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Program 801

1. the Alpine Motel
2. Italian stonemasonry
3. bagpiper Karen McKenzie
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Cumberland County

For more information:
Alpine Motel, P.O. Box 375, Burkesville, KY 42717, (270) 864-7100

Producer, videographer: Dave Shuffett
Editor: Dan Taulbee

Rooms with a View

The Alpine Motel

Starting off a program with a definite international flavor, host Dave Shuffett visits an inn overlooking the Cumberland River that looks as if it would fit right in atop a Swiss Alp. Burkesville’s red-and-white-turreted Alpine Motel, built more than 50 years ago, offers accommodations and dining with spectacular views of the river valley. Once a preferred destination for local honeymooners, it’s still a favorite getaway spot for a meal or a weekend.

Visitors will also encounter an unusual historical artifact: the grave of “Captain Jack” McLain, a Civil War veteran who is said to have committed suicide out of remorse after accidentally killing a friend. Captain Jack requested that he be buried on top of the “Big Hill” on which the Alpine now sits because, as he put it, “that is as near heaven as I will ever get.”

Harlan County

Producer, editor: Marsha Cooper Hellard
Videographer: Brandon Wickey

Built To Last

Italian stonemasonry

More examples of impressive architecture are on tap in our next segment, which offers some samples of stonemasonry from Eastern Kentucky—by way of Italy.

In the first part of the 20th century, the expansion of the railroads led to a coal mining boom, and a wave of immigrants from eastern and central Europe arrived in Appalachia seeking jobs in the mines. Long after the boom had played itself out, the skills and cultural traditions the newcomers brought with them left their marks on the region.

One legacy that’s especially “solid” is that of the Italians, whose number included some highly skilled stonemasons. These artisans built stone fences as well as houses and other buildings throughout Eastern Kentucky. The chapel pictured is at Pine Mountain Settlement School; our tour visits several other towns, large and small, to seek out more examples. The guides are Rachel Kennedy of the Kentucky Heritage Council along with two descendants of some of the original stonecutters: Vincent Mongiardo and Ernestine Calitri Brashear.

Barren County

For more information:
Glasgow Highland Games Inc., 119 East Main St., Glasgow, KY 42141, (270) 651-3141
Barren River Lake State Resort Park, 1149 State Park Rd., Lucas, KY 42156-9709, (800) 325-0057

Producer, videographer, audio: Ernie Lee Martin

Piped-In Music

Bagpiper Karen McKenzie

Each year, the International Highland Games draw thousands of people to Glasgow ... Kentucky. This Barren County community becomes “more Scottish than Scotland” for its annual festival of tartans, caber tosses, and of course bagpipes. In 2001, Kentucky’s Highland Games were also the site of the International Gathering of Scottish Clans, an annual event that had never before been held in the United States.

Our visit to those 2001 games features a profile of Karen McKenzie, a level-one piper who has studied and performed in Scotland but lives in Louisville. She plays solo and with the Louisville Pipe Band—which has been designated the Official Pipe Band of Kentucky—and leads the Gathering parade.

The Highland Games are held around the beginning of June at Barren River Lake State Resort Park. Since one short visit really can’t capture the event, Kentucky Life attended again in 2005. That segment is part of Program 1210.

SEASON 8 PROGRAMS: 801802803804805806807808
809: Simple Pleasures and Hidden Treasures810811812813

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