Possum Traks!

Headlines!

What kinda address is a 1/2?
Lafayette School
World's Largest Prairie Dawg
World's Largest Rocking Chair
Spiders and Flies
Empty Rocks
Twilight Zone in Kansas
12 Stations of the Cross
Colors and Critters
Oso Negro!
The Eyes have it!
Abraham Lincoln Murdered Twice
The Pope Lick what?
The Swiss family Kentucky
An Indian Prayer
You Gotta See This!


Star date:June 2011
4800 1/2 Address Sign
Who: Ma and Pa
What: Why does the Address Number have a 1/2?
When: end of the year 1960
Where: 4800 1/2 Old Heady Road
why:The house was built during the summer of 1960 between 4800 and 4900 Old Heady Road. The house was a Jim Walters kit home which had a garage door and the exterior shell. Our Grandpa (Mom's Dad) had it built because they, Mom and Dad, were newly married and living in a small one room shed at my other Grandpa's (Dad's dad) home. Mom and Dad moved into the house and took over the payments. Mom and Dad still reside in the same home today.
how:The postal service assigned the 1/2 after the 4800. 4800 was my Mom's family's address, so I guess the half was the appropriate perspective for the address....lol

Star date:June 2011
LaFayette School, Rocky Ford, Colorado LaFayette School, Smiling faces Tin LaFayette School, Wheat Tin LaFayette School, Painting
Who: Sherman and Achilles, Sherman's cousin and her husband
What: The Lafayette School
When: 1902-1922
Where: Highway 50 West of Rocky Ford, Colorado
why:Well, we were just driving down the road, mindin' my own business when we came upon the Fayette Market on Highway 50. The market is on the outskirts of the small town of Rocky Ford, Colorado. Sherman and his cousin operates the market. The market is not your conventional market because it sells concrete items such as water fountains, animals i.e pigs, deer, and squirrels; and novelties in the form of corn ears, gnomes, other eccentric items. My wife had been calling me a "pig" for reasons still unknown and I had told her that would come back to bite her some day. Today was that day! I inquired about a pig figurine and sure enough, they had one. We talked about whether I should purchase a small pig or a larger one which weighed about 300 pounds. I really wanted to buy the 300 pounder but it just would not fit in the front seat of the Possum. The logical solution was the smaller version of my dream pig. We walked into a faded white wooden building to pay for the pig which was the Lafayette School. She told me that it was the primary school for the area during the early 1900's. She gave me $1.50 worth of a nickel tour of the old building. The floors were worn tongue and groove heartwood pine and the ceilings were vaulted and about 20 feet high with pressed tins. The tins were beautifully painted white and in excellent shape. The front class room had pressed tins with smiling faces; the back room had tins with pressed wheat in them. She said the attic had never been investigated and she wasn't the one for the job. We had a good laugh about it. The building was beautiful inside and quite unusual because of its uniqueness and historical importance to the area. Sherman washed the small pig and I was on my way back home. The pig proudfully stands on my front stoop and is a constant reminder of the trip. btw, my wife still calls me a pig..Who would have thunk?
LaFayette School, Market Pig

Star date:June 2011
World's Largest Prairie Dawg, Oakley Kansas Jackalopes at Prairie Dog Town Steer at Prairie Dog Town Pocahontas with the 8000 pound Prairie Dawg
Who: Larry Farmer and his wife
What: The World's Largest Prairie Dawg at Prairie Dawg Town
When: open during summer months
Where: Oakley, Kansas exit 70 on Interstate 70
why: Pocahontas and I were traveling from Colorado to the Holy Land of Kentucky on Interstate 70 when we noticed the signs stating "live rattlesnakes", "See the largest Prairie Dog in the World', "live 5 legged Cow", and "See the 6 legged Steer." With enticing signs like that we knew we had to stop at Oakley. Driving across Kansas is like driving across the moon, just wide open spaces and not much to see, so this would be a welcomed rest from the sunflowers and rows of corn. We walked into the building and the front area was filled with the normal tourist trap stuff. Post cards, rattlesnake eggs, t-shirts, and toys were displayed for purchase but we were interested in the 8000 pound prairie dawg. Tickets were purchased and we walked past the humming of the rattlesnake pit, through the door into the back lot. The place was full of holes in the ground where cute monkey pox free prairie dawgs were peeking their fuzzy heads out of and barking at us. They were everywhere! There were cages with different types of birds in them for our viewing pleasure, a live 5 legged cow standing in the middle of the lot looking at us nonchalantly and then, there it was. A huge prairie dawg along with its smaller cousin standing behind a plywood divider in the summer heat. Pocahontas was photographed in the company of this large sized plains rodent. We both stood in awe of this magnificent work of concrete and paint and wondered how it was constructed. Inquiring minds want to know.. This amazing amusing collection of well kept animals was well worth the money spent because we had stood in the company of a 6 legged steer which was posted in the pages of "Ripley's Believe it or Not." Yes, there are such animals as "Jackalopes!" The feeling and blood was starting to seep back into our posterior body parts and we headed back into the airconditioned building where the stuffed two head calf was located. We perused the trinkets and paid for a post card to prove that we actually saw Prairie Dawg Town and these freaks of nature really exist (Its like taking family pictures). We filled up the gas tank, bought a cold soft drink and drove down the freeway ramp unto the monotenous barren Kansas Interstate. We thought, "Are we there yet?" Only 15 more hours to the Holy land...

