Welcome to the blog of the Henderson, Ky., Depot Community Room. The Community Room strives to promote a better understanding of Henderson, Ky., history and culture through special programs and exhibits. Our exhibit hall features the collections of the Henderson County Historical and Genealogical Society. The Community Room is funded by the City of Henderson, Ky., through the Henderson County Tourist Commission.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Henderson native Admiral Husband Kimmel was commander of the Pacific Fleet on December 7, 1941

Husband Edward Kimmel, born in Henderson, Kentucky on February 26, 1882, had just been promoted to Admiral, commanding the Pacific Fleet based at Pearl Harbor in February 1941. This promotion followed a long, honorable service record in the United States Navy. Throughout reports from his superiors ran the theme of integrity, leadership, diligence and independence of mind.
Following the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor 70 years ago today, Kimmel was relieved of his command, and his rank reverted to Rear Admiral. The Defense Department cited his "dereliction of duty" as the reason. It was suggested that Kimmel ignored intelligence that could have prevented the attack. Kimmel denied that he ever received such intelligence and insisted that he was being used as a scapegoat.
"The success of the attack on Pearl Harbor ... was caused by the deliberate failure of Washington to give the Commanders in Hawaii the information available in Washington to which they were entitled," wrote Kimmel in a letter to Missouri Congressman Clarence Cannon on June 3, 1958.
It has been claimed that Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox and President Franklin D. Roosevelt were anxious to placate the American people who wondered how the attack on the great battleships and air installations at Pearl Harbor could have come as such a surprise. They relieved Kimmel of his command as well as the Army's top command in Hawaii, General Walter Short. Instead of being reassigned, after 37 years of active duty Kimmel was forced into retirement, in March 1942.
To reassure the American people that the war effort was being managed well, and to protect those above Kimmel and Short from harsh criticism, an investigation was ordered. Wartime security measures made it impossible for the Roberts Commission to probe deeply into circumstances leading up to the attack, so questions as to American knowledge of Japanese plans, and as to whether his superiors had kept Kimmel adequately informed of the likelihood of war were never answered.
Four later inquiries reached more balanced conclusions, finding that Kimmel could not have prevented the attack, that others shared responsibility for the ineffective American response, and that the most anyone in his position could have done was to order more extensive reconnaissance measures. And even with that, the attack was imaginative and well-executed, and might still have come as a surprise.
All his friends, classmates and former shipmates remained loyal to Kimmel, and Admiral William Halsey remained adamant that Kimmel had exercised his command with care and skill.
"In all my experience," wrote Halsey in his memoirs, "I have never known a commander-in-chief of any United States Fleet who worked harder, and under more adverse circumstances, to increase its efficiency and to prepare it for war; further, I know of no officer who might have been in command at that time who could have done more than Kimmel did."
Some believe that given a chance Kimmel would have made a splendid wartime leader. Others feel that regardless of his merit, his position has been undermined; that without the complete confidence of all above him -- and below as well -- he could not have led as effectively as his equally qualified replacement, Charles Nimitz.
Kimmel was exonerated in the eyes of the American public, but his ranking was never restored. Since his death in 1968, Kimmel's son and grandson have worked to have his status as a four-star Admiral restored, and while much evidence exists to legitimize this request, the Defense Department has yet to honor it.

Sources: Graybar, Lloyd J. "Pearl Harbor 'Scapegoat'' Louisville Courier-Journal December 3, 1978; Kimmel, Husband E. "Facts About Pearl Harbor"

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Celebrate Roy Rogers' 100th Birthday with the Depot Community Room's "Happy Trails: A 1950's Cowboy Christmas"

Do you remember waiting eagerly every Saturday for the” Roy Rogers Show”? Were you unable to sleep on Christmas Eve, hoping Santa would bring you the cap gun and holster on your wish list? Then the Community Room’s new exhibit “Happy Trails: a 1950’s Cowboy Christmas” will take you on a trip down memory lane!

Now through the end of December, the Community Room will have on display items that would have been on the wish list of any girl and boy in 1950s Henderson. The display focuses specifically on the height of the singing Cowboy craze, when every little boy wanted his own six-shooter and every girl wanted an outfit just like Dale Evans.

View the Cowboy Christmas tree as you listen to Gene Autry sing your favorite Christmas songs. We will also air radio shows and the popular television series starring Roy Rogers and Dale Evans.

