December 31, 1986


Memories of a home town




Big Spring United for Good Causes



By Eleanor S. Martin


Some hometowns are remembered. Some hometowns are forgotten, I salute Big Spring, Kentucky, my hometown. Population 200.

It's located in a beautiful scenic valley 53 miles from Louisville, Kentucky and eight miles from Fort Knox. It is bound by three counties: Meade, Hardin and Breckinridge.

After the United States declared war on Germany in April 1917, if there had been a survey taken, you would have found every household in the township busy sewing for the army, making shirts for the soldiers. Each week they would make a trip to Louisville to deliver the finished product and to pick up new materials.

The old armory at 6th and Walnut had been converted into a Government Depot. The Armistice was signed November 11, 1918. Happy bedlam reigned here, as well as the rest of the nation.

In the early thirties, Big Spring had established its claim as being a good tobacco market. It was not unusual to see horse drawn wagons bringing tobacco to the warehouse. These wagons were always heavily loaded, and if the load shifted a little, they would sometimes find themselves in a ditch.

Reaching the warehouse, they would stand in line hoping to unload in time for lunch at the Meadow Hotel, noted for delicious home-cooked meals, and Aunt Eliza’s brown Sugar Pie. She would put the sugar and a lump of butter in an iron skillet to melt on top of the stove before she added the other ingredients. It was her recipe and her's alone.

Now there is a highway stretching like a silver ribbon into town. This didn't happen by accident. The people worked hard for this highway. The residents have always called it George Rogers Clark County. This little village is unique in many ways. A stream of water flows through the town as cold as any mountain stream.

There is a natural bridge here. For many years, there stood a stately oak tree, on the very spot where the three counties join. Nurtured by the winter rains and in the summer by the fog rising from the water. It's branches supporting green leaves: dark green, moss green and celery green. Three distinct colors. Phenomenal! Three counties and leaves of three colors.

There has been a monument erected on the bridge in memory of some of the professional and businessmen who lived there, C. C. Martin being one of them. The old feed mill and the blacksmith shop have vanished, but not the churches. They stand like sentinels, their white spires can be seen for miles.

The Three Counties Monument with the old Meador house in the background 1978.




On Sunday morning the church bell rang out. The sound would echo and echo through the valley. What better invitation could anyone have to attend the worship service?

The four seasons are all beautiful in the valley, each in a special way.

Spring, an antidote to a long winter. The earth seems to be awaking. The red bud trees and the dogwood are bursting out all over. The grass is growing like a green wall to wall carpet with wild flowers nodding in the breeze. Cattle on the hill side, sheep grazing in the meadows. Tranquility Yes! Our cares seem to fade away and a certain peace descends upon us.

And now it's summer. Vacation time for many people. A time to visit family and friends or a time to enjoy the great outdoors. Camping, bicycling and fishing. I never could catch a fish, I only taught the bait to swim. The good fishing is down the highway ten miles or so to Rough River. There they bring in the big ones that didn't get away.

Autumn is here, the glorious season when all of nature is busy painting the countryside with vivid colors of red, yellow and gold. The summer harvest is in. The nights grow chilly, there is a crispness in the air.

Fall lingers on. All the honking isn't the sound of traffic, but of wild geese over head, winging their way South. In the distance a whippoorwill calls. Would the robins be offended not to mention them? We see them all winter, their feathers fluffed out, hanging in there. They are always the first to start building their nests in the spring.

Kentucky is said to be the "Gateway to the South," but our winters are very cold. My kingdom for a fireplace. We have to prepare for the changing weather. The leaves are brown now, and the wind blows them down the highway and across the meadow with a rustling sound. The squirrels and the chipmunks are busy storing up nuts in a secret place for their winter food supply.

Winter is the season when families are drawn closer together in their warm homes, making plans for another year. A knock at the door, a neighbor is standing there with a loaf of warm homemade bread just out of the oven.

People caring about people, that's my hometown.