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Program 1612

1. Today's Special—Opal's
2. Downtown—Paducah
3. Dave Does It!—Tarter Farm and Ranch Equipment
4. Historical Marker 1856—Hawesville Railroad Station
5. Cub Run Cave
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Season 16 Menu

Jackson County

For more information:
• Opal's, Main and Water streets, McKee, Ky. 40447; phone: 606-287-1530

Producer: Brandon Wickey
Audio: Noel Depp
Audio Post: Chuck Burgess

Today's Special—Opal's

This downtown McKee restaurant has been an institution for a couple of generations. First called the Jackson County Restaurant, or JCO, it was eventually renamed Opal's, for founder and cook Opal Jennings.

Now run by her daughter Kathy Carpenter, Opal's boasts a large buffet lunch and dinner and is known for its cream pies—the only dessert on the menu. Chocolate, coconut, butterscotch—the pies come in several different flavors. And people come from all over to sample them.

The day starts early and ends late in the diner business—Opal's is open sun-up until sundown, for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Opal's serves up country favorites like fried catfish, soup beans, and chicken and dumplings. Dave Shuffett visits and talks with Kathy as well as some devoted customers.

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McCracken County

For more information:
Paducah Renaissance Alliance
2011 Dozen Distinctive Destinations named by the National Trust for Historic Preservation

Producer/Videographer: Dave Shuffett
Editor: Dan Taulbee


We pay a visit to Broadway in downtown Paducah, where the close attention paid to the historic flavor of the town has earned kudos from tourists and honors from preservationists. Paducah was named the fan favorite among the 2011 Dozen Distinctive Destinations by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Visitors can enjoy the arts and culture of the city through a walking tour, horse-drawn carriage ride, or trolley tour. The floodwall murals, which take up three city blocks, tell the story of Paducah's history, from Lewis and Clark to the Civil War to the present. The LowerTown Arts District features restored Classic Revival and Italianate architecture. The Uppertown Heritage Walking Tour reveals the history of the African-American community here.

A great time to tour Paducah is during April's Dogwood Days, when the Dogwood Trail takes visitors 12 miles through the historic downtown, LowerTown and residential neighborhoods.

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Casey County

For more information:
Tarter Farm and Ranch Equipment, P.O. Box 10, 10739 South U.S. 127, Dunnville, Ky. 42528, phone: 1-800-733-4283

Producer: Matt Grimm
Videographers: Matt Grimm, Dave Dampier
Audio: Brent Abshear
Audio Post: Chuck Burgess

Dave Does It!—Tarter Farm and Ranch Equipment

For his next challenge, Dave Shuffett visits Tarter Farm and Ranch Equipment in Casey County, the country's largest manufacturer of farm gates and animal management equipment. He learns step by step how a steel gate is made, trying to lend a "helpful" hand along the way.

The Tarters began selling wooden gates made by hand back in the 1940s. The business has expanded over the years to include cattle squeeze chutes, horse stalls, rodeo roping chutes, utility trailers, and ATV equipment. Tarter was the exclusive supplier of equine equipment for the 2010 World Equestrian Games.

C.V. Tarter, who started the business, bought local lumber to make the gates then eventually built his own sawmill. His son Roger and Roger's wife, Vivian (who passed away recently at the age of 85), took over the business in 1948. To this day the Tarters maintain control over the entire manufacturing process, from purchase of the raw materials to delivery.

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Hancock County

For more information:
Hancock County Museum, Hawesville, Ky.

Producer: Jim Piston

Historical Marker 1856—Hawesville Railroad Station

Our next stop takes us to Hawesville, where a historic railroad depot now houses the Hancock County Museum.

Rails of the Louisville, St. Louis, and Texas Railroad were laid at Hawesville in 1888, and the first passenger train ran between Owensboro and Stephensport. The rail line later became part of Louisville and Nashville system in 1929.

The depot has seen its share of history: It was an embarkation point for Army troops during World War I, and President Harry Truman spoke here during an election campaign whistle stop on Sept. 30, 1948.

The depot was restored and the Hancock County Museum opened in 1988.

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Hart County

For more information:
Cub Run Cave, 15101 Cub Run Highway, Cub Run, KY 42729

Producer: Dave Shuffett
Videographer: John Schroering, Dave Shuffett
Editor: Kelly Campbell
Editor Q/C: Dan Taulbee
Lighting: Don Dean
Cave Reenactors: Austin Bates, Will Shuffett

Cub Run Cave

A Rediscovered Realm

Many of the state's famous caves have been open to the public for well over 100 years. Cub Run Cave in Hart County, however, has been open for just a few years, and its reputation is growing as one of Kentucky cave country's hidden gems.

The story of the cave's discovery in the 1950s is a young explorer's dream come true. Two teenage boys noticed a cold breeze coming from under an outcropping near Otter Spring. They began digging and crawled inside, and the rest is history. Dave Shuffett talks to one of the discoverers, and with the help of two teen-age friends of ours, we re-enact the event.

The cave was open to the public for a brief time in the 1950s before land disputes ended tours. The cave was reopened in 2006, once again delighting visitors with its many beautiful and unusual formations. Cub Run is believed to be one of only four caves in the United States with the rare formation called boxwork, a honeycomb patterns that projects from the walls and ceiling of a cave. Among the other stunning formations are draperies, soda straws (baby stalactites), and cave bacon (a drapery formation with colorful stripes made by iron oxide).

You may also spy salamanders, bats, and cave crawfish. Visitors often linger at the pond inside the cave, where a slow and steady ceiling drip forms endless circles in the water.

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