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Program 1207

1. Rabbit Hash
2. dentistry antiques
3. Castleton Lyons’ stone tower
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Boone County

For more information:
Rabbit Hash Historical Society, 11646 Lower River Rd., Union, KY 41091
Rabbit Hash General Store, 10021 Lower River Rd., Rabbit Hash, KY 41005, (859) 586-7744

Producer, editor: Cheryl Beckley
Videographer: David Brinkley

Going to the Dogs

Rabbit Hash

When you’re meeting an important public official, it always helps if you have friends who can smooth the way by making the formal introductions. So for a 2005 audience with the mayor of Rabbit Hash, Kentucky Life host Dave Shuffett took along two of his canine co-hosts, Sadie and Charlie—since His Honor the mayor was a black Labrador retriever named Junior.

Following in the pawprints of the legendary Goofy, first dog mayor of Rabbit Hash, Junior beat out a pig, a donkey, other dogs, a cat, and even a few people for the office in November 2004. The election drew national attention; Jimmy Kimmel even broadcast his show live from Rabbit Hash. It was also marked by rampant graft. But no one complained too much, because all the money spent on votes was turned over to the town preservation fund.

The center of the action, as always in this tiny hamlet, was the Rabbit Hash General Store. This Boone County landmark dates back to 1831 and claims the title of oldest continuously operated store in Kentucky. Originally, it was a “store” as in storage—a depot where goods waited for the horse-drawn ferry across the Ohio River to Rising Sun, IN or for passing steamboats. Today, it’s a sterling example of the old-time country store/community gathering place. (In fact, it was part of our Kentucky Life special on country stores, Program 402.)

The town of Rabbit Hash got its name, the story goes, during a conversation residents were having about what to serve for Christmas dinner in 1847. At the time, they were also watching a flood wash away much of their community, including homes, barns, and livestock. Noting the abundance of wildlife fleeing before the waters, one man is said to have remarked that at least there should be plenty of rabbit hash.

The Rabbit Hash General Store is located just yards from the river, and it has seen several other major floods since then. During the biggest to date, in 1937, the waters of the Ohio 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.

On our visit, we talk to the present store proprietor, Terrie Markesbery; Jane Cochran, Mayor Junior’s human; and Rabbit Hash Historical Society President Don Clare. The town, which was designated a Preserve America Community by first lady Laura Bush, also features a museum, several craft shops, and an Underground Railroad memorial dedicated in 2005. Designed and paid for by local high school students, the plaque honors slaves who tried to cross to freedom across the river in Rising Sun.

Rabbit Hash is also the home of a business of which Junior no doubt approves: Intelligent Products Inc., which makes the Mutt Mitt products for cleaning up after your dog.

Warren County

For more information:
• Dr. Timothy Donley, 727 U.S. 31W Bypass, Suite 111, Bowling Green, KY 42101

Producers: Nick Grace, Mindy Yarberry
Videographers: Nick Grace, Andrea Hummel, Mindy Yarberry
Editor: Jessica Gibbs

Say Aaaahhhhh

Dental antiques collector Timothy Donley

Timothy Donley is a dentist with an appreciation for both the future and the history of his profession. In addition to practicing in Bowling Green, he speaks at conferences, leads workshops, writes and edits for journals, and conducts research. And as a hobby, he collects antique dental instruments.

Much of his collection is on display in the reception area of his office. So while waiting their turn in the chair, his patients can take a trip back in time—and perhaps come to appreciate how far dentistry has come.

Fayette County

For more information:
Castleton Lyons Farm, 2469 Ironworks Pike, Lexington, KY 40311, (859) 455-9222

Producer: Valerie Trimble
Videographer: Michael Follmer
Editor: Jim Piston

Set in Stone

Castleton Lyons’s stone tower

Dr. Tony Ryan also has an abiding appreciation for the past. In 2001, the Irish airline owner bought Castleton, a standardbred breeding farm in Fayette County that dates back to the late 1700s, and converted it to a thoroughbred operation (returning it to its original function, and joining three others he owns in Ireland). He also began making over its buildings and landscape with an eye toward giving it more of an Irish look.

Our visit focuses particularly on a round tower Ryan had built to cover a water tower. The round stone structure was inspired by ancient examples that dot the Irish countryside, built between 600 and 1000 A.D. as lookout towers and shelters to help protect the citizens from marauding Vikings. Castleton Lyons general manager Julian Dollar and project manager Darrell Edwards talk about how this replica was constructed.

The tower also links directly to Kentucky history. When immigrants from Ireland and Scotland arrived in the Bluegrass in the 1800s, they brought their dry-stone masonry skills with them—and found a land much like home in its rolling topography and abundance of rock. Those Irish artisans began the tradition of building the beautiful and durable stone fences that still line many a scenic Central Kentucky byway.


Producer: Dave Shuffett

And Something Extra ...

This episode ends with a music-and-scenery filler that travels east to west across the state.

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

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