Our state has been around since the 1700s, so it is only logical that things have come and gone over the ages. Occasionally, we may savor memories of things you can’t do in Kentucky anymore. We might yearn to experience the life we visualize when we hear tales of yesteryear provided by our parents or grandparents. There are some things we cannot bring back to Kentucky, no matter how much we wish we could, and here are 9 of them:
9. Derby Party on Central
Back in the 1980s (and before,) a few blocks of Central Avenue were closed down annually for a multi-block Derby party with live music, booths with merchandise for sale, and of course, alcohol tents. It was like Mardi Gras in Louisville for those that attended. Central’s party was closed down decades ago due to much Derby debauchery, but younger generations don’t know what they missed. Some older generations may not remember what they did. It was not unusual to see a celebrity or three at the block party on some years.
8. Privacy and security
KY Photo file
The depth of security Kentuckians once felt at home is more difficult to achieve in today’s world at times. One never knows if a drone is flying about, or if Google maps happens to zoom in at a strangely awkward moment. Things happen. Bees fly under shirts and up shorts and survival reaction can give forfeit to thought.
7. Driving cars made of metal
Oh the days of being able to sit on your bumper with friends, without fear of it falling off. Back in the 1970s and earlier, cars were actually made of metal, not fiber glass or plastic. If you ran into something, you would get a dent in the worst case scenario, if you were not being excessive. You could kick some of those old cars with steel toe boots and hurt your toe before the car, just as an example. The heavier metal protected the car and the occupants. Newer models crunch as easily as a beer can under a boot. Best of all, there were no microchips or sensors to go out and cost hundreds of dollars to fix.
6. Shows like Tombstone Junction
This country western theme park town was home to a variety of gun shows, acts, exhibitions, and performances from the likes of Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, Conway Twitty, and more. It was reasonably priced and maintained the persona of an old school western town, right down to the saloon and jail. Locals became the characters. The town closed down after a second tragic fire in the 1990s.
5. Enjoying a park without fees
Some parks charge a fee during specific times. Many moons ago the park and activity centers were free to all 7 days a week. Now they charge for entry on the weekends, along with other park activities. Though the fee is modest, this is still something that could now be out of reach to more impoverished families. This in no way reflects all parks in Kentucky, as many are still 100% free unless you rent a electric camping space or cabin.
4. Visit a place like Fontaine Ferry Park
This was a park that once rested on the banks of Louisville at the Ohio River from 1905 till it was destroyed during civil hostilities mid 1969. The park was affordable for the time, had a variety of carnival rides, food and entertainment booths. Even better, you could travel there via ferry and spend the day. The place had interesting stories to tell and the area is a beautiful setting… a Ferris Wheel ride into the river view sunset sounds almost dreamy if you like heights. Today’s river front park just does not compare, despite the staggering cost differential in its creation.
3. Easy access to farm-to-table
This likely does not apply for everyone, but as a kid, we had other farms nearby, our own livestock, and a garden. Neighbors would grow and trade. We would get or make fresh butter, milk and cheese, store fresh vegetables in a root cellar, and can goods for future use. There were a variety of fruit trees to make things even better. The difference in taste and nutrition compared to mass manufactured or commercially grown products is really unbelievable. The comfort of knowing where your food comes from is a beautiful thing.
2. Fishing without a license
Does anyone remember when you could go fishing in Kentucky without a fishing license? It apparently began in 1950 but was then amended in 1984. It gives the Department of Fish and Wildlife the right to charge an annual fishing license fee in order to support hatcheries and pay to maintain the restocking of ponds, lakes, etc across the state. Pay lakes are the exception. My parents told stories of just going fishing whenever as long as they had a pole and bait.
1. A movie for $1
All across the state we use to have theaters that showed movies for $1. Over the years the price became inflated, but still didn’t reach the costs of primary theaters. It is likely the unfortunate inflation that caused the eventual demise of these theaters. Now, the cheapest movie is a matinee, and depending on your group, it can still get costly. There is nothing under $3 in a theater now, including snacks.
We all grow up with stories of days of old as passed down from elders. We get to have our own experiences and see life through the eyes of those that lived decades before us. This can make us wish we could return to our youth, or visit some of elder’s favored spots first hand. Unfortunately, in many cases that is impossible. What experiences do you wish you could bring back to Kentucky that have faded into history?