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New project to display local history (FOR A1 MONDAY 6-13-11)

By Robert Villanueva

Several city agencies are working together on a project to create defined entryways to historic downtown Elizabethtown and expect to run the results up a flag pole, or more accurately, quite a few lamp posts.
Elizabethtown Tourism & Convention Bureau executive director Sherry Murphy said banners depicting local historic figures are being prepared for placement on Public Square and along the streets leading to the square. A timeline is not set for when the banners will go up because details are still being worked out, she said.
“I think every new welcome program that we do will enhance the visitor experience,” she said.
The banner program has been in the works for about two years, Murphy said.
Susan McCrobie, president of the Hardin County History Museum board of directors, said the program is something the EHC has wanted to do for the past year or year and a half. In addition to ETCB and the EHC, other agencies including the Hardin County History Museum and the city are working on the program.
ETCB is “footing the bill,” the city will prepare some of the posts for the banners by installing brackets and the history museum will provide photos from their archives, McCrobie said.
Banners will be two sizes, with larger ones placed on streets approaching the square and smaller ones on Public Square, she said.
“They’re all going to be hanging from lamp posts,” McCrobie said.
Murphy said 16 banners are planned for placement on the square and 25 others will be placed on U.S. 62, U.S. 31W and Main Street. The streets leading to downtown, she said, are “gateway” points to the city and should let visitors know where they are.
The banners also will serve to enhance the downtown and Elizabethtown experience for locals, she said.
“We just want to make it an attractive area,” Murphy said.
McCrobie said the banners will give downtown and the city in general “some color.”
Historical figures to be depicted could range from Carrie Nation, the noted axe-wielding temperance advocate, to Carl Brashear, the U.S. Navy’s first black master diver, according to McCrobie.
In some cases, she said, the hope is to match historical figures with locations connected to them. For example, a banner depicting former Hardin County Judge-Executive R.R. “Babe” Thomas would likely get a spot near the government building named after him while the banner depicting Hardin County’s first millionaire and L&N Railroad stockholder Samuel Beale Thomas would be displayed near the railroad tracks off the square.
The banners are expected to display the historical figures on one side and text about them on the other, she said.
McCrobie said everything is in place for the banners to be created “just as soon as we get the images together.”
Murphy said the placement and number of the banners have already been settled, but other details, such as their precise dimensions, are yet to be determined.
Robert Villanueva can be reached at (270) 505-1743.