Star date:June 2011
World's Largest Rocking Chair World's Largest Rocking Chair
Who: Doxey's Apple Shed
What: The World's Largest Rocking Chair
When: made in 1990
Where: The Apple Shed located on Highway 115, Penrose, Colorado
why: Pocahontas and I were traveling down Highway 115 through Penrose, Colorado when we spied this "guando" (larger than a supersized soda!) rocking chair sitting in front of the Apple Shed Restaurant. I applied the brakes, slowed down and careened into the gravel parking lot without injuring anything but my pride. We did make a couple of octagenarians waddle a bit faster toward the restaurant's front door. Once the dust settled, we got out and took a long look at the monstrosity built from wood and painted with a forest green hue. It was too tall to sit in; so we settled upon taking turns photographing each other standing in front of this potential pile of firewood. It was too large to load up in the possum, we could not sit on it, and definitely could not rock in it without the possibility of a protracted lawsuit occuring. The chair weighs 9100 pounds, it is 14 feet wide, and 21 feet tall. The chair is hand hewn from douglas fir. Somebody had a lot of time on their hands.. We came, we saw, we photographed, we had a piece of pie.......

Star date:June 2011
Spider and Flies picture Spider and Flies picture
Who: Stepanie Nicole Stone
What: 2010 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards
When: made in 2010
Where: Jeffersontown High School, Jefferson County, Kentucky
why: The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards is an 87 year awards program that recognizes outstanding creative teenagers and offers scholarship opportunities for graduating high school seniors. Stephanie's design will be exhibited by the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers on June 9 2010 at a gala celebration at Carnegie Hall in New York City. Stephanie's hand sewn textile art placed with a Silver Medal for Design and is one of only 14 awarded in the Jefferson County Public School system. Her award is published at the JCPS website. Stephanie not only has been awarded one Silver Medal but has been awarded a subsequent Silver Award during 2011 for artistic design. Her design was a plaster figurine named: "Soldier." She plans on attending the University of Louisville and majoring in art. You go girl! Who said that nobody in our in family could draw flies...just kidding Steph! We are very proud of your accomplishment(s) and honored to be part of your life. We love ya!

Spider and Flies picture Spider and Flies picture

Here is some more of her award winning art!

Star date:September 2011
geode walls in Science Hill geode walls in Science Hill
Who: Big Daddy Dave on his visit to the Holy Land
What: Walls built with holy rocks!
When: Maybe a couple million years, who knows? but it was made in the USA!!!
Where: Science Hill, Pulaski County, Kentucky
why: During a conversation with my best buddy, Larry who has another brother named Larry and yet another one named Darryl, about some of the peculiar things at home. He is from the planet Nebraska. He did not believe me that there was a tradition of constructing fences with holy rocks in the region around Science Hill. I explained to him that my great grandfather had made several femces using geodes from farmers fields. The height of these geode fences ranged from about a foot up to four feet and the rocks were six inches in diameter to 2 feet in diameter. When the farmers would plow, the rocks would damage their plows so they would gladly give the rocks away or use them to construct borders around their homes or even to make chimneys with these crystal filled rocks. I remember as a child gathering these holy rocks and using anything that I could pound with to break open the hollow rocks to see the crystals. The crystalline insides were yellow, clear, white, purple or rust in color and sometimes there were no crystals but the rocks were different minerals which were green and blue. Our family always put a couple of them in the trunk and carried them home to decorate Mom's flower garden in northern Kentucky. Well getting back to the story... I stopped at several homes with the stone walls and photographed the rock fences to bring proof that my hillbilly tale had veracity to it. I have a couple of prize specimens that I have carried to Colorado from "Frog Holler" where my Daddy was born which is near Science Hill. This one is for you people who are from the planet Nebraska.. pffffeeett!! I "wont" say I told you so, but I told you so...The tradition lives on,.

