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Program 1206

1. the Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History
2. furniture maker Bob Tucker
3. A River Runs Through Us
4. Sugar Creek Resort
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Franklin County

For more information:
Kentucky Historical Society, 100 W. Broadway, Frankfort, KY 40601, (502) 564-1792, (877) 444-7867
• The Kentucky Historical Society also operates the Kentucky Military History Museum, which we visited in Program 1112.
• For more about Thomas Clark, visit the February 2004 bookclub@ket pages.

Producer, editor: Joy Flynn
Videographers: David Dampier, Joy Flynn
Audio: Charlie Bissell

Where History Lives

Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History

Dave Shuffett hosts this edition from the Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History, a Frankfort museum that’s also the headquarters of the Kentucky Historical Society, and the first order of business is to take a look around the place with Executive Director Kent Whitworth.

The 167,000-square-foot museum, research library, and educational center opened its doors in April 1999. (Kentucky Life celebrated the grand opening with a special edition, Program 521.) It was known simply as the Kentucky History Center for the first six years. But in the summer of 2005, it was rededicated and renamed in honor of renowned Kentucky historian Dr. Thomas D. Clark, who, among many other accomplishments, was a tireless advocate for the establishment of a Kentucky history center.

A visit to the center starts pretty dramatically: A grand spiral staircase, built of Kentucky limestone, descends to a terrazzo map of the state, with each county outlined in brass. The map is at the heart of the center’s 20,000-square-foot permanent exhibit, “A Kentucky Journey.” This walking tour of Kentucky’s past takes you from prehistory to the present, with display cases of artifacts as well as room-sized displays designed to give a taste of what life was like for ordinary Kentuckians of various eras.

The building also has several spaces for changeable temporary exhibits (as we’ll see later in this program) as well as a research and lending library. It’s located at Broadway and High in Frankfort and is open Tuesday through Saturday.

Barren County

For more information:
• Foxfire Traditional Handmade Furniture, 1619 Happy Landing Rd., Glasgow, KY 42141, (270) 646-3344

Producer, videographer, editor: David Brinkley


Woodworker Bob Tucker

Before standardized, mass-produced screws and hand-held screwdrivers became common in the 19th century, carpenters used wooden pins and all sorts of ingenious joinery techniques to hold pieces together. Today, many crafters of fine handmade pieces still eschew metal fasteners because nails or screws interrupt the clean lines of the surface and can eventually cause discoloration—or just because they enjoy the challenge and the personal connection to centuries of woodworking tradition.

In the next segment, we visit the Glasgow studio of woodworker Bob Tucker to see the old-fashioned techniques at work. Bob’s handmade household utensils, cutting boards, benches, and other furniture contain wood only.

Franklin County

For more information:
Kentucky Historical Society, 100 W. Broadway, Frankfort, KY 40601, (502) 564-1792, (877) 444-7867

Producer, editor: Joy Flynn
Videographers: David Dampier, Joy Flynn
Audio: Charlie Bissell

On the Waterfront

A River Runs Through Us exhibit

As the crow flies, Kentucky is 458 miles long and 171 miles wide at its widest points, and we rank only 37th among the 50 states in total area. But unlike crows, water tends to meander, and Kentucky’s varied terrain has given it lots of paths to follow. So within that territory are 13,000 miles of rivers, streams, creeks, forks, branches, and other moving waters—a total second only to Alaska’s.

Of those waters, around 1,500 miles’ worth are navigable. The abundance of running water for navigation and power helped settlers from the east spread rapidly across the state, and numerous towns and cities grew up along major arteries and at junctions and crossing points. 51 of today’s 120 county seats are located on rivers.

During his visit to the Center for Kentucky History, Dave took in a temporary exhibit that celebrated Kentucky’s watery heritage. During late 2005, “A River Runs Through Us” displayed artifacts from settlements along various rivers and streams. Our tour focuses especially on Boonesborough, the fort established by Daniel Boone, Judge Richard Henderson, and the other members of the Transylvania Company in 1775. Their grandiose plan to found a colony named Transylvania on land purchased from the Cherokees never quite came to fruition (the Virginia legislature nullified their land claim a few years later), but the protection afforded by the fort and the establishment of a ferry across the Kentucky River made it a vital part of the settlement of the state.

Jessamine County

For more information:
Sugar Creek Resort, 5800 Sugar Creek Pike, Nicholasville, KY 40356, (859) 885-9359

Producer: Joy Flynn
Videographer: Brandon Wickey

Sweet Life

Sugar Creek Resort

Sugar Creek Resort was also born on the Kentucky River. This Jessamine County farm dates back to the late 1700s, when a Swiss immigrant named John Frances DeFoure attempted to make a go of raising wine grapes. After some years, he decided that the European vines he had brought with him weren’t going to adapt to the Kentucky climate and moved north to Indiana. But his land at the mouth of Hickman Creek claims the distinction of being the location of the first commercial vineyard and winery in the United States.

Today, DeFoure’s former homestead is a recreation and conference center. Sugar Creek offers horseback rides, including a spectacular sunset ride to the river bottom; canoe and kayak rentals; meeting facilities; and corporate leadership and team-building activities. Dave and canine companion Sadie head out for a trail ride with Tom Beale, who explains that Sugar Creek is also trying an experiment in getting back to its roots: planting grapevines.

SEASON 12 PROGRAMS: 120112021203120412051206120712081209121012111212
1213121412151216121712181219122012211222: Dr. Clark’s Kentucky Treasures

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