Darlene Mazzone and Landee Bryant-Greene join us on Sounds Good to talk about the Columbia Club's efforts to raise funds to renovate Paducah's historic Columbia Theatre, a project with an estimated $6 million price tag. Mazzone says restoring the architectural gem will improve downtown economic viability and expects the donation to be put toward a feasibility study for the renovation project. Hear the conversation:
Music From the Front Porch co-host Mike Gowen organizes the "Turn of the Century Social" at Murray’s Central Park this Saturday from 10 to 2 with reenactors in period costumes reenacting scenarios at the old schoolhouse, courthouse, and train depot. Mike stopped by Sounds Good to talk with Todd Hatton about the weekend festivities. PS: Todd will be there handing out some WKMS News CDs (technology from the future).
Deana Wright visits Sounds Good Friday to give an update on work on revitalizing the Higgins House just west of the Murray Calloway County Public Library on Main Street. Wright says that Main Street is looking at about $200,000 in repairs before "the pretty" work begins to convert the hundred year old home into public spaces, particularly for social gatherings involving fewer than 50 attendees. Also, learn more about the 100 Year Anniversary of the County Court House on the Murray square to be celebrated on May 7.
June marked the bicentennial of the start of the War of 1812. Not many Kentuckians know much about the conflict, aside from the burning of the White House, and “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Even fewer know about the role the Commonwealth played in it, despite the fact that if you live in the Jackson Purchase, you likely live in a county named for a soldier who fought and died in one battle of the War of 1812: Major Bland Ballard, Major Benjamin Graves, Captain Paschal Hickman, and Captain Virgil McCracken.
Long before the Jackson Purchase, in about 1000 C.E, back when the Vikings were the only Europeans to come to this continent, Native American civilizations were building mound cities in and around our region. Today, researchers and volunteers work to preserve these sites. They call the people who built these now brooding places the Mississippians. While much is known about them, there’s much more that’s mysterious.
Before access to modern medicine became widespread, the rural poor mixed up their own treatments from the plants they grew and foraged. They learned which plants would relieve aches, supplement nutrition, and get rid of infections. These days, a trip to the pharmacy is a much more common way to heal an ailment. But there are still enclaves of natural healing around our region. Angela Hatton traveled to Clarksville, Tennessee, where a local herbalist has preserved her great-grandmother’s remedies.
The War of 1812 is sometimes called the second war for independence. It’s also called the forgotten war, as it was overshadowed fifty years later by a much bloodier war. Kentuckians were an important part of the 1812 war effort. The Commonwealth contributed more to the casualty list than any other state. Soldiers buried in western Kentucky fought in campaigns from Canada to New Orleans, with a few under the command of then-General and future president Andrew Jackson. Angela Hatton went searching for their graves.
At Brad Lowe’s farm, the livestock enjoy free range living together in an open field. Under an old oak tree, chickens peck for food while pigs root around and goats graze. An audience of dairy cows listens intently, while Lowe explains his love of sorghum.
Recordings in the Oral History Collection at Murray State University contain stories of the history and culture of the Jackson Purchase region. On reel to reel and cassette tapes, hundreds of recordings amounting to many hundreds of hours of audio are stored in the Pogue Library archives on the school’s campus. Some, however, are joining the rest of the world in making the switch to digital.
Benton’s annual Big Singing is the longest running indigenous musical event in the country. It’s a gathering of singing enthusiasts in the Benton courthouse every spring. But in recent years, attendance has been dwindling. We’ll join Rose Krzton-Presson as she explores this tradition and why it’s struggling to bring in a new generation of singers.