The Heart of Bardstown, Ky.

This unique postcard shows scenes from the Bardstown area from the turn of the century -- sort of a 19th-century Nelson County tourist brochure. What makes the card most unique is the red heart on its photo side: It swings opens from the right, and inside is a folded strip of paper printed with 8 photos depicting Nelson County points of interest.

The postmark on the card is dated September 15, 1908 -- about 15 years before Federal Hill - the Rowan family home - officially became a state shrine (and later My Old Kentucky Home State Park). The postcard is addressed to a "Miss Maude Hardin, St. Joseph, Mo." and the sender was Lila Hardin. Due to the complex nature of the card, instructions state that it was mailable for one cent, but could contain no message to the addressee -- only the name of the sender. The card bears a 1907 copyright from the Glazier Art Co., Boston, Mass., "controlled by Samuel Ward Co."

The individual photos on the fold-out strip depict a few activities and places that aren't well-known today (for example, fox hunting is mentioned on the body of the card; I don't think fox hunts are very common now). These photos are literally thumbnails -- about the size of your thumb -- and they are only in fair shape for being 90-odd years old. The quality is poor, but hey, they're certainly unique for what they offer.

Check out the photos below, and if you have suggestions or care to add any information, please drop me an e-mail.


CONFEDERATE MONUMENT: Located in the Bardstown Cemetery. In 1998, the Sons of the Confederacy laid a wreath honoring the dead. Not many folks know about the memorial these days. In September & October 1999, the group continued efforts to restore and erect grave markers for fallen Confederate veterans.
OLD CAVE: At first, I thought this was a photo of what was known as "St. Joe Cave" when I was growing up. However, my memory tells me the cave opening looks to too high up the hillside to be St. Joe Cave. Your guess is as good as mine.
BAPTIST COLLEGE: I think this was out near Gethsemani in southern Nelson County, near Culvertown. I've mislaid my book on Nelson County history, but I'll correct this when I find out where it was.
MAIN STREET: This was shot from the second story of the courthouse. Third Street looks like mostly dirt and mud to me.


COURT HOUSE: It was only a few years old then, certainly the pride of Nelson County.
FITCH'S GRAVE: The location looks pretty desolate, but this is the old Pioneer Cemetery on the corner of West John Fitch and South Fourth Street in Bardstown. Fitch was later honored with a monument honoring him as inventor of the steamboat, and his remains were moved to the monument on the Court Square.
LOVER'S LEAP: No clue where this is. I'd never jump off a cliff because some gal broke my heart. If I did, I'd have worn a path to the top of this outlook!
ST. JOSEPH COLLEGE: Later became St. Joe Prep, and now Spalding Hall. Photo must be in the dead of winter, it looks mighty desolate.