as the Earl Hurst homeplace, was located on Hwy. 120, approximately seven miles from Marion.

It was last occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Hurst and their family.  This was very fitting, for Mrs. Hurst was the great-granddaugher of Granville.

The home was a beautiful two-story home with large stone chimney's on each end.  Two beautiful front proches graced the front of the old plantation style home.

It was admired by all that drove by.  The house had stood gracefully for almost two hundred years.  It was known as one of the earliest and most beautiful old pioneer homes in the county.

The house had been vacant for several year in the early 1990's, and on a night in July 1992 it was destroyed by fire.

The cause was never known, but it was thought to be arson, probably amusement for someone to see it burn.  Vandalism of this kind has been known to happen many times in Crittenden County.  But another piece of our early history was lost, and the area where the house used to set is vacant and a sad sight to see, knowing the history of the once beautiful old home that sat there.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Odessa School Notes, Jan. 9, 1911

So many little one room school houses dotted the country side during the 1900's, their history almost gone now.  I wonder if there are pictures of more of these school still out there somewhere in someone attic or closet, stored away forgotten about.  

One of the little school's was Odessa in the community Blackburn, and was located on the Blackburn Church Road.  I have been fortunate and had several of this school pictures shared with me.  It was a photographer's picture, so I keep hoping different school pictures will be found and shared.  A photographer must have traveled around and made these group pictures each year.  

Here is another one of the Odessa School made about 1910-1912.  This picture was shared with me in 1999 by Dennis Clark, of Roanoke, Va.

Front row:  Ray Travis, Leslie Davis Robert Warren, Burl Elder, Roy Herron, Delmer Travis, Herbert VanHooser, Lewis Coleman, Roy Coleman

Second row:  Sarah Elder, Lera McConnell, Illa Stembridge, Cora Lee MChesney, Freddit Travis, Elsie Coleman, Jessie Travis, Nannie Travis, Dixie Travis.

Third row:  Leonard Herron, Lexie Coleman, Naomi Coleman, Lena McChesney, Alma Herron, Dixie McChesney, Cora McConnell, Richard Elder, Ray Elder

Fourth row:  Maude McConnell, Allie McChesney, Lena Coleman, Pearl Davis, Bertie Davis, James B. McNeely (teacher), Nelly Davis, Mable McConnell, Robert VanHooser, Ethel McConnell, Ila Winn

Monday, September 23, 2013

Old and New

Some of the store fronts on Main Street have changed over the years.  Some are fortunate and have been restored but still have the same original fronts.  One of the building that now have a completely new look is the old building that was built in 1905 after the disastrous fire that destroyed all on Main Street.

The building was known as the Hayward Building.

The company that occupied the new building was Yandell and Gugenheim  Dry Goods Store.

It later years it was the Carhanan's Dry Goods, Willilams's Department Store and The Style Shop.

The very popular and stylish store of the 1970's and 80's was the Marion Style Stop.

Here the front of the building still has the same shape and window style as the the 1905 front.

I'm not sure when the Style Shop closed it's doors, but the store sat empty for awhile.

 Some years later Lawyer's Bart Frazer and Zac Greenwell purchase the building, and that is when it got a new look.  The shape of the front is still viable for the window style is different and covered in new brick work.  Today it is the offices of Frazer, Rogers, and Peek, Attorney's at Law.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Remembering Our Old Grocery Stores

The old community grocery stores that once dotted our country side are all gone now.  Once a common sight and an important necessity to our rural communities, they are now just a part of our past history.  With the popularity of brightly lit and easily accessible supermarkets, the old general stores began to fade from the scene, leaving behind a much simpler time in our past history.

Here are two of our past old general stores.

 The Ben F. Drennan store was located on the Cave Spring Church Road off of S. R. 120.  It was a little wooden frame store building.  Mr. Kenneth Drennan, who lives on S. R. 120, and was born and raised in the area, remembers stopping at the store as a child on his way walking to the Olive Branch School.  He would purchase some items to go in his lunch sack.  

Items such as can goods, soft drinks for 5 cents, soda crackers and potted meat were popular items.  The store contained a show case with different kinds of candy in it.

The store served the people in the community and families from nearby Cave Spring area.   The little token in the left corner of the picture was a sales token given to Mr. Drennan's customers, it says Ben Drennan and value 1 cent.

