frequently, I learned. And quite regularly.
all complain about this place when they're working here, but they
always come back to visit,"
explained Bucky Metcalf, who was my boss when I was a seasonal
employee at My Old Kentucky Home State Park.
was referring to an invisible bond of sorts that forms between
park workers and Federal Hill, the mansion home of the Rowan clan,
the centerpiece of My Old Kentucky Home State Park in Bardstown,
main function is to commemorate (some say fabricate) the linkage
between the Rowan family and their celebrated cousin, American
composer Stephen Foster. The mansion represents Kentucky on the
back of the Kentucky quarter.
a weedeater down the park's golf course fence along Hwy 49 in
95-degree heat wasn't my idea of a good, memorable time, but universally,
everyone I worked with had a deep sense of loyalty and respect
to what Federal Hill was then and is today.
Hill -- known to us who worked there respectfully as simply"The
Home" -- commanded our respect like the grand old matriarch
of the clan Kentucky.
my favorite chores as a park employee was preparing the home on
weekends for visitors, vacuuming the carpets in preparation for
the day's tourists.
morning sun would be filtering through the tree tops into Judge
Rowan's bedroom; the home was silent, save for the vacuum cleaner
and my own footsteps. Sometimes, I just stood and looked around,
soaking in the ambiance and wondering what the place was really
like when Judge John Rowan was there.
a safe bet that nearly everyone who has worked at the park has
at least one print or photo of Federal Hill on a wall in their
home; we have several on display in my own home and several others
rolled up waiting for frames.
In the years
since my tenure at the park, I've been a casual collector of
postcards featuring Federal Hill and Bardstown.
posted a few images from my collection here. The home has been
well photographed over the years. I''l be adding more in the future.
Take your time and enjoy!
-- Jim Brooks