The Community Room is located inside the Depot on the Henderson, Ky., riverfront and is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. The Community Room is funded by the City of Henderson through the Henderson Tourist Commission.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Discover the Hidden Stories of Henderson at our "Spooks and Legends of Old Henderson" Walking Tour Oct. 22

Did you know there's a Henderson home that has a secret room accessible only by a trap door in a bedroom closet ceiling? Do you know the story behind Henderson's grotesque -- but true -- "Dog Supper?"

 On the Community Room's "Spooks and Legends of Old Henderson Walking Tour" you'll learn more!

The Depot Community Room's mission is to preserve and promote Henderson's history, and this tour highlights the more nefarious side of Henderson's history -- pointing out the sites of historic executions, murders and deaths. The tour also explores the folklore of Old Henderson. These stories of hauntings and unusual events, though they may not be entirely accurate -- have become a part of Henderson's culture merely through their retelling from one generation to the next.

The Spooks and Legends Tour is unlike any other historical tour of the city, and you can only be a part of it once a year! This year the event is on Saturday, October 22. Tours will leave from the Depot at 101 N. Water St. every half hour starting at 2 p.m. and ending at 5 p.m.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Just who resides at Fernwood Cemetery?

Join us on Saturday, Sept. 24 to find out!

The Depot Community Room is hosting a tour of Fernwood Cemetery, Henderson's oldest and most fascinating cemetery!

Its residents include former governors, pioneers in health and horticulture and even the founder of Mother's Day. The not-so-famous residents of the cemetery also have interesting tales of untimely deaths and odd eccentricities  that have been dug up, so to speak, for this special tour! 

The tour will be led by local historian Frank Nally, who will share some of his extensive research into the lives of those buried at the cemetery. The tour begins at 9 a.m. at the Parks and Recreation office at 920 Madison St. and will last approximately 1 1/2 hours. Walking shoes are recommended. The tour is free.

For more information or to make reservations contact the Depot Community Room at 270-930-9707 or leighann@hendersondepot.org.

Monday, August 15, 2011

An Evening With Jim Owen

Jim Owen is no stranger to the stage, having performed in the famous  Las Vegas Legends Concert and as a headlining act in Branson for more than two decades. He’ll return home to Henderson on Friday, August 19, at 7 p.m. for an intimate homecoming event at the Depot Community Room.

Owen will bring along his guitar and play a few tunes as he talks about Henderson’s musical heritage and his own successful career as a performer and songwriter.  He wrote a string of hits for several country western greats, but his most recognizable was the Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn duet “Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man.” 

Owen’s performance officially kicks off the unveiling of a new exhibit at the Depot Community Room highlighting Henderson’s country western performers. The exhibit features photographs and memorabilia recalling the county’s rich musical heritage and highlighting such notable performers as Louis Marshall "Grandpa" Jones, Les Smithhart and his band, the Doug Oldham Band and James "Spider" Rich, who co-wrote the famous hit "Yakity Sax" with saxopohonist Boots Randolph, which was also recorded by Chet Atkins and became the most recognizable tune from the Benny Hill show.

Show Information

Jim Owen will be speaking and performing a few songs on Friday, August 19  at 7 p.m. in Henderson, Ky. To reserve a seat, you must contact the Depot Community Room at 830-9707 or  email events coordinator Leigh Ann Tipton at leighann@hendersondepot.org by August 18. Please include your name, phone number and number of people in your party. The event is free to the public and is scheduled to take place inside the Depot Community Room at 101 N. Water St. on the Henderson riverfront. The venue is subject to change, in which case we will do our best to notify everyone who has registered to attend.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Folklife Celebration set for August 13

In celebration of Bill Monroe’s 100th Birthday this year’s Bluegrass In The Park folklife celebration will offer a unique look at the musical traditions of bluegrass. Luthiers will share their craft of constructing and repairing the various  musical instruments used to create the one of a kind sounds of bluegrass. Children will also be able to explore other folklife traditions with hands-on crafts.