This picture was made in the late 1990's, the little wooden store building has now been gone for many years.

Out on S. R. 506 sat another small wooden store building. When it was in business in the 1920's and 30's it was owned and operated by Mr. Ewing James. Ewing and Bessie James home was located where Baron and Patty Guess now live. This little store was once a thriving county grocery store. Raymond Duffy remembers when the store was an important part of the community. The store carried all the staples that farm families would need, also included were kerosene and gas. Mr. Duffy also purchased his tobacco here. The only items that were not in stock were meat and milk items since Mr. James didn't have an ice box or refrigerated department to keep these items.

Since most families didn't have cars and couldn't get into Marion to buy their supplies they would depend on the James Grocery for their needs. Friday and Saturday's were always the busiest days and sometimes there would be six of seven wagons gathered around the little store besides the local people that would walk to the store. 

Mr. Duffy also remembers that there used to be a large wind mill located beside the store. Maybe 50 feet tall with blades of 6 foot width. The store had a basement with a grinder wheel located there. From the wind mill was a belt or pulley that went into the basement and was attached to the grinder. On windy days, with the wind mill to power the stone grinder, Mr. James would have his grinder open for business and would sharpen the farmer's plow blades and other items that needed sharpening. 

Mr. Huley Guess owned the building next and it was used for storage. Probably then were the glass front windows taken out and replaced with the large wooden doors. This little store building was recently taken down in 2010. It had stood it's ground for many a year. 

This picture was made just prior to it being torn down in 2010.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Gas Stations of Our Past

In 2005 Beavers Brothers Gas station shut down their very popular full-service station after 45 years of business.  This picture was made in 1971.
 Jerry and his brother Kenneth started the business in 1960 after leasing the station from Sam Guggenheim, who build it.  In 1970 they purchased the business and worked together until Kenneth retired in 1994.  Kenneth took care of the farm and construction diesel part of the business.  Jerry continued on handling the service station.

The signs changed through the years from Texaco to Gulf to BP, but the same friendly service was always the same.  

When the station closed at the end of March 2005, the station was torn down and the underground gas tanks, were taken up.  In its place was built a new modern two-bay automatic car wash.  The BP canopy stayed and vacuum cleaners were installed under them.

Jerry, son Kurt, and daughter Kristi, carry on the tradition of service with a smile at the car wash site today.

Another one of Marion's stations that has disappeared is the Marathon Station that was located on South Main Street where the Farmers Bank Drive through is now located. 

 In 1971, when the picture was made, Randall Chandler was the owner.

It is nice to have these old pictures to recall the businesses and service station history that was once such a vital part of Marion's economy.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Frances High School

On March 10, 1919 the Crittenden County School Board voted to build a joint county High School in the community of Frances, Ky., some 15 miles from Marion.

 In compliance with the order, this high school was the first of the "consolidated" high schools.  Many students from neighboring schools came long distances to attend the high school as there wasn't a closer one for them.

The new school built in the 1920's.  The school was for grades 1-8, plus any high school students.  In 1920, Marion F.  Pogue was the high school teacher and principal of the school.  Tina Lutz, of Dawson Springs taught upper grade students and Mazie Pogue taught the lower grades.

Basketball was a favorite sport at the school.  Below is a picture of the 1926 girls basketball team.

Members of the 1926 Frances High Shcool team were front center, captain Lucille Duvall.
fron row, l-r, Opal Lee Vick, Opal Stone, Virginia Brasher, Mary Evelyn Cruce;
back row: Addie Holcomb, Leona McKinney, Alice McClure, Bonnie Horning and Mary E. Howard.

In 1950 the High School was close and consolidated at the new Crittenden County High School built in Marion, also included the High Schools of Mattoon, Shady Grove and Tolu.

The grade school part of the school continued until 1998. 

Monday, August 26, 2013

History on Display At Museum

The Crittenden County Historical Museum at 124 East Bellville St. is full of our local history.  Things that you might not think about are displayed there.  Recently updated is a picture gallery of Marion's old train days memorabilia.  

The old sign from the Depot is at the top of the display.  Other items are pictures of the first train that came through Marion in 1887, miscellaneous pictures of train and wrecks that were in Crittenden County.

Actual medallions of the Illinois Central Centennial Markers that match the large marker that is located on our Court House lawn, that was given to the county by the Illinois Central Railroad Company, and a bell that came off of a long ago locomotive.

