MOUNTAIN MUSCIANS PLAYING AT MOUNTAIN HERITAGE MUSEUM IN ST. PAUL
On Saturday afternoon, August 6th, two veteran mountain muscians will be performing in St. Paul, Virginia, at the Mountain Heritage Museum and Gallery. Follow the signs for a good helping of great music and a well stocked museum showcasing our region’s past.
Rich Kirby has been soaked in mountain music for longer than he cares to mention. It began in the lap of his grandmother Addie Graham, an outstanding Kentucky traditional singer. A multi-instrumentalist, his repertoire includes ballads, hoedowns, religious pieces, mining songs, and “just songs.” He was one of the founders of June Appal Recordings at Appalshop in Whitesburg, Kentucky, and recently retired after 25 years at Appalshop’s radio station WMMT, where he still does a weekly old-time music program.
Joining Rich is singer, songwriter, and guitarist Nate Polly. A native of Letcher County and a retired railroad worker, Nate took up old-time music after years with east Kentucky bluegrass bands. He is a great exponent of old bluegrass and country songs and a gifted songwriter.
Coal mining is a theme that runs through Nate and Rich’s work. As musicians, they address mining issues through songs like the historic “Shut Up in the Mines of Coal Creek,” Nate’s original “When the Whistle Blew,” and Jean Ritchie’s classic “The L&N Don’t Stop Here Any More.”
The Town of St. Paul is getting ready to welcome a whole bunch of visitors to our lovely home for Clinch River Days, and Mountain Heritage Museum will be part of the festivities!
We’ll be open an extra day for the festival, so come on down and say hi! We’ll keep extended hours on Thursday, June 2, from 10 am to 9 pm. Other local businesses will also be open Thursday evening to welcome you to St. Paul. Friday and Saturday we return to our regular hours of 10 am to 4 pm.
We’ll be hosting our own Antiques Roadshow on Saturday! Bring in your antique or photos of your antique for a free evaluation.
Our friends at the wonderful Sugar Hill Trail System will hold a 5.5K race on Saturday at 6 pm. You can walk, run, or cheer folks on at this beautiful setting. Registration starts at 5:30 on Saturday with an entry fee of $19.
Hope to see you at the museum and the rest of one of the friendliest hometown festivals you’ll find anywhere! For more information, stop by the Clinch River Days website at www.clinchriverfest.com.
We were delighted to welcome local TV station WCYB to the museum this week! You can check out their story and video here.
We’re also tickled to share a video by Ernie Benko from ARC TV from out Grand Opening. See what he and our buddy Jackie Marshall put together on the ARC TV YouTube channel.
Frank Kilgore, the owner of the museum, had this to say about the video tour:
“I told my buddy Jackie Marshall to “wing it” when Ernie Benko came to video our museum and gallery grand opening at St Paul. He did a fantastic job given the fact I only took him through the hundreds of exhibits one time.
Jackie and I went to school from the first grade to graduation and he was the coolest dude on the playground. An old wise geyser trapped in a child’s body is the best way to describe him at that time.
Times, both hard and good, finally brought his persona and age into sync and he is the best curator in the South. We are open every Friday and Saturday on the second floor of my law office on Russell Street next to Trupoint Bank.
Jackie also plays and sings bluegrass music and dances a little. My museum is filled with mountain relics but none as interesting as Mr. Marshall who wooed the girls at the old school house while I got into fight after fight defending the honor of my homies from Honey Branch.
Thank you Ernie Benko for spreading the word of our town and SW Va, you are a true mountain character yourself.”
The first person to sign the grand opening register was none other than St. Paul Mayor Kyle Fletcher, shown here looking at the elk display rack he donated to the museum.
His late father, Holland Fletcher and also a mayor of the town for several post WWII years, killed the last known legally taken elk from the Yellowstone herd brought to Southwest Virginia during the Great Depression. Farm families made up 80% of the workforce at that time and the large western elk threatened crops and were eventually wiped out, just as their smaller native eastern elk were driven to extinction by hunters and farmers in the late 1800s.
More recently, western elk have been deliberately introduced to Buchanan County after that county’s leaders requested them for over a decade. The most forested and least farmed county in Virginia, Buchanan County and its residents have been overwhelmingly welcoming and now the elk are the “targets” of frequent tour van loads of camera carrying tourists. Many are visiting the nearby Breaks Interstate Park, also referred to as the Grand Canyon of the East.
For more information about these elk, visit the electronic version of our regional magazine, Mountain Peeks, at www.mountainpeeksmag.com
Come to the grand opening of the Mountain Heritage Museum and Gallery in St. Paul, Virginia!
DON’T BE IN ROOT DENIAL!!
See hundreds of artifacts from coal mining, logging, railroading, farming, the Civil War, and Native American and Appalachian natural history. View dozens of pictures and prints about these subjects and more, including the largest UMWA historic display south of Washington, D.C..!
Also gaze at color photos of the great outdoors of Southwest Virginia, the most biologically diverse native ecosystem in the Northern Hemisphere.
Local musicians and artists will be on hand as well including talented musician Rich Kirby & Company @ 1 PM performing coal mining and other regional ballads. We will have CD recordings by Rich for sale along with publications by local authors including Joe Tennis, Frank Kilgore’s Far Southwest Virginia: A Postcard and Photographic Journey, and Ed Wolfe’s Norfolk & Southern: Clinch Valley Line.
WHEN: Grand Opening, Saturday, May 7, from 10-4
WHERE: At the Kilgore Law firm on Russell Street, just across from Trupoint Bank
ADMISSION: Free, but donations are appreciated
Just follow the signs and come see your history. For safety and security purposes children must be accompanied and supervised by an adult.