geode walls in Science Hill geode walls in Science Hill

Star date:Oct 2011
rock post picture rock post picture
Who: Big Daddy Dave, Jesus, and God
What: driving along the desolate landscape of Interstate 70
When: an undetermined afternoon in September 2011
Where: Somewhere in a black hole named Kansas...lol
why: the start of my travels back to the Holyland. There I was sitting in the front seat of my jeep drving down the road, minding my own business, not hurting anybody and at the same time experiencing a Twilight Zone episode in my jeep Liberty. This was induced by the monotonous straightline driving on I70 from the western state line of Kansas to the eastern state line at Kansas City. It was a time warp where I continually drove my car but would never arrive at a destination that had any form of remembrance. Just another hamburger and another tank of gas until an unspecified amount of time elapsed and the scenario would repeat itself. I was beginning to think that I was an unwitting cast member in a remake of the Outer Limits show. You know, "Don't adjust your television sets....." I dont understand the transportation department there because the four lane highway has been paved but most of the driving is in work zones where traffic has been diverted to the other side of the highway for no apparent reason but to extend the psychological anquish of infinite nothingness. The three of us were now in two way traffic which was slowed down to hillbilly speeds of 35 to 40 miles a day with no rest stops for number ones or number twos in the near future or within observatory telescope sight distance. I think that I am going to write the Kansas Govenor to suggest that his state build an interstate which circumvents the state's endless cornfield, sunflowers and wheat fields which would enable numbed drivers and passengers to bypass this whole space time continuum exercise. Just kidding about Kansas which is a shortened version of Arkansas just without people, trees, rivers, wildlife and hills. Some of my friends are from the Sunflower state..... One beautiful and novel thing that I did notice was the rock fence posts located in central Kansas. Because there is no sizeable vegetation in the state, denizens were forced to make fence posts from locally quarried rock. These fences stretch for miles and are very unusual that barbed wire has been nailed to the rock fence posts to outline land parcels or landing strips for UFOs. The rock post fences were used because of lack of available wood in this Kansas area. They are also a favorite for stone carvers to carve figures on.

rock post picture rock post picture

Star date:Oct 2011
stations of the cross picture stations of the cross picture
Who: Big Daddy Dave, Pocahontas
What: The twelve stations of the Cross
When: an undetermined afternoon in June 2005
Where: Along Interstate 40 at Groom TexasOklahoma
why: We were returning from the "Holyland", and were driving through Texas, taking the southern route back to Colorado when we spotted this anomoly beside the highway. We saw the huge Cross first and it immediately interested us so stop we did! This great ministries site was collosal. The statues were life size and realistic to a point of being scary. The site has a website at Put your philanges here! It is well worth the time to stop and view the twelve stations. Afterwards, we walked over to the Ten Commandments, the site of Last Supper and lastly, the huge cross. The Cross is 19 stories high and was erected during 1995. The site is inspiring and is in need of funding to complete other worthwhile projects. If you happen to travel I40 through upper Tejas, make an effort to stop and see this marvelous attraction.

stations of the cross picture stations of the cross picture

stations of the cross picture stations of the cross picture

stations of the cross picture stations of the cross picture

stations of the cross picture stations of the cross picture

stations of the cross picture stations of the cross picture

stations of the cross picture stations of the cross picture

stations of the cross picture stations of the cross picture

Star date:Oct 2011
Kentucky flower picture Kentucky flower picture
Hat sized mushrooms!
Kentucky flower picture Kentucky flower picture

Who: Big Daddy Dave and God's creations
What: Colors and Critter
When: afternoon in Sep 2011
Where: Laurel, Pulaski and Rockcastle Counties Kentucky
why: Driving the backroads of the "Holy Land" I took these pictures. This small group of pictures does not justify the beautiful plandlife of Kentucky and the variety of colors found in the forests of home. The picture of the possum was unusual because it was standing upright and not a road kill possum pancake. LOL!

