Nashville songwriter and performer Sarah Lou Richards performed for the lunch crowd yesterday at Java City. Ms Richards, who takes her inspiration from Ryan Adams, Brandi Carlile, Patty Griffin, and David Wilcox, delivered songs of love, longing and loss with an energy and emotion that drew a large crowd by the end of her concert.
The lunch-time crowd at Java City was treated to the sometimes sassy, sometime sultry, soulful sounds of singer/songwriter “Lonesome Liz” also know as Elizabeth Bissette. Ms Bissette, currently living in Bowling Green, performed a musical cornucopia of tunes ranging from 1930s blues to modern pop to her own distinctive originals.
Manuscripts Technician Donna Lile came across an unusual piece of undated correspondence while processing the Fennell Papers which document a prominent Cynthiana, Kentucky family. The undated letter’s first sentence is slightly unnerving. It reads: “The Clay Monument Fund Association proposes to take subscriptions to accumulate a fund to place the head on the monument of Henry Clay.”
Henry Clay died in Washington, D.C. on June 29, 1852. A group of his Lexington friends resolved “that a NATIONAL MONUMENT OF COLOSSAL PROPORTIONS” be erected to commemorate “the virtuous deeds of his long and glorious life.” Eleven days later, Clay’s funeral service was conducted in front of his beloved Ashland before 30,000 people. From there, the body was moved with great fanfare and respect to Lexington Cemetery. The monument was completed on July 4, 1861 and featured a large marble statue of Clay carved by William Struthers of Philadelphia atop a 130 foot column. Clay’s remains were not moved inside the monument until his wife’s death in 1864.
On July 21, 1903 a terrible storm hit Lexington and the local paper reported that “not even the sacred effigy of Henry Clay could escape its malignant fury.” After being hit by lightning, the 350-pound sculpted marble head of the Clay staute fell and embedded intself in six inches of earth. The statue remained embarrassingly headless for several years. The Monument Fund Association sent out a “chain system” letter, such as the one found in the Fennell Collection, soliciting funds to replace the head. The letter entreated recipients to “mail ten cents, or any amount over ten cents, with this letter…to the Secretary and Treasurer…and write three distinct copies of this letter, signing your name and send them to three of your friends who will be interested in this movement.” Their efforts were largely unsuccessful, and the head was not replaced until the General Assembly appropriated $10,000 for the work.
Sculptor Charles J. Mulligan of Chicago was commissioned to replace the older Clay statue with a sturdier specimen. The new statue was hoisted into place in May 1910. Only a few months later, lightning again hit the Clay statue causing considerable damage. The General Assembly came to the rescue with $10,000 for repairs. The Mulligan piece was restored most recently in 1975, and rededication speeches were made on July 29, 1976. To see the Fennell Family finding aid click here.
Tuesday night’s SOKY Reads! presentation on Louisa May Alcott focused on her experiences as a nurse during the Civil War. Readings from her non-fiction work, Hospital Sketches, gave attendees a sense of life on the home front during the war, something noticeably absent from Little Women, her most famous work set during the same time period. The series continues tonight at the Kentucky Museum with a discussion of the role of women in the 19th Century and the influence of Alcott and her work on women’s rights and responsibilities. The discussion will be led by Dr. Dorothea Browder and will begin at 6pm.
Lexington Native, Tyler Matl performed for an appreciative crowd yesterday at Java City. Matl, now based out of Nashville, played all original material in the latest in te Java City Noon Concert series. Don’t forget, there is a special 2 hour performance by Tuatha Dea today at Java City- Helm. Tuath Dea is co-sponsored by DUC.
Local Bowling Green band “Plastic Friends” really wowed the crowd at Java City today with their tight, well-constructed alt-rock sound. Plastic Friends performed an acoustic set today with Matt Long on lead guitar, Will Perkins on guitar and vocals and Justin Mutter on conga.
Today at Java City, Nashville singer/songwriter Tyler Matl performs at noon.