Hello again from the old brick house on Cornelius Avenue in Russellville. The wonderful historic house I call home. With time, more research and many interviews I hope to compile a small book or booklet on the marvels of this very special house in Logan County. I do know that the first part of the house was built in 1830 and with a major addition in 1860. At one time it was the largest house in Russellville and one of the largest in western Kentucky.
When built it had some of the most modern things of the day included. The original eight rooms were all made of brick. The outside walls were three bricks thick and the inside walls two bricks thick with plaster and wall paper covering them. It had one of the first intercom systems in the region. (With no electricity.) The rooms on the first floor all had expensive shutters that were made in the east and shipped to Russellville. They are still in use some 184 years later. It was one of the first houses to have a slate roof which is still in use today. The house was originally heated by ten full fireplaces. I do not use them now but they are very attractive. All of the mantels are original and the one in the main drawing room may be one of the largest and ornate in the county.
It is believed to be one of the first houses to have, what was very controversial at the time, an indoor bath room. Water was caught off the roof and piped to a large container on the third floor and eventually made its way to the lower floors by way of a built in pipe system. Today there are several fairly nice bathrooms with city water.
The house was one of the first to have built in closets in Logan County. There were only five and the real storage space was provided by large wooden wardrobes. One of the reasons most homes did not have built in closets was that the old tax system taxed homes by the number of rooms they held and closets counted as rooms. (You could cut your taxes by cutting out closets.)
The house also was one of the first to have gas lightening and gas heat. Several of these lighting fixtures still remain in the house but are no longer used. I hope to work with Atmos Gas and possibly restore a couple of the lights for modern use and educational purposes for school students.
The floors in the eight original rooms of the house are all original wood flooring. I have them covered with “old” hand me down carpets. Yes, there is an Egyptian Room. It is my office. Most everything in that room comes from my days as a Fulbright Student at the American University in Cairo and my many trips back to that part of the world over several decades. I guess my Egyptian things have sort of spilled over into many other rooms as well.
One of the most interesting things on the property is outside on the west side of the house. Most everyone incorrectly calls it a cistern. In reality it was and is probably the only remaining outdoor “ice box” from the early 1830s in the county. In olden days people would freeze ice outside during the winter, and drop it down into the underground storage area, cover the ice with a layer of wood shavings and then place another layer of ice on top of this. By the end of the winter if all went well and there were enough below freezing days one might fill up the complete ice store house. Then cover with wood shavings or straw and seal the building. Then that next summer a family might have the very rare commodity of ice all summer long. Few people had real ice in the summers of the 1800s and early part of the 1900s. Visiting in this home was a real treat for summer visitors.
I am in the process of restoring the landscaping and flower gardens. If I live long enough I hope to finish the task in the next 10 to 15 years. I have restored some five statues on the grounds and hope to add a couple of more with the inspiration of a dear French Lady who is a nearby neighbor. There are two gazebos in the plans. One on the east side and one on the west side of the property. They are planned for 2016. If I win a lottery then I will give half to charity and put in a wrought iron fence around the front portion of the property.
I was honored to speak before the Russellville Kiwanis Club last Friday. They have a lively group that meet each week at the Christian Church. In addition to some good food there was wonderful fellowship as well. I want to thank the honorable Edward Coffman, Jr. for inviting me.
This Saturday is a big day in Adairville. Elizabeth Hall, Wilna Clinard and I are helping the Adairville Chamber put on the annual Adairville Easter Games, Parade and Egg Hunt. The games start at 1 p.m. followed by a kids parade at 2 p.m. and the egg hunt at 3 p.m. Everything will be centered on the town square. We are honoring our youth in the parade this Saturday. There is no pre registration. Just come and line up on the west side of the fire hall. Put a little information about you and your riders on a sheet of paper and turn it in to Wilna Clinard or myself. There will be prizes for the three best entries in the parade. Elizabeth Hall and her Easter Egg Hunt Committee have prepared over 1,200 eggs for the hunt. Be sure and bring a sack or basket for the found eggs and prizes. Children from all over the county, their parents and family and friends are all welcomed to attend the annual gala in Adairville.
Make plans to attend the church of your choice on Easter Sunday. It is a glorious time to celebrate the joys of resurrection and ones faith. You will be glad you did.
BUSINESS OF THE WEEK My business of the week is the AT&T Store in Russellville. It is just across the way from Wal-Mart. It has plenty of parking, is a very attractive store and has very helpful staff to assist you.
Kevin Ellis is the manager. He is from Elkton. Before becoming manager of the Logan County Store he was with the Franklin AT&T Store. He brings a lot of new ideas and a friendliness that makes one feel welcome to be in the store.
The top notch staff at the store includes three phone wise staffers – Travis Shemwell, Derrick Keaton and the lady Daniel Baker. Any of the three can help you. There are a lot of sales on just now so it is a good time to pay them a visit.
PERSON OF THE WEEK Aaron C. Ashby of Russellville is the personality of the week. He serves on the Russellville Rural Fire Department and is on the Logan County Search & Rescue K-9 Unit. Aaron is a very nice 22 year old man who is married and is the father of one child. He is currently seeking a full time position in law-enforcement.
SHORT STORY –Sometime ago I was eating in the Hwy 431 Grill in Adairville. Two ladies who were at the next table started talking to me. They wanted to tell me about an act of kindness that occurred recently with them. They told me that they had run out of gas and were stranded on the side of the road. Who other than the Sheriff Wallace Whitaker pulled up behind them. Wallace helped them. He went and got the gas for them and since they were broke he actually paid for the gas. They offered to send him the gas money but he declined. Both women said Wallace was a true hero to them. They said they would never forget his kindness in their moment of need.
Time to go. Good night my friends and Mrs. Calabash where ever you are!