- Associated Press - Monday, February 2, 2015

GLASGOW, Ky. (AP) - An online oral history project has finished a project to collect stories about tobacco from south-central Kentucky.

The Glasgow Daily Times (https://bit.ly/1CpUFqU) reports those who grew the crop and those who worked in warehouses that sold it were interviewed for the project, which began in 2013. Officials in Horse Cave’s cultural district invited the Kentucky Folklife Program at Western Kentucky University to collect the stories.

Ken Russell, treasurer of the cultural district, said tobacco is an important part of the city’s history, so officials wanted to make sure the stories were recorded so they could be shared with tourists and future generations.

“We wanted to get their stories,” Russell said. “Many of them were getting older. We wanted to get those stories out and keep those in perpetuity.”

The recordings were added to the Horse Cave Stories website, https://horsecavestories.com .

Tommy Bale was among those who shared stories about the tobacco market.

“There was a celebration every year when the markets opened,” Bale says. “I mean, that was slowly dissipating in my opinion, but when I first was in the business it was a big deal for the market to open. Everybody in the community came to town and you had tobacco festivals in every tobacco auction market, but that was beginning to dissipate. You were having fewer and fewer players involved and that meant less and less to fewer people. So that was changing some before the contracting came about, but it was still more then than it is now.”

Cultural district President Sandra Wilson said Horse Cave wants to share its history.

“Storytelling is a gift that a lot of Horse Cave people have and they love to tell the stories,” she said, adding visitors love hearing stories from local residents. “That’s what makes it so special. The visitor can hear the story from the mouth of the local people.”

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Information from: Glasgow Daily Times, https://www.glasgowdailytimes.com


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