Brad Saum at Kentucky Stonehedge.

Kentucky Oddities – Part 1

It is not always the bold, stunning and pricey attractions that are the most historical, educational and entertaining. Although frequently found a little out of the way, the quirky stops can be extraordinary and usually free. There’s always a story to be found, just ask around!

Here’s a couple oddities – unique places to visit – I managed to stumble upon in south-central Kentucky.

Kentucky Stonehedge

Chester Fryer was simply on vacation in Europe when he visited the historic Stonehedge. The stone monument constructed some 4,000 years ago near present day Wiltshire, England fascinated the Kentucky businessman.

Kentucky Stonehedge is the work of Chester Fryer and stands in south-central Kentucky.
Kentucky Stonehedge is the work of Chester Fryer and stands in south-central Kentucky.

So intrigued was Chester Fryer that upon return to his Kentucky home, he proceeded to search over a thousand acres in Hatcher Valley gradually collecting huge rocks and then replicated the iconic stone monument in the field adjacent to his house.

In a seemingly sleepy neighborhood in Munfordville is Kentucky Stonehedge where Chester Fryer created his own story and English landscape.

Although privately  built,  Kentucky Stonehedge is open to the public and there is no charge.
Although privately built, Kentucky Stonehedge is open to the public and there is no charge.
the real Stonehedge prehistoric monument in Wiltshire, England
Along with my two children – who have since grown into young adults – we had the opportunity to see the real Stonehedge prehistoric monument in Wiltshire, England a few years back.

Battle for the Bridge

Thomas Woodson graciously accepted a land grant from President Thomas Jefferson for his service in the Revolutionary War. His son built a home and developed the farm into arguably one of the finest in Hart County, Kentucky.

The front porch view of Thomas Woodson's farm and the railroad bridge in the distance.
The front porch view of Thomas Woodson’s farm and the railroad bridge in the distance.

The farm prospered and with the Woodson’s house built on the highest land, they could sit on their front porch and watch the occasional train pass over the the nearby L&N Railroad bridge with the Green River below. When constructed in 1857, this bridge was the largest iron bridge in the United States at 1,075 feet long.

Man sacrifices his health in order to make money.
Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health.
And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present;
the result being that he does not live in the present or the future;
he lives as if he is never going to die,
and then dies having never really lived.

– Dalai Lama

This insignificant rural farm was suddenly thrust into the middle of the Civil War, both Union and Confederate forces wanted control of the railroad bridge. Besides the obvious importance of trains to both sides, during the Civil War soldiers would temporarily lay boards across the rail tracks on the bridge and transport columns of men, wagons and munitions high across the impassable river below.

Fort Craig is a well preserved historical five star shaped earthen civil war fort.
Fort Craig is a well preserved historical five star shaped earthen civil war fort.

The trees across Woodson’s farm were systematically cut, barns torn down, the fences burned for fire wood and the earthen Fort Craig emerged from his field. The Battle for the Bridge ensued with fierce fighting. The prosperous farm was essentially destroyed, and the Woodson’s were never able to bring the broken land back to what it once was.

Impossible Airstream

Not far from the Woodson’s old farmstead and with some considerable searching, I discovered the stone pillars of that old iron Louisville and Nashville (L&N) Railroad bridge that was built in 1857 crossing the Green River in Hart County, Kentucky. The old iron bridge structure was removed long ago and replaced with a new bridge.

An Airstream travel trailer provides a recreational camp above the old railroad bridge.
An Airstream travel trailer provides a recreational camp perched above the old railroad bridge.
The L&N Railroad in the Civil War: A Vital North-South Link and the Struggle to Control It

As a fulltime RVer, the Airstream travel trailer seemingly perched high on the banks of the Green River intrigued me. That land now belongs to a former woodshop teacher at the local high school and he simply decided to create a little campsite at the edge of his property where it meets the river.

To stone pillars once supported the L&N Railroad bridge across the Green River.
To stone pillars once supported the L&N Railroad bridge across the Green River.

Located in the woods and well above the flood plain, people working along the Green River stop and can be seen securing their boats and scrambling up the steep hillside. A camp fire occasionally flickers from beside the old Airstream trailer in the retired path of the L&N Railroad bridge that once guarded by Fort Craig on nearby Thomas Woodson’s farm.

More oddities to come in a few days in Part 2 – check back or subscribe to the email list to be the first to know when I post!

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