William Helm Brashear Collection
Western Kentucky University Library special CollectionsBowling Green, Kentucky, 42101-3576 USA
Collection is open for research.
[Identification of item] William Helm Brashear Collection, 1855-1942, 1880-1940, MSS 14, Library Special Collections, Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green.
2 boxes, 217 items, 12 folders, 35 notebooks, 3 scrapbooks,
William Helm Brashear was born in 1855 and died in 1942. He was one of nine children of Walter Curran Brashear and Martha Hope Crutchfield. In 1859 the family moved to a Warren County, Kentucky farm located in the Big Bend area of the Barren River (later known as Beech Bend). William Helm was granted a law license in 1880; however, he never practiced his profession. Following a western tour, he returned to Beech Bend and settled down to farming and market gardening. Sometime later he opened the Beech Woods or bottom as a park, which at first was used mainly for church picnics. Later, he built a platform for dancing that proved to be quite an attraction and a source of entertainment for many participants. Next, he constructed a pavilion with a dance floor on the second story and a dining room and kitchen on the ground floor. Here his two sisters, Misses Dora and Jennie, served delicious dinners to clubs and private parties. The dance floor became quite popular for the Fair Hops, which were great social affairs of the era.
Brashear, even though busy with managing the garden market and park, found time to pursue his love of writing, especially that of poetry. His book of poetry, Varied Voices from the Muse of Beech Bend, was published in 1905. He also had poems published in the local papers and in the Farmer's Home Journal, which was published in Louisville.
After the death of Brashear in 1942, at the age of 87, the remaining Brashear heirs sold Beech Bend to Charles Garvin. The Garvin family developed this area into Beech Bend Amusement Park.
This collection is composed chiefly of manuscript poems, compositions,prose, and a play. The correspondence is limited to 3 incoming and 3 outgoingletters, 1921-1940. Some clippings of poems were pasted in old magazines (3)by the author; whereas, others have been pasted on rag paper and alphabetized.
These magazines could be classified as scrapbooks. Lastly, there are 35manuscript notebooks.
See also Varied Voices from the Muse of Beech Bendby William Helm Brashear, 1905.
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