Our railroad was once a large part of the nations growth but the railroads day as king have long passed.  Sadly the days of the railroad have passed and in 1999 the rails were being removed and it was the end of the railroad and tracks through Crittenden County. 

Another interesting display are items pertaining to the early days of the town of Marion.  On the right you see the old weather vane that had been atop our court houses from the beginning days of the town.  It graced the top of the cupola on the court house until it was taken down for the demolition of that court house in 1961.

The picture on the right next to the weather-vane is an artist drawing of the court house that was done in 1894.  The weather-vane is visible in this picture.
Also on display is the Court House Bell from the old days.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Farmers Bank & Trust Company

The Farmers Bank located on the corner of Main and East Carlisle Street has long been a part of Marion's business district.  It was organized in Oct. 1889 and the incorporators were Edward Haywood, Wm. Fowler, E. C. Moore, Dr. R. L. Moore, Dr. J. R. Clark, J. B. Hubbard, E. W. Jones, J. A. Farris and J. D. Farris.  Mr. Ed Haywood would be cashier, and Mr. J. B. Hubbard assist. cashier.  

The building was being built and almost finished by Dec. 1900.  This building was destroyed by fire in April 1913.  Plans were soon made to rebuild at the same site and with a larger building that the one that burnt and was completed that same year in Dec. 1913.  In 1923 a second story was being added to the building.

 Picture of the bank after the new second story was added.

The building kept this same look for many years.  Not until 1974 was the building remodeled.

Today the bank owned most all of that block except the offices of Larry Orr, CPA, that is located where the old Kentucky Theater used to be.

This picture was made in 1963.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Gas Stations of Marion

At one time Marion literally had a gas station on every corner and in between.  Which only seems a short time ago, but in fact was 1969, 44 years ago, as you entered Marion from Highway 641 South or 60 West when you stopped at the stop light there a station on all four corners.  These pictures were made in 1969. 

 Southside Gulf was owned and operated by Dwayne Croft.  The last to run this station was Randell and Glenda Chandler.  When the new regulations came about with replacing of the gas tanks below ground, the chandlers turn it into a small engine repair business. 

This station today is the home of NAPA owned and operated by Ronnie Myers

The lot where this station sat for many years was the site of the popular convenient store The Pantry.  Everyone hated to see it close.  Several other businesses used the building over the years, but it sits empty today and has now for several years. 

 This long running gas station was able to stay in business selling gas until  July 2009 went the high cost of gas and low profits for selling it, caused them to close the gas pumping part of the business.

Today the business is run by Scott Tabor and it is Tabor's Repair and Tire Center.

From an article in the Crittenden Press, August 1956.  It was talking about the long ago "gas wars".  These price-cutting sprees come about when a new independent company comes into an area and sells gas at a low price in order to get business.  When this happens, other operators must cut their prices in order to compete.  Gradually this spreads until an entire region gets into what is known as a "prince war."   Current price in Marion are 35 1/2 cents per gallon, premium, and 32 1/2 cents for regular.  Oh for the good ole days again.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Marion Dry Cleaners Closing

(Update 8/9/13 = According to a new article in The Crittenden Press for August 8th, 2013, Frank Pierce, owner of the Marion Dry Cleaners, has sold the business and it will be reopening soon.  So looks like the business will be adding some more years to its history of being an operational business.)

Marion Dry Cleaners located on East Bellville Street, one of Marion's oldest running businesses has had to close it's doors.  

The historic business had to close it's doors to the sign of the times, the rising prices of today's living and the high cost of materials that it takes to run a cleaning business, and also the different types of clothing that can be washed and dried at home. 

The business actually started as early as 1911, with Loren Yates the creator of the business. 

The business moved to it's present site, the old post office building, in 1924 and was known as the National Dry Cleaners.  The section on the with the blue double doors was the cleaners side.

In 1946, the business was sold to Ronald "Tink" and Ralph Hicklin, and the name was changed to Marion Dry Cleaners.

Tink and Ralph sold the business to Paul Vaughn in 1991, Tink continued working but Ralph had to quit on account of his health  

In October 2008 Frank Pierce purchased the business from Paul Vaughn and in January 2009 the name was changed to Coach's Cleaners.  The cleaners had continued working in this same building for 89 years.  

