Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Gradyville, KY: A Century Ago and Today

When we were buying this property, we were told about a book of Gradyville history, written in part by the woman who had this cottage built on the site of a much older house which had belonged to her late husband's family. I have found that this address is still given on the web as a place to order copies of the history.
Today I had the privileged loan of the book. The photos above were taken in June, 1907, shortly after the killing flood.

This is not the house which our cottage replaced, although there may have been a family connection.  Jerry [Geraldine] Baker Moss had our ranch style cottage built in 1980 on the site of an older frame house after her first husband's death. 
The old home shown in the photo is a very typical local style, Note the wide front part of the house which appears to be only one room deep with a back extension. We have admired a number of similar houses in the area which have been restored--and gazed sadly at the ruins of several which are sagging and falling into nearly hopeless decay.

I have wanted to turn onto the dead end lane that leads to the church ever since the morning we came back to view the property before putting down our deposit.  J. agreed to stop by there today on our return from town.

Left-overs from the deluge.

Sunday's flood, [minor in its damage compared to the one of 1907] left logs, branches and trash strewed in its path. This photo was taken in the church driveway.

These hay bales are "parked" at the edge of the church yard.  J. believes that the one which came floating down the flooded creek may have torn loose from here.

This old house and barn crouch, abandoned, in a field near the church.
I'd like to know if this is a building which survived the flood or dates from a later time.

The land to the left of the creek in this photo is the portion referred to as "the island".  It is really a pennisula closely surrounded on three sides by the creek waters.  Having seen the road, the bridge and portions of the fields under water on Sunday, it isn't  hard to imagine a furious flood wiping out the buildings that were there. Local remembrance is that the houses which were washed away or severely damaged were built very close to the creek's flow.

A last shot of one of the most handsome houses on Old Gradyville Road.
We have learned that some of the families whose homes were in the path of the 1907 flood salvaged  lumber and materials as they could when the waters receded and the dead had been found and buried.
Lumber from one of those houses was used to frame the modest garage on this property--built in the early 1980's.  It is yellow poplar. This is its third reincarnation--from the original house lost to the flood, to a house rebuilt and finally dismantled.
How do I know this?
Hurry back to read the story of a surprise visitor!

The three vintage photos are scanned from The Early Settlers of Gradyville and Adair County, KY.
This work was compiled and published by
 Mrs. Ann Elliot Odell
Phil Moss
Jerry Moss


  1. Such an interesting post! I love the white farm house with its green metal roof. Wonderful history there...thanks for sharing!

  2. How fascinating! You are having a great time delving back into the history of your new home. I am looking forward to doing the same when WE finally move . . . What a shame these old houses are abandoned - rather like what happens here. When a small farm cannot sustain the family, I guess they just move away. One farmhouse was left here, complete with all the furniture, just like the Marie Celeste . . . Guess the old folks died and youngsters weren't interested so they just boarded up the house . . .

  3. How interesting all the history is ....love seeing the then and now photos ...cant wait to find all that you discover.... am intrigued by your last bit about a visitor!! xx

  4. How exciting to have all that history! When we moved here I knew nothing about our cottage, until an old lady who had always lived in the village, asked me "so you live at the old poultry farm?" and she told me everything about it. Alas I do not have any old photos, so I do envy you thins wonderful record of your new home.

  5. Great post, often wonder when we see old building if they're coming (someone living there) or going.