Preserving Local Heritage
By M. Patricia Fox
Originally Published: May 28, 2009 in the Boone County Recorder
Today’s economy presents challenges. No one knows that better than people in the field of preservation. The Boone County Historic Preservation Board has discovered that most of the financial avenues at one time available now have less or nothing to offer. Citizens in and around Boone County, however, have persisted in the art of preservation which has helped to maintain local heritage efforts.
Part of Boone County’s legacy has always been farming, but much of its land has been lost to development. Linda and Greg Salsbury, however, have created a way to maintain farming by raising alpacas. Living in the Huey House outside of Burlington, the Salsbury’s 52 acres were once part of a 15,500 tract of land farmed by the Hueys in the 1800s. “Greg and I decided to put the farm to work one more time to preserve the farming community that existed when we were children,” Linda explained. “Not only do we raise public awareness of farming and the history of the Huey House, but we introduce people to the adventure of raising a new type of livestock. Last year we had about 400 people come to the farm in September during National Alpaca Weekend. We gave them a taste of farming, provided hay rides, and showed them these unique animals, their fleece, and the end product made from the fiber.”
Though Teri and Mike Heist are not farmers, their interest in the heritage of Boone County drew them into preservation. “We’ve always wanted an old log cabin,” stated Teri Heist, “and when the opportunity arose, we jumped on it.” Moved from the old Greisser Farm, the c. 1843 John White Log House was dismantled, rebuilt, and placed on a ridge over-looking Gunpowder Creek on the Heist property. “When you stand next to this structure,” explained Teri, “you get a sense of presence. It’s been standing for so long and been witness to so many lives as well as the transformation of Boone County. Many hands went into building this house originally, and the same thing is going on today. People (friends and family) are contributing out of a sense of joy and satisfaction. There is more of a desire to preserve it rather than just doing it for a friend.”
Since preservation is not only an art but an act of love, it demands time, commitment, and money. Like the Heists, Butch and Mary Ann Wainscott were drawn into this type of investment. Their persistence led to the rejuvenation of the Tousey House in Burlington, circa 1822. According to Mary Ann Wainscott, “We loved the House and its history. Once we started the project, we put ourselves into it.” Since the Wainscotts were already owners of The Greyhound Tavern in Ft. Mitchell, they decided to revamp the Tousey House, formerly a restaurant, and again open it as a dining facility. Though they dealt with many issues, the restaurant now draws business and interest.
Mary Ann also discovered that the House can work as an art gallery. Original Caroline Williams’ prints, her own work and that of others decorate the walls. Mary Ann also provided Debbie Klare of Villa Hills with photos and sketches of some of her favorite county features for a mural on the walls of a second floor dining room. Bluebells, morel mushrooms, bluebirds, and the Rudicill’s Oreo cows dot the mural’s landscape; the J. C. Jenkins’ house of Prospect Farm also comes into view as the road, complete with the Angus farm at the foot of Route 20, descends into Petersburg.
The love of an area’s history and tradition enable those with interest to preserve it. Without efforts by the residents of the county, various farms, structures, and scenery are destroyed. When that occurs, Boone County’s unique qualities disappear and with it the county’s identity.
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