Visiting Muhlenberg County, Kentucky: Greenville, Kentucky

Visiting Greenville

This is the eighth and final installment on my visit to Muhlenberg County, Kentucky. On August 18, 2021 I was invited by Misty Deason, the owner of Apple House Mercantile and a member of the Muhlenberg County Board of Tourism, to come out for a visit.  She now carries my Less Beaten Paths books in her shop and wanted me to come out and sign them and then visit some of the major tourist attractions in this small, but unique, Kentucky county.

Greenville Alley

 

Colbi Ferguson in her domain at the Greenville Tourism Office.

Greenville Tourism and Courthouse

I had a great visit with Colbi Ferguson, the director of the Greenville Tourism.  This community is the county seat and has some wonderful things to see and do.  And, as I write this on Veterans Day 2021, it is also worth noting that they have a very nice Veterans Memorial in the center of town.

Colbi briefed us on the history of the town and then guided Misty and me across the street to the courthouse square for a few stories.

The Tourism office has a number of historical artifacts from town.

Old Victrola Sign

 

Muhlenberg County Courthouse in Greenville, KY

Another view of the courthouse

Probably of most interest and most unique is the lovely county courthouse.  The current building is actually the fourth iteration of the original building which was completed in 1798. I would have to say that this is truly one of the most beautiful courthouses in Kentucky and also very unique on a national scale.  The current building went through some renovations in 1975, including a complete rebuild of the dome.  It supposedly has the largest open belfry of any pre-fabricated cupola in the United States and also showcases the second largest clock/tower dome in Kentucky.

Lt. Ephraim Brank Memorial

Lt. Ephraim M. Brank with his long rifle

Alongside the courthouse are many monuments, but the most interesting to me was the Lt. Ephraim Brank Memorial.  Located at the entrance to the Veteran’s Plaza, this larger than life bronze statue pays tribute to Brank and is the only sculpture in Kentucky to commemorate the War of 1812 in Kentucky. Brank was a long rifle marksman noted for his great abilities, especially during the Battle of New Orleans. Some histories have him credited for shooting several British soldiers off of their horses and creating chaos among the British, which was a catalyst to their ultimate defeat.  The sculpture’s orientation has Brank with his rifle pointed toward the battlefield in Louisiana.  Coupled with the statue is a nice historic plaque with a map of the battle and other unique items of interest about the war.  The county has also built a trail in his name and his gravesite is located just behind the Greenville City Hall.

Battle of New Orleans

War of 1812 Historic Plaque

Veterans Memorial Plaza

Veterans Memorial Plaque

Just a stone’s throw away from the Brank statue is the Veterans Mall and Plaza that memorializes county residents that served in World War I, World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. This memorial has 13 plaques with over 7000 names, including veterans that are still living.  County officials believe that it may be the only county memorial in the U.S. to honor ALL of its veterans, both living and deceased.  All of this came about from a city-county partnership and now has a number of benches, historic light fixtures and even a stage.

The Greenville 9/11 memorial

Moving away from the plaza, there are also other features in town of note.   Greenville is home to and 18 foot tall memorial to 9/11 which houses a 17 foot long box beam that fell from the North Tower of the World Trade Center during the 9/11 attack. It is believed to have fallen from the 91st floor of the North Tower. On top of the beam is a bronze eagle holding a flag.  The final part of the monument are the two granite towers.

This past September 11, 2021 marked the 20th anniversary of this terrible event in U.S. history.  Many towns across the country honor this with memorials, but few have actual beams from the buildings to memorialize those that lost their lives to the attacks.  The monument was erected and unveiled on September 11, 2016.

One of the “Pillars of Community” statues, this one representing Family values

Another Pillar of Community representing the arts.

Greenville is also home to a unique set of bronze sculptures that can be found around the town.  These are referred to as the “Pillars of Community,” and are meant to represent the core values of Faith, Family, Health, Education, Enterprise, Arts, Patriotism and Teamwork. Each one actually includes bronze statues of children, as they represent the future of the community.

All of the bronzes in town are well done and close to life size.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get the artist(s) name(s) for these.  The whimsical, yet meaningful nature of the statues truly makes a visit to Greenville worthwhile and they can be great photo ops for family and for the discussion of the various values.

Another item of interest in town is the The Summerhouse, a one-of-a-kind gazebo located on a hilltop in the city park.  From the Summerhouse one has some great scenic views of town. This structure is 20 feet square and a little over 23 feet tall. The city even rents it out as a venue for weddings and other functions.

The Summerhouse in Greenville

Greenville, as well as Central City and other county locations feature colorful butterfly benches, a theme of the county. The ones below are also in the city park with the Summerhouse.

Butterfly Benches dot the county

The Palace Theatre in Greenville has been around for a long time.  Originally built for vaudeville and silent movie productions, it survived as a movie theater until 1970.  Since 1983 it has been the home to the Muhlenberg Community Theatre Inc.  The building still has many of the original ornate facades and pillars, certain to provide a nice photo for those interested in old theaters.

Historic Palace Theatre

A few other things you can see while in town.  Definitely arrange a visit to the House of Onyx (see my post about this fascinating shop).  If you go over to the park, look for the three horses in front a some neighboring buildings.

Greenville Horses near park

A cool looking horse!

A horse with community history

I am a member of the national Rails-to-Trails biking organization and I was excited to see a brand new Rails-to-Trails trail built in Greenville…including a covered bridge.  The Muhlenberg County Rail Trail spans about 6 miles from downtown Central City through Powderly, Kentucky and then on to Maple Street in Greenville. The trail has benches along the path and accommodates both bikers and people who would like to take a casual stroll.

Greenville Rails to Trails

Covered Bridge marks the Greenville terminus of the Six mile rail trail.

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention one other things about City Tourism Director Colbi Ferguson. In 2021 she and her husband established Blossom Hill Flower Farm on their large plot of land in Greenville.  They grow flowers according to season and while we were there I was able to see some of the August offerings, including some flowers I had never seen before.  This made for a wonderful conclusion to our visit to Greenville.

 

Colbi Ferguson at Blossom Hill with her flowers.

Lovely purple and white amaranth

A field of marigolds

My visit to Muhlenberg was a great time.  A huge thanks to Misty Deason for her arrangements, accommodations and overall kindness.  Its my hope that others can go enjoy small community life in Muhlenberg.  Truly a fascinating and fun area.

Did you find this post interesting?  I have visited many interesting places like this one that dot  the United States. My books detail dozens of these kinds of places. You can find my Less Beaten Paths books on Amazon.com!  Currently there are four in print (and in Kindle version too!!)  You can see my books on my author page at https://www.amazon.com/~/e/B0784XVGSW

MY NEW BOOK “8154” is NOW AVAILABLE ON AMAZON (and also on the Muhlenberg County Apple House Mercantile Website)

4 thoughts on “Visiting Muhlenberg County, Kentucky: Greenville, Kentucky

  1. Ronald Dunne

    “And daddy won’t you take me back to Muhlenberg County Down by the Green River where Paradise lay” – John Prine – Paradise

    What more is there to say?

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