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Road trippin': Bloomfield, Kentucky

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Bloomfield, Kentucky

Over twenty photographs are available.

Entering Bloomfield, Kentucky, situated amongst the idyllic, pastoral scenes at the junction of U.S. Route 62 and three highways, one can almost catch a glimpse of Mayberry, a fictional town made famous in The Andy Griffith Show. This agrarian community of just under one-thousand was founded along Simpson's Creek in Nelson County and was named after two couples that were later married: Miss Bloomer and Dr. Merrifield. The town was surveyed and platted in 1817 and incorporated just two years later.

I found that the history of the past is still very much alive. A restored Restored Shelbyville, Bloomfield and Ohio Railroad depot stands as the city hall, its gray and white paint trim remaining historically accurate. Nearby, a hardware store still sells wares essential to the local farmer, with ready supplies of feed, fertilizer and lumber in great supply. Next door, across a pictureesque white bridge crosses a small tributary and on the north side, facing U.S. Route 62, is an equally white barber shop. Inside, neatly tended to black-faced chairs revolve around a checkered floor, and a linear mirror offers a whirlwind glimpse of the person's hair. A signature red-and-white barber's pole operates outside.

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Adjacent to the barber shop is the one-block-long downtown is a collection of historical structures dating back to the late 1800s, with most of the buildings having been fully restored and stocked with businesses that benefit not only the local community, but to tourists as well. From the lone traffic signal at Hill street, Chaplin, Springfield and Taylorsville roads, a corner drug-store acts as a front for the downtown, it's bright blue awning acting as a beacon for a Wilson & Muir bank that occupies the adjacent two buildings, one that dates to the late 19th century. A hometown pizza parlor, with an inviting sign decorated in hues of red and green, serves up delicious pizzas and appetizers in a building built by Muir in 1894. Not surprisingly, its name is Hometown Pizza.

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An antiques shop, stocked with elegant armoires, credenzas, dining sets and other wares line the walls and floors, its elegant forest-green and red brick facade playing on a more upscale note to passerby. And of something that is traditionally not seen outside of the larger cities, and even more so in small towns, is a Miss Merrifield's Tea Room. Inside, a spotless arrangement of period chairs, dining tables and china, along with perfectly folded napkins, rest in a silent monument to exquisite culture that was once well more represented.

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Elsewhere, a community game room has taken the place of the Olde Bloomfield Meeting Hall, where children and their parents can rack up high scores on vintage arcade machines, roller-skate and play old-fashioned pinball machines. A hardware store is situated along Hill Street, selling anything from fertilizer to water with personalized service that has long been replaced elsewhere by the speedy convenience of the big-box stores. An old school nearby is awaiting reuse, but architecture students from the University of Kentucky are aiding in the preservation of this three-story gem.

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If you are lucky, you may catch Linda Bruckheimer. The writer, producer and West Coast editor for Mirabella married successful movie producer Jerry Bruckheimer and later moved to Bloomfield to escape the Los Angles' obsession with the "new" and was concerned that everybody in this country was "development country." She supposed that this tiny hamlet would be a great place to go back to her roots as a teenager in Kentucky, so she purchased a farm with a deteriorated 1820's Greek-revival house and restored it -- along with many of the downtown buildings that stand ever so proudly today. She has also become an a trustee with the National Trust for Historic Preservation and an advocate against over development in the Commonwealth. Her reach also extends to the University of Kentucky's horticulture department to develop alternative crops, such as lavender and echinacea, that will give new life to the aging agricultural fields.

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Leaving Bloomfield, I found a renewed sense of belonging. A hope that other cities will take the lead that Linda started, in restoring their downtowns, populating them with varied destinations and small-town shops, and taking pride in the history that they still have. The community does not present a faux feeling, nor does it have the tired, neglected aurora it once had. It's found its perfect medium, and is why I recommend anyone looking for an escape from the big-city life, take a drive to Bloomfield and reminiscence.

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Great thread. Really love the dialogue you provided for the picture tour. I know it took a lot of time and work to put this thread together and it really shows. Its always a treat to get to see and read about places you never have had the opportunity to visit, or never heard much -if anything- about. I know lots of other forumers and visitors to this site would agree.

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My wife loves Hometown Pizza (2nd picture in the series). A number of them around central Kentucky have sold out or gone out of business. Wish we had one in Georgetown!

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