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Kentucky: a road trip through the state = Part 49 - Orlando / Florida Guide

Florida Guide > Travelling

The restoration process:-

With the Shakers gone and the buildings in private hands what was once a full thriving community was now very quiet with the Shakers all but forgotten. The buildings began to take on new functions with the Trustees’ Office opening as a restaurant. The Meeting House became the Shakertown Baptist Church, the carpenters’ shop changed into a general store and the Farm Deacon’s shop was turned into a gas station.

It was in 1961 that there began to be an up swell of interest in saving these old and historic structures. That interest brought about the formation of a group who could acquire and restore the buildings. So in that same year the ‘Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill’ was formed as a ‘not for profit’ educational corporation. A well-known local Kentucky businessman, Earl Wallace, led the group. All the members of the group came from central Kentucky, Louisville and Lexington. Earl Wallace was elected chairman of the board of trustees at the first meeting which was a position he held until his death in 1990.

James Cogar who was the first curator of Colonial Williamsburg decided to come back to his native state in 1962 to become the first president of Shaker Village. He was responsible for the overall plan to adapt the historic buildings and set the standards that would be needed for the restoration. He had learnt from his time at Williamsburg and also from Walt Disney.
His first insistence was the purchase of 2, 250 acres of original Shaker land so that this could act as a buffer against other commercial building nearby.

After the restoration had started in 1966 it soon became obvious that there would be no long term help from any government agency. As the trust wanted to provide long term support it was decided that the ‘Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill’ must become self-sufficient. Charging admission income on its own would not be enough to ensure the project’s survival. It was at this point that dining facilities, overnight lodging and craft sales were built into the plan.

The work then started to bring all the properties back to their original 19th century appearance. All the modern utilities that would not have existed were buried and the walkways were repaired. After much investigation the original paint colours for the buildings were discovered and as they were no longer available they had to be duplicated. A major part of the project was to have U. S. Highway 68 re-routed so as to bypass the village. Once this was complete work started in 1968 to have the main village road restored to its original appearance. It was in the same year that a few exhibition buildings opened along with lodging accommodations, the dining room and the first crafts sales shop.

The next section continues in part 50.

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