Musical Traditions
Hatfield Banjos – Arthur Hatfield has been playing bluegrass music since he was a boy and has been building banjos for 30 years. The first band Arthur Hatfield played in was called the "New Sounds of Bluegrass" that he and friends Larry Lawrence and Jimmy Dickerson had formed. Arthur soon caught the attention of Carl Story and traveled and performed all over the U.S. and Canada as one of Carl Story's Rambling Mountaineers. Arthur now once again resides at his old homeplace where he builds Hatfield Banjos, necks, and does banjo repairs. He started building Hatfield Banjos fulltime in 2001.
The Makings of a Violin - Rebecca Wetzel of Wetzel Violins in Evansville, is a trained luthier with a degree in String Instrument Technology and in General Studies from Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind. Prior to opening her own violin shop in Evansville in 1993, Wetzel trained under Severin Schurger in Miama, Fla, and at the Bass Viol Shop in Cincinannti, Ohio. She has extensive training to work on the most complicated instrument through minor repairs and set-ups as well as cello bow making and is a member of the Violin Society of America.
All About Dobro – Ron Tipton of Owensboro, Ky., didn’t like the way most bars for playing dobro fit in his hand – so he created his own. The bars soon became a favorite of top dobro players around the world, including Jerry Douglas of Allison Kraus and Union Station fame. Tipton will help visitors explore the dobro, including its history, its sound and answer the question … what exactly is it?
Dulcimers and Then Some – The Shade Tree Players will be performing on stage during the bluegrass festival, but will also be on-hand at the folklife festival to talk about the array of instruments they use to create their unique sound. The dulcimer is their core instrument, but they also play guitar, ukulele, wash-tub bass, mandolin, and autoharp.

Fried Apple Pies – children can make and then eat their very own fried apple pies! Presented by Reva Mitchell and the Henderson County Cooperative Extension Office.
All Things Herbs – Need an acne remedy? Want to soften your hair? No need to make a run to the store – just look in the cupboards! Master gardener and beekeeper Debbie Lowrence will share home beauty remedies using honey and herbs!
Making Beeswax Candles –Bees are good for much more than just making honey. Their wax (beeswax) has been used for a variety of purposes since ancient times, including the production of light. Children will get to learn about the wax that bees produce and make their very own beeswax candle to take home!
Potter’s Hands – Acclaimed artist Julie Byczynski will share her potter’s wheel with local children, teaching them how to turn clay from the earth into their very own, artistic keepsake!
Blacksmith – William White is a renowned knifemaker and blacksmith who lives in Morgantown, Ky. One day, as he hammered out a serpent-shaped candlestick his daughter noted “dad, that looks like a silly snake.” The name stuck. White will spend the day hammering out a “silly snake” as he demonstrates the age-old craft of blacksmithing.
Soap-MakingLucia Felty remembers her grandmother always having homemade lye soap by her kitchen and bathroom sinks. The odd-shaped chunk of soap with the unusual smell fascinated her. So in 2003 when a friend asked for her help in making soap Lucia happily agreed.  Lucia began studying soap making and by 2007 Lucia's hobby became a business.  Lucia is a member of Handcrafted Soapmakers Guild, a Certified Advanced Soapmaker, and a Juried Participant in Kentucky Crafter Arts Program. Demonstrations will begin at 11 a.m., 12 p.m. and 1 p.m.
Made by Hand – Peter Chevalier will demonstrate making homemade tools such as a pitch fork.
Child’s Play – Before Playstation and Wii, children entertained themselves with old-time games like checkers, chess and washer boards. Explore the ever-evolving games of childhood as presented by Mark Simmons and the City of Henderson Parks and Recreation Department.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Old Schools of Henderson County Photo Exhibit on Display

The Henderson County Historical Society and the Depot Community Room staff have compiled a school photo exhibit on old one-room schools, high schools and former students. The exhibit also includes photographs of former classes, including 1924 school student body photos of Holy Name and Henderson Junior High schools with names and Barrett Manual Training High and Audubon schools unnamed. If anyone knows the names of these students, please contact the historical society. Come look for photographs of your parents or grandparents!
The exhibit can be viewed in the Community Room at 101 N. Water Street from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays.
The historical society also invites everyone to come down to the Depot on Tuesdays or Thursdays during the month of July and bring a friend to reminisce and enjoy while looking over the old yearbooks of Spottsville, Corydon, Barrett Manual Training High, Henderson City High and Henderson County High schools. The exhibit will run now through July. The historical and genealogical society is located in the Depot at First and Water Streets. The society  is open on Tuesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for more information call us at 860-7514 or email hendersoncounty@hotmail.com.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Celebrate Independence With a Special Downtown Walking Tour

On Saturday, July 2, the Depot Community Room will celebrate the birth of Henderson with a special downtown walking tour and presentation by General Samuel Hopkins, as portrayed by Henderson resident Elyon Davis. The tour begins at 10 a.m. at the Depot at 101 N. Water St.
Hopkins served in the Revolutionary War, and later was employed by the Transylvania Company along with surveyor Thomas Allin to survey the land of a new settlement in western Kentucky. Hopkins laid out the streets of the new settlement, which would be named “Henderson.”
The tour is free and is scheduled to last approximately an hour and a half.
The Depot Community Room is funded by the City of Henderson through the Henderson Tourist Commission.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Riverboat Cruise Coming to Henderson in November

