Cruise the Duncan Hines Scenic Byway in Bowling Green, KY
This 80-mile scenic tour begins and ends at the Duncan Hines historical marker in front of the structure that Hines built in 1940 as his home/office at 3098 Louisville Road (US 31W), and today serves as Hardy and Son Funeral Home. The drive winds through Warren and Edmonson Counties, past stately homes, incredible vistas and even includes a ferry ride in Mammoth Cave National Park (FERRY WILL BE CLOSED FOR REPAIRS STARTING IN AUGUST 2019. VIEW THE RE-ROUTE ON MAMMOTH CAVE NATIONAL PARK'S WEBSITE HERE). The Duncan Hines Scenic ByWay has been written about in numerous publications, including a Reader’s Digest coffee table publication featuring scenic drives and byways throughout the country.
DIRECTIONS FROM US 31W North
Left on KY 101
Straight on KY 259
Left on KY 20
Right on KY 187
Right on KY 238
Right on KY 259
Left on KY 728
Right Fork on KY 1827 East
Right on KY 1352 South (Entrance to Mammoth Cave National Park) Green River Ferry At Stop Sign (ROAD AND FERRY WILL BE CLOSED BEGINNING AUGUST 9, 2019- SEE DETOUR MAP HERE)
Turn Right (Visitor Center Road, but no sign) At Stop Sign
Turn Right (KY 70, but no sign), (exit Mammoth Cave National Park)
Left on KY 2325
Left on KY 259
Right on Rocky Hill Hayes Road Right on Hays Smith Grove Road (Laurel Road in Smiths Grove)
Right on KY 101
Left on Little Knob Road
Left on Upper Dixie Hwy (name changes to Dixie Trace)
Left on Vine Street
Right on Main Street
Left on Church Street (name changes to Oakland Road)
Right on US 68 / KY 80 Left on US 31W South
Description of sites along the route
**NOTE: The turns in this description are REVERSED from the turn-by-turn directions above. The Scenic Byway is a loop that can be driven from either direction. This description is from the original grant application and contains very rich information.
Our scenic tour of rural Kentucky begins in Warren County at the former home of Duncan Hines who was known for his tour guide books commenting on places to stop and visit. Start at... Duncan Hines' former home which has now become the Hardy and Sons Funeral Home. A historical marker is located along the road.
One then travels north on Louisville Road (also known as Highway 31-W and Dixie Highway) passing two graveyards and a small country church on the right hand side of the road. On the left is the Dr. Charles H. Mitchell home. This stately mansion, built in the late 1800's is considered to be one of the best-built and handsomest homes in the entire area. On the right side of the road is the W.B. Grant Homeplace. It was originally a log structure that has been added to and greatly altered down through the years. Off in the distance one can see a beautiful country church and steeple set amongst an agricultural backdrop which is representative of the many small churches which dot the countryside.
Turning Right on Highway 68/80, one comes to the Martin House built in the late 1800's which at one time housed an antique shop as well as Ms. Martin's home. If one continues down the highway on a scenic side trip, one will pass: One of the oldest homes in the area, which was built in 1827. The winds on each side were recently added. Two other homes along this stretch of road which fall into the "don't miss" category were both built by George Wright who was elected to the State Senate and served 16 years, later becoming a member of the United States Congress for a year. The William Wright home was built in 1831 and "Smokey Row" home in 1842. Both are located near the intersection of Highway 68 and the Smiths Grove Road.
Turn Left onto Oakland Road. Oakland is a beautiful rural railroad town frozen in time. To the left is the old school house. Two churches are located across from each other. Quaint homes. An old grainery. City Hall and the old post office are much as they were many years ago.
