Sunday, April 28, 2013


This weekend Dudeboy and I joined the 9th Ky for the inaugural Battle of Triune Living History Event and Reenactment.  Unfortunately, biblical rains tried to dampen the weekend (above photo).  Saturday, local powers that be deemed the situation to be unsafe due to the weather conditions and canceled the event for the day. The best was made of a bad situation, and Sunday the reenactment went off without a hitch . . . well, except the barn that wouldn't burn, because it was too wet.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam . . .

Gentle readers,
The past couple of days we have been slammed with spam.  So, regretfully, to post a comment you will have to be a follower of the Kingdom of Fife Blog . . . which entails signing-up and signing in to comment.  As commenting by most is fairly non-existent anyway, none of this should be a concern.  Actually, I am not sure any of those the blog was intended to reach even read it anymore.  So, all that to say spam, spam, spam, spam . . .

12th Annual Red River Gorge Arch Hunters Weekend

Sunday, April 14, 2013

South Union Shaker Village, part 2

 Part 2 of our day at South Union Shaker Village . . .

Monument marking the location of the cemetery . . . resting place for over 400 people.  Notice that there are no headstones.  Also, note that this monument was only erected in 2011.  And remember in our first entry, I stated I would explain why there was just the foundation that remains of the Meeting House?  Lastly, I also had stated that there were over 200 structures at South Union and most of those were sound when the auction took place in 1922.  What happened?  A man named Oscar Bond happened . . .    

From an article and radio interview at WKU Public Radio:
. . . the reason for the confusion can be traced back to the 1920’s, when a Louisville businessman named Oscar Bond purchased the land making up the South Union Shaker Village. According to Hines, Bond was less than interested in historic preservation.
“He’s the one who took all the gravestones up and ground up all the limestone markers and used that lime on the farm,” says Hines. “And then there were a series of iron grave markers that had been put up during the 1870s—what they called “lollipop” markers, with a very distinctive shape that you find in several Shaker villages. It appeared that the new owner of the property plowed these under, because we’ve found buckets and buckets of pieces of those since that time.”

It is also my understanding that Bond is also responsible for the destruction of many of the structures.  We were told that he had the Meeting House destroyed to the foundation so he could build a summer house on it.  The above photo shows the 1847 Steam House.  According to the brochure: "Located near the Cow Barn, the Steam House was built at a time when current agricultural practices encouraged cooking feed for livestock during the winter months.  According to scholarship at the time, cooked feed fattened livestock more quickly and produced a shinier coat."
 1846 Ministry Shop (from the brochure):
Each Shaker village was governed by an Elder and an Eldress, known as the Ministry.  The Ministry Shop is where they, each with an assistant, lived and worked.  The woman used the the front door and occupied the second floor and the men lived and worked downstairs, passing through the south entrance.  The vivid paint colors used in the building are reproductions of the original surfaces.

View of the Ministry Shop from the south, with the Centre House in the background.  I guess I should have posted a couple of photos of the very colorful interior, but I didn't.  So, I guess you'll just have to visit to see it.

1835 Smoke and Milk House (again from the brochure): "Subsidiary to the Centre House kitchen, the Smoke and Milk House was where butter and cheese were made and where meat was preserved and stored.  Innovative for its time, the building's architectural plan allowed for efficient use of space and an environment much cleaner than such buildings on regional farms."

1875 Grain Barn . . . it has a built-in scale in the floor.  Dr. J and Dudeboy are just to the right of it.  This is the only surviving barn at South Union.

1869 Shaker Tavern . . . located a couple of miles from what remains of the main village, Shaker Tavern was a railroad hotel operated by the Shakers.  Today the Shaker Tavern operates as a bed and breakfast.  

In the background and to the left is the 1817 Shaker Store.  It is apparently to be restored when funding becomes available.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

South Union Shaker Village, part 1

Founded in 1807 and lasting until 1922, South Union Shaker Village in Auburn, Kentucky was one of the communal utopian societies that adhered to the teachings of Ann Lee.  At one time they had constructed over 200 buildings at this location (we'll learn what happened to a good many of these structures in the next entry).  We had toured the site many years ago, but Dudeboy was young and had forgotten much of that visit.  So, couple that with his love of architecture and it was high-time we paid another visit.

 The 1824 Centre House . . . from the brochure:
This 23,000 square foot dormitory was once home to 100 Shakers.  While the upper floors were used for sleeping, the ground floor contained food storage, kitchen and dining space.  There is also a large meeting room in the house.  Men used the east side of the building and the women used the west.  During the early 20th century the Shakers installed electric lights, plumbing and radiator heat. 
In the background is the Centre House, and in the foreground are the foundation remains of the 1818 Meeting House.

Only six of the ten remaining buildings are open to the public.  Dudeboy and Dr. J ascending the stairs according to the Shakers' segregation of the sexes.

One of the famous Shaker chairs . . . apparently South Union has one of the best collections of Shaker artifacts.  

View of the 1854 Wash House . . . adjacent to the South Union Shaker Village, but now owned by the Fathers of Mercy Church.  I looked on their website, and I couldn't find one mention of the Shakers or the Shaker-built Wash House.  Things never change . . . co-opt someone else's crap and don't give credit (I'm thinking of all of those Catholic churches built on ancient Aztec sites in Mexico).

Another view of the Wash House.