Long before the village had a post office, it was of great importance to much of Eastern Kentucky. It is the hope of The Buckhorn Action Team to find places of historic interest as well as stories of years past concerning the area that will be meaningful to Buckhorn residents as well as tourist.
It was brought out that Jeremiah Smith was the first settler in the area. So many only think of the Log Cathedral, which, along with the old Buckhorn Gym are both listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, when Buckhorn is mentioned, but the fact that Buckhorn at one time had a hospital, known as the Brainard Hospital, was also mentioned at the gathering.
Everyone in attendance at the meeting was invited to share points of history of the area, and during the discussions, it was mentioned that at one time, one could be educated from the first grade to the point of receiving a college degree without leaving the village of Buckhorn.
Charlie Abner reminded the group that Buckhorn resident Willie Sandlin was the most decorated soldier to serve in World War II. Another interesting fact that was told was that the Buckhorn Lake Area Presbyterian Church had a membership of about 400 members in the early 1900s.
Tom and Gayle Burns, the new lay ministers at the Log Cathedral showed that they had studied the history of Buckhorn as much as they had studied the Bible. The Burns, who recently moved to Buckhorn from Indiana were most enthusiastic in their support of the Action Team’s efforts in learning and sharing the history of the whole region, not just that of the Church.
Pathfinders of Perry County, which is a non-profit citizens action group, was represented at the Action Team’s meeting by Margaret D. Keith and Russell Oliver. The Action Team has requested support from the Pathfinders in the process of grant applications and in any support Pathfinders can extend to the Action Team’s work.
Sgt. Bernis Napier pledged the support of the JROTC members at Buckhorn High School. Ethan Hamblin, a student at Buckhorn reminded the group that James D. Moore, a retired professor at U of K, grew up in Buckhorn and Hamblin told the group that Prof. Moore would be a good source for history of the area.
Before the meeting adjourned, those in attendance learned that Buckhorn had electricity long before other rural areas. Buckhorn’s source of electricity was a water mill. It was also noted that Buckhorn had a water system, which consisted of a water tank, and the community had fire hydrants before such was the case in many towns much larger than Buckhorn ever was.
With Buckhorn going to be the site of trailheads due the generosity of Culley and Benny Abner and the state’s push for Adventure Tourism, the village of Buckhorn is soon to be a name that will be known far and wide, and it is the hope of the Action Team that guests drawn to the area by the trailheads will also appreciate the historical significance of the area.