After crossing the railroad track, one comes to the old Mansfield Homeplace which was built in the early 1870's. The Mansfield's occupied this house until just a few years ago when they sold it and moved to a log cabin just down the road. One of the oldest homes in Oakland is the James Thomas home built by Suvetus "Veet" Patillo in 1827 after learning his trade of bricklaying from the Shakers in Logan County. As one continues down Oakland Dixie Highway, one passes farmhouses, silos and fields which seem to go on forever. On a clear day, if you look closely, you can see to Bowling Green from this spot.
Turn Right onto Little Knob Road, which leads you to Highway 101 and the Smiths Grove Cemetery, which is highlighted by a small chapel which serves as inspiration for many. Susannah Henry Madison, sister of Patriot Patrick Henry, is buried in this cemetery. William B. Smith, in the early part of the 19th century came to KY from West Virginia and settled what is now called Smiths Grove.
To one's left on Main Street is an excellent example of a Victorian mansion built by William H. Cooke in 1885. Two beautiful churches are located on each side of the road. Many antique shops are found in Smiths Grove. Visitors come great distances to attend the annual Antique Festival held each Fall. Near the railroad tracks, which runs through the downtown area is the old Farmers Bank, a unique rock structure made of local limestone that even today is impressive. Other beautiful historic homes line the streets in Smiths Grove.
Turning Right on Old Airport Road, which soon becomes Rocky Hill School Road, one comes to a historic home called Cave Spring which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This beautiful home with a long driveway and brick piller entrance was built in the late 1800s by David Kirby. The home is located near a spring and a cave and has a family burying plot in the backyard. "One of the daughters, almost a centurion herself, remembers well when the house was built. She related that she remembers because it was summer and fried chicken was plentiful but the builders had to be fed first and they got all the choice pieces while the children had to eat what was left." (Sumpter, page 247)
Continuing three miles on Rocky Hill School Road along windy, curvy scenic country road over hilly terrain, one passes beautiful countryside and cattle grazing. Ponds and farmhouses are visible from the road. Edmonson County is made of many small rural communities. It is the only county in Kentucky which does not have a single stoplight, nor does it have a jail! It also boasts of having the greatest number of churches, most of which are Baptist. One local resident says the reason all these churches were built was because anytime a group would disagree, they would start a new church. The only Catholic church in the county is located in the Huff Community.
Over 20% of Edmonson County (54,000 acres) is located within Mammoth Cave National Park, the number one tourist attraction in the state. Another 6,000 acres encompasses Nolin Lake which is owned and maintained by the U.S. Corps of Engineers. Nolin Lake, the 5th largest lake in Kentucky, is a very popular area for swimming, boating and camping. By taking this scenic drive, visitors can travel through the National Park and across Nolin Lake Dam. They can also cross a ferry, ride a riverboat, see many churches, country stores, an old depot, historic homes and communities, rural countryside and scenic beauty.
In 1857, the Louisville and Nashville Railroad Company began building through the Southeast corner of Edmonson County giving rise to a new community known as Rocky Hill Station which was later shortened to Rocky Hill. The old depot and storefronts are the few reminders of days gone by. A white country church sits on the corner of Rocky Hill School Road and Main Street. Up on the hillside overlooking the community is a beautiful mansion of Rocky Hill Station which was built in 1857 and sold 3 years later for $1,386.
Just outside Rocky Hill on Hwy 259 is a very panoramic view of rolling hills, ponds and grazing cattle. As one reaches the Crossroads of 31-W and Hwy 259, one can once again see the remains of more affluent days. The Crossroads Store is still open and very well maintained yet it is surrounded by an old junky gas station, wooden slat storage area and other closed businesses which once thrived when 31-W was the major highway from Bowling Green to Louisville.
A side trip south on 31-W takes one to two historical churches. The first is Icy Sink Church built for the "colored folks" before the Civil War and just down the road sets "the white folks church," Dripping Springs (built in 1831) in which the walls were built three bricks thick.
