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Bardstown Colonial Days
April 1-3, 2011              Bardstown, Kentucky
Photos by Jim and Kathy Cummings

By Kathy Cummings

Bardstown, Kentucky is a small town with a historical past. Dating to 1780, Bardstown is Kentucky's second oldest city. Since that time log, brick and stone homes rose from the wilds of what was then western Virginia. The Catholic religion had a firm foothold in this part of the country when in 1785, groups of Maryland Catholics began to journey west to the American Frontier and settled in Kentucky. Within 25 years, Bishop Benedict Joseph Flaget was entrusted with the first diocese of the West, which spanned from the Great Lakes to the deep South and from the Alleghenies to the Mississippi. Bishop Flaget chose Bardstown, then larger than Louisville, to be the capital of this new religious region. Starting at St. Thomas Church and Seminary just out of the city limits in 1812, Flaget moved downtown and started construction on the first "Western" cathedral in 1816.

And Bardstown has cherished her history with spots like The Civil War Museum, My Old Kentucky Home, The Pioneer Village and the 1770’s Talbott Tavern and the aforementioned St. Joseph’s Proto Cathedral. In addition, old homes line the streets, including Wickland called “The home of three Governors”.

So event planner Dennis Medley choose several of these venues for Bardstown Colonial Days. In the Pioneer Village vendors and speakers set up their wares. Speakers included Daniel Boone,portrayed by Steve Caudill and George Rogers Clark, and Simon Kenton portrayed by Mel Hankla. Musician Jon Hagee performed throughout the day as did Magician, Faire Wynds. The ratcatcher was busy about the grounds and Maggie Delaney could be seen doing the laundry while David Van Meter was set up as a surveyor. A Sunday service was held in the village by Parson John.

Up the hill, at Wickland visitors could see a military encampment, an artillery demonstration, The Indiana Mounted Militia and visit the house itself. The home was built by John Anderson Wickliffe and as the family estate bore the name Wickland. Wiclkliffe was a lawyer, Congressman, Lieutenant Governor and became Governor when James Clark died while in office. His son Robert C. Wickliffe became Governor of Louisiana from 1856-1860 and a grandson J.C.W. Beckham became Kentucky’s governor in 1900. In 2003 Nelson County Fiscal Court purchased the property from private owners and in 2004 the Friends of Wickland, Inc. began managing the home.

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Although not all of the rooms in Wickland are furnished it is a magnificent house with open, airy rooms. The Friends of Wickland seem to be moving along with a full schedule of events for the house, and evidence of other programs (like these hats, tucked away in an upstairs room), school programs and the young ladies pictured above who were volunteering at the home.

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Photos from Wickland


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