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JIM: A visitor to Columbia became 1-Person Board of Trade

Some communities always have a lasting impact on a visitor. Columbia has seemed to have a singular ability to do so over its two centuries plus history. Whether it is a first time visitor passing the Trabue House on Jamestown Street and saying, as it so often happens, 'That is the most beautiful public building I've ever seen,' on first sighting the Historic Adair County Courthouse, or it's the person who looks out across the Fountain Plaza, zones out, and comments minutes later, 'I could sit here and enjoy this forever,' the town has a way of making one person Boards of Trade & Tourism of total strangers, as happened in this 1921 history jewel discovered by Jim. -CM
A 'drive from Columbia to Campbellsville is worth a week's visit to Chicago,' -Wm. BLACKALL, Chicago, Illinois (1921)

By Jim

A traveler reflects: an outsider's view of Adair County, 1921

In the 1920 U.S. census, Mr. William Blackall, age 45 years, resided in a boarding house on Clark Street in Chicago. His profession was listed as "expert" and his occupation was given as "safe installation." The following year, Mr. Blackall had occasion to visit Columbia in connection with work required on the vault safe of the Bank of Columbia. While in town, he picked up a copy of the Adair County News and shortly thereafter, the News published a letter from Mr. Blackall, giving his outsider's view of the Auld Sod.Wrote Mr. Blackall, in part:

I, today being at leisure, was reading a copy of your little paper, and in my estimation [it] is a publication a community such as Columbia should be proud of.

I get around over the country a great deal, in fact, constantly on the go, and while reading over your paper today, it brought back recollections of my short visit to Columbia last week, and me, calling Chicago my home, what little I am there, surely can fully realize the advantages of being in a place like your little town and its beautiful surroundings.

I don't know when I was in a community, where it seemed to me, such a true social spirit existed, and for a little place it sure has some history in connection with it from what I learned. I was talking with Mr. [John N.] Flowers, of the Bank of Columbia, about many points of interest in and about Columbia, which to me was sure food for thought.

As far as diversion is concerned, the people of your place from my observation sure have got it. We are living in a wonderful age of invention or progress which history cannot record fast enough, but I would hardly think that would interest anyone with its beautiful hills, valleys, woods, etc.

Why, that drive from Columbia to Campbellsville is worth a week's visit to Chicago. Nature surely reigns in all its glory in your part of Kentucky, and I am very glad of having had the opportunity of making that trip, and if I had matrimonial fever, I would say go no farther. All in all it's an interesting place to my notion, with a true community spirit.

Resectfully yours,

Wm. Blackall

Compiled by "Jim."

This story was posted on 2011-08-21 05:09:01
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