Kentucky Life explores “abandoned Kentucky” with stops at Airdrie Iron Works and Himlerville, showcases work of photographer Sherman Cahal, and examines Louisville’s Comfy Cow revitalization success
For Release: 01/14/15 3:50 PM
The next episode of Kentucky Life explores “abandoned Kentucky” with a look at several once busy locales that now sit idle and deserted – and, one formerly abandoned location that has found new life. The program airs Saturday, Feb. 7 at 8/7 pm and Sunday, Feb. 8 at 4/3 pm on KET and Monday, Feb. 9 at 7/6 pm on KET2.
First, the show documents the nearly forgotten history of the Airdrie Iron Works, situated on a remote hillside in Muhlenberg County. Built in the 1850s to produce and sell quality iron, the imposing, cylindrical iron furnace, though now in disrepair, stands witness to the craftsmanship of the more than 200 stone masons and iron workers brought over from Scotland by then-landowner Robert Alexander to create the site.
Then, Kentucky Life travels to Beauty, Ky., in Martin County, situated on the site of the abandoned coal town of Himlerville. Once a booming mining town of over 200 houses, Himlerville was established in 1919 by the Himler Coal Company. Company owner Martin Himler, a native Hungarian, recruited his workers from Hungary and dreamed of creating an all-Hungarian community in Himlerville. But in 1928, Himler Coal went bankrupt and the town suffered a devastating flash flood, causing many residents to flee. Today, the Martin County Historical Society and other local groups are working to preserve what remains of Himlerville, including the once-majestic Himler family mansion.
Next, the show profiles urban explorer and photographer Sherman Cahal of Lexington, who has made a career of photographing and documenting historic structures across the United States that are abandoned or endangered. Kentucky Life follows Cahal as he photographs the interiors of Frankfort’s Old Crow Distillery, which was founded in 1872, but closed in 1987.
In the show’s final segment, Kentucky Life’s Amy Hess traces the story of how a dilapidated Victorian home and adjacent, abandoned diner on Louisville’s Frankfort Avenue were rebuilt and revitalized to become the third Louisville location of The Comfy Cow ice cream shop. The project, which took more than a year, was lauded by Preservation Louisville as one of the city’s “Top Ten Preservation Success” stories of 2012.
Kentucky Life is a KET production, produced by Brandon Wickey. Segment producers for this episode are Valerie Trimble, Paul Smith, Steve Shaffer and Amy Hess.
KET is Kentucky’s largest classroom, serving more than one million people each week via television, online and mobile. Learn more about Kentucky’s preeminent public media organization on Twitter @KET and facebook.com/KET and at KET.org.
Senior Director, Marketing and Communications