a brief and informal
History of the project

Monument Logo.
Back to Monument Main Page


August- At an Alliance for Progress Meeting in Campton, KY, Richard, recalling a conversation with Pete, suggests that Campton needs something “to put it on the map.” David recommends the sculpture of a giant instrument that the Wolfe County Arts Association had proposed several years before. Richard asks for a written proposal to be presented at the next meeting.

October- At the next Alliance for Progress Meeting David presents a proposal called the “Eastern Kentucky Heritage Monument.” It consists of three very large, steel, stylized, traditional instruments- a guitar, fiddle, and banjo- that also function as wind harps. On the floor of viewing platform, where the instruments rest, would be the names of Eastern Kentucky artists, musicians, authors and other citizens of importance, both locally and nationally. The idea is enthusiastically embraced and endorsed by the Wolfe Countians.

November- The Wolfe County Monument Advisory Board is formed to help David develop and elaborate the proposal. Pete, Richard, Bill, Sister Amy, Doc, Glenn, Mike, Robert, Larrey, Allen and David quickly realize that the Monument is not about Campton but truly about all of Eastern Kentucky. Wolfe County would simply be the host. After numerous meetings and eighteen revisions over a period of several months, the proposal is complete. A long-range plan is devised.

December- The Appalachian Heritage Alliance agrees to sponsor the project. The AHA supplies office space, printing, postage, organizational support as well as allowing their Educational Director (David) to devote time to promoting the Project for several months.


January- Sam McKinney signs on as Lead Artist. Sam is one of Kentucky’s foremost artists. With Sam onboard, the artistic integrity of the Project is assured.

February- The problem of artistically and structurally bracing the instruments is solved by the concept of the spiral, double helix banding. This would also allow space to artistically incorporate icons to depict the history of the region.

May- The proposal is presented to the Mountain Parkway Trails Corridor. It is enthusiastically endorsed. The Mt. Parkway, at this time, consisted of eleven counties. It is a division of Southern and Eastern Kentucky Tourism Development Association. This Corridor Team has become the driving force behind the Project. Van Back, Community Development Coordinator for SEKTDA, provides the first of his helpful, professional and valuable resource information vital to the Project.

June- The Project is endorsed by KY River Resource and Conservation District (RCD.) RCD initiates a planning and feasibility study. Chairman Jim Lacy convinces the board that the proposed location at the Parkway- Rt.15 split is the best location to serve all of Eastern Kentucky. This prevents future turf battles and consolidates regional support.

July- Jim gives Sheila Seppi, Executive Director of SEKTDA, a copy of the proposal.

September- Copy of Proposal with a request for support sent to all eleven Judge Executives in the Mt. Parkway Corridor region. Corridor team members gather letters of support from dozens of local civic organizations and governmental agencies in their respective communities. Support is overwhelmingly positive.

October- Sheila expresses support. She suggests the Corridor, in collaboration with the RCD, submit a proposal for funding an Economic Impact- Feasibility Study. The Corridor does this. The original Wolfe County Monument Advisory Board, finding a strong ally in the Corridor, updates its Action Plan.

November- SEKTDA Board approves $24,000 for Economic Impact- Feasibility Study.

December- Van and David write, and SEKTDA submits, a Special Request for Congressional Funding for $6 million. Unfortunately, we did not get it.


February- Signed letters of support received from all eleven Judge Executives (plus several former Judge Executives) in the Corridor region.

Spring and Summer- Continued gathering of public support. Presentations to civic organizations.

October- The Red River Gorge Scenic Byway receives National Scenic Byway designation. The quite capable and enthusiastic chairman of the Mt. Parkway Trails Corridor, Jeff Crowe, takes the SEKTDA position as KY National Scenic Byway Director. Our Monument is located within the boundary limits of this National Scenic Byway.

November- Concept of the Monument as the “International Logo for Eastern Kentucky” is introduced.

December- Dr. Henry Gurr, Professor Emeritus of Physics, University of South Carolina-Aiken agrees to join the Monument Project as a consultant. Professor Gurr is a nationally recognized authority on Aeolian harps.


February- The Appalachian Heritage Alliance agrees to act as fiscal agent for the Monument until a separate non-profit 501(c)3 status is attained.

