Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

March 31, 2010

Old photo full of forgotten details

Rush man’s find of print begs more questions than it answers

ASHLAND — The longer you look at the old picture, the more you notice the tiny details including industrial activity, homes, river barges, storage tanks, railroad tracks, waterways and what certainly appears to be the Ohio River and U.S. 23.

For those who view it, the questions quickly become “Where was this?” and “When was it taken?”

Clell Lucas said the old picture, which appears to be made from a series of five images captured by an aerial photographer, was purchased for $1 by a friend and fellow history enthusiast from the Rush community.

“I went to see Paul and Jo Hutchinson and he said he had something he wanted to show me and asked, ‘Do you know where this is?’ I can’t figure out exactly where it’s at but that just about has to be the Ohio River, or maybe the Big Sandy, with those barges on it,” Lucas recalled. “I just want to find out where it’s at. I believe it was before my time and I’m 68 going on 69.”

Lucas said Hutchinson found the framed print at a rummage sale conducted by a local lodge, adding, “They didn’t know where it was either.” The print was framed at The Frame-Up Gallery in Ashland but bears no other marks regarding origin or age.

With a laugh, Lucas added he and Hutchinson agreed to split the proceeds if it turns out the old photo is worth more than the dollar paid for it.

Some who have examined the photo believe it is an early rendition of one of the area’s most recognized industries and surrounding areas, pointing to details including a flood-prone waterway near the lower right hand corner of the image.

A veteran photographer, who gave the image an up-close examination, points out the “flowing water” seen in the river is almost certainly a “retouch,” “touch up” or airbrush effect, and theorized the image was created using a manually operated film-magazine fed large-format camera mounted in the belly of a small aircraft.

Those who recognize the location or are able to identify any of the details it contains, imay call Lucas at (606) 923-8381 or (606) 474-0515.

TIM PRESTON can be reached at tpreston@dailyindependent.com or at (606) 326-2651.

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