More About Berry

 Stanley Blake,   a native of West Chester, Ohio was an important man in the history of Berry.   Mr. Blake served in the Spanish-American war with the Seventh Calvary carrying messages on horseback from Gen. Shafter to Brooks & Lee to Gen. Wheeler and Col. Theodore Roosevelt.  After he was wounded, Mr. Blake spent eleven months aboard a hospital ship, the USS Missouri.  He was not expected to live, but he made a full recovery.  Stanley Blake established a very successful dog breeding business, The Bluegrass Kennels,  located in Berry.  His Coon dogs from his 1500 acre kennels were shipped by the hundreds  all over the United States and the world.   Mr. Blake maintained a lasting friendship with Theodore Roosevelt and they spent time hunting on his farm.   Stanley Blake was a Judge, soldier, philosopher,  author, land owner, and world traveler.  He passed away at the age of 94.  His most famous quote was “Live life to the fullest.”   The community of Berry honored him by naming a street, Blake Lane, and a pond for him.  His business building located on Main St. is still referred to as the “Blake” building.

Curtis Sanders was well known in Berry.  Born in Anderson County, KY, he graduated from the University of Kentucky with a BS in Agriculture.  He played football for UK and was possibly considered one of the greatest football players in the history of UK football.   During the years of 1025-1931, he taught and coached at
Telgham  High in Paducah. He taught two more years at Picadome High in Lexington.  He taught Vocational Agriculture for 14 years at Berry High School.  Curtis Sanders is famous to Berry for leading the “Berry Eagles” in 1942 to the 10th Regional tournament which earned them a trip to the Sweet Sixteen Tournament.  This was the first and last time basketball team from Berry would win the Regional Tournament.  Mr. Sanders met an untimely death on March 8, 1989, when his home in Berry was destroyed by fire.  The life of a man who was a treasure to Berry was gone all too quickly.

In 1855 the L& N Railroad laid a single track through the area called Berry.  The citizens didn’t realize how the world would be opened to them and their businesses. 
In later years, a passenger train was introduced.

October 22, 1927, Berry received Electric service through the KY Electric Development Co. of Louisville.  This was such an important event in Berry history that an estimated crowd of 2,000  or more attended the event.  Special events took place all over town from a free picture show in the Berry theater to sales in  the stores.  The school children were offered a prize of $5. for the best slogan for the celebration.  Miss Christine Besson submitted “Berry Pride Day” and had the honor of operating the switch that turned on the new lights.

On August 1, 1932 a tragic fire, from which Berry never recovered, swept through town destroying nine or more buildings.   The cause was crossed electrical wires  in the basement of B. B. Whitakers General Store.  Damage ranged from $80,000. to
$150,000.  Berry was assisted in the fire by Cynthiana and Falmouth Fire Departments since Berry  had a limited amount of fire equipment.    As a result of the fire, a new fire truck was purchased to serve Berry.

Berry School had grades 1 through 12 in two 2 story buildings which were erected in 1917-1930.  The buildings contained nine class rooms, a library, a study hall, lunchroom, auditorium-gymnasium and office.    In 1951 upon completion of the Harrison Co. High School in Cynthiana, grades 9-12 were transferred from Berry to Cynthiana.  In 1965 enrollment was under 240 students at Berry and consolidation
with  Northside  Elementary was ordered.  

The worst fire in Berry in 45 years occurred in 1977, when fire broke out in what was once Zeno Fisher’s Department Store.  It was out of control and it took five
fire departments to contain the blaze which destroyed the store, Bob McNees’ Barber Shop, and the old Post Office.   Berry lost a world of history in that blaze.

The first Berry Festival was celebrated on June 12, 1982, when the citizens of all the surrounding communities gathered to raise money for a recreation park.  The tradition continued until 2010.

Since the year 1907, the blue steel Berry bridge stood proud and strong at the end of Main St. where it spanned the width of the South Fork of the Licking River.  The bridge was closed on July 5, 1985 and replaced with a new concrete structure on July 5, 1987.  The “Old Lady” blue bridge was plunged into the Licking River.

The Union Bank of Berry was built on the corner of Main and Second Street in 1921.  The upstairs offices were used by Dr. Todd and was the first office opened by Dr. Donald R. Stephens until he moved his practice to Cynthiana, Kentucky.  There were several others who used the offices until the Union Bank was sold to Farmers National Bank of Cynthiana, Kentucky in 1979.  James A Brown completely remodeled the interior of the building on the first floor housing the bank business.  Mr. Robert Brannock was the manager and loan officer along with Rita Jones Cashier, and Sue Simpson as Teller.  On December 31, 2012 the Farmers National Bank was closed.  The building was donated to the City of Berry where the City office is now located.

Mayor Kenneth H. Abner, was appointed to the office upon the death of Donald E Adams, Sr., in 2009.  He has been quite instrumental in securing grants to have our Wastewater Treatment facilities upgraded and has obtained a Storm Sewer Restoration Project for the City.  Upon completion of these projects, we will have a much better operation for the Wastewater Manager, Johnny Murphy, who assumed the duties upon the retirement of Roy Cope after his 20 year tenure as manager.

We have wonderful memories of the days when the students played basketball and baseball our school on the hill overlooking Berry.  We will always cherish the days when we could walk downtown and buy almost anything we needed at our local merchants.  We could spend lots of time looking back at past glories and lamenting the loss, but we choose rather to focus our energies on looking to the future.  We are optimistic that others will look ahead to the future of our City and be willing to invest their time and energy here for a better tomorrow.