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Program 715

1. Pilot Knob State Nature Preserve
2. a Frankfort family business
3. the Columbus-Belmont battlefield
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Powell County

For more information:
Pilot Knob State Nature Preserve, Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission, 801 Schenkel Lane, Frankfort, KY 40601, (502) 573-2886

Producer, videographer, editor: Gale Worth

Daniel Boone Stepped Here?

Pilot Knob State Nature Preserve

On June 7, 1769, Daniel Boone and some companions climbed an “eminence” in the Kentucky wilderness and got their first good look at the rolling hills of the Bluegrass region. In January 2001, Joyce Bender of the Kentucky Nature Preserves Commission guided Dave up what is believed to be that same eminence, where the view is still spectacular—and, thanks to preservation efforts in the centuries in between, still pretty wild.

Powell County’s Pilot Knob (one of at least seven Kentucky hills by that name) rises more than 700 feet above the surrounding valley, for a total elevation of 1,440 feet. It is enclosed within a 648-acre preserve that also shelters another piece of history: a quarry where the pioneers who followed Boone excavated grinding stones for mills.

To reach Pilot Knob, take the Mountain Parkway to the KY 15 exit at Clay City. Follow KY 15 north for 2.7 miles, then turn right on Brush Creek Road for 1.5 miles. The trail to the top, just under two miles long, begins at the gravel parking lot.

Franklin County

Producer, videographer: Dave Shuffett
Editor: Dan Taulbee

Rogers and Son

A Frankfort family business

In our next segment, host Dave Shuffett spends some quiet moments with David Rogers of Frankfort. An only child raised by his widowed father, Cecil, David was extremely close to his father. The two worked side-by-side for many years in Cecil Rogers’ garage. When the elder Rogers died, his son kept the business exactly as his father had left it as a memorial to the deep relationship they shared.

Hickman County

For more information:
Columbus-Belmont State Park, 350 Park Rd., Columbus, KY 42032-0009, (270) 677-2327

Producer, videographer, editor: Ernie Lee Martin

Links to the Civil War

Columbus-Belmont Battlefield

At the western end of Kentucky, you’ll find one of the more unusual Civil War artifacts still in place on its battlefield: a giant ship’s anchor and several links of an accompanying chain that, for a brief period in 1861, was stretched across the Mississippi in an attempt to block Union access to the river.

When Confederate forces captured Columbus, a small Hickman County town that sits on bluffs overlooking the Mississippi (just south of its junction with the Ohio), they decided to try to cordon off the river. So a two-ton deep-sea anchor was dragged onto the bluffs, and its heavy chain was stretched across the way to Belmont, Missouri. On hearing the news, Ulysses S. Grant, then a rookie Union commander looking for his first real action, seized Paducah in retaliation and prepared to raid Belmont. In a battle fought on both sides of the river, Grant’s troops seized the Confederates’ camps and forced them to take shelter under the bluffs. But then the inexperienced Northerners broke off fighting to loot the abandoned camps, and the Southern troops were able to make their escape, regroup, and eventually force Grant’s men to retreat back up the river. At one point, in fact, Grant himself was surprised by a group of Confederates but was allowed to escape without a shot being fired—a lost opportunity the South would later deeply regret.

The chain, made of links almost a foot wide, was never designed to support its own weight, and it broke and collapsed into the river not long after the battle. But word of that fact didn’t reach Union headquarters for almost a year, until after Forts Henry and Donelson farther down the Mississippi had been taken by overland routes.

Today, tourists stop at Columbus-Belmont State Park to admire the river view and to take snapshots with the anchor, which at nine feet wide is still an impressive sight. On our visit, Kentucky Life also meets a new breed of Civil War reenactor: a history and photography buff who takes part in battle reenactments in the guise of a field photographer, shooting with a replica 1860s camera instead of a gun.

The park is located 36 miles southwest of Paducah on KY 58 and KY 123/80. The annual Civil War Days commemoration is held in October.

SEASON 7 PROGRAMS: 701702703704705706707708709: Along U.S. 60

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