Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Whistle Stop

And the old freight depot

Whistle Stop Donuts in Hopkinsville (KY) now has two buildings, near each other and (of course) near the train tracks. (In this photo, you can't see the original little Whistle Stop that's right next to the tracks, but it's marked by the yellow sign.). I don't know if they're going to move everything to the building on the left which has a larger parking lot, or if they're going to keep both locations.

On the other side of the train that's whizzing through town, you can see some scaffolding on the old freight depot. The exterior of the building is being restored to its original appearance. Jim Coursey, a local architect and historian, recently wrote in  the Kentucky New Era that the depot is still structurally sound -- in fact, as solid as when it was first built. The metal roof on the building dates back to its construction in 1905, and it still doesn't leak. The Hopkinsville water department owns the property.

Chrysanthenum with Leaf

Onomatopoeic Words

Words that imitate sounds

This evening, I was sorting through some old papers, and I came across some notes dated October 23. I left out the year when I wrote the date, but I think it was 1984. About that time, I took a class called "History of the English Language", and I must have saved only this little stack of pages from my notebook for that class.

On the long-ago October 23 when I made those notes, Dr. Eschlimann was wearing plaid pants. I know this to be a fact because Dr. E. always wore plaid pants. His lecture was about the ways that words enter the English language. My notes cover 17 different sources of words, with a list of examples for each one.

The list of onomatopoeic words (words that echo or imitate sounds) is kind of fun. Glancing through the list is like reading the "sound effects" of a comic strip. And it is dated October 23, so I decided to post it.

and one of my all-time favorite words...
murmur (I just like the sound of that word.)

Such vivid words! I hope you enjoyed them!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Thursday Thirteen: Old-time Riddles

Conundrums from the early 1900s

1. If a chicken said anything, why would it be likely to swear?
Because it could only use fowl language.

2.What is the best thing to do if you split your sides with laughter?
Run until you get a stitch in them.

3. Why is a dirty boy like a piece of cheap flannel?
Because they both shrink from washing.

4. Why is the number 9 like a peacock?
Because it would be nothing without its tail.

5. Which is quicker, heat or cold?
Heat is, because you can catch cold.

6. Why were the Middle Ages called dark ages?
Because there were so many (k)nights.

7. Why did the fly fly?
Because the spider spied her.

8. Why do you always find a lost object in the very last place where you look?
Because when you find it, you stop looking for it.

9. Why is a straw hat like a kiss over the telephone?
Because it is not felt.

10. Why is a watch like a river?
Because it will not run long without winding.

11. Why is the letter D like a squalling baby?
Because it makes Ma mad ("ma"-d).

12. Why is there no such thing as a perfect day?
Because every day begins by breaking.

13. Why is a fishmonger ungenerous?
Because his job makes him sell fish (selfish).

From Party Games For All Occasions by Bernard Stanley. Published in Philadelphia by J. B. Lippincott Company, copyright date unknown.

Find more Thursday Thirteen posts here.

"Peacock and Peahen" by Maruyama Ōkyo (1747 - 1821)
Image from Wikimedia Commons

Monday, October 17, 2011


Time flies.

At the store, I overheard this confused conversation between a 50-ish woman and her 30-ish daughter.

Mom: It's been at least a century since I bought new towels.

Daughter: No, it has not been a century, Mom! You got new towels when you redid the bathroom. That was seven years ago.

Mom: Well, I guess you're right. It seems like it's been over a century, though.
I have noticed that entire months slip by very quickly. Does that relate? I'm not sure.

Over a century ago
(Flickr image by peagreengirl)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Missing Confederate Graves at Hopkinsville's Riverside Cemetery

A chance to set the record straight

I've written several times in the past about Camp Alcorn in Hopkinsville, KY, where about 300 Confederate soldiers died of disease and exposure during the Civil War. If this topic interests you, you'll enjoy the well-researched article at the link below:

This link leads to a Rootsweb military page about the Camp Alcorn burials in a potters field in Riverside Cemetery, and the later re-burial of  "unknown" Confederate soldiers.

The author of this paper is William Meacham, Honorary Research Fellow at the Centre for Asian Studies at the University of Hong Kong. He lives in Hong Kong, as you might imagine, but he has family ties to Christian County, KY.  Mr. Meacham's research indicates that 72 or more Confederate soldiers are still lying in unmarked graves in Riverside Cemetery.

I am a "damyankee" transplanted in Christian County about 20 years ago, and most (though not all!) of my ancestors fought on the Union side of the Civil War. But, despite my own leanings, I think that we in Christian County should locate and mark the graves of these Confederate soldiers if we can. It is the decent thing to do, especially considering the mishandling of important records and the mistakes made with the Camp Alcorn graves in the past.

Historic marker about grave of unknown Confederate soldiers Monument to unknown Confederate soldiers, Riverside Cemetery, Hopkinsville, KY

Friday, October 14, 2011

Early Fall in Christian County, KY

Seen around the county during the last month

A nearly-dry stream bed in late September.
Now, the water is probably full of fallen leaves.