Getting back on HWY 259, one heads through a scenic area of grazing land. Pigs, goats and cattle are plentiful towards Cedar Spring. Cedar Spring Community was named for the grove of cedar trees around one of a number of area springs that furnished water for early settlers. The Baptist Church established here in 1829, stands across the road from the Cedar Spring Methodist Church. It was here, according to local residents that a man was walking down Hwy 259 between the two churches and heard the congregation in the Methodist Church singing "Will There Be Any Stars In My Crown" and at the same time the Baptists across the road were sining the old Hymn, "No Not One." On the left side of the road lies the Lambert Cemetery established in 1871.
Cedar Springs was the home and burial place of Major W.M. Houchin, Soldier of Fortune and Fame. Houchin and William Walker, the Tennessee scholar and adventurer, sailed to Nicaragua about 1856 and espoused the cause of a revolutionist and succeed in making Walker president and Houchin became a captain. Returning to Edmonson County at the beginning of the Civil War, Houchin became a major of the 11th Kentucky Infantry, Union Army.
According to living legend, some local residents met to name the new post office. No agreement could be reached and in disgust one man said, I see a small hog outside on the road and that prompts me to suggest that we name the post office Pig. The post office was established in 1880 and closed in 1904. The Pig Store, an old general store closed several years ago after being in business nearly 100 years. If you listen closely, you might hear the chatter of a lively game of horseshoes or a competitive game of croquet which took place close to the store.
A mile down the road lies Hawkins Cemetery. Next door is the Capital Hill one room school house, now used as a community center. Notice the two outhouses located on each side of the building.
Turn Right on HWY 2325 (Silent Grove Road) or another may wish to take a short side trip by staying on Hwy 259 for another mile which takes one past Leroy Moody's Antiques and Collectibles. He also has a unique collection of antique wagons, buggy's, farm equipment. Leroy is a wonderful "old timer" who loves to tell the history of the area. "Bet you can't tell me what this is?" Leroy likes to ask visitors.
Two miles down Silent Grove Road, one comes to Silent Grove Baptist Church which was built in 1887 and remodeled in 1954. The two outhouses used by the congregation are located across the street from the church. In the Silent Grove Baptist Church Cemetery can be seen the large monument marking the grave of Representative Bev Vincent, attorney and congressman from this area. He was a prominent figure in getting Mammoth Cave National Park established.
Also buried in this cemetery is Captain Olivery P. Johnson, captain of the 11th Kentucky Infantry during the Civil War, resigned February 5, 1864 to serve in the Kentucky Legislature and in 1865, the State Senate. He was commissioned by General Ullyses S. Grant (President) as Internal Revenue Collector for the Second District of Kentucky. In 1870, he was appointed Internal Revenue Assessor and served until the office was abolished.
Turning Right at the Silent Grove Church onto HWY 70 brings one to the boundaries of Mammoth Cave National Park. One mile into the park, Turnhole Bend Nature Trail is located on one's left. A very scenic panorama is visible to the right in early Spring, late Fall and Winter. Cedar Hill Trail is located to one's right. Deer and wildlife are plentiful along this road. On the right is Joppa Baptist Church established in the early 1880's. The building dates back to the early 1900's.
Five miles into the park, turn left at Sloans Crossing which leads to the Green River, Visitor Center and hotel. To the right is a scenic overlook with a picnic table and interpretive materials. Turn left at Green River Ferry Road.
Side Trip - If one continues straight, you will come to Mammoth Cave National Park Visitor Center and Hotel. Cave tours are available daily. The old Mammoth Cave Railroad which once brought many of visitors to see the Cave in the years 1881-1931 is still evident by the Hercules Train on display. Traveling on Green River Ferry Road, one finds: Oak, elm and maple lining the road.
To the right, a campground is nestled in the woodlands. Restroom facilities and picnic area are available. Dogwoods and Redbuds are beautiful in the spring. One mile down the road, one comes to the Green River which can only be crossed by ferry, which has been done for over 100 years. The ferry only holds 3 cars at a time. But be patient, it only takes a couple of minutes to cross. You may even wish to take a one-hour riverboat ride on the Miss Green River, which gives scenic rides April through October.
