Bullitt County History

1896 County Fair Catalog

In January 1925, the editor of The Pioneer News wrote about an old 1896 fair catalog he had received. The following transcription of the two-part article was prepared by Edith Blissett as a part of her newspaper transcriptions books.


Old Catalogue
January 2, 1925

Mrs. Gertrude Masden recently gave us one of the Bullitt County Fair Catalogues for the year 1896, the first year of the fair. The catalog was printed by The Bullitt Pioneer and is a neat, artistic piece of work.

At that time, W. Jeff Lee was the President of the Fair, Judge W. T. Morrow was Vice President, C. E. McCormick was Secretary, Dr. D. M. Bates was Treasurer, and Hon. James M. Lee was Marshall. The directors were: William Simmons, W. T. Lee, F. O. Carruthers, William Summers Sr, W.T. Conley, J.F. Hackney, F. A. Barnett, J. B. Myers, J. T. Martin, O. P. Combs, S. S. Williams, Rufus K. Hall, W. E. Hibbs, James Roney, William Foster, and H. D. Shafer. Of the five officers, Judge Morrow is the sole survivor, while of the sixteen directors, only five, Wilson Summers, J. B. Myers, Rufus K. Hall, James Roney and H. D. Shafer are living.

On the first day, Arch W. Meredith and T. C. Coleman Jr. (now T. C. C. Sr) were Superintendents of show rings; on the second day, W. T. Hill and Herbert W. Lee were the Superintendents, while on the third day, W. T. Lee and O. P. Means were Superintendents. Of the six, only two, Messrs Meredith and Lee are dead.

In the floral hall, we find Mr. T. J. Barrall and Miss Mary Hornbeck were superintendents in the apple ring; Will Tom Foster and Miss Mamie Lutes in the pear department; Rufus K. Hall and Miss Lily B. Zazlo in the grape department; James Roney and Miss Kate Wilder in the Miscellaneous department; Judge Morrow and Mrs. Ada G. Troutman, superintendents of flowers; W. T. Lee and Mary F. Huber, superintendents of farm products; W. F. Smithers and Miss Kate Foster, superintendents of garden products; William Simmons and Mrs. Emma Combs, superintendents of household products; Mrs. D. M. Bates and Mrs. Ella Pope, superintendents of needle work; Mrs. C.E. McCormick and Miss Nannie Hornbeck, superintendents of fancy and art work, and Joseph Dickey and Jesse H. Lee, superintendents of poultry.

The fair was held on three days - Aug. 21, 22, and 23, 1895. The admission was 25 cents for adults and fifteen cents for children. Robert Tyler and Son, owners of John E. Madden, and H. M. (Med) Foster, owner of Ethelbert and W. S. and J D. Roberts, owners of Washington Irving, were exhibitors in the fair and offered substantial premiums in the catalogue. Five Dollars was the top prize offered in the show ring for the best horse. (To be continued)

Old Fair Catalogue
January 9, 1925

Everyone who was old enough to remember things as they looked in 1908 remember the first Bullitt County Fair Buildings. They were erected by men who had lots of practical sense and who devoted much of their time to placing our Fair on a sound foundation. In the matter of sound judgment, economy and "horse" sense, it would be difficult to find men who surpassed the first officers of the Fair.

And the first stockholders were not one whit behind the officers. They were all men of experience and good judgment and men who made a success in life. J. W. Sawyer, Gus Ausbeck, Noels (looks like) and Snyder, Ernest Koch, Conrad Clausen, the Farmer’s Hotel, The Enterprise Hotel, and Myer-Berman were among the first Louisville business men and firms to place their ads in our fair catalogue.

Back in those days, the bandstand stood across the tract from the grandstand. It was just barely large enough to hold the large bands employed at that time, and in the afternoon was a pretty hot place. In looking over the premium lists in this old catalogue, we find that the premiums on fruits, etc, are not much higher now than then, while the premiums on certain saddle and speed horses have been increased very much.

The persons who remember the crowds which assembled there in the nineties will find that a vast majority of those who were in the middle life at that time are gone. Last year, the writer sat in the grandstand and cast his eyes across the track on the crowd that had gathered in the shade and it was no different from the former crowd.

Wilson Summers, Richard Wathen and just a few of the old guard were there. William Simmons, G. W. Simmons, W. T. Lee, Ben Crist, J. L. Holsclaw, W. H. Robards, S. B. Williams, Henry Hardaway, Med Foster, James Cochran, Gabe Summers, John Summers, Dave Brooks, D. M. Bates, N. B. Trunnell and scores of other prominent men who always made it a point to gather there in friendly concourse, were gone forever. Time, in her onward sweep, like the irresistible tides of the sea, had swept them from sight. It is not the market value of this old catalogue which appealed to me, but the golden memories of the unforgotten past, and the good old days spent in the restful shades of the Bullitt County Fair Grounds with so many of Bullitt’s best citizens.


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The Bullitt County History Museum, a service of the Bullitt County Genealogical Society, is located in the county courthouse at 300 South Buckman Street (Highway 61) in Shepherdsville, Kentucky. The museum, along with its research room, is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday; and from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday. Admission is free. The museum, as part of the Bullitt County Genealogical Society, is a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization and is classified as a 509(a)2 public charity. Contributions and bequests are deductible under section 2055, 2106, or 2522 of the Internal Revenue Code. Page last modified: 13 Jul 2015 . Page URL: bullittcountyhistory.org/bchistory/faircatalog.html