Kentucky flower picture Kentucky flower picture
These flowers were found along Eagle Creek in Rockcastle County, Kentucky. The botton left picture is a plant named Jewel Weed which is commonly used to neutralize the itching effect from poison ivy. The leaves are crushed and rubbed on the effected area and within a short time, the itch goes away! We would gather the leaves and put them in the freezer for use during the summer. I used it alot as a kid. The bottom right photo is the Kentucky state flower, Goldenrod.
Kentucky flower picture Kentucky flower picture

Star date: Oct 2011
Bear picture Bear picture

Who: Big Daddy Dave, Pocahontas, and the Bear
What: We thought we saw our dawg Lucky in Colorado High Country
When: afternoon in summer 2011
Where: Pueblo County, Colorado
why: Driving the backroads of Colorado in the Possum we thought we had seen Lucky in the woods when we drove by this black bear. Our nickname for Lucky is "Oso Negro" which is black bear in spanish. We stopped on the gravel road to watch this creature of God for about 45 minutes. The bear meandered from the edge of the woods located at a summer camp facility to a tree where it sat down with its butt against the tree. It was taking in the sights which included our silver possum and us who were taking in the sights from the road. The bear got up and wondered over to where a plastic 5 gallon bucket was lying on the ground that was about 10 feet from the car. The bear had two tags in its ears which denotes that it had been relocated by the Game and Wildlife people a couple of times before. It Quietly flopped on its belly and then took its front paws and clawed away the pine needles to look for food. It had lost any interest in us once it was in the prone position. We took some pictures and wondered if Lucky was alright and then went about our business enjoying the weather and backcountry scenery. Lucky was home when we got back to the house, but he wasn't talking whether he had been hanging out in the woods that day.... mum is the word......

Bear picture Bear picture

Bear picture Bear picture

Star date: Summer 2012
eyes picture eyes picture

Who: Big Daddy Dave, and Newphew
What: We felt like we were being watched
When: On a trip to a vacation property at Cripple Creek, Colorado
Where: Cripple Creek, Colorado
why: My newphew and me had traveled to our property near Cripple Creek, Colorado. He had not been to the high country before because he lived in Los Angeles, California. After the close to 2 hour drive, we arrived at the property to walk the property lines to make sure that it had not moved during the time from the last visit to do the same. We were getting some beautiful scenery when he said that we were being watched. Huh? Yeah, we're being watched. There is nobody around here scoobydoo.. No really, cant you see the eyes? He pointed out all the eyes that had been curiously watching us walk around in the aspens. There were eyes everywhere, hundreds of them in the aspen glade where we had been walking. He was right, I had always been too busy looking for propery marking tape, that I had never realized how the trees had eyes which watched over the land everyday to make sure that seasons changed, animals had shade, and a 1000 other management responsibilities that had been their jobs. Sometimes we become so involved or immersed with an activity that we overlook the simple obvious majestic things in our life. This was one of those times. I thanked him for pointing that out and I thanked the forest for taking care of the animals and watching over the beauty that only God can create.

