Thanks to Ken Foushee and his team, the first installment of the new library lecture series “We’ve Been Everywhere” kicked off on the morning of October 12, 2011 in Helm 100. The first lecture entitled “Impressions from Beijing” featured Lynne Ferguson, Artist-in-Residence at the Kentucky Museum & Library, Eric Fisher, Libraries Facilities Coordinator, and Haiwang Yuan, Special Assistant to the Dean for Web & Emerging Technologies.
They went to Beijing the past summer with 40 other WKU employees and students from the Confucius Institute at WKU. They talked about their life and studies at the North China Electric Power University in Beijing that partnered with WKU’s Confucius Institute in sponsoring the trip. While Lynne focused on her learning experience, Eric took the audience to the Great Wall as well as the Imperial and Summer Palaces in China’s capital. Before the lecture concluded, Haiwang answered many interesting and insightful questions about Chinese culture and history related to their trip.
Oscar S. Bond and a Bond Brothers tie yard
The age of railroads was not only the age of iron, steel and coal, but of wood — specifically, the millions of board feet required for cross ties, which were laid transverse to the rails to absorb the load and maintain the correct gauge. As the proprietor of a store in Olaton, Kentucky, Oscar S. Bond (1876-1971) got into the business of selling cross ties when farmers would offer them to him in exchange for merchandise. In 1908, he and two brothers incorporated Bond Brothers, Inc. in Elizabethtown and began to purchase timberland to supply the firm’s operations. In 1922, the company acquired land for a wood treatment plant in Louisville, its new headquarters. Securing contracts with the Louisville & Nashville Railroad, Bond Brothers was poised to become the country’s leading supplier of cross ties.
By the time the family sold the company in 1957, annual revenues were $10 million and operations included 29 lumber yards, 118 tie yards, 24 sawmills and 3,000 employees. In addition to cross ties, the company produced creosoted lumber, poles and fence posts. Oscar Bond also ran an 1,800-acre cattle farm (part of the former Shakertown farm) in Logan County and served as a director of Elizabethtown’s First Hardin National Bank.
A collection of Bond family papers housed at WKU’s Special Collections Library offers a look at this prominent Kentucky business and the personal and financial affairs of Oscar Bond and his wife Mary (Baird) Bond. Included are dozens of photos of Bond Brothers operations — workers, tie yards and equipment — as well as of family members who contributed to the company’s success. Click here to download a finding aid. For more collections relating to railroads and other Kentucky businesses, search TopScholar and KenCat.