Kentucky: A Guide to the Bluegrass State

By Federal Writers' Project | Go to book overview

Tour 11

South Portsmouth -- Vanceburg -- Maysville -- Alexandria; 109.7 m. State 10.

Hard-surfaced roadbed throughout.

Chesapeake and Ohio R.R. roughly parallels this route.

Hotels chiefly in cities.

State 10, called the Mary Inglis (or Ingles) Trail, runs along the Ohio River most of the way between South Portsmouth and Vanceburg, makes a detour to the outer Knobs plateau, comes back to the river at Maysville, and then relegates itself again to the back country, though at several places it is fairly close to the Ohio in point of miles.

At one time the slopes of the billowing plateau that rears up beside the Ohio were densely wooded. Besides the common maples and sycamores, this region had a good deal of poplar and some scrub pine. Then, in the early nineteenth century, lumbering took away the best timber, leaving the land scraggly and subject to erosion. All the topsoil was soon carried off down the river. Attempts to till the badly wornout land have almost completely ruined it, and today it climbs bare to a meager tree line.

Except for Vanceburg and Maysville, the communities along the route are tiny, and cluster beside the, highway or along the railroad tracks. The road is seldom out of sight of habitation, which is usually a frame house that has somehow managed to remain erect. The people eke out a slender existence by farming and have a few mangy dogs, cattle, and horses, but they go out hunting 'possum and rabbits during the fall season and at all times seem less unhappy than the stranger expects them to be.

Life along the route is closely tied up with the river and the road; the traveler is conscious of one or both throughout his journey. From 1780 to 1815, the period when the wave of Western settlement crossed the Alleghenies and penetrated the Ohio River region, the river brought boatloads of restless immigrants down to Limestone (now Maysville), then picked them up again and took them westward. Some people remained in Limestone and along the Kentucky shoreline. Except at Limestone, Vanceburg, and Augusta, the succeeding era of great river traffic brought little prosperity to the immigrants scattered along the river and among the near-by knobs.

When the Maysville & Big Sandy R.R. rushed up to compete with the steamers in the early 1880's, the towns became sprightly and hopeful. But the C. & O. R.R. bought the Maysville & Big Sandy in 1888,

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Kentucky: A Guide to the Bluegrass State
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Foreword vii
  • Preface ix
  • Contents xi
  • List of Illustrations xv
  • List of Maps xxi
  • General Information xxiii
  • Calendar of Events xxvii
  • Part I - Kentucky: the General Background 1
  • Kentuckians 3
  • Natural Setting 7
  • Archeology and Indians 28
  • History 35
  • Agriculture 50
  • Transportation 56
  • Manufacturing and Mining 60
  • Labor 66
  • The Negro 72
  • Religion 77
  • Education 83
  • Folklore and Folk Music 89
  • Kentucky Thorough- Breds 94
  • Press and Radio 102
  • The Arts 110
  • Part II - Cities and Towns 137
  • Ashland 139
  • Covington 147
  • Frankfort 157
  • Harrodsburg 168
  • Louisville 175
  • Lexington 197
  • Paducah 221
  • Part III - Highways and Byways 231
  • Tour 1 233
  • Tour 2 242
  • Tour 3 246
  • Tour 4 261
  • Tour 4a 274
  • Tour 4b 279
  • Tour 5 280
  • Tour 6 288
  • Tour 7 296
  • Tour 7a 309
  • Tour 8 315
  • Tour 9 322
  • Tour 10 324
  • Tour 11 329
  • Tour 12 334
  • Tour 12a 341
  • Tour 13 344
  • Tour 14 351
  • Tour 15 362
  • Tour 16 387
  • Tour 17 414
  • Tour 17 A 419
  • Tour 18 424
  • Tour 19 433
  • Tour 20 441
  • Part IV - Appendices 449
  • Chronology 451
  • Selective Bibliography 462
  • Index 471
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