eyes eyes

eyes picture eyes picture

Star date: Summer 2012
Long Run Park Long Run Park

Who: Big Daddy Dave and Abraham Lincoln
What: Abraham Lincoln was murdered twice!
When: On a short day trip to Long Run Park, Middletown, Kentucky
Where: Long Run Cemetery where Abraham Lincoln was murdered the first time...
why: This is a story about the first murder of Abraham Lincoln. Abrahahm had learned the tanner's trade and later took his brother John as his apprentice while living in Berkshire, Pennsylvania. Abraham had married Bathsheba and five children were born of this marriage: Mordecai born circa 1771, Josiah born circa 1773, Mary born circa 1775, Thomas born 1778, and Nancy born 1780. During the American Revolutionary War, Abraham served as a captain of the Augusta County militia, and with the organization of Rockingham County, Virginis in 1778. Captain Lincoln's company served under General Lachlan McIntosh in the fall and winter of 1778, assisting in the construction of Fort McIntosh in Pennsylvania and Fort Laurens in Ohio. In 1780, Abraham Lincoln sold his land, and in 1781 he moved his family to Kentucky, then a district of the Commonwealth of Virginia. The family settled in eastern Jefferson County, about twenty miles (32 km) east of the site of Louisville where he established a claim for 400 acres on Long Run Creek which was recorded in 1785. One day in May 1786, Abraham Lincoln was working in his field with his three sons when he was shot from the nearby forest and fell to the ground. The eldest boy, Mordecai, ran to the cabin where a loaded gun was kept, while the middle son, Josiah, ran to Hughes' Station for help. Thomas, the youngest, stood in shock by his father. From the cabin, Mordecai observed an Indian come out of the forest and stop by his father's body. The Indian reached for Thomas, either to kill him or to carry him off. Mordecai took careful aim and shot the Indian in the chest, killing him. Tradition states that Captain Abraham Lincoln was buried by his cabin, which is now the site of Long Run Baptist Church and Cemetery near Eastwood, Kentucky. Bathsheba Lincoln was left a widow with five underage children. She moved the family away from homesite on Long Run Creek, to Washington County, Kentucky, where the country was more thickly settled and there was less danger of Indian attack. Under the law then operating, Mordecai Lincoln, as the eldest son, inherited two-thirds of his father's estate when he reached the age of twenty-one, with Bathsheba receiving one-third. The other children inherited nothing. In later years Thomas Lincoln would recount the story of the day his father, Abraham Lincoln, died to his son, Abraham Lincoln, the future sixteenth president of the United States of America. "The story of his death by the Indians," the president later wrote, "and of Uncle Mordecai, then fourteen years old, killing one of the Indians, is the legend more strongly than all others imprinted on my mind and memory." A stone memorializing Captain Abraham Lincoln was placed in the Long Run Baptist Church cemetery in 1937 where the church was built on the site of the cabin in 1844. The church burned down on Christmas Eve 1960 by a fire ignited by the sanctuary's potbellied stove and the remaining walls were strengthened during 1969. The church and cemetery were added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. The walls of the church are no longer standing at the historic site but there is the Lincoln Tree which was grown from the seed of the tree where the future president gave a speech. Abraham Lincoln was shot and killed first in Kentucky, and his grandson, President Abraham Lincoln was shot and killed the second time in Washington D.C. Who would have thunk.......
Long Run Park Long Run Park

Star date: Summer 2012
trestle picture eyes picture

Who: Big Daddy Dave, and the Goat Man
What: My search for the Pope Lick Monster
When: All the time, especially during the dark of night
Where:Pope Lick train trestle and Pope Lick Cree, Kentucky
why: The Pope Lick Monster is a legendary part-man, part-goat and part-sheep creature reported to live beneath a Norfolk Southern Railway trestle over Floyd's Fork Creek, in the Fisherville area of Louisville, Kentucky. In most accounts, the Pope Lick Monster (named after the Pope Lick Creek below the Pope Lick Train Trestle) wasn first sighted during the late 1940s and early 1950s near Fisherville, located in southeastern Jefferson County. It is a human-goat hybrid creature with a grotesquely deformed body of a man. It has powerful, fur-covered goat legs, an alabaster-skinned face with an aquiline nose and wide set eyes. Short, sharp horns protrude from the forehead, nestled in long greasy hair that matched the colour of the fur on the legs. According to some accounts, the creature uses either hypnosis or voice mimicry to lure a victim who would hear the voice of a loved one asking for help on the train trestle at night. Drawn to the voice and focused on helping the loved one, the victim will not notice the approaching train and would either be run down or plunge the 100 foot height to his death. However, the monster prefers to harass its victims by pelting them with stones and making disturbing noises. It derives sadistic pleasures in terrorizing people who have the misfortune of coming to his domain. Other stories claim the monster jumps down from the trestle onto the roofs of cars passing beneath it. Yet other legends tell that it attacks its victims with a blood-stained axe. It has also been said that the very sight of the creature is so unsettling that those who see it while walking across the high trestle are driven to leap off. Other legends explain the creature's origins, including that it is a human goat hybrid, and that it was a circus freak who vowed revenge after being mistreated. In one version, the creature escaped after a train derailed on the trestle. Yet, another version claims that the monster is really the twisted reincarnated form of a farmer who sacrificed goats in exchange for Satanic powers. The final legend links the Pope Lick Monster with another tale synonymous with the trestle, the "Ghost Train" that is also rumored to appear on the tracks. A sudden flutter of vibration from above as a train passes overhead along the trestle but yet makes no sound of approach or passage. In the late 1800s, there were rumors of a wild animal roaming the Canadian wilderness. The creature's presence caught the attention of a circus owner by the name of Silus Garner. He offered a substantial reward for the creatures capture. Once someone tracked and captured the beast he began to exhibit the Goat monster in his freak show. From town to town they went, the monster being one of his star attractions. Until one fateful night while bound for Louisville, lightning struck the track derailing the train and killing all passengers aboard except for one....the Goatman.
The monster was the subject of a 1988 film by Louisville filmmaker Ron Schildknecht called The Legend of the Pope Lick Monster. The 16 minute, six thousand dollar film premiered on December 29, 1988 at the Uptown Theater. Most of the film was shot at the Pope Lick Trestle, but scenes showing the characters up on the trestle were shot at another safer location. Norfolk Southern railroad officials were very upset about the film, as they thought it would encourage teenagers to visit the trestles. They found one scene in particular dangerously misleading. In the scene the main character, a J-town high school student, narrowly escapes an approaching train by hanging suspended from the side of the trestle. In reality this would be quite impossible as there are few people that would have the strength to hang on for the 5 to 7 minutes it takes for the train to clear the 772-foot trestle; in addition, the vibrations from the train are so strong that the ground beneath the trestle shakes as the train passes, making hanging from the trestle to avoid being hit virtually impossible. Because railroad officials were worried that the film would add to the death toll, the Norfolk Southern railroad issued a statement, read at the premiere, which warned of the trestle's dangers and informed the audience that anyone caught on the trestle could be prosecuted for trespassing.
My brothers and I were witness to a confirmed sighting of the Pope Lick Monster during a church hay-ride during our pre-teen years. The hay wagon was being pulled by a rickety truck during the evening hours along Pope Lick Road beside the creek and under the trestle metal structures. Suddenly the truck balked and quit, leaving the wagon full of our friends stalled in the road when all of a sudden a hairy two legged creature jumped from the creek area onto the black top road screaming which in turn set off the high pitched screaming of the wagon's occupants. The driver of the truck yelled at the creature and frantically tried to start the truck and after several attempts the engine fired, transmission put into gear and down the road we all sped away from the heart stopping sighting of the goatman.... I know this legend is true because we seen it......