BB Riverboats, Cincinnati's oldest and largest riverboat company, will be making a stop in Henderson this coming fall as part of their Fall Cruise Tour to celebrate the 200th birthday of the first steamboat voyage on western waters. The general public is welcome to come aboard the Belle of Cincinnati for a lunch cruise, and private deck parties can be arranged for special groups or organizations for 50-300 people. Reservations are required and can be made toll free at 1-800-261-8586 or by goig online to http://www.bbriverboats.com/ and clicking on the Belle of Cincinnati Fall Cruise Tour on the Specialty Cruises page. The Depot Community Room will also be providing history-related entertainment on the riverfront to celebrate the riverboat's arrival! Meal and Sightseeing (non-meal) tickets are both available.

The boat will be on a 10-city 12-day tour with stops in Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois and Tennessee.

Friday, May 20, 2011

River Heritage Day

Join us Saturday, May 21 for a day full of fun!
Events will be going on all day, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
at Audubon Mill Park on the Henderson riverfront

Tour the deck of a barge

View a towboat from Ohio Valley Marine Service up close
Experiment with a Working Lock and Dam

Work Giant 3D Puzzles by Riverworks Discovery

Meet a red-tailed hawk and owl from the Western Kentucky Raptor Center

Learn about River Safety from the Evansville Bend Power Squadron

Let storyteller Susan Fowler teach you about the river's history, culture and commerce
Sponsored by Ohio Valley Marine Service and The Depot Community Room

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Henderson teacher forgotten by time originated idea for Mother's Day

Mary Towles Sasseen, courtesy Henderson
Historical and Genealogical Society
History remembers Anna Jarvis, a Philadelphia woman, as the founder of Mother's Day. But while Jarvis' contribution to the observance of Mother's Day as a national holiday is great, she is hardly the originator of the idea.

That distinction is held by a Henderson, Ky., teacher named Mary Towles Sasseen. Sasseen was keenly devoted to her mother, and encouraged her students to celebrate the love and life of their own mothers. In 1887 she held her first public Mother's Day Celebration at the Center Street School where she taught. She championed throughout the Commonwealth for a day of honor for mothers, and in 1893 she published a booklet defining an annual "Mother's Day Celebration" on April 20. In the booklet she also suggested readings and activities suitable for its celebration. Newspaper accounts say that in 1899 she organized Mother's Day Celebrations at schools in Boston, Brooklyn and Little Rock. In 1894  schools in Springfield, Ohio, began observing the holiday. The Kentucky General Assembly recognized Sasseen as the originator of the idea for Mother's Day in 1926.

"The home being the center of all civilization, the mother is the star around which all civilization revolves," she wrote. "Home! That name touches every fiber of the soul. Nothing but death can break its spell and dearer than home is the mother who presides over it."

Copies of Saseen's booklet have been reprinted by the Henderson County Historical and Genealogical Society and are available for purchase at the Depot Community Room, which is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday They are also available at the adjacent Historical Society, which is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Monday, April 25, 2011

River Heritage Day

A boy puts the finishing touch on the RiverWorks Discovery 3-D puzzle of a steamboat
Ohio Valley Marine Service and the Depot Community Room are pleased to announce their partnership in creating “River Heritage Day” from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 21, 2011. The highlight of the event will be the Riverworks Discovery Center, a hands-on educational exhibit that features Giant 3-D puzzles and a working lock and dam system for children to explore!

Workers from Ohio Valley Marine Service will also demonstrate the art of river work, with line-throwing and other demonstrations. It will be a fun event for the whole family!!

This event is part of the Community Room’s efforts to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the first Steamboat voyage down the Ohio River, an event that changed the course of history – OUR history!

Children expirement with the flow of water in the RiverWorks Discovery travelling lock and dam exhibit.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

This month marks the 150th anniversary of the first shots fired in the Civil War. The Depot Community Room will begin its commemmoration of this turbulent time in history on Thursday, April 7, at 6 p.m. Author Ray Mulesky will tell us the epic story of how a Henderson Confederate boldly captured Newburgh, Ind.. It was the first town north of the Mason-Dixon line to fall into Confederate hands, and had ramifications for Henderson and western Kentucky as well as southern Indiana.

