Kyle’s Korner ….
From time to time I get a little nostalgic and think about how things were in the past. The Tug Valley area has changed a lot over the past years and many places are no longer around except in pictures or in our memories.
Here are a few things I miss.
Kewanee Park, a picnic area that was located at the head of Chattaroy Hollow. The popular park was used for picnics and outings by families, church groups, schools and other organizations.
For the younger readers, the park was located where 84 Lumber is now.
The local venue had picnic shelters and wooden picnic tables that were uncovered. There was a small field down near the creek where you could play softball. And who could forget the old hand pump for the water well where you could get fresh water right out of the ground.
It was used as a trailer park after the 1977 flood to provide temporary housing for residents who had lost everything they had. It was never built back and then sold to the lumber company for that business.
… I miss all of the old grade schools in the area. Every small community had its own elementary school. I grew up in Nolan where the school was the center of the community. I spent my first eight years in school in that old brick and mortar building. It is no longer there, but the current Nolan Christian Academy school is now located on the same lot where Nolan Grade School sat.
Just in the Williamson area alone you had Nolan, Chattaroy, West End, Main Building (Town), East End, Cinderella, Sacred Heart Catholic and South Williamson Grade Schools.
None of those exist now and only a couple of those buildings remain. They were all demolished for various reasons. Either the flood proofing or to make room for other structures.
Now there is only one grade school for the entire area. Many other local schools throughout Mingo and Pike County no longer exist due to consolidation.
… Who can remember the old Book-Mobile? It was a traveling library on wheels. Every couple of weeks it would come to our school and students could check out books.
Most of the libraries at the smaller schools were limited; however the Book-Mobile gave us access to many other books. I recall checking out books about the first astronauts and the Mercury and Gemini space programs in the 1960s. It opened up a whole new world to students in rural areas.
… I miss the old gymnasiums that were located at some of the schools. If you were lucky – sometimes certain people had keys to the old gyms and you would get to play basketball on a wooden floor.
I played many games in the Chattaroy High School gym and the “crackerbox” gym at the old Williamson High School building.
… Who remembers Justice Drive Inn and Trailblazers on the Kentucky side of Williamson? Those two restaurants, with curb service, were popular hangouts in the area before the national chain fast food style eateries.
Justice had their famed “chicken in the box,” burgers, fries and more.
I also miss the Walnut Room and Little Venice pizza. They had some of the best pizza around. Homemade with all of your favorite toppings, sub’s, steak sandwiches and more.
These are just a few of the good memories of the past. I hope this column brought back a few positive memories for you.
(Kyle Lovern is the Editor for the Williamson Daily News. He can be contacted at [email protected] or at 304-235-4242, ext. 2277 or on Twitter @KyleLovern)