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Program 402

Special Edition:
Country Stores
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Wayne County

For more information:
• Dunagan’s Grocery and Supply, General Delivery, Old Hwy. 90, Mill Springs, KY 42632, (606) 348-5320

Producer: Charlee Heaton Pagoulatos


Mill Springs

host Byron Crawford In this program, Kentucky Life remembers a time when life moved at a little slower pace. The country stores we’re visiting might seem old-fashioned, but actually they and others like them were the forerunners of today’s superstores: You get a warm, personal greeting, and inside you find everything from candy to kerosene on the shelves.

Our first stop is in Wayne County, where Everette Dunagan has been running the Mill Springs general store and post office ever since he was discharged from the army after World War II. Here he demonstrates the fine art of sandwich making and shows off some antiques from his inventory.

The Mill Springs store itself goes back even farther in history: It was one of several hundred century-old Kentucky businesses featured in the book Going on 200, published by the Kentucky Humanities Council in 2003.

Watch This Story (5:49)




Boone County

For more information:
• Lower River Road, Burlington, KY 41005, (859) 586-7744


Rabbit Hash

At the store in Rabbit Hash, you might meet a certain pot-bellied area resident named, simply, “Pig.” In fact, you might run into just about anybody, since the store’s front porch is also the area’s community gathering place. The Boone County town was named for a culinary concoction that tided settlers over during the hard times of 1847, when a devastating flood made other food scarce.

The general store dates to 1831 and has seen several other floods. During the biggest to date, in 1937, the waters of the Ohio River completely submerged the building, which escaped destruction only because of a system of iron-rod anchoring installed by a foresighted former owner. They say you’ll still find mud from ’37 in the attic.

This store has also been seen in the PBS program Do You Speak American?, in which Robert MacNeil stopped by to hear some country accents. And Kentucky Life paid another visit in Program 1207.

Watch This Story (3:37)




Bath County

For more information:
• P.O. Box 2106, Preston, KY 40366, (606) 674-2726


Preston

Life slows to a crawl at Blevins Grocery in the Bath County community of Preston. Host Byron Crawford tries his hand at whittling with the regulars, who meet daily at Helen and Rube Blevins’ store to swap tall tales and build big piles of cedar shavings.

Watch This Story (7:28)




Marion County

For more information:
Penn’s Store, 257 Rollings Road, Gravel Switch, KY 40328, (270) 332-7715, pennsstore@aol.com


Gravel Switch

Shoppers at Penn’s Store near Gravel Switch used to get an occasional extra treat: impromptu harmony singing concerts by the four Penn women who ran the place. Though a couple of the ladies are gone now, the musical tradition lives on in the form of monthly community jam sessions. Meanwhile, the store—which has been in the Penn family since 1850—still sells groceries and dry goods, along with fresh herbs from the garden out back. According to the Penns, this Marion County institution is the oldest country store in America still being run by the same family.

Penn’s is normally open Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. But if you e-mail ahead, you can make arrangements to visit on other days, too.

Penn’s Store is also the site of the annual Great Outhouse Blowout, featured in Kentucky Life Program 418.

Watch This Story (2:55)




McCreary County

For more information:
• HC 83 Box 382, Strunk, KY 42649, (606) 354-2202


Strunk

Finally, we stop off in McCreary County to tour Bobby Duncan’s Hardware and Grocery in Strunk. Poking around its neat but crowded two floors of goods, Byron marvels at the variety of what’s available, from several different models of butter churns to modern telecommunication devices.

Watch This Story (3:40)


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