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Program 306

1. Russell Springs’ restored Star Theater
2. artist Helen LaFrance
3. Henry Clay’s Lexington estate
Season 3 Menu

For more information:
Star Theater, 546 Main St., Russell Springs, KY 42642, (270) 866-STAR

Producer, videographer: David Brinkley

A Star Attraction

cartoon of marquee Russell Springs’ restored Star Theater

Many citizens of Russell County fondly remember Saturday matinees or special dates at the elegant Star Theater in Russell Springs. A few years ago, the 1950s-vintage building had fallen into disrepair. But a combination of those memories, community pride, and appreciation for the arts sparked a restoration effort. Now the old movie house has new life as a home for arts events of all kinds.

For more information:
• Gus Van Sant Sr., (502) 247-4950

Producer: Guy Mendes

Visions of the Rural South

photo of Helen LaFrance Artist Helen LaFrance

Next, spend a little time with Mayfield artist Helen LaFrance, who captures her memories of the rural South on canvas. For her images of typical African-American life, LaFrance, in her 80s when we visited in the mid-1990s, draws on a lifetime of experiences and observations of how the lives of black and white Southerners have differed—and how they have changed.

For more information:
Ashland, the Henry Clay Estate, 120 Sycamore Road, Lexington, KY 40502, (859) 266-8581

Producer: Megan Moloney

Henry Clay Slept Here


In the final segment of this episode, Kentucky Life remembers one of Kentucky’s most famous native sons—Henry Clay—with a tour of Ashland, the Clay family estate in Lexington.

Even though he never became president (he ran three times), Clay did become one of the most respected and influential statesmen of the 19th century. In his early years in the Senate, he was such a staunch advocate of the War of 1812 that it was sometimes referred to as “Mr. Clay’s War.” But his enduring fame stemmed from the series of compromises he fashioned to avoid a later war—the Civil War. Clay was the architect of both the Missouri Compromise and the Compromise of 1850. When war did come in 1861, many people wondered whether Clay could have somehow found a way to avoid it yet again.

But Clay had died in 1852. He became the first person ever to lie in state in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda, and thousands of people turned out to pay their respects as his funeral cortege wound its way home to Kentucky.

Today, you can tour the Ashland house and gardens (featured in Kentucky Life Program 906), which underwent a major restoration effort in the late 1980s, for clues to the personality of this man who helped shape the America of the 19th century. From February through December, the estate is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 am (ET) to 4:00 pm and Sundays from 1:00 to 4:00 pm (closed the month of January). Tours are conducted on the hour. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for students, $2 for children, and free for kids under 6.

SEASON 3 PROGRAMS: 301302303304305306307

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