Mulesky's books, including Thunder From a Clear Sky books will be available for purchase and signing after the talk.

The Depot Community Room is located at 101 N. Water St. in Henderson, Ky. We are funded by the City of Henderson through the Henderson Tourist Commission. The Depot Community Room works closely with the Henderson Historical and Genealogical Society to provide high-quality exhibits and events relating to Henderson's history.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Come See the Depot Trains

Did you know the Depot Community Room has a working train set? Kids absolutely love it! So if you want to get out of the house the next few days and take the family someplace WARM, FUN and EDUCATIONAL then bring them by our place, at the intersection of First and Water Streets. While the kids are enjoying the large model train set as it circles town and enters the tunnel, parents can browse the exhibits and learn a few tidbits about Henderson's history!
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Henderson's first historian had a sense of humor

In writing his definitive "History of Henderson County, Kentucky" in 1887 Edmund Starling recorded for posterity the important people, places and happenings of the day. But Starling had a sense of humor, which reveals itself throughout the book. Following is an excerpt about the latest 1858 fashions that gave us a chuckle:

"Prior to the fall of this year, fashion had induced all of the gentle sex (meaning women) to deform themselves in matter of dress. Hoops were fashionable, and the more enormous the hoops, the more fashionable the wearer. The nearer the model of a five gallon demijohn a lady could approach, the nearer she succeeded in reaching the climax of disfigurement and the demands of fashion.

"In those days there was but one hack in Henderson County, so in times of parties and swell occasions, young men, who doubted the policy of having their sweethearts foot it (walk) frequently called into reqeuisition the family buggy. Although such a vehicle, in these days, would be amply convenient for three persons, het, in 1858, when the lady of hoops had seated herself, there was really no room for the gentleman and he was therefore compelled to submit to circunscribed space, ride the horse, or else content himself with the footman's seat behind. A full dress lady of 1858, seated in one of the Delker Phaeton Copany's modern make of buggies, would be a sight sufficient to frighten a whole army of timid men. It was a horrid fashion, and thank heavens the French connoseurs in the fall of that year gave to the female world a dress more modest and becoming. "

Thursday, March 10, 2011

April 2 is first Historic Downtown Walking Tour of Season

You only have to walk down Main or Elm Street to realize Henderson is a town full of historical charm. Have you ever wanted to know about some of the places you see as you're driving down those streets? Have you ever wondered about the people who left their footprints here over the last 200 years? Then join us on one of our Saturday Historic Downtown Walking Tours!! Tours are held the first Saturday of the month starting in April.

April 2, 10 a.m., the Depot
May 7, 10 a.m., the Depot
June 4, 10 a.m., the Depot
July 2, 10 a.m., the Depot
August 6, 10 a.m. the DepotPost Options
September 3, 10 a.m. the Depot

The Depot Community Room is supported by the City of Henderson through the Henderson County Tourist Commission.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

National Women's History Month!

Thelma Johnson (Photo Courtesy The Gleaner)
Thelma Johnson, who was elected to the Henderson County Board of Education in 1978 and served until 1986, was the first black official elected to any public office in Henderson County. She was so well-respected by her peers, that she was elected the board chair-person in 1981. The fith of six children born to parents who worked as domestics, she made up her mind early on that she was going to be a teacher, and she did just that, serving as a beloved teacher for a number of years.

When Johnson was elected to the school board she said she was “scared to death” because now she had to “worry about doing a good job on the school board.”  The other four members of the board were white males. But Johnson need not have worried. She easily gained the respect and admiration of many in the community, black and white.

She was thereafter named to the board of Methodist Hospital, adding that to the volunteer work she was already doing for senior citizens and for such agencies as the League of Women Voters, Redbanks nursing home, American Red Cross, Friends of the Library and the Green River Area Development District’s Council on aging. When she was elected for a second term on the school board, the new board voted her its chairwoman. Being a pioneer in the community was nothing new to Johnson --She had also been the first black University of Kentucky extension agent in western Kentucky. The Chamber of Commerce named her “Distinguished Citizen of the Year” in 1984 and she is well-remembered as a champion of education and service.

Source: The Gleaner, Yesterday’s News by Frank Boyett.

