No Destination: Winchester

After leaving the Howard's Creek area in southern Clark County, I traveled north on Boone Avenue (KY 627). After his courthouse visit, Nate had told me about the great oddity of Winchester: College Street.

Look far and wide, but there is no remaining college on College Street or elsewhere in Winchester. But, from 1890 to 1954, Winchester was the home of Kentucky Wesleyan College; it has since relocated to Owensboro. Among its most notable alumna, Supreme Court Chief Justice Stanley Reed (1902).

The old college grounds are now a city park and some of the campus buildings remain. The Carnegie Library (c. 1914) is now a community center (a child's birthday party was going on during my campus visit) and the Spencer Memorial Gymnasium is currently being expanded and converted into the city natatorium.

Downtown Winchester has many small, locally owned and operated businesses. The historic buildings are mostly well-kept, in repair and freshly painted. The downtown area is dominated by, as Nate put it, a "massive" whitewashed courthouse.

Leaving Winchester, I drove past the Ale-8-One bottling plant. Ale-8-One is a Kentucky soft drink that is most like a ginger ale, but that would still be an inaccurate description. Introduced in 1926, the soda has a limited distribution area but it is "the drink" in Winchester. I saw countless young teenagers milling around drinking from the iconic glass green bottle.

A final note: Helen Thomas, journalist and White House correspondent for every President since John F. Kennedy was born in Winchester. Regrettably, there is no historical marker related to Ms. Thomas in Winchester.