After one crosses the Green River, the road meanders through the forest to a little country church called Good Spring Baptist Church. A homecoming is held each year at the church on the last Sunday in May. People come from all over the U.S. to visit and renew acquaintances with residents who left this area in the 30's. It's fun to imagine what they talk about.
One note of interest is the fact that a Civil War skirmish between the Confederates and the home guard took place east of the road between Green River and Stockholm near the old Demunbrum Homeplace within 100 yards of the main road. Local historian and teacher, Norman Warnell comments "I never pass the Doyle Valley overlook (near the Park's north boundary) that I am not reminded of the numerous Doyles and clans that lived in this area in the early days. So plentiful were the Doyles, that they had to attach handles to their names to distinguish those who had the same first name. One man was even named "Doyle" Doyle!" (Warnell)
Turn Left onto HWY 728 headed towards Nolin Dam. Just a mile down the road on the left is Double J's Stables and Campground where one can rent horses or bring their own and ride 75 miles of trails through the National Park. Roadside gravesites, churches, pastureland, country stores and tobacco fields are just a few of the sites one sees along this road. Two bed and breakfasts can be found and lakeside cabins are available to rent. Camping, picnic area, boat ramp and swimming area are available.
On the left is Bylew Hollow, the largest hollow in Edmonson County. The creek flowing through the hollow empties into Nolin River south of Whistler Mountain (named for the eerie sounds of the wind blowing through the numerous pines located on the mountain). In January 1902, Washington Meredith's pack of hounds gave chase to the wolf which was shot near the great Dismal Rock by Mr. Noah Duvall. Dismal Rock which stands below Nolin Dam is an ancient landmark known by the Indians and the early Longhunters who first came into this area.
There is a scenic overlook provided by the U.S. Corps of Engineers. In the face of the sheer 200 foot rock wall of Dismal Rock can be seen numerous holes, one of which was the home to a hive of bees at one time for a period of over 20 years. When the hot sun would strike the rock during the summer months, honey could sometimes be seen flowing from the hole.
There is a short, easy hike to the top of Dismal Rock from Hwy 728, which overlooks Nolin Dam. It also gives one a breathtaking view of Nolin River and Recreation Area. Restroom facilities, picnic areas, boat ramp and ample parking are available. Nolin River is a catch/release point for trout. Many people rent a canoe from Saling's Grocery up the road and take a trip down this very scenic river.
Continuing on our scenic drive along Hwy 728, one climbs out of the Hollows past ponds and an old log house. HWY 728 Ends at HWY 259. Turn Left
Side Trip - If one turns right, they will find themselves in Sweeden. Sweeden took its name from the Swedish families that settled in this area. The first family to arrive in Edmonson County from Sweden was the John Swanson family. This was about 1884. The Erlandson family now rest in the Sweeden Church Cemetery across the highway from the site where their home stood for many years. A plaque stands by the church dedicating the church in their memory.
It was this community that the last work force of the Kentucky Rock Asphalt Company operated. The road leading to Kyrock exists from Hwy 259 in the Sweeden Community as well as the road going to Black Gold, another asphalt community.
Turning left on Hwy 259 takes one through the Bee Springs community which got its name when a party of surveyors discovered a great number of honey bees watering at a spring nearby. This small community once had a flour and grist mill, a saw mill, one church and school facilities. From time to time the number of general stores have varied. Linda's Place, a very popular restaurant specializing in country cookin' is the community's gathering place. Each Fall, the annual Ole Timer's Days is held nearby which attracts hundreds to celebrate days gone by.
Turning Left onto HWY 238 one comes to Vincent Baptist church which is located on the left.
