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Contents:
Program 1023

1. the Kentucky Artisan Center
2. Land Between the Rivers
3. Andrew Jackson Smith
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Madison County

For more information:
Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea, P.O. Box 280, Berea, KY 40403, (859) 985-5448

Producer, videographer: Ernie Lee Martin


Made in Kentucky

The Kentucky Artisan Center

They say it’s an ill wind indeed that blows no one any good. Even the tornado that touched down in Berea in 1996 eventually led to something positive: the Kentucky Artisan Center.

Faced with the necessity of rebuilding several individual studios and workshops in the craft capital’s Old Town area, Berea’s artisans and business leaders started talking about a shared venture where everyone’s work could be showcased together. The Kentucky tourism and economic development folks got interested, and soon the project had state backing. The 20,000-square-foot Kentucky Artisan Center opened its doors in July 2003.

Located just off I-75 in Madison County (Exit 77), the center is part highway rest stop—on a grand scale. Travelers can stop off for driving directions, a snack, and maybe some souvenirs. But instead of fast food and mass-produced trinkets, they find a café and grill serving specialty foods grown or produced in Kentucky and a gift shop full of hand-crafted jewelry, ceramics, wood carvings, paintings, textiles, and more, as well as books and recordings by Kentucky writers and musicians.

The center is also part community arts center, with frequent live demonstrations of arts and crafts, informal music and dance performances, and readings. It’s open every day except Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day.

Watch This Story (9:56)




Livingston County

For more information:
• Between the Rivers Inc., 716 Bohanon-Spivy Rd., Grand Rivers, KY 42045, (270) 928-4410

Producer, editor: Joy Flynn
Videographers: Brandon Wickey, Joy Flynn


Preserving the Past

Land Between the Rivers

These days, the narrow strip of Western Kentucky between Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley belongs mostly to wildlife and tourists. The area bounded by the human-engineered water system, which includes a canal linking the two lakes’ northern ends, is the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area. It hosts thousands of visitors looking for outdoor recreation, but no permanent residents.

But human history in the area formerly known as the Land Between the Rivers (the Tennessee and the Cumberland) reaches back centuries, and the all-volunteer organization Between the Rivers Inc. is dedicated to preserving some of the reminders of that heritage. In this segment, we meet Ray Parish and other members of the group and visit the sites of some of their projects. Their activities include cleaning and restoring old cemeteries as well as a church—the only one left in the region after the formation of the two lakes.

Kentucky Life has visited the LBL several times, including a conversation with three former residents who remembered life before the lakes in Program 512.

Watch This Story (5:26)




Lyon County

For more information:
Photo and citation from the Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Producer, editor: Joy Flynn
Videographers: Brandon Wickey, Joy Flynn


Above and Beyond

Andrew Jackson Smith

Our final segment for this program is actually an extension of the previous one. In August 2003, the Between the Rivers volunteers saw one of their projects come to fruition when both a highway marker and a historical marker were erected in honor of Civil War soldier and Medal of Honor winner Andrew Jackson Smith.

Smith was a Kentucky slave who was hired out as a ferry operator on the Cumberland River. When he heard that his Confederate owner was planning to take him along to the front as his servant, the 19-year-old Smith escaped down the river to Smithland, at the conjunction of the Cumberland with the Ohio in Livingston County. There he met up with an Illinois company and agreed to become a servant to one of its officers in order to gain Army protection.

After the Emancipation Proclamation and President Lincoln’s call for African-American volunteers, Smith signed up to fight for the Union. He became a member of the 55th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry—a previously all-white unit that was reconstituted after a flood of volunteers more than filled the first black unit, the famous Massachusetts 54th.

While fighting with the 55th at the Battle of Honey Hill, South Carolina in 1864, Smith took the regimental colors from a fallen comrade and carried them throughout the remainder of the battle—a fight in a narrow gorge in which half of his unit’s officers and a third of its enlisted men were either killed or wounded. The confusion and carnage meant that the deeds of that day were never properly recorded, and Smith’s bravery was overlooked for some time. But in 2001, he was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor “for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty.”

Andrew Jackson Smith survived the Civil War and left the Army as a sergeant. He lived in Illinois for a time, but returned to Kentucky and bought some land near Eddyville with his mustering-out pay. He is buried in Lyon County.

Watch This Story (6:43)


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