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Program 105

1. Mountain HomePlace
2. carver Miles Hart
3. Abbey of Gethsemani
4. sculptor LaVon Williams
5. Pennyrile State Park
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For more information:
Mountain HomePlace, P.O. Box 1850, Staffordsville, KY 41256, (606) 297-1850

Producer, videographer: Gale Worth
Editor: Esther Reed

At Home in the 19th Century

The Mountain HomePlace

Mountain HomePlace cabin At the Mountain HomePlace in Staffordsville, in Johnson County, visitors can see how Kentucky’s rural inhabitants lived and worked in the 1800s. Built around a real family homestead from the 1850s, the HomePlace includes a log cabin and barns, a blacksmith shop, a church, a one-room schoolhouse, and a grist mill powered by mules.

The HomePlace is a working farm, selling products grown or made on the premises in a gift shop. Two resident oxen help with the heavy farming work, while people demonstrate 19th-century-style cooking, tool making and repair, sewing and crafting, and other tasks.

The Mountain HomePlace also has been the subject of a KET Electronic Field Trip for classrooms.

For more information:
• Miles Hart, Highway 1078 S., Henderson, KY 42420, (270) 826-0364

Producer: Janet Whitaker
Videographer: Frank Simkonis

Hart of the Matter

Carver Miles Hart

In our next segment, we learn how one man’s search for a hobby led to the birth of an artist.

Miles Hart of Henderson was just looking for a pastime when he took up woodcarving. But his love for vehicles of all kinds—vans, trucks, trains, and motorcycles—led him to carving miniature versions. Exquisitely detailed, lovingly polished, and complete with moving parts, each of his finished wooden “models” evokes the delight of a toy while showcasing a sculptor’s eye for beauty and craftsmanship.

For more information:
Abbey of Gethsemani, Trappist, KY 40051, (502) 549-3117

Producer: Megan Moloney
Videographer: David Brinkley
Editor: Esther Reed

Lives of Quiet Contemplation

Abbey of Gethsemani

Founded in 1848 by refugees from an overcrowded abbey in France, the Abbey of Gethsemani in Nelson County is the oldest Trappist monastery in America. Here, amid the serenity of Central Kentucky’s rolling hills and woodlands, the monks live lives of service and worship, supporting themselves by making fruitcake, cheese, and bourbon fudge.

At one time, the brothers took a vow of complete silence. Though that restriction has been eased, silence is still an important aspect of life at the abbey, with talking limited to specific times and places.

World-famous writer Thomas Merton, author of The Seven Storey Mountain and other works, lived at Gethsemani from December 1941 (he arrived three days after Pearl Harbor) until his death in 1968—the last three years in solitude in a small concrete-block cabin on the grounds, having received special permission to withdraw from the abbey’s routines. A lifelong seeker of truth, Merton found a receptive audience for his sometimes painfully honest examinations of the world’s religions and his own personal journey, and his writings remain spiritual touchstones for many readers today.

The Abbey of Gethsemani still welcomes such seekers. But this is no bed and breakfast. Visitors on retreat are expected to observe the rules of the order and spend the days in quiet personal reflection. Staying at the abbey is an opportunity, in Merton’s words, “to entertain silence in the heart and listen for the voice of God—to pray for your own discovery.”

The abbey is also one of the 11 special places, chosen by historian Thomas Clark, featured in the Kentucky Life special Dr. Clark’s Kentucky Treasures.

For more information:
• LaVon Williams, (859) 231-9268

Producer: Charlee Heaton Pagoulatos
Videographer: Frank Simkonis

From Hardwood to Hard Wood

Sculptor LaVon Williams

Our second artist for this program is Lexington’s LaVon Williams. Previously known for his basketball exploits—he played on the University of Kentucky’s 1978 national championship team—LaVon has more recently been making a name for himself as a sculptor. Following a family tradition that goes back generations, he carves wooden figures and reliefs inspired by African-American history and culture. LaVon refers to this work as “urban folk art.”

This look at Williams’ work is from 1995. Kentucky Life returned for another visit with the artist about ten years later; that segment can be seen in Program 1202.

For more information:
Pennyrile Forest State Resort Park, 20781 Pennyrile Lodge Road, Dawson Springs, KY 42408-9212, (270) 797-3421, reservations (800) 325-1711

Producer: Gale Worth
Videographer: David Brinkley
Editor: Dan Taulbee

Into the Woods

Pennyrile State Park

The final stop for this program is Pennyrile Forest in Western Kentucky. The name is a variation on Pennyroyal, the geographic designation for this region—which in turn is named for an abundant local plant, a member of the mint family.

Plants abound in this 15,000-acre woodland, one of Kentucky’s loveliest. Big enough to afford solitude for those seeking it, the forest also offers a wide range of organized recreational activities for all ages, headquartered at the Pennyrile State Resort Park. Doug Hargrove, director of recreation for the park, shows us around in this visit.

The forest and park are off Kentucky 109 in northwestern Christian County.

SEASON 1 PROGRAMS: 101102103104105106107108109110111112113114115

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