A few miles down Hwy 238, one will see the Sunfish Mall located in Sunfish Kentucky. The "mall" was built and operated by Alonzo Durbin in the 1940's and originally faced Hwy 187. Subsequent owner John A. Durbin turned the store to face its current direction. The "mall" is a unique country store filled with general merchandise and interesting characters. Also, it serves at the site of the Sunfish post office. The first post office at Sunfish was established on June 27, 1856 by William H. Bush.
Turning Left onto Hwy 187, one will continue to drive through scenic farmlands. A sheep farm is on the left. About 1/2 mile on the left is the site of the old Sunfish Merchantile Company. The present building was established on this site after the great flood of 1937 had wiped out an earlier store. For many years, a thriving business was operated at this location by James Presley Simon and later his son Paul. The Mercantile Company provided the area with grocery items, seeds, feed and dry goods. The old scales were often used to weigh infant children. According to many sources, one neighborhood woman had children weighing eighteen and twenty pounds at birth as verified by the store's scales. Also near this location sat the previous store and blacksmith shop. The Sunfish Mercantile served for many years as the voting place for the community.
Continuing the tour, one comes to a lane on your left leading towards St. John's Catholic Church (the only Catholic church in the county). By 1830 there were already sixteen Catholic families living in the area. Most of these families descendents make up the congregation of St. John's today. In 1849, John J. Durbin sold ten acres of land for the establishment of the church and cemetery. The church is one of the oldest continuing places of worship in the county. Near the church was once located St. John's Catholic School.
Note: If during your drive, you happen to meet someone leading a sow or a cow, don't be alarmed. Old timers in the community did not always keep male breeding stock, so they led their females to the nearest neighbor having a boar or bull.
If one bears to the left at the y-intersection of Hwy 187 and Hwy 70, one can see what is commonly called Huff which opened its own post office in 1881. The house directly across the intersection once housed the switchboard of the A.A. Demunbrun Telephone Company, operated by the Thompson family.
Just down the road is one of Huff's most important landmarks, the Herman Vincent Store. Herman's store was the focal point of the Huff community. Just about everybody went to Herman's to get his needs and the news. The store was the site of the post office for many years.
After crossing Bear Creek, one continues down Hwy 70 towards Brownsville. The area is one of rolling hills and pastures. To the left, one can see the New Home General Baptist Church which was organized in 1908 and the building built in 1925.
To the left of the intersection of Hwy 655 is one of Edmonson County's earliest landmarks, the Shilple Knob. Some of the earliest grants, titles and deeds refer to this landmark. It is one of the higher points of elevation in the county and is reported one can see the street lights of Bowling Green on a clear night from its summit.
Once Windyville was a lively little place boasting of three stores. Two of these earlier stores were located down the road from the present day Higgs Grocery and Windycity Cafe. The Windycity Cafe was an outgrowth of the breakfasts prepared at the store for local residents. The Cafe now has a thriving business based on good food at a reasonable price. Live country music is performed every Saturday night at the site.
All of Windyville's businesses were not perfectly legitimate. Windyville was long known as the bootlegger's haven of Edmonson County. One of the more notable proprietors let patrons know that spirits were available when a "fresh eggs" sign hung in the yard.
Windyville may be best known for its characters rather than its commerce. One of the most well known residents was Wayne Blanton. Wayne attained a weight of over 500 pounds. One Windyville resident remembers that Wayne would go to the store, get a loaf of bread and a five gallon tub of lard, and he would sit on the store's porch making and eating lard sandwiches. No community should be without a ghost story.
As one leaves Windyville, on the right side is an older two story home. Earlier occupants of the house reported hearing strange voices and singing while in residence. So slow down, roll down your window, enjoy the beautiful view of the valleys on either side of the road, and see if you can hear any voices.
Steep Hollow was once a community containing three stores, a church and a school. The Pleasant Union United Baptist Church was organized in the Steep Hollow School in 1909. Notice the shaking hands marker engraved below the steeple. From the church's parking lot one can look down on Mammoth Cave National Park and in the Fall one can see the Steeple of Poplar Springs Church.
