The 4th of July is annually one of the two larger fundraisers for the Three Forks Historical Center. The community goes up to Happy Top Park, Beattyville, KY to see a fantastic fireworks show each year and the museum manages the concession stand under the picnic shelter next to the splash park.
On the evening of the 4th, there were inflatables and water slides for the kids, the volunteer fire departments had a booth selling raffle chances on a gun, local church missions were doing face painting and games, the DJ spun tunes and the Three Forks Historical Center sold concessions. This year the concession stand had rib-eye sandwiches, hamburgers, cheeseburgers, pork tenderloin sandwiches, hot dogs, pop, and water. Once it hit 10pm the first of the fireworks were released and the DJ played music to go with the display. This year the museum took in $1,700 worth on concessions and about $200 on the rifle raffle and glow in the dark item sales.
July 3rd, 2019 Flooding on Museum's campus...
The weather is always something that has to be monitored. The night before the fireworks there was a flash flood and water raced down the hill from Dairy Queen on HWY 11 and traveled in front of the museum to reach the storm drain. The storm drain could not handle the volume of water, and with debris caught in the rapture, the storm drain backed up causing a flooded area in front of the museum and tourism center caboose. The Mayor of Beattyville, Scott Jackson, was on scene that night waiting for the state transportation crew to come to the museum and evaluate the flooding. There were several more flooded areas around Lee County in addition to the museum. The water did not endanger the museum this time but in the past it has reached the front stoop of the building. (Photos below of recent flooding.)
The Three Forks Historical Center opened on Thursday, June 20th and welcomed the Twin City Cruisers Car Club from Irvine/Ravenna, KY. The group gets together rain or shine once a month and takes trips around the area cruising and touring different places. It was sprinkling that day, so they did not get the classic cars out, but the group visited anyway. There were 20 or so people tour the museum and both Bob Smith and John David Sipple of the Museum Board was there to give them the grand tour. Several in the group were military veterans and really enjoyed the military wing of the museum. Once they toured the museum, the group traveled to Slade and the Natural Bridge State Resort Park area to have lunch at the Red River Smoakhouse. It was a wonderful visit. The museum board welcomes groups at anytime during the week to call and schedule for the museum to be open. They board is also rotating Saturdays to have the museum open every Saturday from 10am-4pm. Call (606) 464-2888 or (606) 464-5038 to schedule your group tour.
The Three Forks Historical Center garage building is the new home for the Lee County Fire Department antique fire engine. Locally known as "Ole Red" this was the first engine that the local community had. The truck itself is a 1953 Chevy and it remained the only fire truck up until the devastating runaway gas truck explosion of 1977 that killed 7 people, set several buildings and 50 parked cars along Main Street in Beattyville on fire.
More info on the 1977 Runaway Gas Truck Explosion...
The Three Forks Historical Center was chosen by the employees at Jackson Energy, our local electric cooperative company, as their community service project for the "Beautify the Bluegrass" initiative launched three years ago by Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin. This program is a also a form of competition where the energy companies each pick a project in their service area and once completed, submit their project video to the governor's office for judging. If chosen, the Governor will make a trip to that community and have lunch with up to 200 people. It is a great opportunity to showcase our community if we win and even if we do not win, the museum would still benefit by this landscaping facelift.
The museum board got together with a few Jackson Energy representatives and we walked the grounds discussing ideas and making a list of problem areas. Funding was matched and we ended up receiving a project grant of $2,000. Also the labor was going to be the employees of Jackson Energy, museum board members, and community volunteers.
We set the date and worked to then have all the materials delivered that morning. We ordered pallets of mulch from Lee County Building Supply, pallets of top soil from Congleton Brother's, and plants from Country Garden Greenhouse and also the Lee County High School FFA Club. The Beattyville/Lee County Tourism Commission sponsored lunch for the volunteers that day and ordered several subway trays the day before.
It is amazing what a large group of people can accomplish in just a half day. 32 people worked on the landscaping in front of the museum, the tourism center caboose, the gazebo, and the corner yards of the museum's property. We can't thank Jackson Energy enough for choosing the Three Forks Historical Center for their project. Be sure to look at the before and after photos!
The project photo was featured in the June 2019 Kentucky Living Magazine! The Museum is so inviting from the road of HWY 11 that people are stopping in to take a look. The museum board plans to keep the museum open each Saturday from 10am-4pm using volunteers. The museum has had many more visitors since the beautification project and has also received special groups calls to schedule the museum to be open for their tour group. If you would like to schedule the museum tour for your group call (606) 464-2888 or (606) 464-5038.
Born in Beattyville, Ky., on March 8, 1920. He grew up attending a one room school in Walker's Creek then walked to the St. Helen's High School. He attended the University of Kentucky from 1937-41. And entered the military as a fighter pilot whose first combat experience was with the famed Flying Tigers over China and Burma during World War II, as a Wing Commander, and as a high-ranking staff officer, he was involved in every major fighting effort of his country from World War II to the Vietnamese struggle. He was Deputy Chief of Staff of the Seventh Air Force in Vietnam, and at the time of his retirement in 1969, was a Brigadier General. He was decorated with the Silver Star, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Legion of Merit with Cluster, the Bronze Star, and the Air Force Medal with five Clusters. He also received the Air Force Commendation Medal with Cluster. Following his retirement he served for a time as a consultant to the General Electric Company. James W. Little was named to the Hall of Distinguished Alumni on November 6, 1970. (source UK Alumni Association)
Support The Three Forks Historical Center by making a donation today!
