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Kentucky County Learnin’ — Adair County


During the Barnstorming Tour, we have visited a number of counties across the state. I then decided it would be good to learn a bit about the Kentucky counties, who is from there, what goes on there, and what may be there to see. Going in alphabetical order, we begin with Adair County.

Located deep in the heart of Central Kentucky is a place called Columbia…no not the town that gave the world Darius Rucker, Steve Spurrier and hats with the word “Cocks” on them, but a town that is the heart of Adair County. This little county, which my grandmother always pronounced “Colum-bee” is best known to me as a place I drove through, (circling around the courthouse in a “European Vacation”, “Look kids Big Ben, Parliament” sort of way) on my way to other destinations. But Adair County is much more than simply a place to drive through. It is a county with rich tradition and the ability to take a class on how to make a grass-bottom chair every Wednesday night. You will never be out a seat in Adair County.

Adair county was formed in 1802 by Colonel William Casey, who then proceeded to name the county after his good friend, General Adair. In my view, you have to be a pretty good friend to name a county after a guy. If I ever settle a piece of land, you can be sure that it wont be named “Turkey Hunter County” or “Intern County”….no I would name it after this blog and call it “Kentucky Sports Radio County.” But General Casey was much more magnanimous and gave us the name we have today. It is located in the Pennyrile region of the state, an area that Joe Crawford asked me about on one of our trips saying, “why is it called Pennyrile?” I didnt know the answer so I told him to look in the other direction at a deer and then proceeded to run away without having to explain myself. The elevation in the county ranges from 585 to 1120 feet above sea level, which may matter to you if you are planning on doing any excavation. In 2000 the county population was 17,244, most of them likely to mill about the great Courthouse square when given a chance.

Adair County was once home to Mark Twain aka Samuel Clemens, who resided there during some years of his youth. Most know Twain as the author of books read by 7th graders and the pioneer of the “bushy white moustache” look that has become so popular with the kids today. Adair County celebrates is Twain heritage with a sign in the middle of town, but feels bad about the fact that Missouri got all the glory in Twain’s actual books. The County also produced E.A. Diddle, who makes fun of Y.A. Tittle for having a funny name, and was also the coach of the Western Kentucky basketball program during its formative years. The arena in Bowling Green is named after Diddle and the logo of a hand waving a red town was his creation. There is no word if Twain and Diddle ever met, but everytime I see Courtney Lee reading a copy of “The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaverous County”, I think about Adair County’s role in that event.

The county is also home to Lindsey Wilson College, a former combatant of many athletic competitions against my alma mater, Transylvania. Lindsey Wilson’s website shows a group of students who would never spend time hanging out together in an embrace, along with the logo “Every Student, Every Day,” which of course means nothing, making it perfect for a college logo. Lindsey Wilson often competes at a high level in sporting events and according to their website, just inked Paki Brown from Kenosha, Wisconsin to play basketball next season. “Big” Paki will be a Blue Raider and will most certainly enjoy his Adair County experience.

For fun, most in Adair County hang out at the Green River, which is still basking in the glow of its John Prine-based celebrity. While I am personally frightened of water deeper than my bathtub, folks in Adair County have lots of water-based activities and spend their time “down by the Green River, where paradise lays.” In addition, you can go to the Janice and Henry Giles Home, where apparently you can see the house of these “noted” Adair County authors. On May 3rd at the Giles house there was apparently a “Plant Swap Day”, which we unfortunately forgot to include as part of the UK Barnstorming Tour….next year however we wont miss it as Jared Carter has an azalea that he simply must get rid of.

So there you go….Adair County is a place to be and be seen in Kentucky. With all of these posts, I hope to see how many readers have Adair County connections and what I might of missed to see and do there. Let me know in the comments section…..

Article written by Matt Jones