Thursday, September 15, 2005

"Local Observations"

Just a "catch up" day here at home, this being my first day off since the weekend. Got up fairly early and fixed the light out in my shop (no more having to hunt down a flashlight to find something out there now), then went and got a tall ladder and fixed the drain pipe that'd come loose from the side of the house, caused by the rains froma couple weeks past. Then I restapled some plastic up on the back porch to cover a leaking area.

Had a few errands I had to get out of the way; going to the grocery and the like, and back home again to put some backing boards in some books and put them in order, eat a little lunch and finally try to relax a bit for the day.

Noticed something here in this town just yesterday that reaffirms my belief that the local historical society cares to only try to preserve anything of any "historical" value IF there's any money in it for "somebody". For years there stood a tall obelisk on the edge of 31-W HWY in honor of our famous cave explorer, Floyd Collins. In the 1960's after it had been struck twice by large trucks (resulting in the death of a man who was repairing the damage from the FIRST accident), it was torn down. On either side of the obelisk stands square-shaped constructions of stone which originally contained signs saying: "Main Entrance to Hidden River Cave" (the cavern that's actually located in the center of Horse Cave, Ky.). Rather than removing these original much faded signs and restoring at least one of them and having it "somewhere" that the public could see and appreciate (the local bookstore comes to mind as its owner has a display of old pictures and the like of the area) and replacing the space with new boards, the idiots have painted over the signs with horrendous GREEN Paint! Once again, someone in this town has ignored anything for heritage-sake and destroyed it because it wasn't "making them a dime". In fact, we still have some very historic wall paintings on the sides of a couple of brick buildings here in town that have been ignore for years until they've gotten in very bad shape. One of them is a classic Coca-Cola advertizement, probably 10-12 foot tall and 6 foot wide of a hand holding the old 8 oz. bottle with lettering, and another of a classic example of a tobacco advertizement. Rather than having sign painters attempt restoration of these, the advertizements are left to the punishment of the sun and the weather and will some day completely vanish. It's so very sad to see people let part of their heritage just totally go like that. Such signs and advertisements have been here since before the majority of the population of Horse Cave was born. It was something that their parents and grandparents would have seen.

But, you see, this town likes to put on the air that it's something it's really not. It's Nowheresville, KY., and their local claim to fame is: #1: The National Cave Karst Museum, which they were only able to get to locate here because the downtown cave had finally been reclaimed and cleaned up after so many years of sewage pollution (and of course something some the locals made a bundle on selling them the real estate located adjecent to the cave), and (#2) a little "Summer-Stock" type live theatre (which is a good thing for local young people giving them some experience in live theatre, but really only gotten any reknown due to the locals talking a couple of fairly well-known actors into sponsoring). For years now they've tried to get government funds to restore a broken down, rat-trap of a hotel near the railroad tracks back to its original condition. This would be a nearly impossible feat. All that's left of the structure these days due to neglect, rot and a couple of fires, is the brick shell. It would have to be literally torn to the ground and totally rebuilt from scratch to ever accomplish a reconstruction. Now they've let the time limit run out on the government funds, so it sits there as a death-trap ready to collapse and harm someone and an eye-sore for the entire region.

This area belongs to the city and the old building could be torn down and the bricks used as a wall around a large play area for local children. If they want people to remember the way the hotel looked originally, a bronze plaque with its likeness could be attached to the walls or a historical marker erected. But they aren't going to do that. Instead they plan a park to the rear of the cave and the theatre area instead. Just more money for someone else.

They don't even call their annual celebration The Tobacco Festival anymore. No. Days of political correctness has made that name change to Hertitage Days. Perhaps they need to recall that tobacco was one of the chief products that built this town (and in fact a reason why we ever had settlements in any of the Southern States as well). Closed these days are ALL of the tobacco barns. This was one of the main ways for locals to have jobs through the Winter months in this area. Now they concentrate more on tourism and the local factories, and in the meantime, Horse Cave becomes more of a retirement village with the passing years.

Waste of efforts...waste of money...that's really all this area's good for. If you're a young person my best advice is to finish high school, then get the hell out of here, go to college and find a decent job. There's no future for you here at all.

And if the local town's administrators want to waste money, then, HEY! I've got what's probably the oldest cemetary with members of the founding families of this area more than likely buried in my back yard! Come over here and offer me all of this money you're wasting for my property and preserve it! Believe me, if I could afford a better place and a different town to live in these days, I'll listen to your offers.

And now, before I end today's blog post, I don't want to have it come to a close on a totally negative note. Instead, I actually want to commend some of the things locals have done to improve our little town.

The first of these is the renovation of an old doctor's building back into a restaurant with a circa 1930's atmosphere as it was originally built. On the square here we now have The Happy Jazz Cafe'"! They've even readded the original-type round lights on the posts around the building and the finished product is a joy to behold! Excellant job!

Also, next to it, another building is being renovated which was originally a DX Gas Station and added on to it to make, from what I've heard, a Subway Resturant. Why they think it's important to have TWO eating places next to one another, I'm not sure. But I guess they think the cafe' will get the theatre crowd and the Subway the quick-eaters and teenagers. It's this sort of "newness" that our town needs! It's concentration on getting all of these empty downtown store redone and new businesses established that can save this town for the next generation. Much more needs to be done and the "news is" that the whole town is going to go thru a change, a rebuilding, a renovation. I sincerely hope so. As I know that I sound like I'm really down on this area, but I have a soft spot and deep concern instead. I was born here. My parents have lived here for years and many of my relatives were born in this area. I really want to see our town thrive and have NEW life, but it's going to take a serious "wake up call" before it's accomplished.

I also want to congratulate whomever helped to construct wider lanes on the outskirts of this town near the Dart Container Factory to help contain the ever-growing traffic problem there. The extra lanes should help to relieve the thick traffic associated with those going to and leaving the factory during the beginning and ends of their work shifts. Personally I don't mind the inconvenience currently from the reconstruction and welcome seeing the finished project. Good job!

I also think the new sideways look great and my thanks too for repaving the streets. We really need to see about better parking downtown though, or go back to just single side parking and try to get more customers to use the parking lots available. I know just this morning I nearly struck someone trying to cross the street, not seeing him because I was concentrating on just not hitting cars parked on both sides due to the tight space to drive (we have VERY narrow downtown streets here), and I don't think we should make ALL semi's forbidden to drive through the downtown section, but let's face it. We can't have decent passing thru traffic and side area parking as well (one or the other will have to be eliminated).


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