Hello again from historic Peach Blossom Hall in the heart of Russellville, Kentucky. The great house which came to be associated with much of the early history of Russellville, Logan County and Western Kentucky. The first portion of the house was built in 1830 just a few years after Russellville was incorporated. It was made of yellow popular framing cut from the grounds of the property and covered with homemade red bricks also made on the property.
Nimrod Long, who became one of the early bankers of the town, originally lived with his family on the second floor of his bank on North Main. When the family outgrew their living quarters Long purchased the property on what is now Cornelius Street and began a large expansion.
Three floors and many rooms were added to the mansion. On the main floor a two story huge hallway with a beautiful grand stairway and story high painted window were added. A large drawing room, a large library, men’s parlor and meeting room and one of the largest dining rooms in western Kentucky were added. The first indoor bathroom in the county was also added as was a secret room and the first indoor intercom in the county. Several indoor closets were added which increased property taxes.
On the second floor four large bed rooms, a large hallway and another indoor bathroom were added. Again, Nimrod Long the banker was thinking of security and he had built a hidden vault for bank money. He also had constructed a special closet for his imported wines and whiskeys. Several additional indoor closets were added on this floor as well. (At that time houses were taxed by the number of rooms they had and closets counted as rooms.)
The third floor held storage, room for servants, a large metal water storage container which held rain water which was piped to the bathrooms in the house and future expansion space. There was also a ladder which led to the flat portion of the roof which could also be used for entertainment and lookout purposes. The roof was built of stone slate tiles which are still in use today.
The house was heated by large fireplaces in each room. It is said that in the winter time it took two full time employees just to keep the fireplaces burning. The house was one of the first houses in the county lighted by gas lights throughout. In the main rooms and hallways there were large gas chandlers.
The outside of the house was three bricks thick and the inside walls two bricks thick – plastered over and wall papered. This has made it easier to heat in the winter and easier to cool in the summer. The floors, beautiful stairways and other portions of the house were built of the natural woods found on the property.
A large underground icehouse was built on the north side of the house. It remains in excellent condition to this day. Ice was frozen in large wooden outdoor trays during the winter and placed in the icehouse. It was covered in hay and more ice added, then more hay and more ice until the 20 foot underground icehouse was full.
In the summer time it was said that folks looked forward to being invited to the Long’s home and being served iced tea or the very rare treat of homemade ice cream. (Something that only a few people ever enjoyed in those days.)
In those early days Nimrod Long owned his bank, his beautiful home, several farms and at least 27 rental properties in a town with less than 150 houses. His influence was large in Logan County and Western Kentucky.
Other News – Wayne Stratton has resigned as chairman of the Logan County Tourism Commission. (Due to health problems.) Wayne did a fantastic job as chair of the Tourism Commission and will be greatly missed.) My dear friend “Mr. Charlie” Starks died last Sunday. His funeral was Tuesday at 2 p.m. What a wonderful man. The Logan County Fair Board worked very hard for an outstanding county fair. It is too bad more people did not attend. I think that next year the fair will be a bit earlier and they will add a good carnival with good rides. This should bring more young people. I drove over to Auburn to take a look at the new complex of buildings that will be the home of the new dog food company that is locating in our county. I had no idea it was so large. It reminded me of an earlier version of Logan Aluminum. Sure is going to be a lot of dog food coming out of that place. Enough for the entire Southeastern USA probably. I sure like the new Executive Director and his assistant for the Logan County Chamber of Commerce. Seems like a great team who are doing great things. I applaud the search committee who came up with these folks. Think our county has one top person and assistant heading up the county Economic Development Office. They have been making miracles. Hope we can soon come up with our on little four movie complex. Movies are booming and so is the refreshment stand at the theaters. Somebody is going to make a lot of money when they finally wake up and do this. Hope someone finally gets going on the widening of Hwy 431. Logan County needs this. It has been on the state’s books of things to do for at least 12 years. Just need the local folks pushing the governor and a few others in Frankfort.
Time to go. Good night good friends and Mrs. Calabash where ever you are.
To contact Dick Dickerson about the Logan County News, call 615-389-5495 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.