This building was destroyed by the great fire of 1905, but was rebuilt that same year.  It is one of Marion's historic buildings. 

Sure hate to see another one of Marion's businesses have to close.  

Monday, July 29, 2013

Marion's Woman Club

 The Marion's Woman's Club Building built in 1926.

The Marion Woman's Club is the outgrowth of a small literary club which was organized in 1920.  It had 16 charter members.  Mrs. V. L. Christian was elected first president of the organization. 

Within the first year the membership of the club more than doubled and before another year ended it was decided that the new organization must have a club house.  They began at once working on ways to raise money for their project.  The first money making project of the cub was to put on "The Greenpath Chautauqua," which was patterned after the famous Redpath Chautauqa.  Then followed 4 years of cake sales, candy making, dinners, markets and other entertainment.

In 1926 their dream of a Woman's Blub building was beginning to become real.  The building was to be erected on the club's lot on Carlisle Street, next to the post office.  The architect was to be D. Harry Jamieson, of Paducah, with J. N. Boston and Sons of Marion as the contractors.   It would have two business rooms, plus club auditorium, and a stage with dressing room.  The room of which every person in the territory around Marion should be proud of was the ladies rest room.  Something that had been needed for many years, since the court house only had rest rooms for the men.

The new building was formerly dedicated with a reception.  In the reception line were the officers, Mrs. J. W. Blue, President, Mrs. E. C. Van Pelt, V-Pres; Mrs. Roy Atkinson Treasure, Mrs. C. W. Haynes, Secretary and Mrs. S. M. Jenkins, Recording secretary.

On March 30, 1947, the Woman's Blub building was destroyed by fire.  The interior of the bulding was gutted and practically all furnishing of the offices were destroyed.  Portions of the floor were entirely burned out and the roof in several sections had caved in.  

The members were devastated but once again they went to work and found many worthwhile ways to raise money and have their building rebuilt to its former glory.

The Woman's Club is still active today, and serves the community in many ways and participates in many worthwhile projects for their members and the town.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Jockey Lot Day In Marion

Jockey Lot and Farm Implement Day were always on the same day as the County Court day.  As County Days always drew a large crowd from Crittenden County, as all the surrounding counties, it was the perfect day for having Jockey Lot and Farm Implement Days.  

The need for such as event as the Jockey Lot began as early as 1785 to 1809, as there were no stores of any type in the area that was to become Crittenden County, except one or two single-room log cabins at Centerville. 

Jockey Lot was a place for the people to purchase salt, spices, medicine, guns, powder, shot and other small items that the pioneer farmer was in need of, but could not produce himself.  You could also bring your excess product to this central located field or lot and sell or trade these item to each other.

In the early 1900s the crowd of people were gathering around the town spare for the County Court Day and then to Jockey Lot for some buying and selling of goods and animals.  It was a busy and enjoyable time for everyone.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Long Ago Football

Football sure looked different -

 Picture back row from left:  George Gumbert, Coach; John Graves, Willard Daughtrey, Watts Franklin, Carlos Grubbs, James Henry, Otis Wheeler, Tower Belt and Ernest Threlkeld, manager;
front row: Hubert Crider, Raymond Boucher, Calvert Small, Harry Moore and Billy Eskew.

This photo was made in 1919 of the Marion High football team.  The first team organized after World War I, according to Calvert Small, who was a member of the team.  Small recalled three important facts concerning the team and the season - it was before the huddle was being used, it was before clipping was illegal, and the team finished the season win less in six starts.  

All the games then were played on Saturday afternoons.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Beautiful Scenry Makes Our County Special

Here are some interesting facts about our county, it has many beautiful scenic spots.  This article was written many years ago, but most of it holds true today.

Wilson Hill near Marion (this spot was opened up over 30 years ago as a subdivision of Marion known as Briarwood Lane) is the highest point in Crittenden County, with an elevation of 842 feet.  This information was taken from a series of topographical maps that used to be available from the Kentucky Department of Economic Development.  It takes 14 maps to cover the county completely.

This old picture was taken many years ago from the top of Wilson Hill.  The town of Marion can be seen in the background.  The photograph was titled "A Birds Eye View."

In all there are 10 hills in Crittenden County that top 700 feet in elevation above sea level.  Next to the Wilson Hill, the highest is Hardin Knob, roughly west of Marion and North of Salem.

