3 Kentucky Memorials Honor Our Veterans

Armistice Day. It was on the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month in the year 1918 that World War I ceremonially ended.

In time, and in recognition of the many more conflicts in which American servicemen and women fought, the holiday was renamed to Veterans Day. To all those who have served our country, thank you.

Below are images of 3 selected memorials around Kentucky which honor the servicemen of World War I:

Springfield, Kentucky. Author’s collection.
Paintsville, Kentucky. Author’s collection
Morehead, Kentucky. Author’s collection.

NoD: Celebrate Veterans Day by Thanking a Doughboy

Carter County, Ky. Jamestown, Ky.
Doughboy – Grayson, Ky. Doughboy – Jamestown, Ky.

I’m sure that around the country, hospitals will see an uptick in deliveries and scheduled caesareans. And many couples will share their nuptials on this memorable date: 11-11-11. Grooms won’t have to worry about forgetting that anniversary!

Rowan County, Ky.
Morehead, Ky.

But November 11 also has a symbolic meaning in our country and around the globe for on “the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” in the year 1918, hostilities with Germany ended thus concluding “The Great War” (n/k/a World War I). In America, this date was celebrated for years as Armistice Day until after the conclusion of another great war – World War II – that the date became known simply as Veteran’s Day. In other countries, November 11 is referred to as Remembrance Day.

I am particularly fond of the original term Armistice Day because of its historic context. The young Americans in the early part of the twentieth century crossed the ocean to fight the Germans in an era when crossing the ocean wasn’t something you did for reasons other than immigration. Earlier this year, Frank Buckles of Missouri passed away – he was the last of the American doughboys from World War I.

Pikeville, Ky.
Pikeville, Ky.

Statues of  World War I doughboys stand in memorium around America in front of courthouses, in cemeteries and in town squares. In fact, the doughboy statue is the most reproduced life-size statue in America with 140 known copies. First designed and sculpted by E.M. Viquesney in 1920, “The Spirit of the American Doughboy” went through a few design changes over the years. Though most don’t realize it, Viquesney’s doughboy is likely the most witnessed sculpture in the United States other than the Statue of Liberty herself.

In Kentucky, eight Viquesney statues are known to exist in the following towns: Grayson, Harlan, Jamestown, Liberty, Monticello, Morehead, Pikeville and Winchester. The first of these to be installed was the Monticello doughboy in January 1923; the last was in Jamestown 75 years ago today on Armistice Day, 1936.

Whatever its name, it is a day to thank the men and women in uniform who have served our country. And though many people only recognize today as being a day when schools, banks and government offices are closed, it is because our soldiers fought that we can enjoy our freedoms today.

Source: Viquesney Database

NoD: Offices of Judge Allie Young

Rowan County, Ky.
Law Offices of Judge Allie Young, Morehead, Ky.

From this office, Allie Young practiced law on behalf of Morehead’s citizens. He was also elected to the state senate (1924-1936) after having served as a Circuit Judge in Rowan County. While serving in the state senate, Young was the “moving political force” behind the General Assembly’s decision to establish Morehead  State University as a state college (it wouldn’t be formally known as MSU until 1966). On campus, a dormitory built in 1926 is named after Young.

This small, unassuming, wood-sided structure caught my eye only because of its historic marker which indicated that Allie Young was a lawyer and a politico who steered the successful gubernatorial campaigns of William Goebel and J.C.W. Beckham. Although I didn’t recognize Young’s name, I did recognize the two names of these two governors (Goebel for his disputed election and subsequent assassination; Beckham for having a county named after himself only to have it dissolved as unconstitutional within 90 days).

But Allie Young, particularly as a judge, has stories of his own. His brother was an attorney who appeared before Judge Allie Young in the fall of 1905. During a jury selection, Judge Young found his brother in contempt and fined him $5. A brotherly spat ensued whereby the suggestion was made by Attorney Young that the fine be $15; after a few more rounds of conversation the fine was settled upon at $25 and 24 hours in jail. The local bar urged the Judge to reconsider, but he was steadfast: “In open Court my brother is to me the same as any other lawyer at this bar and he must treat the court with the same respect and dignity that any other lawyer would.” This story from Morehead was picked up by news organizations such as the Lexington Herald and the New York Times.

Rowan County Courthouse – Morehead, Ky.

Old Rowan County Courthouse, Morehead, Ky.

This one’s just kinda sad. What you see above is the beautiful former Rowan County Courthouse. It currently houses the Rowan County Arts Center. This building was built between 1896 and 1899. It is the only remaining 19th Century building left standing on Main Street in Morehead. It is the third courthouse to sit on this site.

What is shown above is the current Rowan County Courthouse, which looks like a gymnasium. When I first came to Rowan County for court, I couldn’t believe that this was the courthouse, and had to double-check before going in. There are no windows in the courtroom, and it feels like you’re going into a crypt when you enter. I wonder why they didn’t get a spiffy new judicial center?

No Destination: Morehead

Once off campus, there is very little to see in Morehead. The “old” courthouse (not that old) is now an Arts Center. It is clear that the Center is uncertain what to do with the old jail – a neo-gothic structure behind the old courthouse that was constructed as a Works Progress Administration in 1938. Peering in its only window (on the door), I saw the following:
Additionally in Morehead, the First Christian Church has a forty-foot (diameter) labyrinth on its grounds that is open to the public. Walking the seven-circuit path – with St. Francis of Assisi in its center – was a wonderful experience at the end of a long day during which I saw so much (family, Cave Run Lake, the old Frenchburg School, the gravel road).

No Destination: Morehead State University

Morehead State University has a surprisingly beautiful campus. Sure, it has its traditional campus-like, Soviet-era bunkers (including one that is probably a six-story cylinder). But it also has nine buildings on the National Register which were build from 1926-1932 in a “Collegiate Gothic” design.

The school was begun as a Christian school in 1887 and when through various lives before it became MSU in 1966. Pictured above is the Camden Library (c. 1931); below is the clocktower in front of the library.

No Destination: Farmers

In the western part of Rowan County, the county’s first community began to be settled around 1792 on the banks of the Licking River. The town, CrossRoads, was named for obvious reasons. Hard timber in the area made CrossRoads (later renamed Farmers in 1882) a boom-town, until timbering became exhausted c. 1900. By then, much of the commerce had shifted ten miles east to the county seat: Morehead.

No Destination: Cave Run Lake

I wasn’t expecting to see Cave Run Lake at all (road construction detoured my route), but I am so glad I did. It was peaceful, tranquil and beautiful. Above is a picture taken from a short trail near the Cumberland Ranger District office in Rowan County.

Below is a video taken near Clear Creek – at the southern end of Cave Run Lake in Menifee. The only sounds were the wind rustling the tree next to me and the water rippling onto the boat ramp (Leatherwood boat ramp, on which I was sitting).

The lake was created by the Army Corps of Engineers in a project that began in 1965. The dam became operational in 1974. Cave Run Lake is 8,270 acres (summer) in size.