2011 Historic Preservation Photo-Essay Competition

Preservation in Your Community:
From Endangered to Enlivened

To celebrate Historic Preservation Month in May, the Kentucky Heritage Council and Preservation Kentucky, Inc. are pleased to announce the 13th Annual Statewide Photo-Essay Competition for all Kentucky school-age students – with this year’s theme Preservation in Your Community: From Endangered to EnlivenedStudents are asked to take at least three photos and write an essay demonstrating an example of preservation in their city, town, neighborhood, or in rural areas. This example should highlight a historic building or site that was previously endangered by demolition, an act of nature or neglect.
Students should explain what the threat to the historic building or site was and how the owner or community has resolved the threat and rehabilitated or preserved the historic building or site.  Factors, such as the importance of the building or site to the community's sense of place and history as well as the steps the owner/community had to take to preserve the building or site, should be considered in the essay.
Rehabilitation can be underway currently or the project can be completed at the historic building or site.  Planned rehabilitation or preservation (in the future) is not eligible.  Examples of sites that might be endangered include houses, commercial buildings, downtown buildings, churches, courthouses, schools, farms or barns.  The building or site must be in the immediate community where the student lives.
Students are encouraged to reflect on why it is important that older buildings and sites continue to serve a useful purpose through rehabilitation.  Students may also want to explore how threats to the historic building or site they select can be seen in other parts of the community.  Students should use their photo-essay as a case study to offer suggestions to community members as possible solutions for other endangered sites.  In other words, what lessons learned from the preservation of this building or site can be used to help other buildings or sites in need of preservation?
Each entry should include at least three photos taken by the student on or after August 1, 2010, with an accompanying original essay addressing the theme as outlined above.  Entries will be judged on creativity, visual appeal, unique approach, presentation and originality.
Students are required to submit a copy of their photo-essay to at least one local decision-maker (mayor, city council or commission member, county judge-executive, magistrate, school board member, etc.) in addition to contest judges.  Students are asked to note this person's identity on the official contest entry form (at right).
Entries may be submitted via email or regular mail. Details are outlined in the eligibility requirements, below.
Judges representing the Kentucky Heritage Council and Preservation Kentucky will select first-, second- and third-place essays from students in three categories:
Primary (Grades 1-5)Intermediate (Grades 6-8)
Secondary (Grades 9-12)
The winner of each category will receive a cash award and be invited to present their winning photo-essay in a brief PowerPoint presentation during the Ida Lee Willis Memorial Foundation Preservation Awards, which will take place in May.  Second- and third-place winners will also receive a prize and be recognized during the ceremony.  All competition participants will receive a certificate of recognition.  The school submitting the most entries to the 2011 competition will also be recognized during the ceremony and receive an award for participation.
The Kentucky Heritage Council serves as the State Historic Preservation Office.  Preservation Kentucky, Inc. is the statewide, nonprofit historic preservation organization.  Preservation Kentucky relies on support of its members to fulfill its mission of preservation education and advocacy.  The Kentucky Heritage Council and Preservation Kentucky hope that the 13th Annual Historic Preservation Photo-Essay Competition will stimulate young peoples' interest in historic preservation and provide an opportunity for students to interact with their local decision-makers about the importance of preserving their community’s local heritage.

