Wednesday, September 26, 2007

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May 2007

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Friday, August 03, 2007

Monday, July 23, 2007

Historic Preservation, not the common denominator in Bullitt County growth and Destination Tourism, (the Commonwealth's new mantra) will alter the landscape of the Alma Lesch neighborhood in the coming years.

Two large, and original, homes touching the property line of Alma's former residence are now zoned for commercial development. A third corner lot brick home and a small corner lot, which backlights the State Highway Marker for Alma Wallace Lesch, will span the entire city block along highway 44 in Bullitt County. Already a dangerous stretch of state road, with a deep ditch dropping off on north and south sides of the two lane blacktop which runs from Dixie Highway on the Ohio River, west, to Taylorsville, Spencer County east of Bullitt County... perhaps widened in the years from now after many years of fatal accidents inspire the highway department to make the thoroughfare SAFER).

Having seen what commercial zoning has done to (and for profit in nearby Mount Washington) one of three original sister cities just ten miles east of Shepherdsville, the rapid growth, the homebuilding and shopping opportunities in Mount Washington have eliminated the most beautiful of the town's architecture. Once the fall festival and parade marched along a tree lined street of original city buildings, mostly white clapboard two story homes and shops. Actually, the small town on the hill, named after George of the original American Revolution (not the current "W"one) has turned the overgrown town (which even destroyed the original Mill) into a clone of Jefferson County's Dixie Highway of Louisville-Metro, now mini-marts, oil changes, fill-'er-up islands of petroleum stops and gas stations of community washs, car lots, grocery stores and the like...

Where IS the town of Mount Washington? Physically it's still on the map but is you saw the town in the mid 1970s and were dropped into it today you would be disoriented for a while until you realized the effect of bad city planning, zoning change and lack of foresight. Having lived and worked in the town in the last century, I recall a time when locals bragged of a new plan for anupscale shopping area, complete with gas lit lamps along a well planned shopping area near where the overdue and startegically located MacDonald's finally appeared (then seen on national TV for its horrific sexual-harrassment crime). Tourist likely drop by the drive-thru to order a strip search salad and drink on their way to Historic Bardstown. Now there's a town, Bardstown, which valued its architecture and history in the uncommonwealth of Kentucky.

Will Shepherdsville's city planners follow this pattern of bulldozing its remaining old homes? Three homes fell last year to bring a national drug store chain and another auto parts store to corner lots in an already tight center-of-town four way traffic light. Why the stores were not located along the highly visible from the interstate Adam Shepherd Bypass is a mystery to me. But on the positive side...

One can still see most of the original downtown, although thinned by two "hundred year floods within one of which, in 1997, honed the town and river-side housing down to new, clean green space after the government buyouts relocated people once living along the flood prone south end of town. The historic Salt River, named after the profitable salt-making operations of eighteenth-century industry, creating the county seat of Shepherdsville in the first place.

If indeed Historic Preservation, as noted by visiting First Lady Laura Bush in a speaking engagement, called Kentucky one of the few states on the forefront in numbers of grant projects for architectural preservation. I heard her say this. With examples as Shepherdsville and Mount Washington ignoring its historic culture is this a case of non-grant writing initiative by city developers seeking only financial gain over a culture of nineteenth-century architecture.

Rather than joining two original architectural landmarks from two large homes along Highway 44 into a commercial opportunity for more than instant aggrandizement, like a carwash in the neighborhood, what can REAL PLANNING and honoring local history (see Highway Marker)... to encourage destination tourism. Real tourism! Not shopping, for the sake of SHOPPING.

Then go shopping as our president requested in 2001.

Monday, July 16, 2007


The Alliance for American Quilts

The Alliance for American Quilts

Kentucky fiber artist's interview worth a read...
in a related hometown item ...a model of the Shepherdsville train wreck of 1917 first constructed by county resident, Hogg Mattingly, (see photos below in related KMAC Exhibit) is now restored and on display in a protective display case in the old Bullitt County Court House (not to be confused with the new judicial center standing behind the original edifice...

Overlooking the actual site of the horrific crash site from the second floor view, visitors may look across and above the roof of the old stone jail (open daily for tourists) which still stands behind the original county court house. The Historical Museum also has several other building models designed from scratch by the prolific Mr. Mattingly, now deceased, and longtime Lebanon Junction resident. Local history buff Tom Pack had collected many building models over the years and subsequently donated the colorful constructions to the county museum from his estate upon his passing.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Points of Interest in Shepherdsville-Bullitt County, Kentucky

Points of Interest in Shepherdsville-Bullitt County, Kentucky

once standing at the intersection of HWY 44-w and Abbott Street (home studio of the artist)this state marker has been destroyed in a vehicle collision and has not been replaced as of June 25, 2007...

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

 Posted by Picasa
although quilted by Ms. Lesch, to save time
for the production of her signature fabric portraits,
Alma would hire local and regional expert quilters to "quilt" the pieced tops that she made in later years (after 1970s) ... this example is an early quilt completely finished by the artist, now on display at KMAC Posted by Picasa
Quilt, pieced by the artist while in her youth
during the 1920s near Paducah, KY Posted by Picasa
 Posted by Picasa
alternate view Posted by Picasa
Architectural models of Lebanon Junction, a neighboring town to Shepherdsville, representing the lifelong work of "Hog" Mattingly is presented along side the permanent collection of Alma Wallace Lesch this winter in Louisville. Posted by Picasa