Friday, February 4, 2011

Kentucky Minute: Ky. 70, Central City to Cave City

OK, here we go. Let's see how many wireless networks I can find along this route.


  1. Central City ...

    At the end of the last century, one of the big deals here was the Everly Brothers Homecoming Music Festival. According to the 1989 festival booklet, Don Everly was watching TV in Nashville when he saw a news segment that his and his brother's hometown was struggling for the money to pay for some police-car radios. Don phoned Phil, and the two mailed in a check for $7,500. So grateful, Central City launched the first homecoming event Aug. 25, 1988. "This bleak little mining town, shadowed by indebtedness and high unemployment, had new life pumped into it once more," the festival booklet says. "Excitement ran rampant as this small community regrouped and prepared for an unforgettable celebration of their native sons, Don and Phil, better known as the Everly Brothers."

    This is also the home of a former Western Kentucky and UK guard, Patrick Sparks, of whom there is a legend told that, upon making a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to send a game with Michigan State into overtime, ran to CBS's Billy Packer on media row and exclaimed, "Take that, you @#$%!"

    Also, the town was in the news the last several years as the Southern Poverty Law Center and Ku Klux Klan chapters did battle in Kentucky federal courts. The Associated Press in a 2008 story referenced "... a Central City, Ky., group called the Supreme White Alliance, which has ties to two white supremacists charged in a bizarre plot to behead blacks across the country and assassinate Barack Obama while wearing white top hats and tuxes."

  2. OK, terrific ... found a network in Drakesboro. The state-issue city-limits sign calls this place the "HOME OF THE LEGENDS."


  3. Not much shaking here. The Paradise Cafe at the junction with Ky. 176 offers a buffet seven days a week. There's something called the Burger Shack, a Kangaroo gas station, a place that buys scrap metals, a historical marker for the site of an airdrie furnace ...

  4. Browder ... A buddy of mine from here always says he's more precisely from "outer Browder."

  5. I love threads like this.

  6. Well, obviously, this didn't work out as I'd hoped. In order to make the start of a class at 6 p.m. in Glasgow, I had to keep moving more consistently and not stop to find networks and add to this report. I always find pretty much everything about life too hard.

    Anyway, now I'm doing the return trip ... back from Glasgow, via Park City and then Ky. 70 west across Barren, Edmonson, Butler and Muhlenberg counties. A few stray notes from yesterday:

    -- Here's a historical marker not far from Browder, where I left off yesterday.

    -- I spent a lot of time yesterday listening to WRUS 610 AM out of Russellville. Some of the good songs that I heard were "Downtown" by Petula Clark, "Copacabana" by Barry Manilow and "Knock Three Times" by Tony Orlando and Dawn and "Tonight, I Celebrate My Love for You" by Peabo Bryson. This was before they switched over for pre-game coverage of the "Clash of the Cats," a boys' basketball game between the Russellville High School Panthers and Logan County High Cougars. Also, a0b half-hour local-news update invited all interested to last night's meeting of the Russellville-Logan County NAACP.

    -- I was struck by a thoroughly greater sense of modernity in Morgantown in zipping through yesterday than what I felt when I was frequently visiting there for high-school games in the early 1990s. Back then, it felt like one of the smaller, more remote of Kentucky's small, remote county seats that I visited. Yesterday, it's new pizza buffet, Mexican restaurants and Tokyo Japanese Steakhouse made it feel more like it was trying to get people to stop there. It calls itself "The Biggest Little City in Kentucky" now, and I'm pretty sure that's a new tagline that Morgantown has adopted.

    -- The westernmost signage for Mammoth Cave that I noticed was at Aberdeen, in Butler County. Park City is a mishmash of privately operated caves, miniature-golf courses, go-kart tracks, souvenir shops and restaurants that greets Mammoth Cave-bound exiters from I-65. I wonder about the timing and other characteristics of its commercialization in relation to that of Gatlinburg, Tenn.

    -- The Temple Hill General Baptist Church has taken over an old school building at what I think was Jetson, Ky. I want to stop and take a picture this afternoon there and will doublecheck.

    -- The Corner Market of Roundhill, at U.S. 70 and U.S. 185, at the Butler/Edmonson line would be an excellent place to hang out and do a slice-of-life feature on a Friday afternoon. The parking lot swarmed with happy folks ending their work and school days. Lots of UK stickers on pickup bumpers, lots of lettermen jackets, lots of familiar talk. "Whaddaya doing, Easy Money?" one 18-year-old yelled to another.

    -- By the time I got to Park City, I'd lost WRUS and, in scanning, stumbled upon a Munfordville station (I think) that was readying itself for a Hart County High game. I caught just a few staticy seconds of the conversation, but there was apparently a brawl at a game earlier this season that resulted in the KHSAA's handing down a seven-game suspension to one of the players involved. This is something I want to look into more.

    OK, that's all for now.

  7. One thing I forgot to mention ... Hart County (I think) started a 6-foot-5 center called "Shaq Jordan."