Legends of Kentucky

There are many, it seems – and we will only have time to scratch the surface of a few of Kentucky’s outstanding and noteworthy sites.

Today, we hit a biggie. In the town of Fairview is the memorial to the first (and last) president of the Confederate States of America, Jefferson Davis. It happens to be his birthplace, and – ironically – is only about 100 miles from Abe Lincoln’s, which is also in Kentucky. That is a good representation of the conflict within and over the state during the Civil War.

Now, about the Davis monument. Had I been on the committee in the early 1900s, I believe I would have counseled against commissioning a smaller concrete replica of the Washington Monument. I would have argued that if our goal was a poke in the eye to the Federal government, it might take them decades to notice. And if our goal was to relate Jeff Davis to George Washington, it seemed a bit strange to offer homage to a country we just fought a bloody war to separate from. Clearly, wiser heads prevailed and the monument was constructed on land Jefferson Davis donated. I will let the monument and some of the small museum’s displays speak for themselves.

On the way to Fairview, we drove across an area that is a very special geographic feature of this country – the Land Between the Lakes. A large peninsula of land rests between two major inland lakes and the modern road straight across them all provides quite a scenic trip.

We also had a stop in a very unusual park in Hopkinsville. The Round Table Literary Park is a nicely shaded strip of woodland interspersed with monuments drawn from the world of literature. Don took me there as a surprise, and when I got to the sign, I began wondering what on earth the Algonquin and Dorothy Parker’s gang were doing in Kentucky. But then I got it. There’s King Arthur’s Round Table, with stone seating for 24. Good old Don pulled out the Sword from the Stone – no problem – but just had a little trouble getting it back in. A Greek/Roman amphitheater and the Delphian Tholos Temple provide venues for annual literary events, quiet contemplation, and memorials to favorite professors. A very sweet little oddity.

Also in Hopkinsville is the Cherokee Trail of Tears Memorial Park. This was the final resting place for some of the Cherokee leaders who began that journey back in New Echota, but got no further.

Our destination for the evening is Bowling Green, home of Western Kentucky University. It is a sweet little town with a Civil-War-era town square, surrounded by a lively commercial district.

But there is one draw in Bowling Green that really packs them in every year. Bowling Green happens to be where every single Corvette in the world is made! Reservations for the factory tour can be made up to a year ahead, just to give you some idea of the passion surrounding this icon. We had to settle for the museum – which is a story within a story.

Do you remember where you were on February 12th, 2014? Besides celebrating Lincoln’s birthday and getting ready for Valentine’s Day, you may have been glued to the news about a huge sinkhole opening up inside this museum and swallowing eight rare Corvettes. Yes, that sinkhole.

But first, look at all the intact cars and Corvette memorabilia. Thank goodness we were not here on a day when all the owners and collectors gather. We would have never seen all this!

Okay, now for the sinkhole.

This was breath-taking. And it was heart-stopping to learn that the hole is being filled in next month. Just think – if we had come a mere one month later, we would never have seen the reality of this force of nature! The mind boggles. Of course, the impact will still be seen in the five cars which will not be restored. GM is working on three of them, such as the 1,000,000th car off the Corvette assembly line. The others – well, see for yourself what a sinkhole in a car museum can do.

My favorite image will remain the final one we saw as we were leaving the museum. A nice Corvette parked right outside the door – in the handicapped spot. As they say in Bowling Green, ” ‘Vette dreams, everyone!”

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