Initially, it wasn’t even the prompt for our spontaneous pull-off. We had spotted a couple of old barns, particularly photogenic, and moments later realized they were neighbors to something more fascinating. Across the creek, built into the bank, was a small private sanctuary or, perhaps, a hideaway of sorts. This is not typically what we expect to see when driving through Nicholasville but, then again, we never expect to see most of the things we photograph. I guess that is just the nature of venturing off-the-beaten-path and what keeps us searching for more.
It was constructed of stone, block, and cement with iron rods supporting the roof and it appeared to have been abandoned by its tenant many years ago. A little zoom into the opening in the front revealed that cement benches had been formed into the walls inside. Someone had obviously taken great pride in creating this unusual structure. With a closer look, we noticed an opening in the back wall, but didn’t investigate further, so we are still unsure how deep into the hillside one could crawl by way of this compact portal, or if it simply served a different purpose.
Carved into the exterior to the right of the doorway were the words “Built By James East Octer 10 1932,” a memorandum so camouflaged we had almost overlooked it. The character of the carving itself was enough to encourage intrigue. The author had chosen to shorten “October” to “Octer” and had included a backward “S” within his last name. I could hardly wait to type the information into the search engine and attempt to uncover a little history, but my queries returned a variety of completely unrelated tidbits. I don’t plan to give up, however, as this mysterious architect has surely peaked our interest. If anyone can offer further information about this creekside hermitage or the fellow who fashioned it, we would love to hear from you and will update this post accordingly, giving credit where it is due. We merely wish to share this marvel with others and give him the recognition he deserves. We have included images of the barns that originally caught our attention. They are, after all, quite special themselves, as is the serene mood of the location. The usual noise of traffic is nonexistent and is, instead, replaced by a range of notes sang graciously by the local birds and the trickling water of the beautiful stream below, much like those I played in as a child. These places of solitude are rare gems.