This is part of the movie concerning the Pope Lick Monster. Notice the highschool student wearing the J-town high letter jacket. Only in Jeffersontown could this happen!

To see the Legend of the Pope Lick Monster at youtube press here!

pope lick

Star date: Summer 2012
Swiss Colony Swiss Colony

Swiss Colony Swiss Colony

Who: Big Daddy Dave
What: Swiss Colony at Bernstadt, Laurel County, Kentucky
When: During a visit looking for family related things i.e. cemeteries in the "Holy Land"
Where: On the old Route 80 going from the Rockcastle Bridge at Billows to London, Kentucky...
why: There is a Swiss Community center located at Bernstadt, Kentucky. I lucked upon the location while looking for a relative who was buried at the colony cemetery. The church is beautiful along with the cemetery which is kept in pristine condition since it was bought and renovated. It had been scheduled to be razed at one time. The colony location is close to where our family settled on the Rockcastle River and in the Sinking Valley area of southeastern Kentucky. I ran across this article pertaining to the Colony at Bernstadt.

Die Kolony Bernstadt
Posted by Dave Tabler | April 8, 2010
"Kentucky began a campaign in the 1880s to attract Western European immigrants to the state, which had been losing population to America’s new westward movement at alarming rates. The Kentucky Bureau of Immigration, the State Geological Survey and the newly created Bureau of Agriculture, Labor & Statistics worked together to send agents abroad, loaded with broadsides and pamphlets, to describe Kentucky’s bright future prospects. The Swiss jumped first. Many from Canton Bern came to Laurel County, drawn by the new coal mining jobs available in the north and east sections of that county, to found Die Kolony Bernstadt. This village was the largest of several Swiss colonies in the region, others in Laurel County being Die Kolony Langnau, Die Kolony Lily, and a group near Stanford, in Lincoln County. The Bernstadt Colonisation Company, founded by Paul Schenk, the son of the Swiss President, and Otto Bruner, both agriculturalists, and Karl Imobersteg, the owner of a large passage office, bought 40,000 acres for the cultivation of vineyards. They encouraged German-speaking Swiss, who were suffering as a result of a farming crisis and high land prices in their native country, to come to Kentucky. From 1881 to 1886, 336 families bought land and erected Protestant churches and two schools. The First Evangelical Reformed Church, also known as the Swiss Colony Church, was built in 1885. The Catholic Swiss families who immigrated here initially celebrated Mass at the home of one of their countrymen. Father Joseph Volk officially brought the Roman Catholic Church to East Bernstadt in 1888, when he established St. Sylvester’s. The Swiss immigrants’ improved farming methods produced well-known wines- Chasselas, Pinor Noir; and cheeses – Emmental, Gruyere, Raclette. In addition to the Swiss colonies of Laurel County, an Austrian one gathered in Boyle County, a German one formed in Lincoln County, and the Ohio River towns attracted some French immigrants, but overall Kentucky’s effort to import Western Europeans to empty countryside pockets wasn’t a strong success. The Bernstadt post office, which had opened in 1881, finally closed in 1964. sources: http://snipurl.com/2625m [www_triptrivia_com]; Kentucky Place Names, by Robert M. Rennick, Univ of Ky Press, 1987; The Kentucky Encyclopedia, by John E. Kleber, Univ of Ky Press, 1987; http://snipurl.com/2625t [saintwilliamhistory_cdlex_org]" (retrieved on 10 Oct 2012 from Kentucky Historical Society)
Swiss Colony Swiss Colony

