Saturday afternoon in Bagdad, Shelby County, Kentucky, USA. April 12, 2003. 4:31 p.m. EDT.
Bagdad, a small but thriving rural community in eastern Shelby County, has made international news twice that I know of. Both of those times the United States was at war with Iraq, whose capital city, of course, is Baghdad. Bagdad, Kentucky, is one of three or four towns in the U.S. with that name (although none spells the name with an "h"). News organizations around the world, looking for any war angle they can find, ran stories about the American Bagdads when war broke out.
To my mind, the noteworthy thing about Bagdad, Kentucky, has nothing to do with war; it has to do with the fact that Bagdad is, indeed, a small but thriving rural community in a day when rural American communities increasingly are becoming moribund.
Only about 300 people live in Bagdad, yet it has two full-service grocery stores (each with gas pumps), churches, a bank, two small industries, two or three other business offices, a volunteer fire department, and a rail line. Almost every home in town is neatly kept. Lawns are mowed short and flowerbeds are precisely placed. Conforming to regional custom, most houses are painted white.
In the center of this photo, above, is Bagdad Roller Mills, a feed mill in operation since 1880 and Bagdad's main industry (the other is a small metal-fabrication business). At right is the Bagdad Ruritan building where, on this particular Saturday, the local civic club was hosting a pig-roast.
In almost every way, this little American village is different from the huge, suffering, international city of nearly the same name, halfway around the world.
The center of Bagdad is at the intersection of KY 12 and KY 395 in eastern Shelby County, which is in the north-central part of the state.
Bagdad is the birthplace of Martha Layne Collins, Kentucky's first (and at this writing, only) female governor.
38° 15.48'N, 85° 03.66'W. The view is northeast.
|Posted April 22, 2003.|