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Program 1719

1. See Rock City
2. Historical Marker 2155—George Short House
3. Battle of Richmond
4. Gelato Gilberto
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Season 17 Menu


For more information:
See Rock City

Producer/Editor: Paul Smith
Videographer: Angelic Phelps
Audio: Doug Collins

See Rock City

You can't drive through rural areas of Kentucky without passing a barn advertising Rock City. What is Rock City, and why advertise on barns of all places?

Rock City is atop Lookout Mountain in northern Georgia just south of Chattanooga, Tennessee. Open now for 80 years, the mountaintop garden with spectacular views draws visitors from around the world.

Rock City was the brainchild of Frieda Carter. The wife of Garnet Carter (who invented miniature golf in the 1920s), she hatched the idea of creating an elaborate rock garden with a winding trail at the top of the mountain. Rock City opened in 1932, but business really took off after Garnet hired a sign painter to paint "See Rock City" on barns of willing farmers.

Paying farmers for barn advertising began with the familiar "Chew Mail Pouch" tobacco advertisements in the late 1800s. As the Carters discovered, barn ads were also the perfect way to advertise tourist attractions that were off the beaten path. By 1969, almost 900 barns were painted with the Rock City ad.

Barn ads declined as society became more high tech, but preservationists saw the old barns as slices of history that should be maintained. According to the folks at Rock City, fewer than 100 "See Rock City" barns remain today. We visit a collection of these Rock City barns in Kentucky; a large number are located in the Bowling Green and south central Kentucky area.

Muhlenberg County

For more information:
Image of George Short House from

Producer: Jim Piston

Historical Marker 2155—George Short House

Built in 1841 on North Main Street in Greenville, the spacious George Short House still stands out today with its charming two-story columned porch. It's hard to see how anyone could resist its welcoming facade, but a young woman named Tabitha Brank had no problem doing so.

Tabitha was George Short's dream girl, but Tabitha didn't feel the same about George. He asked her to marry him, but Tabitha rejected his proposal. Even so, George thought he could still win her over. The way to do that, he decided, was to build a magnificent home, a dream home. A wealthy tobacco merchant, George spared no expense. He even went to the trouble to have hard-to-get materials for the house floated down the Ohio River by flatboat.

Alas, Tabitha remained steadfast in her refusal to marry George. George died a bachelor in 1849 and never lived in his dream home, giving it to his sister instead. Now among the oldest residences in Greenville, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Madison County

For more information:
Battle of Richmond Association
Battle of Richmond Visitor Center

Producer/Editor: Paul Smith
Videographers: David Dampier, Prentice Walker, Jason Robinson, John Bacon
Audio: Roger Tremaine

Battle of Richmond

In the hot, dry summer of 1862, Confederate and Union soldiers met in Madison County for a two-day battle. A resounding Confederate victory, by the end of the battle most of the Union soldiers were captured. The Battle of Richmond, Aug. 29-30, 1862, was the largest Civil War battle in Kentucky until the troops met again in October in Perryville.

Confederate Gen. Kirby Smith was pushing deep into the heart of Central Kentucky from the south. There was disagreement on the Union side on how to defend Richmond against the more experienced Confederate troops. The abolitionist Cassius Clay, a Union major general, wanted to make a stand on the bluffs of the Kentucky River. His view lost out and he was relieved of command four days before the battle.

Instead, Union Maj. Gen. William "Bull" Nelson ordered troops deployed in nearby Lancaster and Danville. Brig. Gen. Mahlon D. Manson however, did not receive the message to move toward Lancaster. He moved just south of Richmond instead, and Smith's Confederate forces were waiting. Retreating Union forces were at Richmond Cemetery when Nelson arrived to rally them. A large man at 300 pounds, he is reported to have said, "Boys, if they can't hit something as big as I am, they can't hit anything." He was shot in the thigh and there his rally ended.

Of the 6,500 Union troops, 206 were killed, 844 were wounded, and 4,303 were missing. In contrast, the Confederate losses were 98 killed, 492 wounded, and 10 missing.

Now the Battle of Richmond Association works to preserve these hallowed grounds where almost 300 soldiers died. Battlefield Park is located on U.S. 421 across from the Blue Grass Army Depot.

Oldham County

For more information:
Gelato Gilberto

Producer: Dave Shuffett
Videographer: John Schroering
Audio: Roger Tremaine
Editor: Jim Piston

Gelato Gilberto

Justin and Kristin Gilbert aren't Italian, but they're devoted to the country's culture and especially its gelato.

These Irish Americans fell in love with Italian ice cream and opened their own shop here in Oldham County. They've created more than 80 recipes, with flavors ranging from amaretto and tiramisu to butter bourbon pear and chocolate pepperoncino. Their shop is located in Norton Commons in Prospect.

Gelato differs from American ice cream in that it has less butterfat and less air is churned into the mixture. It is also served at a warmer temperature than ice cream.

The couple, both art historians, lived in Italy for almost three years with their two daughters, studying the art of making gelato. Justin was trained in artisan-style gelato making at Carpigiani's Gelato University in Bologna, Italy.

SEASON 17 PROGRAMS: 1701170217031704170517061707170817091710171117121713171417151716171717181719172017211722

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