February 16, 2016

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Steve Siler is a song writer, and founder and director of Music for the Soul, a non-profit music ministry. He is writing this column on behalf of Downtown Frankfort, Inc., a Kentucky Main Street program.

Frankfort, Do You Know How Special You Are?

You know that feeling you have when you first get a new car. It’s so bright and shiny and smells so clean and runs so smoothly. For the first few weeks you think it’s just about the greatest thing ever. Then weeks turn into months and months turn into years and pretty soon it’s just a car and you begin to take it for granted. You don’t really even see it anymore. It’s just there.

I think that can be true with a city too. You move there and at first you notice all the really cool things about it. Then after awhile it’s just where you live and go through the routine of your life. If you were born there that’s even truer. It’s where you’ve always lived. What’s the big deal?

For years my wife and I have made a habit of traveling to charming towns on vacation. Usually staying at bed and breakfasts, we’ve spent our time browsing antique stores and art galleries, local museums and parks, and visiting the favorite restaurants of residents. While living in Nashville, Tennessee, our experience of Kentucky had pretty much been limited to driving back and forth on Interstate 65, to and from my parents’ house in northwestern Indiana. This didn’t give us much opportunity to experience the beauty of Kentucky about which we’d heard so much.

In the spring of 2005 I had a business trip scheduled to Cincinnati. Instead of taking the interstate I decided to take state roads to see if I could enjoy some of Kentucky’s beauty. The route I selected took me through Frankfort. I was heading north on 127 when I came to a long downhill slope. The road took a wide curve and suddenly downtown Frankfort appeared before me. It was a startling sight.

“What a pretty location,” I thought. I decided to drive the downtown streets to get a closer look. I felt like I was in a Norman Rockwell painting. The town, complete with a river running through it, was a slice of classic Americana. It had everything from the turn-of-the-century office buildings, to the brick pavement of St. Clair St., the railroad track running down Broadway, and a collection of beautiful churches. As I crossed over the Capital Avenue Bridge, I was struck by the setting and the grandeur of the “new” capitol.

There was something else that struck me even more than the appeal of Frankfort’s architecture. The unique geographical setting was like nothing I’d ever seen in any other American town even though I’ve traveled to all 50 states. The town was in a basin surrounded by sheer rock walls. It was as if God had taken an ice cream scooper and scooped downtown Frankfort out of the landscape.

My overall impression of Frankfort was so strong that I immediately called my wife and told her how cool it was. “We need to visit here sometime,” I told her. Little did I know that nine years later we would be living in Frankfort!

Why am I telling you all this? Because, even though I’m now a resident, I see Frankfort with fresh eyes. And I wonder if those of you who’ve lived here a long time realize the distinctive charm of the place you call home? Do you realize the marvelous potential downtown Frankfort has?

Frankfort, do you know how special you are?!

Perhaps, some of you do. If there is something special about Frankfort that you’d like us to feature in a future article/post, please let me know. Let’s have pride in our wonderful town!

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February 25, 2016

Great perspective! Thanks for sharing these insights about our great community!

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