April- The Economic Impact- Feasibility Study is complete and returned to SEKTDA and the Mt. Parkway Trails Corridor. The findings are spectacular in all aspects. If a prospective “regular” business had produced these numbers, the state would have handed them a check on the spot. However, even though the economic development benefits and job creation numbers were stunningly impressive, our Project does not fit the normal requirements necessary for Economic Development assistance.

May- Monument presentation made to the SEKTDA Board.

June- Eastern Kentucky Heritage Monument Project listed on KRADD Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy.

July- Tom proclaims that, “The Monument is one Economic Development Project that is NOT going to move to Mexico.”

August- 1) Regional “Visioning Meeting” at Natural Bridge State Park with Sheila Seppi, Executive Director of SEKTDA. Sheila says that SEKTDA, with its considerable resources and expertise, is firmly behind the Monument Project. She stresses the importance of local control and says the region will have to do its part. 2) Sam completes his cool graphics. These are an important visual aid for Monument presentations.

September- 1) Cheryl Truman article appears in Lexington Herald Leader. CBS office reads it and has affiliate station in Hazard come to Wolfe County to do a news story. Kentucky Educational Television calls and is interested in doing a documentary when construction begins. Newspaper articles in Three Forks Tradition, Clay City Times and the Irvine paper. 2) Appalachian Heritage Alliance web site with link to the Monument page goes on-line at www.AppalachianHeritageAlliance.org. 3) Faye King announces that when the estate is settled, the Monument will have an option on the land.

November- 1) KRADD meeting with Congressman Hal Rogers. Congressman Rogers says the Monument is a good, visionary project and that “he will do whatever he can to support it.” He then adds the caveat, “But you all will have to do your part.” 2) The $20,000 Marketing Study for the Mt. Parkway Trails Corridor is completed. The study suggests building a Magnet Attraction for the area and specifically states that the Eastern Kentucky Heritage Monument should be it. Monument sited as a Magnet Attraction that would change the economic landscape of eastern Kentucky.

December- 1) By Laws and Articles of Incorporation developed. 2) Over $3,000 is raised locally to help cover cost of printing, postage and other incidentals.


February- Discussions with metal fabricators lead to improved design of instruments.

March- First meeting with John Carman and Associates, Architects, about Site Study, Architectural Renderings and Flash Presentation.

April-1) First meeting with the Development people at Berea College. Received encouragement, promise of sustained help, much information. 2) EKHM now a legal entity. Officers elected.

May- Met architect Ron Konzak near Seattle, Washington. Ron is the builder of the current “world’s largest wind harp.”  He agrees to act as consultant.

July- Site Study ($15,000) is completed. Architectural Renderings and Flash Program ($5,000) is complete.

August- Sam McKinney’s model of the Monument is complete. PowerPoint Presentation complete.

September- Model displayed in Wolfe County.

October- Model displayed in Lee County. Front page article in Lexington Herald Leader. Article in M-Magazine. Radio interview on WEKY and WMKY.

November- Model on display at SEKTDA Caucus in Somerset and in Powell County.

December- “Visioning and Strategy” Meeting with local Judge Executives (ten counties represented,) Senator Stivers, Representative Edmonds, and interested people. ARC Flex-E-Grant comes through.


February- Meeting in Frankfort with Sen. Stivers and Shawn Dyer from Governor’s Office. Strategic Plan with Professor Garkavitch.

March- Meeting with Shawn Dyer. Took more requested information to Sen. Stivers. Received 501(c)3 non-profit designation. Board development. Vicki Kidd, director of SEKTDA, turns in a special congressional request for Monument funding.

April- Brochures completed. Did not receive developmental funds from the state.

May- Model on display in Salyersville at the new Renaissance Building. Good response. Newspaper article.

June- Lee County Fiscal Court pledges $10,000 for purchase of land if other counties contribute.

July- Model on display at UK Technology Center in Morgan County.

August- Wolfe County Industrial Board pledges $20,000 towards purchase of land.


January- Model moved to Action Center in Booneville, Owsley County.

February- Heritage Monument supporters go to Frankfort three times during the legislative session to talk about the project.

