Category Archives: Americana

Greenfield Village – A Step Back in Time

One of my early visits to Greenfield Village in the early 70's
One of my early visits to Greenfield Village in the early 70’s

Growing up in Michigan I discovered my love of history thanks to a man named Henry Ford at a place he built called Greenfield Village.  Greenfield Village is an outdoor living history museum dedicated in 1929 and opened to the public in June 1933.

Most of the structures in this village have been moved and relocated to their present site while others are reproductions.  From an exact replica of Thomas Edison’s Menlo Park Laboratory Complex to the actual Wright Brothers Cycle Shop, there is a cornucopia of history from the 17th century to modern times.

As a child I remember the awe that this placed instilled in my soul.  Taking my family there brought back many childhood memories including being chased around Ackley Pond by a goose and subsequently bit by the beast.

If you ever find your self in Michigan, this should be on the top of your list of places to visit.

Chalktober Fest

The weather has sucked lately and I have not been able to get out with the camera and have been working entirely too much.  The sun came out today and needing a break, we headed over to the Marietta Square for Chalktober Fest.

The talent these people have is just beyond belief.  My favorites are the one that are drawn in a perspective 3D and you will see a few in the gallery.  Below are 2 pictures of the same drawing from two angles.

Chalktober Fest, Marietta, Georgia (October 2015)
Chalktober Fest, Marietta, Georgia (October 2015)
Chalktober Fest, Marietta, Georgia (October 2015)
Chalktober Fest, Marietta, Georgia (October 2015)

Click on the gallery below to see the rest of the pictures.  This was absolutely incredible.

The Making of Lutes

Downtown Hindman
Downtown Hindman

During our travels, which took us through Kentucky, we stopped in Hindman, a small town near the Eastern side of the state in the Appalachian Mountains.  It was after 6, but a sign said Appalachian Artisan Center and maybe we could find some unique trinket to bring home.

As we pulled into town, it was deserted with a spattering of traffic here and there.  It was dinner time and all the shops were closed as everyone had gone to their home in the hills.

We drove about a half a mile and saw a shop with dulcimers in the window and the lights were on.  After finding a place to turn around we went back and parked across the street.

Appalachian Artisan Center Wood Shop.
Appalachian Artisan Center Wood Shop.

The sign on the door said, “Appalachian Artisan Center Wood Shop, Open to the Public“.  So we went in.

Continue reading The Making of Lutes

Butcher Holler, Kentucky

When we travel, I enjoy setting our GPS to our destination and telling it to avoid highways.  On our way to West Virginia we found ourselves in the middle of Kentucky Coal country.  Near Paintsville, we came across a sign that said “Loretta Lynn Birthplace”.  As it was getting close to dark, we stopped to get gas and we were told it was about 10 miles away.  Well I had to see where the Coal Miners Daughter grew up….

We followed the signs and with each new turn the width of the road narrowed.  We arrived at a small coal mining town called Van Lear and got a little lost.  The roads we were on were barely paved and about a lane and a half wide and getting smaller.  An older woman was in her yard and we stopped and asked if we were heading in the right direction.  She informed us that we were and that after we passed the web grocery store we were to look for a rock pointing left to the holler.

Webb's Grocery, Butcher Holler, Kentucky
Webb’s Grocery, Butcher Holler, Kentucky

The Webb Grocery store is, as we were told by some slightly inebriated young adults, was owned by Loretta Lynn’s brother.  Of course these were the same folks that told me Loretta had personally given them a piece of wood from her home and they were willing to pass it on for an undisclosed sum of cash.  My quick thinking asked if they took credit cards which put a stop to any further transaction.  The store does say Webb’s Grocery and that was Ms. Lynn’s maiden name so maybe that part was true.

Make a left turn here...
Make a left turn here…

We drove further down the road to where the pavement disappeared and did in fact find a rock that said Butcher Holler.  We took a left and found an extremely narrow and winding road to which I was able to obtain a top speed of about 10 miles per hour.  The corners were exciting wondering if some local in a beat up truck was going to run into us.  Running off he road was not an option as there was no off-road, just trees.  We came across the home and a hand-painted sign said to call for tours which makes incredible sense since no cell tower existed for hundreds of miles or so it seemed.  We drove down the road looking for a place to turn around which probably took 15 minutes and then another 10 minutes to execute a perfect 27 point turn in the small clearing we found.  Small clearing means a 5 foot by 5 foot place where no trees were growing.

I took a few picture and we continued on with our adventure while the song Coal Miners Daughter needled its way into my brain and stayed awhile.

Childhood Home of Loretta Lynn and Crystal Gayle
Childhood Home of Loretta Lynn and Crystal Gayle

Well, I was born a coal miner’s daughter
In a cabin on a hill in Butcher Holler
We were poor but we had love
That’s the one thing that daddy made sure of
He shoveled coal to make a poor man’s dollar

My daddy worked all night in the Van Leer coal mine
And all day long in the field a’ hoeing corn
Momma rocked the babies at night and read the Bible by the coal oil light
And everything would start all over come break of morn’

Daddy loved and raised eight kids on a miner’s pay
Mommy scrubbed our clothes on a washboard every day
Well, I seen her fingers bleed, to complain there was no need,
She’d smile in mommy’s understanding way

In the summertime we didn’t have shoes to wear
But in the wintertime we’d all get a brand new pair
From a mail order catalog, money made from selling a hog
Daddy always managed to get the money somewhere

Yeah, I’m proud to be a coal miner’s daughter
I remember well the well where I drew water
The work we done was hard, at night we’d sleep ’cause we were tired
I never thought of ever leaving Butcher Holler

Well, a lot of things have changed since way back then
And it’s so good to be back home again
Not much left but the floors, nothing lives here anymore
Except the memories of a coal miner’s daughter

Loretta Lynn