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beached barge
ince moving to Frankfort, KY, I've spent a lot of time driving around my new city, sometimes with my girlfriend, other times by myself. If there's one thing I've discovered , it's that no matter where you live, there's always something interesting in your own backyard if you're willing to get out and find it.

Kentucky's capital city sits on the banks of the Kentucky River in the central part of the state. The river's use for industrial purposes such as transportation and power have long since vanished, but remnants of it remain. The most notable of these are the dam and locks system just west of downtown. What has become on of my favorite local restaurants, Jim's Seafood sits high above the river overlooking the old dam. In fact, their slogan is "The best seafood by a dam site!" Inside Jim's, there's a room devoted to the preservation of the area's industrial legacy with photos, essays, and articles. The land upon which Jim's and several other nearby establishments rests used to be a hemp factory which used the flowing waters of the Kentucky River to turn a millwheel.

I discovered all of this one afternoon while driving about Frankfort alone. Jim's has an outdoor patio-deck, and just around it, is a small footpath leading down to the river and the edge of the dam. I took the foot path that day and descended from the hot asphalt of Jim's parking lot into the cool shade of riverbank oak, maple, and sycamore. I later stood on a concrete precipice beside the dam, the water roaring over it. I didn't have my camera with me, however.

As I stood there, I look across, up, and down the river. In the distance, downstream I saw something on the opposite bank. I wasn't for sure what it was, but it was huge and I had a good idea. I went back to the car and followed the highway over the river. After about 30 minutes of trying various road, I finally found myself in the vicinity of it. I parked the car in a small parking area and headed into the underbrush which led down to the river.

It was what I thought it was. But I still didn't have my camera with me! I went home, but, I knew my girlfriend would kill.me. if I didn't take her, so I waited until she got off from work and told her I had a surprise for her. A boat....

...a really, big boat.

In fact, it was an old freight barge. Years of fluctuating water levels have deposited rich, fertile silt in the cargo hold allowing grass and trees to take-root and grow there.

Obviously from the above photos, climbing onto it and walking around its edge was fairly easy. At either end of the cargo hold were large, flat areas. The downstream end was in better condition than the other, with a large, steel platform to move around on. Trees grew through one of the large portals and there were structures (I'm obviously not a nautical person) for tying the barge down when docked.

On the upstream end, however, the platform had either been cut away, or possibly, had been made of a less durable material which had rotted away over the years.

Between these two points were the remains of the cargo hold with all of the vegetation. While it didn't prove to be very accessibile, you could walk around it on the edges, which had plenty of more tie-down points and portals.

It was very serene and peaceful there. Also very scenic. Downstream, across the river was the rear of Buffalo Trace, a bourbon whiskey distiller.

Upstream, you could see the dam, and Jim's Seafood precariously perched above it. The pile of rocks on the left, with the concrete wall behind it is where I had stood earlier in the afternoon and spotted the beached barge.

I still need to walk back down to the dam with my camera, too. And Jim ain't lying about being the best seafood by a dam site. We went to eat there afterward. If you ever find yourself in Frankfort and have a hankering for crab legs, you'll find few places inland that do a better job.

x-posted to abandonedplaces and urban_decay

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That is freaking awesome. You win the Internet. At least for today. And until you post something else so awesome. When I can drive again, I'll commit myself to likewise finding weird things in my area and posting them here.

You'll have to come for another visit next summer and we'll take you to see it. :)

I'd love to. :-)

(Ack! Foolish school computers that eat cookies. :-( That was me; you can delete the anonymous comment.)

I really like this set, a lot. Totally beautiful area, I love it. Thanks for sharing buddy.

Wants to write a story based on where this all at now.

Thanks. I'm glad they could be a source of inspiration. :)

You're welcome. And I like when others pictures do that. It doesnt work so well when it is your own because you took them your way but when others do it does it for me.

Be excited of some of Warsaw/Leesburg/Fort Wayne pictures when I go visit my Dad later this week, hopefully I'll find something neat, I mean yes, everything is a photo subject but I am sick of the "normal"! Plus, not even related really, I found some caves here, that have a tour guide, even if I wanted to go alone, I think I might go on one of those! :)

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The root cellar sounds neat, and so does the cemetery...

...but an abandoned but intact moonshine still?!??!! That's awesome. I'm so down for that.

Yeh, you're going to get this comment twice. Dammit for crossposting, belonging to the same communities and not paying attention to where I'm freaking posting! ;)

Pretty cool indeed. When you take the car ferry across the Mississippi around here you can see those all up and down the banks but to get to them is another story. :/

When you said locks and dams I was thinking of something like this:
and I was looking everywhere for the lock and dam. Lol. Next time we got I shall have to take pictures of it. I hope the guy is really cool again as he was this past time. The top of the lockhouse where they directed the boats and sounded the horns is shut off to the public but he was lonely so he let us go up there to keep talking. The view from up there was spectacular. :) Maybe when we go to St. Francisville I can talk Randy into riding the boat across and taking pictures but I think he already has us booked up. :/

Frankfort's locks and dam wre probably very similiar to that, although not on as large of a scale as the Mississippi River. If I had had my camera with me while beside the dam, I could've taken photos of the the old lock structures on the opposing bank. The one photo I have here of the dam, you can't see it because it was obscured by the vegetation of the banks, since I was on the same side as it.

There's one small lock and some remnants of the old lockhouses, some still standing that have been converted into use by KY-DOT, and some are just the remains of stone foundations, walkways, and steps. I definitely want to go back and photograph all of that, I just haven't gotten around to it yet.

this is a fantastically cool find.................

That is /totally/ amazing.

Thank you! And welcome to my not-so humble journal.

I hope you don't mind that I randomly added you, I came across your stuff through friends of friends and rather enjoyed reading it. :)

Not at all, in fact, as if my absurdly swollen f-list isn't enough, my antics and behavior will soon prove the extent to which I am a complete and utter attention whore.

The tie-down thingys are called cleats.

Awesome pictures. That area looks gorgeous.

I figured someone on my f-list would know what it was, and I just couldn't be bothered with looking it up. Thanks.

Central Kentucky is very pretty, especially in the spring and summer when everything is so green, the areas around the Kentucky River in particular. I'm hoping sometime in the next year to get a boat so I can spend some time cruising up and down it.

very interesting, thanks for sharing :) i was born in Frankfort and now live in Northern Kentucky. I <3 KY

What a find! Thanks for sharing.

This is eleventy-seven kinds of cool. I've got to get over my semi-irrational fear of alligators and start exploring Baton Rouge.

God, it is so lush there. Picture 2 is my fave. Right out of The Drowned World by J.G Balllard.

> no matter where you live, there's always something interesting in your own backyard

No lie! Even here, where the tentacles of NYC touch us and make sure nothing is abandoned for more than minutes, there are places to find, some buried, some hidden, some a few miles away, all of them worth it.

"Look around!"

Wow, what an awesome find! I would have loved to have found that. Thanks for sharing! I wonder how long its been there if there was a large tree grown through it. 0.0

The SO is practically a Frankforter (although she grew up in Woodford Co., they have a Frankfort address since it's closer, and the mail comes from there instead of Versailles). She can tell you all kinds of cool roads to drive, most not suitable for the truck.

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