Thursday, February 15, 2007

40. St. Valentine's Day - Día de los Emamorados - in Louisville


I had lunch with a friend of mine yesterday. She is going through a breakup with her boyfriend of some extended period of time. The breakup is her idea, not his, but he hasn't yet gotten the clue that she really is breaking up this time. We had several good laughs over it and she is aware that I have certain "baggage," as she puts it, which refuses to leave my life, despite being away for weeks or months at a time. It is well known that my door is usually open to friends, family, and occasionally the so-called baggage with whom I enjoy sharing time. I've written before about my brother's visits in the past that went from days to weeks to months, and on at least one occasion, to more than a year. Such is life, and I am content knowing that I can help out here and there with folks who at the time aren't having the best of times.

We ate at a McAlister's Deli, one of maybe three hundred little shops which have been built over the last forty years in the triangle formed by US 42 (not Brownsboro Road), KY 22 (Brownsboro Road), and Lime Kiln Road (as it has been reworked, so as to align with Herr Lane in front of Ballard High School). The whole area is generically referred to as Holiday Manor, as it is the shopping center in the center of it all, and was one of the original developments there. There have since been quite a few others, but Holiday Manor usually explains it, much as "Jefferson Mall" has become a focal point in southern Jefferson County, in the area originally, at least in the 20th century, known as Okolona.

It is interesting how places change names over extended periods of time, usually several decades. The names change for different reasons. Some are large, others are small. One of more well-known changes is that of Saint Helen's, a neighborhood so named because of the presence of a Catholic Church which served as its center. When the denizens of Saint Helen's sought a post office for the area, they were told a Saint Helen's already existed and they should use a different name for their community's post office. They chose the name of the largest family in the area, whose mansion stills stands a few doors south of the church, where the side yard holds the cemetery wherein the remains of most of its occupants bear the last name of Shively. For the record, the other Saint Helens's is a wide place in the road, where KY 52 crosses the Middle Fork of the Kentucky River in Lee County, on the road between Irvine in Estill County and Jackson in Breathitt County.

The same thing happened to the supporters of a post office in the area around Robb's Lane and the Preston Street Road. For many years in the 1800s, the area a few miles south of there was called Cross Roads precinct, for the fork in the road near the present day Lowes at Preston and Cooper Chapel Road, where the road leading north out of Shepherdsville became two branches, one heading north toward Louisville and the other northeast toward Buechel, then an entity unto itself. The area had came to be called Lone Oak, for a large oak tree which once stood on one of the side roads leading west off Preston Highway. Upon application to Post Office officials, there was found to be a Lone Oak in McCracken County in far southwestern Kentucky. For the record, this place is not a wide place in the road, but rather a very wide road, US 45, in an incorporated suburban (and formerly rural) area south of Paducah. The response of the Lone Oakers from Jefferson County was to turn the words around a little and rename their community Okolona, a made up word. As it turns out, the word Okolona is also a real word, the name of a Chickasaw chief. There are towns called Okolona in Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, as well as Kentucky. The others are named for the Chief. Kentucky' is named for a lonesome oak.

Other Jefferson County places have changed names for different reasons. Newtown became Fairdale; Bruners Town became Jefferson Town, and then Jeffersontown; Gilman's Point became Saint Matthews; Lacona became Pleasure Ridge Park; and, of course, the Falls of the Ohio was renamed Louisville. Then there are those places which have disappeared altogether, places such as Kosmosdale, Prestonia, Lakeland, Dravo, and O' Bannon.

Such is life, and life does goes on. Things come and things go. Just like relationships or, perhaps, excess baggage.

Happy Saint Valentine's Day.

1 comment:

Jacob Payne said...

I've been thinking, Jeff, and I'd like you to fill our minds with tidbits about Fontaine Ferry Park.

Surely you have a perspective I haven't heard before.

Only having been a Louisville transplant for seven years, I'm trying to learn as much about the park as possible. Beyond what's on display at Joe Ley, of course.

The Archives at Milepost 606


Louisville, Kentucky, United States
Never married, liberal Democrat, born in 1960, opinionated but generally pleasant, member of the Episcopal Church. Graduate of Prestonia Elementary, Durrett High, and Spalding University; the first two now-closed Jefferson County Public Schools, the latter a very small liberal arts college in downtown Louisville affiliated with the Roman Catholic Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. My vocation and avocation is politics. My favorite pastime is driving the backroads of Kentucky and southern Indiana, visiting small towns, political hangouts, courthouses, churches, and cemeteries. You are welcome to ride with me sometime.