Swiss Colony

Star date: Summer 2012
Cherokee Prayer monument Cherokee Prayer Monument close up

Who: Big Daddy Dave and the owner of Rockcastle Livery at Billows, Kentucky
What: Cherokee Prayer memorial stone located on the Rockcastle River
When: On a short day trip to Billows to take pictures of the area to post on this website
Where: This is located between the end of Whitaker Cemetery Road, the former Henry Whitaker homestead and the Whitaker Cemetery.
why: Because I said so...how familiar...
I was taking pictures of the Billows area when I stopped by the Rockcastle Livery to visit the owner. I had met him several years ago when taking Pocahontas back to the Holyland to show her where my Hillbilly roots originated. He had shown us around and told me of the tavern which had been located next to the building when I asked him if he knew any Whitakers in the area. I had explained to him that I was researching the "Mize-Whitaker-Barnes feud" which had been written about in the early 1900s newspaper located at London. He said he knew where the old household had stood but it had burned down. He volunteered to take me to the site. So down the road we went, took a hard left at the Line Creek Church, past the Whitaker Cemetery, and to the end of the road where he ported canoes into the Rockcastle River. I had to put on some long jeans over my Colorado weather shorts in a futile attempt to ward off chiggers and other little nasties. He took off like a rabbit through the waist high weeds with me in trail. We arrived at the site where the multi-chimney house once stood and I was grabbed by a wait-a-minute vine which caused an embarassing fall into the overgrown stone foundation. All feet, no motor control.... This happened within a couple of seconds of reveling in mind of my special operations training. Nice one, Big Daddy! After getting up and brushing myself off, he told me of a Indian monument located within a wooden circle fence that was located just across the field. Off into the brush again and we were quickly there. This is where my knowledge stops concerning this prayer monument. The monument says, "Indian Resting place, Arsene's Prayer, Arsene Thompson, Cherokee Preacher gave this prayer before starting on the Trail of Tears. I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord which made heaven and earh. Psalms 121:1-2." I did find an article pertaining to this site:
"American Indians and U.S. Forest Service Dedicate Re-Internment Site by Nancy Thomas Tuesday, November 17, 1998
Kentucky - The United States Forestry Service and members of the "Eastern Band of Cherokee" gathered Tuesday, November 10, in the Daniel Boone Forest, Somerset District, for a dedication memorial of an American Indian re-internment site. The area is referred to, in technical terms, as a re-internment area instead of a burial ground because remains that were excavated elsewhere are buried at the site, explained, district ranger for the forest service's Somerset District and Daniel Boone Forest Native American coordinator Jerry Stephens. The remains and relics found at various sites, were moved in order to preserve and protect. Stephens said, the attempts to restore the actual sites have been futile as they have been repeatedly. Remains are kept in the special grounds, instead of "in files or cardboard boxes", Stephens said. According to James Byrd, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians have recently adopted a new re-burial policy, which states remains are to be buried as close to their original site as possible. When sites are looted, the scientific and historical value of artifacts taken or disturbed becomes nothing, he said. If an arrowhead is removed from its original setting, it cannot be linked to a place, people or time, said Byrd, who is involved in linguistics and anthropology. The tribes that occupied Kentucky, including the Cherokee, Shawnee, Chickasaw, Delaware and Miami had an unspoken and unwritten cooperative agreement, which enabled them to "live in peace together" Byrd explained. The Cherokee, as well as other tribes, believe burial is significant as it completes the cycle of life as the decomposition of the body nourishes the ground. James Byrd read the Cherokee inscriptions on the monuments at the dedication ceremony and Sam Lambert provided the interpretation. "The Indian Resting Place", is written at the top of the monument, and below is Psalms 121:1-2, which reads, "I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth." The excerpt from Psalms was said as a prayer before the Cherokee began the Trail of Tears, said Stevens. The Commonweath of Kentucky's Governor, Paul E. Patton, and the President of the United States, have set November aside to honor American Indians for their significant influences on America. Stephens read Patton's proclamation near the end of the ceremony." There are approximately 11,600 enrolled EBCI members. The reservation now covers about 52,000 acres, said Mr. Lambert, the educational and training director of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Mr. Lambert's job is to find training opportunities and employment for people of his tribe, the tribe has an agreement with the forest that helps to provide employment, he said. Ed Swan, resource manager at the Somerset District's ranger office, said the burial ground is located in a field adjacent to what is know as the "old Whitaker place". Mr. Swan said, he believed the land once belonged to John Whitaker, known as the timber baron of the Rockcastle River. The site is about 20 miles from Somerset, off Ky. 1956. The monument that marks the site was donated by Smith Monuments. "
(retrieved on 12 Oct 2012 from http://www.yvwiiusdinvnohii.net/Cherokee/News/Nov98/EBC981116.htm)