Eligibility and Guidelines

The competition is open to any student enrolled in Grades 1 through 12 (public, private, or home schools, including extracurricular groups such as 4-H) as of the date the essay is submitted.  (NOTE: Students whose parents serve on or are employed by the Kentucky Heritage Council or whose parents are employed by or serve as board member of Preservation Kentucky, Inc. are ineligible to participate in this competition.)
Deadline & Requirements:
1. Deadline. Essays must be received by email or postmarked no later than Friday, April 15, 2011.  Entries received via email or postmarked after that date will not be eligible.
2. Essay Length. Essay length should be 100-1,000 words.  All essays must be typed and double-spaced.  Handwritten essays will not be considered.  No essays will be returned.
3. Essay Content. Students should identify, document and photograph a historic building, site or structure located in their community and then write an essay describing the property and explaining why the historic resource is significant and should be preserved and protected for future generations.  Entries will be judged, in part, on their "persuasive quality," the student's ability to convince readers of their point of view.  Entries will also be judged on the incorporation of the theme and of researched and documented facts (for example, from an interview, magazine, newspaper or book) about the historic building, site or structure.
A brief synopsis of the theme to be incorporated in student essays follows:
a. Focus on a previously endangered building or site that has been or is being rehabilitated or otherwise preserved.
b. Buildings or sites can be houses, barns, farms, commercial buildings, downtown buildings, schools, courthouses, etc.  The building or site should be at least 50 years old or older and be located in the student's community.
c. Note how the building or site was endangered and what happened that led to its preservation.
d. What steps did the owner or community take to preserve the building?  How can others in the community or elsewhere learn from what happened in this instance?  In other words, what would you advise others in a similar situation to do?
4. Photographs or Other Illustrations. Students must include at least three original color images of the historic building, site or structure described in the accompanying essay.  Email submissions with digital images are encouraged; however, for entries submitted by mail, images must be embedded within the essay text and included on an enclosed CD.  If a student does not have access to a camera or if this requirement causes a hardship, judges will accept another illustration (drawing, sketch, painting, etc.) of the subject property.  All photographs or illustrations must have been completed by the student on or after August 1, 2010. Entries will be judged, in part, on the quality and content of the photographic images or illustration.  No photographs or illustrations will be returned.
5. Entry Form. Students must submit a signed entry form along with their essay and photograph. An official entry form follows.
6. Local Decision-Maker Contact. Students are required to submit a copy of their photo-essay submission to a local decision-maker (mayor, city council or commission member, county judge-executive, magistrate, school board member, etc.) and identify that person on the official entry form.
7. Where to Submit Photo-Essays.
To submit via mail: Enclose two hard copies of the original essay with at least three embedded photos, a CD with Jpeg or TIFF images, and one copy of a completed official entry form and mail to:
Kentucky Heritage Council
Attn: 2011 Photo-Essay Competition
300 Washington Street
Frankfort, KY 40601
Images for mail-in submissions: The maximum photograph or illustration size should be saved as a TIFF or Jpeg on an enclosed CD.  The CD should be labeled with the entrant's name, school, and the title of the image.  When saving the images on CD, please indicate what the judge is viewing with an explanatory label, e.g. front view of building.  Each photograph or illustration included on the CD should be embedded within the essay text.
To submit via email: Essays must be submitted as attachments in MS Word or PDF format.  A signed entry form should also be scanned and attached to the email.  Each email submission should include attached photos or illustrations, the essay, and the entry form. Please do not email these items in separate emails. Email to info@preservationkentucky.org. Please title the email: 2011 Photo-Essay Submission
Images for email submissions: Photographs or illustrations should not exceed 100dpi and should be saved in a Jpeg or TIFF format.  For judging or publication purposes, judges may request a higher-quality image.  When saving the images, please indicate what the judge is viewing with an explanatory label, e.g. front view of building.

Prizes, Selection of Winners, and Notification

1. Prizes. Cash and other prizes will be awarded for first-, second- and third-place photo-essays in each of the three contest categories: Primary (Grades 1-5), Intermediate (Grades 6-8) and Secondary (Grades 9-12).  Each prizewinner and competition participant will also receive a certificate of recognition.  The top three students in each category will be recognized during an awards ceremony to be scheduled in mid- to late May 2011 in Frankfort.
2. Publication. The first-, second- and third-place essays and accompanying photographs or illustrations become the property of the Kentucky Heritage Council and Preservation Kentucky, Inc. and will be published in their newsletters and on their websites, heritage.ky.gov and preservationkentucky.org.
Both the Kentucky Heritage Council and Preservation Kentucky retain the right to publish or excerpt from any of the submitted essays and print or copy any of the photographs or illustrations in their newsletters or on websites prepared by either organization.  Essays and/or photographs may also appear in other newsletters or publications.  Students will be fully credited in all such publications. Students should keep a copy of their submission for themselves, as the essays and images will not be returned.
3. Selection and Notification. Members and staff of the Kentucky Heritage Council, and board and staff of Preservation Kentucky will judge photo-essay entries and select the first-, second- and third-place winners in all three categories.  Notification of award selections will be made no later than Friday, April 29, 2011.
Upon notification, Preservation Kentucky staff will coordinate PowerPoint arrangements with the top finisher in each category regarding his or her role in the awards ceremony.

A Word to Teachers and Parents

The Kentucky Heritage Council has information about historic places in Kentucky to help students better prepare for writing their essay and photographing historic buildings, sites and structures.  For more information or if you have questions about any of this material, visit the Heritage Council website or call Preservation Kentucky at 502-871-4570.
For More Information
Diane ComerKentucky Heritage Council
(502) 564-7005, ext. 120
Rachel KennedyPreservation Kentucky, Inc.
(502) 871-4570

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Book Your Second Grade Field Trip Soon!

