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Producer: Charlee Heaton
Not Just Horsing Around
Nothing says “Kentucky” to the outside world better than a picture of rolling hills, miles of wood fences, and frolicking horses. On this edition of Kentucky Life, we step inside that picture at one of the most storied of the Bluegrass region’s thoroughbred horse farms: Claiborne Farm in Bourbon County.
Casual race fans know Claiborne best as the last home of Secretariat, who stood at stud there after electrifying the racing world with his record-shattering Triple Crown wins in 1973. (He is buried there, along with his sire and grandsire, both also Claiborne stallions.) But the farm’s history stretches back more than half a century before that and boasts a long list of champion horses either bred, foaled, or raced there. In the postwar years of the late 1940s and ’50s, long-time owner/manager A.B. “Bull” Hancock restored Claiborne to its early prominence—and revitalized American thoroughbred breeding—through innovative business methods and the introduction of foreign bloodlines. In this profile, his widow, Waddell Hancock, reminisces about that history and talks about the future of Claiborne, now run by her son Seth.
Claiborne is not regularly open to public tours.
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Producer: Connie Offutt
How the Other Half Used To Live?
The Conrad-Caldwell House
History also looms large at our next stop. Step across the threshold of the Conrad-Caldwell House in Louisville, and you will be stepping back into the Victorian era.
In 1883, Louisville hosted the Southern Exposition on land that was then outside the city. When the exposition closed in 1887, the land was sold for home lots, and the area became the city’s first suburb. Now it’s known as Old Louisville, with St. James Court at its heart, and its hundreds of well-preserved Victorian homes make it one of the country’s most beautiful historic neighborhoods.
One of the main attractions is the Conrad-Caldwell House, built in 1895. Its exterior, featuring masses of hand-carved stone, showcases the gargoyles, swags, and massive arches of the period. The exterior also features the fleur-de-lis, the stylized iris from heraldry that is one of the symbols of Louisville itself.
The architectural delights continue inside, where visitors also get a taste of Victorian opulence in the period furnishings.
The Conrad-Caldwell House Museum is open to the public Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday afternoons. Special tours for school groups, including classroom follow-up materials, are also available.
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