Rockcastle Livery on the River Canoeing gone wrong
Rockcastle Livery Owner

Star date: Summer 2012
The Tower The Tower

The Tower The Tower

Who: Big Daddy Dave and a can of Code Red
What: Wonder Tower roadside attraction
When: 1926 to present
Where: Genoa, Colorado along the I-70 corridor, exit 371, Highway 109
why: Because there was nothin' better to do at 9 in the morning...
I have passed the "tower" numerous times traveling the I-70 but never have I stopped at the point of interest like the brown sign says. It was about 830 in the morning so I figured that I would stop and check it out. I always thought that it was an airfield tower which was probably used during the "War" and now was abandoned. Boy was I in for a pleasant surprise. I was greeted by Jerry and his wife, the owners, of this roadside anomaly. I found out that the Tower was built in 1926 by C. W. Gregory who was also known as Colorado's own P. T. Barnum and his partner Myrtle Le Bow. They boasted that it was possible to see six states, Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico and Wyoming, from the top of the Tower. The Tower is 65 five feet tall and it was confirmed by Ripley during 1934 to be the highest point between New York and Denver. This was a major stop on US Highway 24 before I-70 was built, and Charles W. Gregory would stand on the tower and yell through a megaphone at approaching cars asking "how are things were going" for the state which the car was tagged. He had a billboard motto which said, "Eat, Drink, Gas and Pop at the Tower."
The tower is also a museum and junktique shop containing curiosities and novelty items such as a two-headed calf, an eight-legged pig, and more than 50,000 types of glass bottles. The museum also contains historic American West artifacts and weapons, about 20,000 Native American arrowheads artifacts, and fossils. When the Interstates came (I-70) through, Charles died and the Tower was bought by Jerry and Ester Chubbock who have lived there for the past 50 years. The "exhibition" has been kept going by charging a dollar for admission. Jerry and Ester have stuffed the rooms with everything from spoons, farm implements, his own personal arrowhead collection, antique bottles, mammoth tusks, and plenty of unidentifiable things.
Jerry will challenge you with "Name that Item and get your dollar back" game. He picks 10 items and if you can identify them, you get your buck back. I guessed correctly the rooster glasses, nose bells, antique mouse trap and that was about it. It was a real brain tease! After that I roamed the different rooms, I believe there are 22 rooms crammed with vintage and antique items which are all for sale and are screwed to the ceiling, hung on the walls and stored in cabinets. It takes much longer than I had planned to see everything but Jerry was quite the showman and helped me navigate the narrow corridor "maize" through the stone lined rooms. Everything had a story and every story had a thing, there were plenty of laughs to go around from Jerry's life experiences and my hillbilly growing up.
Before I left, I climbed to the top of the tower. The wind was blowing pretty good and I could feel the tower sway in the breeze. It was well worth the effort but if you are vertically-challenged, flabby, or faint at heart, stay away from the narrow steep wood stairs and don't try to climb up the wood ladder which goes through a small port hole opening to the top. Once you are at the top, you can suck in air from the six different state, and please do hold on to something, the soft swaying has a tendency to give visitors vertigo. This is a perfect couple of hour rest stop and well worth the visit to see the oddities, antiques, fossils, rocks and scenery. You can't buy a large soda for a buck now days but you can get more than your money is worth at the Tower.

The Tower The Tower The Tower The Tower