Thursday, January 14th
I left Morgantown at 8:30, a half an hour later than I planned.
I made my way carefully down our still snow covered and slick road and then down to I-79 via a dry and clear Goshen Road.
The temp was in the mid-20's at our place and it got colder as I drove south. At one point, around Roane County the temperature plummeted to 13 degrees. Now, this is not exactly what I had in mind when I decided to heas south! But, that low point did not last and by the time I got to Charleston it was in the 40s and mostly Sunny.
Click on the photos below for a larger image.
This is a window shot of Chemical Valley in South Charleston as seen from I-64 West bound.
I crossed into Kentucky at about noon and was greeted by this eerie view of the Ashland Refinery.
At about 12:30 I stopped at the Kentucky Welcome Center. When I got out of the car I immediately felt the sun's warmth. Ahhh.... After 3 nearly sunless weeks in Morgantown it felt mighty fine - an looked even better!
I continued Westward and it was not long before I started seeing the layered limestone out crops on the hill tops and up some of the ravines and then along the roadside cuts. This is the limestone which has built miles of stone walls around the farms horse farms of central Kentucky and why we have Mammoth Cave.
I continued Westward on I-64 and about 20 miles East of Lexington I took exit 96 to Kentucky Route 627 (Boonesborough Road) South towards Winchester. I saw a sign for the "Historic Downtown" and also the spire of what I took to be the Courthouse so I decided to detour off Rt 627 and have a look see. I am glad I did. This is Main Street, where I parked the Barge and decided to walk around a bit.
I strolled up Main Street and occasionally snapped a few shots. This is my idea of small town heaven.
A look back down Main Street. From the appearance of most of the structures Winchester must still be pretty prosperous. I do not recall seeing any empty store fronts.
This is the Winchester Opera House.
The Opera House was designed by the first Mayor of Winchester, J. D. Simpson, in 1873. The opera house was a gift from Mayor Simpson so that citizens of Winchester could see the performing arts. It hosted off-Broadway and classical concerts.
The building fell to industrialization and became run down from years of neglect. It was bought by Edward and Vanessa Ziembroski in 2003, and renovated.
This is the First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) on East Hickman.
Shot taken from South Highland Street.
First Christian Church of Winchester, Kentucky began life in 1791 as a nine member Baptist Congregation known as Strode's Fork Church located at the early Clark County settlement of Strode’s Station. In 1812, the Church moved to the sight of the present-day Winchester Cemetery where a brick Church structure known as the Friendship Church was erected. The congregation at this point numbered about fifty people. As the church grew it became necessary to move once again, this time to the corner of Washington and Highland Streets in 1827. Through-out the 1820’s the congregation became increasingly drawn to the emerging Stone-Campbell movement and in 1849 left the Boone Creek Baptist Association.
From that time forward they were know as the First Christian Church. In 1845 the growing church moved once again to the site of the Governor James Clark Judicial Center (former Post Office) and erected a brick structure known as the Court Street Christian Church. This building was essentially rebuilt in 1875 in the location and a bell tower was added. On March 25, 1908 The Court Street Christian Church was destroyed by fire. The congregation sold the lot to the United States government for the construction of a Post Office and purchased a large lot at the corner of Hickman and Highland Streets. After one year of construction under the leadership of Rev. John H. McNeill, a new building was dedicated on May 2,1909. While ever mindful of her rich heritage, The First Christian Church seeks to give a continuing witness of faith to “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and forever.”
Source: © First Christian Church of Winchester, KY
Nicely cared for homes along near Highland and Hickman Streets.
An old, abandoned building along Valentine Court. I hope this one is left alone.
The Bluegrass Heritage Museum as seen from Valentine Court.
This shot and one below shows the Bluegrass Heritage Museum from Main Street.
This old and dilapidated beauty is directly adjacent to the Bluegrass Heritage Museum. No doubt there is a story here...
The steps are made of long cut limestone sections.
The old Morgantown Junior High School had similar steps.
This is the First United Methodist Church at 204 South Main Street.
The Brown-Price Building. An old hotel perhaps?
Independent Order of Odd Fellows building on Main Street. The corner stones dates are 1856 and 1889.
Great old building located in a smaller city in central Kentucky. Named after the lodge founder, Capt. William Lewis Hickman, a Confederate soldier from the area. The building is also three stories, which is taller than many of the other nearby buildings of the era. Be sure to look closely at the carved stonework for the many IOOF symbols. The Bluegrass Rebekahs are based here. Looks to be commercial office space on the ground floor. Building appears very well maintained.
The Clark County Courthouse as seen from Main Street.
Clark County was formed in 1793.
Clark County, Kentucky actually began as Bourbon County, Virginia in 1785, when it was created from Fayette County, Kentucky (previously also in Virginia). It comprised a much larger area than the present-day Bourbon County; the rest of its former territory is now divided among the following present-day Kentucky counties: Bracken, Boone, Campbell, Clark, Estill, Fleming, Floyd, Greenup, Harrison, Kenton, Mason, Montgomery, Lewis, Nicholas, Pendleton, Powell, and Robertson. This Bourbon County is from which Bourbon whiskey evolved its name.
I always enjoy seeing Clogging competitions and exhibitions so this dance studio window on Main Street caught my eye.
Clogging is a type of American folk dance with roots in traditional European dancing, early African-American dance, and traditional Cherokee dance in which the dancer's footwear is used musically by striking the heel, the toe, or both in unison against a floor or each other to create audible percussive rhythms.
Clogging was social dance in the Appalachian Mountains as early as the 1700s.
Since I had parked the car so close to this hot dog joint I decided it would be a good place for a quick lunch.
The menu board at Sam's Hot Dogs. Quite extensive.
Hmmm... a "W.Virginia Slaw Dog". Only an out-of-stater would spell West Virginia like that!
The place looked old timey. I wonder if the booths were original?
My sorry attempt at preserving my slaw dog for posterity. I could not figger out why I was having so much trouble with the slow exposure. When I left I realized I still had the polarizing filter on. Crap...
I left Winchester and continued south on 627. I soon reached I-75 and continued on down to London, about and hours drive. When I got off the London exit I headed over to the Forest Service Office to see if District Ranger Derek Ibarguen was in, but he was not. He had called the previous evening to say they were all down with the flu and I might want to consider other lodgings, which I did.
I guess after Winchester I was hoping London was going to be another quaint old town. And, maybe it's there - somewhere. But all I saw was a sprawling, green space gobbling mess.
My final destination for Day 1 - Room 123. The Motel 8 and Exit 41 of I-75. A typical hotel at a typical location.
The rate for a single was 52.95. OUCH! Fortunately I learned a lesson from sister-in-law Charlotte and looked for hotel coupon books at the rest stops on the way down. I found one and it contained a Motel 8 coupon for 39 bucks. Much better. Thanks, Charlotte.
The view from my door as a I munched my dinner - an Arby's Jr. Roast beef sandwich.