Continue down HWY 70, Turning Righ at Riverview onto HWY 259 Crossing the Green River Bridge, one can partake in the most breathtaking view of the river valley below.
Overlooking the city of Brownsville is the old Dossey House which is listed on the National Register. From this vantage point one can see all of downtown Brownsville, the county seat of Edmonson County.
In the center of the square, one can not help but notice the County Court House built in 1874. This building and the old Butler County Court House were built from the same pattern and from the same brick yard. The old brick yard stood where the present day "C.B. Store" now stands. P.F. Edwards, the man responsible for the construction of the courthouse, was, according to Judge John B. Rhodes of Bowling Green, the best jury lawyer ever produced in Kentucky. Honorable P.F. Edwards' brother, Judge E.W. Edwards, was appointed police judge of Warren County by the governor of Kentucky during the 1920s.
Brownsville was also the site of a November 20th, 1861 raid by Confederate General John Hunt Morgan's Calvary. A historical marker near the bridge marks the general location.
Three other noteworthy buildings are (1) the old jailhouse which closed last year and will hopefully someday be re-opened as a historical museum, (2) the oldest home in the area which was once used as a boarding house for visitors traveling along the Green River, and (3) the Canty Home which has been used for generations as the printing office of the Edmonson County News which still produces a weekly newspaper for the county
Some of the other buildings worth noting are: The Tandy McIntire Hall in honor of a teacher who once taught in the area. The building was once used as part of the Brownsville High School. Berties, a popular mom and pop ice cream shop which serves soft serve ice cream and sandwiches. Every Friday and Saturday night, outdoor drama is performed at the amphitheater on the banks of the Green River. The play offers a re-creation of the tragic event of Floyd Collins' entrapment in Sand Cave. What it also provides is a unique view of life in the back hills of Kentucky in the early 1900s.
Up the road a piece, one finds the Fairview Church and Cemetery where one can see the large memorial marker at the grave site of U.S. Senator M.M. Logan. Senator Logan's birthplace can be seen from the top of the hill where the cemetery is, down in the valley toward Brownsville where the Billy Stice home is now located. A state highway marker stands on Hwy 259 to mark the homeplace.
Rhoda (pronounced Road e')
A mile or so down the road, one comes to the community of Rhoda. William Buford established a post office here in 1891. The community was names for Buford's wife. The post office closed in 1904.
At the intersection of Hwys 101 and 259, stands the old Bell Key Methodist Church. Once known as Mount Nebo, it is mentioned in George R. Browder's "The Heavens are Weeping" as one of the meeting houses that Browder often visited when traveling through Edmonson County.
After you cross Beaver Dam Creek going south on Hwy 101, you will pass the Green River Association Baptising Center which is still used throughout the summer months by many of the congregations in the area for "cleansing one's soul."
Across the creek behind the Baptising Center can be seen the Beaver Dam United Baptist Church which is one of the oldest remaining constitutions dating back to 1803.
Chalybeate (pronounced Cle'bit)
One of the most fascinating communities on the tour, Chalybeate got its name from the early French settlers because of the "iron springs" found there. Around these springs, a popular health resort and recreation area was developed in the mid 1800s, which attracted visitors from Bowling Green, Louisville, Nashville and many eastern states.
The resort grounds consisted of 107 acres with a hotel of 40 rooms. It was L-shaped and had porches upstairs and downstairs all the way around the building. A dynamo powered lights for the hotel and grounds. A 1901 brochure prepared by the new management of Gossum and Mitchell stated that the Chalybeate hotel and ground were being placed in first class condition and the rooms refurnished throughout. It also noted the addition of a dance hall above the dining room, which each measured 28' x 70' long.
A bowling alley was built nearby. Guests entertained themselves with dancing, horseback riding, tennis, bowling, croquet and miniature golf. Fox hunts were held two or three times during the summer season.