Learn more about General Little and the two buildings built by the General in the Big Andy area of Lee County. One is the Peddler Fork Inn, which was once a restaurant and now owned by his daughter Mary who now operates it as a bed and breakfast retreat. The other is the General's Cabin, a cabin in the woods build by the General and now operating as a vacation rental owned by his daughter Joy.
Below in this post is a Three Forks Historical Center Artifact Spotlight video featuring Donnie Benton and Teresa Mays, of Beattyville, KY. They are Season 8 Cast members of the Discovery's Channel "Moonshiners" Show. Donnie and Teresa, aka The Beattyville Hillbillies, talk about two moonshine stills that are on display at the museum. Thank you Donnie and Teresa for your support and for sharing this great information about the moonshine still artifacts in the museum. Visit the website www.threeforkshistoricalcenter.com for videos, news, and happenings at the museum. Thanks for watching.
By: Dedra Brandenburg
The Three Forks Historical Center held a spring fundraiser on Friday, March 29th and it was a beehive of excitement and activity. I was a little nervous when Josh Smith told me on Friday morning that they had thawed out 100 lbs of fish for the evening fish fry. This was more fish than they use for the annual Old Engine and Tractor Show in August. Volunteers gathered at the museum around 2pm to arrange tables and get organized in order to start cooking.
The display of desserts was a jaw dropping site. I had not seen so much dessert in one place in all my life and I belong to the local Beattyville Baptist Church who have pot luck meals once a month... we Baptist love our sweats! It was getting close to the event time and people kept bringing in desserts for the table, then the desserts overflowed the table, then some of the desserts went into the silent auction because they didn't fit on the table. All the deserts were donated by locals in the community and you have those signature items that everyone knows who baked it and they watch for them. For example, you can always spot the peanut butter divinity pin wills by Geneva Duncil or delicious cakes by Michael Johnson. Everyone always looks for fudge candy by Sheri Lanham or chocolate dipped strawberries by Linda Smith.
Counter top space was also hard to come by when the silent auction items kept rolling in. There were soap baskets, Nellie Meadows prints, knives, Yeti tumblers, coffee baskets and more. We even had a pair of roller skates, donated by Tom Jones. They were men's size 10 and a very nice brand. Tom had told Bob Smith that he owned the roller skates long enough to fall on his rump a few times and decided to give them up. Thank you to everyone who donated items and for everyone who bid on items.
There was a steady flow of people all evening who came to the fish fry. At one point there was a line out the door and visitors had to wait for a fresh batch of fish and hush puppies to cook. No one seemed to mind waiting as there was a lot to look at in the museum and people easily stuck up conversations in line. There were defiantly more people who came through the line than there were seats at the table. Families would take their dinner to go or find a picnic table outside. I estimate there were 180-200 visitors to go through the line and support the museum by buying fish dinners.
The guest who found seats in the Veteran's wing of the museum were entertained by bluegrass and gospel bluegrass music by the Hilltop Pickers. I play upright bass in the band and looking out at everyone, could tell people were really enjoying the evening. Reva Crabtree, Barbara Begley, Georgie Pearl Gabbard, Dale Haney, Bonnie Dunahoo, Shirley Reese, and others sang along to almost every song the band played. Songs that we played included "Fox on the Run", "Rabbit in a Log", "Holding up the Ladder", "Seven Sundays in a Row", and "In the Pines". One lady asked us for a group photo and permission to record us because she wanted to send it to her family in Texas.
Below are a few photos from the evening. There are not many photos because my phone died early on and others were so busy cooking, serving, or playing music that they didn't get the opportunity to snap a lot of photos. With community contributions, the silent auction, and dinner sales the museum raised around $3,000 in funds which will be used to pay the bills and keep the museum doors open. The museum board appreciates everyone who came out to the event and for every donation that is generously given by the community. Be sure to keep an eye out for future museum events and news throughout the year.
Bob Smith, president of the Three Forks Historical Center talks about a bottling plant that was located in Beattyville in the early 1900s. The Roxa Kola Bottling Company was a subsidiary of Ale-8-one and had bottling plants in Lexington, Winchester, and Beattyville. Ale-8-one is a large part of Eastern Kentucky pride and history. Read about the Ale8 One Percent program with the Red River Gorge Climber's Coalition, where 1% of returnable bottle sales go to local nonprofits.
This video is a Three Forks Historical Center Artifact Spotlight of L&N Railroad Maps of Heidelberg, Lee County, Kentucky. Shirley Reese talks about what she remembers of the town. To hear more about the history of Heidelberg, KY check out the Lee County Oral History/Storytelling recordings.. #supportmuseums #threeforkshistoricalcenter
John McIntosh, at the Three Forks Historical Center showcases an item in the museum that touches his heart, and his stomach. He has treasured memories of his mother cooking on a similar stove. Listen to John speak about how this wood burning iron stove operated. Consider giving a donation to the museum in Beattyville, KY to help keep the doors open for generations to come. If you are interested in this stove and historical cooking methods, be sure to listen to the Lee County Oral History group talk about cooking traditions.
Welcome to the blog page of the Three Forks Historical Center in Beattyville, KY.
Museum Board Members
Want to get involved? Ask the board members how you can volunteer to help the museum.
Edna G. Crabtree
Everett Lee Marshall