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Program 423

1. photographer John Nation
2. historic Farmington
3. spoonbill on the menu
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Season 4 Menu

Jefferson County

Producer: Donna Ross
Videographer: Gale Worth

Lens on Louisville

photographer John Nation

This edition of Kentucky Life focuses on Louisville. We begin with a profile of a man whose prize-winning photographs have helped a lot of other people get to know the River City: Louisville Magazine photographer John Nation. Our camera follows Nation around as he aims his own camera at the denizens of the Louisville Zoo and other sites in the city he loves.

Jefferson County

For more information:
Farmington Historic Plantation, 3033 Bardstown Rd., Louisville, KY 40205, (502) 452-9920

Producer: Ernie Lee Martin

Abe Lincoln Slept Here


Next, come with us to Farmington, a Federal-style house and former plantation listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Built in 1810 by John and Lucy Speed, Farmington is believed to have been adapted from a draft plan drawn up by Thomas Jefferson. The “Jeffersonian” touches include two octagonal rooms separated by a hallway. Our visit features a tour of the house focusing on the lives of women on the plantation and a look at an ongoing archaeological dig at the former slave quarters.

In 1841, family friend Abraham Lincoln spent two weeks at Farmington. He and Joshua Speed, one of John and Lucy’s sons, were regular correspondents. Later, Lincoln named Joshua’s brother James to his cabinet as attorney general of the United States.

The Speed family sold Farmington in 1865. Purchased along with five acres of land (the original plantation was about 500 acres) in 1958 by the Historic Homes Foundation, the house was restored and opened to the public in 1959.

Jefferson County

Producer: Joy Flynn

Something Fishy

paddlefish (spoonbill)

With its miles and miles of streams, huge manmade reservoirs, and generally mild climate, Kentucky is a paradise for fish (and fishermen); almost 250 species of fish live in the state’s waters.

One of them is Polyodon spathula, the paddlefish. Though popularly known as the spoon-billed catfish, or simply the spoonbill, the paddlefish is actually more closely related to the sturgeons. In fact, its eggs yield a good-quality caviar.

But it’s the spoonbill’s meat that’s the focus of this segment. Boosters are touting the spoonbill as a potentially lucrative crop for fish farmers and a gourmet treat for diners. Host Byron Crawford tries some at Louisville’s famed Seelbach Hotel, which now features the paddlefish on its dining-room menu. The verdict? A flavorful, not-too-“fishy” taste, somewhere between salmon and sturgeon.

One of the last surviving members of an ancient lineage—its closest relatives inhabit the rivers of China—the spoonbill can grow to six feet long. It is named for its long, flat, oar-shaped snout, which holds the sensory organs that help the fish find its own food. Despite its impressive size, the paddlefish is not a predator. Instead, it is a filter feeder, living on tiny organisms it captures by straining water through its gills.

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