A full barn of tobacco, curing
in the fresh country air.

Dad and kids, headed home
from the produce auction

The northern part of Christian County has dozens
(or hundreds?) of small fields like this one, where the
ground is flat enough to farm between hills and streams.
This is corn, drying in the field before harvest.

The shorter flowers are members of the aster family,
and the taller ones are ironweed, as I recall.

Last spring, these were wheatfields.
Now, they're beanfields (soybeans). 

This complex west of Hopkinsville
has about a dozen tobacco barns in it.
The smoke can get heavy when
the barns are being fired.

A horseless carriage, so to speak

Late afternoon sunshine on a 
field of ripening soybeans

The sun is setting much earlier now. 
I saw this gorgeous sunset on my
way home from work one night.

Keely and I went to an interesting moving 
sale at this house in Hopkinsville. 
The seller had lots of cool, collectible stuff.

At the Farmers Market in 
downtown Hopkinsville

Sunday, October 09, 2011

For What It's Worth

Fifteen minutes of fame, sort of

Wikipedia has at least three links to Prairie Bluestem articles:

All it proves is that those topics are so obscure, they couldn't find much other information online. Nonetheless, it entertains me. And, with those links and $5, I could probably get a Frappuccino®.

L&N Passenger Depot at Hopkinsville, KY

The depot's floor plan

I found the following description of the L&N passenger depot in Hopkinsville, KY, in Buildings and Structures of American Railroads by Warren Gilman Berg. It was published in 1893, just one year after the Hopkinsville depot was built. Many details mentioned by Berg can still be observed today, but the stucco on the building's exterior seems to have been added since then.

I believe the floor plan of the depot was accidentally reversed in the book, so I changed it (image appears below) to what I think the building is in real life. Readers from Hopkinsville, please correct me if I'm wrong. Also, I altered some of the original punctuation of this passage, and I divided some of the paragraphs to make them easier to read on a screen.  

Tower at the corner of
the ladies waiting room
The passenger depot of the Louisville & Nashville Railroad at Hopkinsville, Ky. is a single-story frame building, roofed with slate.

The main feature of the exterior is the tower at the corner of the ladies' waiting-room and the large circular bay-window projection of the agent's office at the centre of the building, which, combined with the cupola on the corner tower, the ridge-cresting and ornamental gable fronts, together with the general finish of the building, causes it to present a very handsome appearance.

The "circular bay-window projection"
of the agent's office next to tracks

The ground-floor is divided into:
  • a ladies' waiting-room, 17 ft. X 20 ft., with an octagonal alcove inside the tower at the corner of the room;
  • a ladies' toilet-room, 5 ft. X 8 ft. 6 in.;
  • an agent's office, 14 ft. X 17 ft., with ticket-windows leading into the ladies' waiting-room, the general waiting-room, and the colored waiting-room;
  • a colored waiting-room, 14 ft. X 14 ft.; 
  • a general waiting-room, 20 ft. X 24 ft.; and 
  • a baggage-room, 16 ft. X 18 ft. 

Note: The platform and train tracks were on the east side of the building.
"Colored" people had to walk around the bulding to reach the boarding area.

The exterior of the building is sheathed with horizontal and upright ornamental boarding, in panels, ornamental shingles and square panelling frieze-work and gable fronts. The doors leading into the ladies' waiting-room and the general waiting-room are double doors, 5 ft. X 7 ft. 6 in., with transom overhead. The lower sash of the windows have one large pane of glass, while the upper sash are surrounded with a border of small stained-glass lights.

Double doors with transom
in the baggage room
Ticket office window seen from
ladies' waiting room
These photographs have appeared on Prairie Bluestem previously. See related posts:
Seen at Hopkinsville's L&N Depot
Hopkinsville's Railroad

Sunday, October 02, 2011

How I Entertain Myself

Country fun

I bought a firewood-rack kit at Lowes on clearance last spring. It looked really easy. The only tool needed was a screwdriver to put in four screws. The finished rack looked sort of like a shelf with attached bookends, quite similar to the rack at this link. The kit had the end pieces and screws in it, and the buyer had to supply two 2x4s. The directions said it would take about 15 minutes to assemble.

Today, I decided to put the kit together. I got a couple of used-but-sturdy 2x4s out of the shed and tried to "slip" the end pieces onto them, per the instructions. Ha ha. It took me an hour and a half. I had to rasp off the high spots for four inches back on each end of each 2x4. Then I beat the pieces on with a sledge hammer.  (Maybe I should buy a little wood plane? Maybe I should have used new 2x4s. Maybe I should have let Dennis do it!)

I still haven't completed the assembly. I quit and came inside when I got the last piece beaten on. Tomorrow, I'll put in the screws that hold the pieces in place, whether they're necessary or not.  I think it will take about, oh, maybe 15 minutes.

Just think of all the entertainment I've had already, and I haven't even stacked the firewood on the rack yet. That kit was definitely a bargain.

Image by Muffet
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License
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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

Thanks for reading.