This picture of Hardin's Knob was taken from the Zion  Cemetery Road, north of Levias, in January 2013. 

A series of knobs south of Marion are prominent.  The highest is Jackson Knob, which is higher than 820

The Crayne Knobs are more than 810- feet high.
 Here history has been changed, for the Crayne Knobs are no more.  They were destroyed in the year 2012 for a new 2-lane highway.  They were blasted away and the rocks were used as filler for the road on both sides of these landmarks knobs.

This picture was made some years before it was known they were going to be destroyed.

The highest peak in the northern section of the county is called The Pinnacle and is located on the Baker Church Road and can be seen from the church location, it is 792 feet.  To the east of Marion the only peak above 700 feet is Pickens Hill, near Tribune, upon which the Tribune Fire Tower was located.  It s altitude in 701 feet.

The county has a splendid water supply, the Ohio River bordering a distance of 30 miles, the Cumberland River 15 miles, and the Tradewater River 20 miles.  There are many small streams in the county, such as Hurricane and Crooked Creek which empty into the Ohio on the north; Livingston and Clay Lick which flow southward and empty into the Cumberland River and Piney, Long Branch and Caney Creek which empty into the Tradewater River on the northeast.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Birthday America. God Bless America

Our great homeland of America is having another birthday.  We have several Revolutionary soldiers that served in that fight for freedom, who later traveled to what was then Livingston County, perhaps through a land grant for their services or maybe just to a new frontier to get a new start.  The sad part of this is that some are buried in unmarked graves and will soon be forgotten for their role they played in America's history.

Arthur Travis, born 1764,  from North Carolina.  He entered served in the year 1780.  He served under Colonel Lacy, and for most of the time under that tour he acted in the capacity of a spy.  He was also in the Battle of Rocky Mount.  In 1799 he moved to Livingston County (which in 1842 would be divided into Crittenden County).  Arthur Travis settled in the area of the Travis Cemetery road not far from the Piney Fork area.  He died March 23, 1853.  He has no tombstone to mark his burial location, but it would be logical that he would be buried in the family cemetery that was located very close to his home place, the Wilson-Travis Cemetery, located deep in the woods off of his road.

Daniel Travis served in the Revolutionary War under Col. Edward Lacy Sr.  He came to Livingston Co around 1795.  He died about 1810 and is buried in what was once called the Dickey Cemetery, but has long since vanished from sight.  It was located about six miles from Marion, off of Hwy. 120.  It was on land now owned by Roger and Debbie Roberts. 

William Clark, born in Ireland out 1758 came to South Carolina in 1773.  At the age of 16 in Camden South Carolina, he entered as a volunteer private in the militia of that state under Capt. Andrew Love.  He was in the Snow Campaign , the Battle of Briar Creek, Battle of Cane Brake and Battle of Rocky Mount, to name a few.  William remained in York County for 22 years after the war.  He received a land grant of 200 acres on January 11, 1799 on Pigeon Roost Creek.  William Clark died in 1834 and is thought o be buried in the Kilpatrick Graveyard, with no stone.

John Wheeler, born in Virginia, at the age of 16 enlisted in June 1776 as a private in Captain Bohannon's
company.  He served as a volunteer in campaigns under Colonels William Christian, Joseph Martin and Evan Shelby of Virginia.

John Wheeler died Nov. 24, 1838 and is buried in the family cemetery that was started at his death, as he was the first to be buried there.  He has only a hand engraved stone that says "John Wheeler".  This cemetery is located off of S. R. 506 in a wooded area a short distance behind Ralph Paris Surveying office.

Captain James Clinton, born 1761 in Pennsylvania, died in Crittenden County Mar. 2, 1847. He is buried at the Piney Fork Cemetery.  The only Revolutionary Solider that has a monument, and the only one that has been duly honored by being decorated with a NSDAR marker.  The marker was dedicated in June of 2002.  (Marker through hard work of ancestor Ann Walker Hezer)

He served in battles of Mobley's Meeting House; Stallions on Fishing Creek; Fish Dam Ford; Black Stocks on the Tiger River; Bratten's Plantation and Biggen's Church.

Others who served in the Revolutionary War include James Walker, George McDowell, Patrick Cain, William Pickins, David Robertson,  and there is probably more than I am unaware of.