Jesse Stuart Literary History Trail
Located in both Greenup and Ashland, Kentucky, these seven landmarks and sites are dedicated to famous Appalachian writer and educator, Jesse Stuart (1906-1984).
Completed in 1984, the Jesse Stuart Memorial Bridge was built bearing the name of one of the most influential authors that has ever came out Eastern Kentucky. Jesse Stuart (1906-1984) was a man of man titles, such as author, poet, educator, lecturer, world traveler, and former lieutenant. In his career, Stuart published sixty books, three-thousand poems, and four hundred seventy short stories. Stuart's writings and teachings have been read and adored by readers around the world. However, no matter where Stuart want, he always found solace in his hometown of W-Hollow, Greenup, KY.
Dedicated on October 15, 1955, The Jesse Stuart monument honors one of the most prolific and anthologized authors from Kentucky. Novelist and educator Jesse Stuart (1907-1984) mostly wrote about his upbringing in W-Hollow and the people he knew throughout his life in Eastern Kentucky. Stuart's works discussed rural living in Appalachia, man vs. nature, religion, poverty and class, the inherent good in humanity, the desire and essence of returning home, and the different perspectives of education between rural and urban settings. Often compared to Hemingway, Whitman, and Fitzgerald, Stuart was known as the "voice of his people [W-Hollow residents and Eastern Kentuckians]" because he would use his birthplace of W-Hollow and Appalachian symbols and imagery to comment about the social, economical, political, educational, and religious status of Eastern Kentucky. When Stuart passed away, he left 60 books, 470 short stories, and 3,000+ poems that the entire world still reads and cherishes today.
Dedicated December 7, 1979, the Jesse Stuart State Nature Preserve hosts 714 acres of property belonging to one of Kentucky’s celebrated authors. The preserve is home to the hills and hollows often mentioned and depicted in many of Jesse Stuart’s novels, short stories, and poems. The preserve's land is where Stuart was born and continued to live throughout his life. Visitors of the reserve have access to parts of the land that Stuart had accumulated throughout his lifetime to hike, birdwatch, and explore the places associated with both Stuart and his work.
Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982, the Jesse Stuart House was where one of the most well-known faces in Appalachian literature. Jesse Stuart (1906-1984), famous for his works that comment about the social and political facets of his hometown of W-Hollow and Eastern Kentucky, bought and renovated the house, which was where he lived and wrote most of his work for forty years. The house originally was one of the barns where Jesse had lived as a boy and by the inspiration from his wife, Naomi Deane (1908-1993), he decided to buy the barn and refurnish everything for the couple to live as newlyweds. After its completion, the house became a living symbol for Stuart and housed all of his books and awards throughout his extensive literary career.
Erected in1987 by the Kentucky Historical Society-Kentucky Department of Highways, the Jesse Stuart Historical Marker gives a brief historical account of the life of Greenup's most legendary citizens. Jesse Stuart (1906-1984) was best known for his writings about his life growing up in W-Hollow. Stuart was also known for his contributions to education in just Eastern Kentucky but all over the world as well. Throughout his career, Stuart received many accolades for his literary works.
Dedicated in July 1971, the Jesse Stuart Lodge at the Greenbo Lake State Resort Park was named for one of Greenup, Kentucky's most notable figures in the 20th century. Stuart, an internationally acclaimed author, poet, traveler, and educator, enriched his audience across with his poems, short stories, and novels inspired by his life growing up in W-Hollow, Greenup County. Stuart also helped reshape the education system from one-room schoolhouse settings into county-centered school settings. With his achievements, Stuart has received many honors and accolades for his contributions to education and literature, such as the American Freedom Award in 1951 and being named the 1954 poet laureate for Kentucky.
Founded in 1979, the Jesse Stuart Foundation, a non-profit educational publishing organization is dedicated to one of the famous Appalachian writers and educators. James “Jim” Gifford, a Stuart historian, took the role of Executive Director of the Foundation in 1985, and he has made it a personal mission to keep the legacy of Stuart and other Appalachian authors alive for generations of readers to come. In 1999, the Jesse Stuart Foundation found a permanent home for when they bought and renovated a postal office and named it the Jesse Stuart Foundation Bookstore and Gift Shop. The organization’s new home is known for reprinting and publishing Stuart and other Appalachian author’s works, showcasing Stuart’s original copies and memorabilia, selling regional crafts, hosting events, trips, tours, book signings centered for students, local writers, and enthusiasts of Stuart and Appalachian literature. Currently, the Jesse Stuart Foundation Bookstore and Giftshop is the 2nd largest publishing house in Kentucky and the leading publisher of Appalachian books in the U.S