Commonwealth Journal

Features

September 6, 2012

Pillars of Faith

Salvaging 132-year-old Methodist Church columns was a monumental task

Somerset — Being aware of the phrase “Rome wasn’t built in a day” may be helping historian and former literature teacher Larry Witt deal with delays in getting his own columns erected.

It all began 20 years ago when the Casey County native moved from Bronston to his current two-story brick home on Hwy. 39.

The professional photographer spotted four very large concrete posts lying atop a wagon at the home of Jimmy Edwards, just north of Pulaski High.

‘They looked like they might make a great background in my back yard for wedding photography,” says Witt.

Edwards, now 82, had no interest in selling, telling Witt his plan was to erect them on the front of his two-story house that is now surrounded by PCHS athletic fields.

The supports, weighing nearly 10,000 pounds each, were part of the old Methodist Church on East Mt. Vernon Street in Somerset. They had been in place there since 1880. Edwards purchased them in 1970, when the church was torn down to make way for the current structure.

In September of last year, armed with new inspiration after traveling through Harrodsburg and seeing similar posts under the front porches of historic homes, Witt decided to approach Edwards one more time.

“I had been turned down on six visits over a 20-year period, but this time Jimmy had come to the realization that his potential for using them had ended.

“I felt sorry for him, that he had never got around to fulfilling his dream, and I plan to videotape him talking about them.”

Witt paid $2,500 for all four massive structures, and Edwards helped him load them on a trailer, using a backhoe and securing them with nylon straps for the short trip up Hwy. 39.

An engine hoist was used for the square parts, and the posts were rolled off Witt’s trailer and into his front yard.

A boom truck was used to place the posts under the porch this past January, and efforts to complete the project are on-going.

“I’ve already spent 10 times what I paid for them in getting them up and looking nice at my house,” says the personable Sunday School teacher at East Somerset Baptist.

The recently added front porch features a copper ceiling that Witt feels serves as a good background for the posts.

After being pressure washed and bleached, the new owner feels they’re still not as “pristine” as he would like, and he’s trying to avoid painting them.

“I would hate to put paint on something that’s been around for so many years,” he says of the historic piece of Pulaski’s past, noting they were delivered here by a train out of Stanford.

Having them sand blasted is under consideration.

Although not a native, Witt became aware of the beauty and history of Somerset at an early age.

He often came over from Casey with his dad, Wallace, when he operated the Mary Carter Paint Store on East Mt. Vernon Street, next door to where Candido Towing & Recovering is presently.

Now 91 and living in Louisville, Wallace still drives down to Somerset from time to time to visit family.

Larry moved to Somerset in 1982 following a teaching stint at Casey High and after deciding a career in education wasn’t for him.

He opened Top House Pizza here before starting a photography business called Picture Paradise in a building behind the courthouse formerly occupied by Jim Burdine.

The name later became Photography by Larry Witt, and the business is now operated out of his home.

He and his wife, the former Connie Cassidy, a 1983 Pulaski High graduate, have two children, Morgan, 15, and Braxton, 12. Connie assists in the photography business.

The family travels extensively, taking pictures of youth sport teams from Cincinnati to Knoxville.

There are also lots of trips for pleasure as Larry takes part in Civil War re-enactments, the latest being at Blue Licks Battlefield in northern Kentucky.

Witt gets lots of stares when decked out in his full dress uniform, but he’s used to it.

“There for awhile, people were about stopping in the middle of the road to stare at my porch.”

He says the project should be complete in another couple of months.

1
Text Only
Features
  • Cory Paints.jpg Autistic man expresses himself through art

    Take a walk down the main hallway of the Stoner Building on the campus of Somerset Community College starting in April, and you might think you’re surrounded by a gorgeous array of storyboards for Disney Pixar films: Brightly colored animals romping about in lavish jungle scenes, the kind of thing likely to bring a smile to any child’s face.

    March 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • DOWNTOWN FOTO.jpg Memories of how things used to be in 1960s Somerset

    An old photograph of shoppers in downtown Somerset revived sweet memories of how things used to be. Best we can tell by car models, the photograph was made about 1962.

    March 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Briston and mom Becca.jpg American Idol hopeful has local connection

    If you’ve been following the journey of this year’s crop of “American Idol” contestants, you’re probably familiar with the name Briston Maroney.
    But did you know that the talented young vocalist has a local connection?
    A resident of Knoxville, Tenn., Maroney was featured in the Salt Lake City, Utah, auditions, which aired on January 29.

    February 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lucas 3.jpg Northern Middle student gets to perform with country star Brad Paisley

    January 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pulaski seniors remember blistering cold temperatures in 60s

    Senior citizens around here don’t get as excited about the current cold snap as do youthful meteorologists who give forecasts on television.
    The temperature dropped to 4 below zero early Tuesday morning but this is really small potatoes compared to the 28 below on January 24, 1963, or 32 below on January 19, 1994.
    Charlene Cundiff well remembers that cold January morning in 1963.

    January 7, 2014

  • 1481856_676865655666965_1727818411_n.jpg Beach Buckets to host Platters singer Friday

    December 26, 2013 1 Photo

  • transplant.ht.jpg Local woman donates kidney to member of her church

    This Christmas has a very special meaning to one local woman who received the gift of life itself from the most unlikely of places.

    December 14, 2013 1 Photo

  • Peppermint Pole Suspension.jpg Center’s ‘Spirit of Giving’ event on Dec

    November 29, 2013 1 Photo

  • KENNEDY NEWSPAPER foto .tif JFK assassination remembered

    Pulaski countians are joining millions today as they pause to remember one of the blackest moments in this nation’s history. This is the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States.

    November 21, 2013 1 Photo

  • Northern Middle Reality Tour 1.jpg Northern Middle students get a reality check on life

    It’s hard enough for adults to learn the ins and outs of car payments, mortgages, bills, health care costs, and child care expenses.
    So imagine how difficult juggling the necessities of everyday life looks to 12- and 13-year-olds.
    “I won’t be able to do a whole lot that I wanted to do,” said student Rachel Blevins, 12, during Northern Middle School’s popular “Reality Town” program. “I learned I will have to spend my money wisely.”
    Blevins and the rest of Northern Middle School’s 7th grade population on Wednesday underwent a reality check of sorts, thanks to a program that has been offered to the students for 15 years now.
    “We’re just giving them a dose of reality,” said Kathy Sampson, youth services center coordinator with Northern Middle.
    When the students step foot into the school gym, they leave middle school and enter a very adult-looking world of banks, car payments, child care, health care costs, unexpected expenses, mortgages, groceries and utility bills, and even “Uncle Sam” himself — think taxes, taxes, and more taxes.
     

    November 21, 2013 1 Photo

News Live
AP Video
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks