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Program 1211

1. Jesse Stuart State Nature Preserve
2. U.S. Marine Hospital
3. Chalk It Up
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Season 12 Menu

Greenup County

For more information:
Jesse Stuart State Nature Preserve, c/o Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission, 801 Schenkel Lane, Frankfort, KY 40601, (502) 573-2886
Jesse Stuart Foundation, 1645 Winchester Ave., P.O. Box 669, Ashland, KY 41105, (800) 504-0209
• For more about Stuart, see the December 2002 edition of bookclub@ket, a discussion of his short-story collection Come Back to the Farm.

Producer, videographer, editor: Brandon Wickey
Audio: Noel Bramblett

Jesse’s Hollow

Jesse Stuart State Nature Preserve

Jesse Stuart’s parents were poor, uneducated tenant farmers who worked the land in Greenup County’s W-Hollow without ever owning a piece of it. Determined that their children would have opportunities they never did, they made sure to instill an appreciation for the value of education. All five of their kids graduated from college and became schoolteachers. Jesse went even further, becoming a celebrated writer and leaving the hardships of his childhood far behind.

But what Jesse never left behind was the place itself. Though he traveled and lectured extensively and even lived abroad for short periods, he always returned to Greenup County, and his poetry, novels, and autobiographical works are deeply rooted in its rolling hills. With the proceeds—Stuart was one of America’s best-selling writers during the middle decades of the 20th century—he began buying up pieces of W-Hollow. He eventually acquired more than 700 acres, managing it for conservation rather than farming and timbering. In 1980, he and his wife, Naomi, donated this land to the state. It was officially dedicated as a state nature preserve in 1979.

Kentucky Life first visited W-Hollow in 1997 (Program 420). For this update, host Dave Shuffett gets a tour led by old friend Joyce Bender of the Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission.

Located about 20 miles north of Grayson off Kentucky Highway 1, the preserve has about three miles of hiking trails. It’s known as a great place to watch birds and other wildlife. Or, of course, you can merely find a quiet spot and let literary inspiration strike. For his part, Dave lets Stuart do the writing, reading from four of his poems: “Shinglemill Symphony,” “Be in a Joyful Mood,” “Kentucky Is My Home,” and “Spring in Kentucky Hills.”

Jefferson County

For more information:
Marine Hospital Foundation, 2215 Portland Ave., Louisville, KY 40212, (502) 772-8328

Producer, editor: Joy Flynn
Videographer: David Dampier
Lighting: Don Dean
Audio: Charlie Bissell

On the Waterfront

Marine Hospital

Our next stop for this edition is the U.S. Marine Hospital in Louisville, a National Historic Landmark whose own history is connected both to the development of the United States and to the history of health care in America.

Before interstate highways or railroads, goods moved by water. And for the men who did the moving, it was dangerous work. They lived for months at a time on America’s rivers and lakes, enduring extremes of weather. Collisions, groundings, and boiler explosions were common, and river bottoms bred diseases from malaria to cholera. In the cities that served as major river transportation hubs, health care providers found themselves overwhelmed with rivermen who were unable to work because of illness or injury. Louisville had opened a hospital just for these inland sailors in 1823, and the operating costs were causing quite a strain on the city’s budget.

Because the rivermen’s labor was vital to the young nation and its growing industries, the federal government stepped in to provide some relief. In 1837, Robert Mills, America’s first native-born architect, was commissioned to develop a standard design for a series of seven “marine hospitals” to serve the boatmen of the “western waters”—which at the time meant anything west of the Appalachians. Construction began in Louisville in 1845, on a piece of high ground overlooking the Ohio River in the Portland neighborhood. After some delay caused by the U.S.-Mexican War, the new hospital opened in 1851.

Though built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the marine hospitals were civilian facilities. A small percentage of rivermen’s salaries was withheld to help pay for their operation, with the federal government providing additional support. The arrangement made these hospitals a fascinating early experiment in publicly funded health care.

Louisville’s Marine Hospital also cared for Union soldiers during the Civil War, then returned to its function of serving rivermen until it was replaced by a more modern facility in the 1930s. The 1850s structure continued to be used for storage, but gradually fell into disrepair. Thanks to its original high standards of craftsmanship, though, it managed to survive the great 1937 Ohio flood as well as a couple of tornadoes relatively intact. In 1997, it won its National Historic Landmark status as the only one of the seven original marine hospitals still standing.

A few years later, Louisville’s Marine Hospital also made a more unfortunate list: the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s round-up of the 11 most endangered historic buildings in the country. But as we learn on this visit, a dedicated group of friends is hard at work on a rescue and restoration effort.

Warren County

Producers: Michael Depersio, Shawn Jenkins, Jonathan Klingenfus
Videographers: Shawn Jenkins, Jonathan Klingenfus

Concrete Creativity

a sidewalk art competition

Some Western Kentucky University design students get to act like kids again in our final segment for this edition. They participated in the university’s “Chalk It Up” competition. The task was to come up with an original design for a rug. But instead of weaving their creations, the students then took to the sidewalks to render their designs in chalk. Along with professors Tracy Pace and Sheila Flener, several of them talk about both the fun and the challenges of working in this unusual medium.

Boyle County

For more information:
Constitution Square, 134 S. 2nd St., Danville, KY 40422, (859) 239-7089

On Location

Dave hosts this edition from Constitution Square in Danville, where delegates drew up the first constitution for the Commonwealth of Kentucky. A festival each September commemorates Danville’s role as the first seat of Kentucky government.

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

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