Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times
It’s interesting to see what people of a century ago thought the future held for Olive Hill and Carter County. In 1920, the editors of the Carter County Herald saw a lot of promise and prosperity in the town’s future. While it didn’t quite see the sort of growth the Herald predicted they would once they had adequate municipal water and sewage lines, that promise is still there.
Where the Herald was wrong was in putting Olive Hill’s future in the arms of her natural resources. Or rather, in the arms of the wrong natural resources. It wasn’t Olive Hill’s impressive mineral wealth that would keep her going into the next century, but her people.
Author Willie Davis saw this when he penned his two-volume historical novel, Olive Hill. That book series follows the fictional Reed family over the course of a century. While he focuses intently on Olive Hill’s mineral wealth – particularly her firebrick clay, which fueled the growth of the steel industry, the railroad, and ultimately the building of our great urban skyscrapers – it’s the people that make the story.
It’s the people who stood out to the Bush family on their recent trip to Carter Caves too. Their letter to the editor, in this edition, lauds the generosity and helpfulness of the Carter County natives who helped them repair their tire and head home to Louisville after a pleasant weekend in the park.
Sure, we’d all love a little more industry and some of those old jobs back. We appreciate the modern water and sewage system and look forward to their ongoing improvements. But ultimately it’s the people, their work ethic and tenacity (or plain old stubbornness if you like) and spirit, that make Carter County a fine place to visit and a wonderful place to live.
We wouldn’t have it any other way.
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