The resort area ultimately fell victim to new highways and the automobile. The hotel was closed and torn down in 1930. (Faye Carroll, Edmonson County Historical Book)
The old stone storage building and well house which helped to keep food fresh, two cistern used by the hotel, the grove of trees which surrounded the hotel and the "therapeutic" spring which still flows through the community. One can even see the indentation of the horse racing track which was once quite popular during the heyday of Chalybeate Springs.
Just down the road towards 31-W is Seven Springs, a campground, paylake and restaurant known for its great fish dinners. It is also host to the Annual Bluegrass Festival held twice a year on its grounds. People come from a five-state area to attend this worthwhile event.
Turning Right onto HWY 31-W headed back towards Bowling Green, one finds many beautiful historic homes along the way. Just a few of the homes you will see are: The Samuel Murrell house built in 1841. This house served as a stagecoach stop until the L&N Railroad was complete in 1859. Notice the structure to the right of the house. This double log cabin built in the early 1800s was the first Kentucky home of Susannah Henry Madison, wife of General Thomas Madison and sister to patriot Patrick Henry. A historical marker and pulloff area is located directly in front of these homes.
One of the handsomest and best preserved houses in the county is located along this route. It is the Old Gossom House built in the mid 1800s by Sandy and Elizabeth Gossom. One of the finest stately mansions in this area is the Davenport place. Originally part of the front area was log cabin but has, over the years, been covered in brick. This beautiful home, built in 1850 by slave labor with bricks made on site, is located just a few miles outside of Bowling Green on 31-W.
Located along this route is the Horse Shoe Camp Motel. J.F. Cornwell built this motel, the second in Warren County, in the late 1930s. It served as a hotel and liquor store, changing to a gift shop when the county went dry. Notice the attached garages next to each unit. The Old Stout Place where Ed Stout still resides and can recall quite vividly how life once was along Hwy 31W and the surrounding area.
And now, since we started our scenic drive at the former home of Duncan Hines and we have ended it at the historic home of the Stout family, let us read excerpts from a conversation about "Louisville Road" (now called 31-W) and the surrounding area between long-time residents Ed Stout and Cora Jane Spiller, niece of Duncan Hines which will bring this scenic tour to a close.
Much of the early land ownership in this area was a result of land grants provided to military personnel in lieu of cash payments. Early years, this area was the "Strawberry Capitol of the World." Then Tennessee and Mississippi got into it and took much of the business away. A flu epidemic took the lives of several Louisville Road residents at the end of WWI. The communities of Oakland, Smiths Grove and Rocky Hill sprang up as a result of the railroad. It was common in the early days for residents to catch the train at Smiths Grove and Oakland and travel to Bowling Green. It was a pretty good hike from the train station up to Fountain Square to do some specialized shopping or on some occasions, as Mr. Ed Stoud did, visit the dentist. Mr. Stout was one of the first in the area ever to have a set of braces put on his teeth by Dr. Wallace Barr. The famous singer of the day, Jenny Linn, was in the area and some of the older area residents remember her visit to Mammoth Cave where she performed.
Before the Civil War, a few area residents had slaves. Slave houses were common place on the back side of properties. Even today, one can find remnants of the "slave days"... Dripping Springs Church on Hwy 31-W was the "whites' church" while just a block down the road sets the "coloreds" church called Icy Sink.
Northern troops moved in to occupy this area and found the locals very cordial, often offering them food and water and a place to camp. "If I got water and someone is thirsty, why not share it" is the way one resident told the story after Union soldiers stopped by her place. One resident in the area was famous for her hot biscuits she would take to the troops each morning, according to a letter from a confederate soldier who camped in the area for a few days. However, many of the area residents were Southern sympathizers and would be sending messages about the "enemy camped in their backyard" to confederate troops nearby.
A brochure with turn-by-turn directions for the Duncan Hines Scenic Byway is available at the CVB's Information Center on Three Springs Road or inside the National Corvette Museum's lobby at the Tourism Kiosk.