Caldwell: Rich history worth remembering, celebrating

Published 9:50 am Saturday, March 18, 2017

George Santayana — a philosopher and author — wrote in his 1905 book The Life of Reason, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Although this has appeared to hold true for centuries, the past is also worth remembering simply because it provides clarity and context about our history, heritage and the events that have shaped our communities and their citizens.

I have always been fascinated by history — particularly eras that include the colonial days, the wild west, exploration of the New World, early civilizations like the Greeks and Romans and the Dark Ages.

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Winchester, Clark County and all of Central Kentucky are truly rich in history.

This was really driven home to me recently as I headed to do a Bluegrass Roadtrips feature for the newspaper. (Pick up next Friday’s Sun to read all about it.)

I was reminded of a couple of important historical facts (including the fact Burnside, Kentucky, is the birthplace of the Boy Scouts of America) as well as a few significantly less important but very interesting ones (like the fact the town was named after General Burnside, who was the namesake for facial hair that grows from your hair down your cheeks).

Hence, the origin of the word sideburns.

But you don’t have to drive an hour and a half for a history lesson.

The Bluegrass Heritage Museum is like a portal into key periods of Clark County’s past, with detailed displays that help paint pictures of times gone by.

Exhibits include an overview of Clark County’s past, as well as features on a variety of topics including agriculture, military, the former Guerrant Clinic, the telephone, the Civil War, quilts and so much more.

If you prefer to be out in the open air, Fort Boonesborough is just a few minutes away.

Even a trip to the Clark County Library can open the door to the past of our region. There are many regional, state and national history books there.

Couple these and countless other opportunities with things like beer cheese, Ale-8 and a downtown filled with character but poised for revitalization, and Winchester and Clark County’s history and heritage can become great tourism draws.

We shouldn’t live in the past, but it certainly helps us understand the context of our present and, ultimately, a path forward.

Michael Caldwell is publisher of The Winchester Sun and Winchester Living magazine. He can be reached at (859) 759-0095 or by email at