Calling Henderson second and third grade teachers... and home schoolers!! Are you looking for an end of the school year field trip? The Depot Community Room may be able to help!! We offer a free "Rails and Trails" field trip designed to teach those age groups about their community. Students will learn the history and function of civic organizations and buildings, like the Henderson County Courthouse and Henderson Municipal Center, Henderson County Public Library, and Henderson-Henderson County Chamber of Commerce. They'll also hear highlights of Henderson's past at the Depot, and learn more about the famous artist, John James Audubon!!
The tour usually lasts approximately 1-1 1/2 hours. 
We are able to provide this FREE service to local school children thanks to the support of the City of Henderson, Henderson County Tourist Commission and the help of our volunteers!
Call us at 830-9707 or email tamara@hendersonky.org or leighann@hendersonky.org for more information or to book your date!! Since our field trips are staffed by volunteers, the earlier we can begin making arrangements to host your class the better!!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Mary Ann Fisher
Rhythm & Blues Singer (1923-2004)
Mary Ann Fisher was born in Henderson, Kentucky in 1923.  Fisher had eight brothers and sisters and lived in a shotgun house here until her father’s death in 1927.  Fisher’s mother realized she couldn’t raise eight kids on her own, so the children were split between relatives and an orphanage.  At the tender age of 4, Fisher was sent to the Kentucky Home Society for Colored Children in Louisville, Kentucky.  Fisher left the orphanage in her late teens to start her career as a singer.
During the 1940s, Fisher entered a talent contest at the Lyric Theatre in Louisville.  She was slowly building a name for herself in the Louisville area, but her career didn’t really take off until she met Ray Charles at a USO club in Fort Knox.  Fisher toured and had a relationship with Charles from 1955 through 1958.  After her split with Charles, Fisher decided to begin her solo career.  She performed in theatres with legends such as B.B. King, James Brown, Jackie Wilson and many more.  Fisher returned to Louisville in 1967 and continued to perform locally.  Her first album, Song Bird of the South, was not released until her death in 2004.  Fisher is remembered for being one of the first African American women to have a career as a Rhythm and Blues singer, thus paving the way for future generations.
Sources: The Gleaner, Henderson, KY, Sunday, February 27, 2005, “Film to cover life of local native, noted blues singer” Donna Stinnett.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Black History Exhibit Now On Display

Hi Everyone!!

Please stop by the month of February to view our "Pioneers of Black History" Exhibit and learn more about just a handful of the fascinating Henderson men and women who made a mark on their community, and their world! Our exhibit features local notables like Thelma Johnson and Thomas Platt as well as some figures who lived in Henderson as children then went on to do big things in America despite informal and formal racial segregation.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Depot teaming with JFK Community Center to Record Henderson Life Through the Eyes of its Youth

We are very excited to announce a new project with the John F. Kennedy Community Center to capture dailly African-American life through the eyes of its youth!!

The Community Room is providing cameras to 10 young people so that they can record their community through their eyes. The best of their photos will be displayed in the Community Room from late January through February, and we'll have a grand opening of the exhibit. The project is designed to celebrate the community, and see our own corner of the world through a new lens. It's also a great way to merge the past, present and future of Henderson in an overall exhibit focussing on local African-American history. Our "Past" exhibit will highlight African-Americans who were pioneers in their fields; our "Present" will focus on the community through the eyes of these youth, and our "Future" will be the preservation of their photos in digital form for future generations of researchers!

We are super-excited about this project and hope you will be, too!!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Exhibit to Highlight local African-American Pioneers in Arts, Industry and Community Service

We have been knee-deep for months in research for a new black history exhibit we have planned for late January and February. Undoubtedly African-Americans have played a huge role in the history and growth of the city, and have served America as pioneers and champions in arts, industry, service and Civil Rights.

William J. Powell, aviator

Pioneers like William Powell, a Henderson native who moved to Chicago after his father died. Powell felt there was boundless opportunity for African-Americans in the burgeoning aviation industry. He eventually became a pilot and then owner of his own aviation company in Los Angeles, California. He was dedicated to helping African-Americans pursue careers in aviation and enlisted the help of notable African-Americans like Joe Louis to donate their name to the cause. He also organized the first all-black air show, which attracted more than 15,000 spectators, and published the trade publication "Craftsman Aero-News."
He also wrote a thinly fictionalized autobiography called "Black Wings" and is featured in an online exhibit of the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum.

There are many more African-Americans associated with Henderson whose talents, wisdom and perseverence paved the way for others, either nationally or here in their own community. We plan to highlight a few of these pioneers in our newest exhibit, which we hope to have finished in late January. Stay tuned to our blog, Facebook page and The Gleaner for further updates on our progress.