1915 Vision Into The Future: The Village Of Berry

(Author Unknown)
The Cynthiana Log Cabin - 1915

This little city is located in the heart of Harrison County, one of the Commonwealth's richest counties. Here, the ever-flowing Licking River winds its course through a valley famous for its fertility of soil, silk-coated stock, beautiful fair sex, and the gallantry of men.

Situated 50 miles from Cincinnati, the Queen City of the West, it affords its populace all the pleasures and opportunities that can be found in the largest of cities. The county roads leading to and from our city are well kept, and from the amount of travel, are perfect routes for motorists.

Kentucky is noted for its hospitality; Berry is noted for the same. Its people welcome the stranger, and in cases of sickness or other misfortunes, the hand and heart of assistance is its offering. As the old saying goes, "The latch string is on the outside of the door, and as you enter, the word "Welcome" appears before your vision in big letters."

Berry, today, with its resources, stands well in the front in all its offerings. Her schools are among the best in the state. Her churches have large memberships. Her stores are equal to those in much larger cities. There are two strong banks, wide streets, and concrete walks. Taking everything into consideration, this is an ideal place in which to reside.

Now, gentle readers, you have our little city as is today. We will now present Berry as it will be in the coming future, after the lapse of a few years. We are expecting dear old "Uncle Sam" to assist us in carrying out our projecture. With his cooperation, we will proceed with a pen picture of the coming vision.

Leaving Cincinnati in a touring hydroplane, we arrive at the foot of Main Street, where a large crowd of tourists and residents await us. Both banks of the river are lined with gayly-decorated motorboats and houseboats. Bands are playing in the parks. Young men and maids, in their outing flannels, make a picture like that seen at the "Great Coney Island."

The occasion of our visit is in response to an invitation from our old friend, the revered and honored Dr. B. G. Gillispie, who has held the office of mayor for the past quarter of a century.

We were met at the landing by a committee composed of the following venerable gentlemen: George Mathews, the former merchant of old Berry, well-known throughout the county. He has just returned from his official duties in Washington to spend the summer with his old-time friends: Evan Renaker, treasurer of the state; B. B. Whitaker, president of the wholesale house of B. B. Whitaker and Sons; Alva H. Stone, president of the Berry Trust and Savings Company; and Veach C. Redd, proprietor of the Redd Wholesale Grocery Company.

We are escorted to a magnificent private car, furnished by the Berry and Lexington Electric Railway Company. The car takes us to the Kentucky Inn, one of the largest and finest hotels in the state. We are heartily welcomed there by the proprietor, Mr. James Kendall, who leads us to the grill room for a most delicious, elaborate luncheon.

After satisfying the inner man, we enter a touring car and are driven through the city, where we meet many old and familiar faces. Among them are the Honorable Milton Caldwell, president of the First National Bank of Berry. The bank is a handsome two-story stone skyscraper, occupying the site of the old Farmers Deposit Bank. In the bank we also find Harold Redd, its cashier; John Fisher, its teller; and John Smith, the bookkeeper.

Across the street, where once stood the old two-story frame occupied by Jasper Ecklar, there now stands a large brick business block, known as Huffman's Mammoth Department Store. The other half of this block contains the large garage of Billiter and Son; the son being Joe, whom we remember as a "little shaver" with a smile for everybody.

On the site of the old Cochran Drug Store now stands the large wholesale drug house of Cochran, Berry, and Cochran, who are represented in various states by many traveling salesmen.

Over the way, where once stood the Kendall Hotel, now stands a beautiful colonial house owned by Mrs. Mary Kendall. She has thrown open the entire lower floor to the clubwomen of Berry, as tea and club parlors, where many brilliant social functions are given.

Our old friend, John Landrum, and his son are now occupants of a large, modern business house, where are manufactured all kinds of high-grade leather goods.

On the grounds formerly occupied by the offices of Drs. Gillispie and Ross, Dr. A. S. Weiler, the Ecklar property, and the Thompson livery barn now stands a magnificent government building. Here, we find our old friend, Hubert Hutton, the postmaster. His faithful service to the government, from time to time, has won his re-appointment, ably assisted by Mr. Justice Martin and his chief clerk, J. T. Earle.

Among the other prominent businessmen are the Fisher brothers, Zeno and Everett, who have one of the most elegant, up-to-date shoe stores in the state. Mr. Thomas Hardy is the owner and manager of the largest cold storage plants in this section of the country, a spur of the L. and N. Railroad running directly to his plant. Messrs. Emory Congleton and Steve Tutt of the Berry and Lexington Lumber Company, with a force of architects, contractors and builders, have brought this country to the front as none others could do.

We find Capt. Ralph Thompson in charge of the wireless station, with commodious quarters on the west bank of the Licking River, formerly known as Renaker Field. Messrs. Harry and Smith Burgess, manufacturers of motorcycles, automobiles, and aeroplanes, have a large factory across the river, where they do a flourishing business.

A mile or so down the river, we find an attractive fishery, under the ownership of our old friend, Dillie Craig. The Dimes Saving Bank is under the able management of Mr. William Elmore and Harry Berry.

Many large, elegant homes, in the midst of beautiful lawns, grace this most prosperous, progressive city. We particularly notice those occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Alva Stone; Mr. and Mrs. Harry Berry; Mr. and Mrs. V. C. Redd; Professor L. E. Sharon, president of the Berry University; Dr. Todd; Dr. McVeigh of the Berry Medical College; Dr. Oscar Earl; Chester Brown, agent for the L. and N. Railroad; Dr. G. B. Ross, Secretary of the Kentucky State Board of Health; and many others too numerous to mention.

We drive through several beautiful parks. The largest and finest was donated to the city by Dr. McVeigh, one of Berry's oldest, best-known practitioners.

Upon our return to the hotel, we find awaiting us our friend, Dr. B. G. Gillispie, who said, "Come on boys, I've saved the best for the last."

We once more board the car, which speeds onward until we reach the spacious grounds surrounding the Highland Health Resort. This is one of the most modern, splendidly equipped resorts on this side of the Atlantic. The grounds and buildings occupy ten acres.

Guests from all parts of the United States come to this place for the marvelous cures by its waters. Upon inquiry, we find the promoter and head of the institution to be none other than our progressive fellow townsman, Dr. B. G. Gillispie.

After a complete tour of the building and grounds, we are brought back and ushered into the grand dining hall. Here, we find old friends awaiting us, and partake of the most scrumptuous dinner ever served to appreciative guests.

After the toasts and farewells had been given, we enter the private car of the mayor and are whirled to the pier, where we board our hydroplane.

Waving adieus, we sail with happy memories of the day just closed, our hearts and minds filled with wonder at the many and great changes, which have come to the once small, unknown village of Berry.


Philip A. Naff, 4716 Andover Square, Indianapolis, IN 46226, shares this story and photographs with our readers.