March- Presentation with model given to owners of Whitaker Bank. Model remains on display in Whitaker Bank in Campton. Owners of one of the three pieces needed for the Monument agree to sell for $185K. They have put $110K of bulldozing work into the property to level five acres. This would be suitable for the parking lot and Information-Celebration Center.

April- State announces intention to widen the Mt. Parkway at the junction of Rt. 15, to include an eastbound on-ramp. This will impact our location. Meeting with the Transportation Dept. in Jackson to develop a win-win situation. Meeting with Transportation Dept. and road contractors in Campton. Model on display in Farmers and Traders Bank in Campton. Bank President, William May, invites Director of KY Economic Development to see model. Commerce Secretary, George Ward, begins to take an interest in the project.

May- Wolfe County Industrial Board increases their pledge for land purchase to $85K. Wolfe County Fiscal Court pledges $125K of Economic Development funds for land purchase contingent that all three parcels needed for the project can be purchased. Owners of one of the parcels involved with multiple heir ownership renege on long-standing verbal agreement to sell at the appraised price, renege on second verbal agreement made with executor, and decide to sell the land at public auction. Word received of continued support and effort by the office of Congressman Hal Rogers.

June- The “heirship” parcel sells at auction for $150K to Bob Shouse and Tim Miller who own the adjacent parcel of land. Bob and Tim want the Monument to succeed. They agree to sell the piece for what they paid. A representative from Congressman Rogers’ office calls, and Commerce Sec. Ward emails, to learn of the auction outcome.

July- Secretary of Commerce, George Ward, endorses Heritage Monument. KY Representative Ted Edmonds endorses Monument. The company that did the Economic Impact / Feasibility Study tell us that if the Mt. Parkway is four-laned, the numbers in their report would increase. Land Purchase Fund Drive begun.

August- We receive word that the “Special Congressional Request” for $13.2 million passed the US House of Representatives but not the US Senate. Our artist, Sam McKinney, is invited to present at the Botkin's International Sculpture Festival; “the one poster that stole the show was the Heritage Monument. You wouldn't believe the people's curiosity and the most asked question was, When is it to be finished, because we want to come and see it.”

October- David and Janine take informational packets to Washington DC and talk to the people in Senator McConnell’s and Congressman Rogers’ office.


January- Judge Executive Raymond Hurst and David attended a meeting in Frankfort with Lt. Governor Daniel Mongiardo to discuss how the Heritage Monument is crucial to the success of the Adventure Tourism Project. David and Sam are interviewed on Morehead State Public Radio Station show “The Frontpage.” Sound bites from interview are carried on the UK and Eastern KY Public Radio stations.

Summer and Fall- Although there were optimistic times when major initiatives could have worked out, they didn't. This has been a rough stretch. The widening of the Mt. Parkway has begun which will heavily impact the proposed site. This could be a good thing or ruin the project at this site. Time will tell. The economic collapse means help at the Federal and State levels will not be soon forthcoming.


We continue to receive assurances from the Federal and State that they remain firmly behind the project. But money is still the issue and both are struggling with the current economic situation. A couple of long shots could pay off to our benefit - but there is, of course, an intrinsic problem with long shots. The head engineer in charge of the Mt. Parkway widening project assures us that the excavation they are doing is being done with the Heritage Monument in mind. He assures us that what they are doing will save the Monument a tremendous amount of money in future landscaping costs. Lt. Governor Daniel Mongiardo submitted the Heritage Monument as a "shovel ready" project for consideration under federal economic stimulus funds.


The economy has not yet revived. Another Eastern Kentucky county was very interested in putting the Heritage Monument in their community. The Executive Board chose to give fundraising for the preferred site another chance - which proved unsuccessful - and the window of opportunity closed for the other site. The Executive Board, due to the long-range forecast for economic recovery, decided that it was unreasonable to keep the donations for the land purchase. Individuals were offered a return of their contributions. Approximately $230,000 in pledges by government agencies and individuals was not collected because the total price for the land purchase could not be reached. The road  improvement of the Mt. Parkway at the preferred location has actually made the site more favorable for the project. The Eastern Kentucky Heritage Monument Project has not been abandoned. The Board continues to work on the project and will renew fundraising efforts when the economy rebounds. The Heritage Monument will be a Magnet Attraction and economic engine for the entire region.