You can find it where Highway 15, Highway 18, and the Hal Rogers Parkway (formerly the Daniel Boone Parkway) meet. Nestled in the heart of the Appalachian Coalfields, this “Queen City of the Mountains” serves as the seat of Perry County. The county itself was founded in 1820 and was the 68th county formed in the state. The city and county were both named after Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry, a naval hero in the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812.
Isolated by the mountains, Hazard spent its first century as a fairly quiet place. Unless travelers wanted to take a two-week trek over the Appalachians, the only real access point was 45 miles down the North Fork of the Kentucky River. Lumber helped the area prosper in the 1880s, but it wasn’t until the railroad arrived in 1912 that Hazard really opened up to the outside world. The city boomed through the 1920s as coal mining replaced logging, but the Great Depression hit Hazard hard.
Nevertheless, the coal industry aided in keeping the area afloat and was locally celebrated with the Hazard Coal Carnival starting in 1937. Today known as the Black Gold Festival, it features big-name musical performances, an impressive parade down Main Street, a smorgasbord of tasty food, and tons of crafts. In 1981, the festival welcomed several cast members of the popular TV series “The Dukes of Hazzard,” including Catherine Bach (Daisy Duke), James Best (Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane), Sorrell Booke (Boss Hogg), and Rick Hurst (Deputy Cletus Hogg). Stars Tom Wopat (Luke Duke) and John Schneider (Bo Duke) also paid the city a visit.
One of the ways that today’s celebrities have helped Hazard shine is by acknowledging the whimsical Mother Goose building. Featured in the New York Times, on the Oprah Winfrey Show, and on Home and Garden Television’s Extreme Homes, this to-scale goose-shaped house shows off the imagination of George Stacy. Stacy worked from 1935 to 1940 constructing the creative masterpiece with its eyes made of car lights and its walls containing rocks from all over the U.S. and Canada. The Mother Goose House continues to delight and attract flocks of admirers.
If real wildlife is more your cup of tea, Perry County promises a plethora of beautiful wilderness. Whether you’re looking for a solo getaway or a place to unplug with the whole family, Buckhorn Lake and the surrounding recreational area offer large picnic areas, birding, hiking, miniature golfing, elk watching, and swimming. An upstream dam results in a seasonal reservoir of 1,230 acres, which is home to bass, crappie, bluegill, channel catfish, and muskie (trout can be found from April through November). You’ll also find 95 open slips, two boat launches, as well as fishing and pontoon boats for rent.
To experience a vast and truly awe-inspiring array of some of this country’s most breathtaking natural beauty, head to the Daniel Boone National Forest. Covering 707,000 acres of mostly rugged terrain, the forest contains Cave Run Lake, Laurel River Lake, and Lake Cumberland. The 269-mile Shelowee Trace National Recreational Trail takes hikers across the length of this federally managed, nationally cherished piece of nature. Mother nature invites visitors with open arms, but insists on the continual protection of all its natural resources by proudly enforcing a “Leave No Trace” policy.
Mother nature also is proud to offer another Southern bounty in the form of fresh, local produce. A great example is Holliday Farm & Garden. Established in 1855, this family-owned farm helps you bring seasonal favorites to your table. In the fall, pumpkins, Indian corn, and mums attract the locals, as do tours of the farm which show off the livestock. The spirit of family is also strong at the Bobby Davis Museum, a “living memorial” to those we lost during World War II.
Another Southern staple worth indulging is spiritual sanctuary. Eastern Kentucky is brimming with beautiful churches, including Buckhorn Lake Area Presbyterian Church Log Cathedral. This magnificent building was erected in 1928 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Cathedral is one of only three buildings that still stand from the Witherspoon College campus, and free tours are available by request.
There’s a lot to love about Hazard, including the industries that keep it thriving such as Whayne Supply Company, Appalachian Regional Healthcare, Coal Fields Industrial Park, SYKES Enterprises, UPS, and Kentucky River Community Care. Whether you are a resident or are just passing through, it’s our goal at the Johnson Law Firm to help you enjoy the area safely and to protect your rights if someone has harmed you.
The next time you have a question about car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, bike accidents, medical malpractice, nursing home negligence, workplace injury, premises liability, wrongful death or any personal injury, contact us for a free, confidential consultation. Call us at 1-606-433-0682, fill out our online form, or stop by to find out why the Johnson Law Firm is known as the “nicest place in town.”