Kentucky's capital city sits on the banks of the Kentucky River in the central part of the state. The river's use for industrial purposes such as transportation and power have long since vanished, but remnants of it remain. The most notable of these are the dam and locks system just west of downtown. What has become on of my favorite local restaurants, Jim's Seafood sits high above the river overlooking the old dam. In fact, their slogan is "The best seafood by a dam site!" Inside Jim's, there's a room devoted to the preservation of the area's industrial legacy with photos, essays, and articles. The land upon which Jim's and several other nearby establishments rests used to be a hemp factory which used the flowing waters of the Kentucky River to turn a millwheel.
I discovered all of this one afternoon while driving about Frankfort alone. Jim's has an outdoor patio-deck, and just around it, is a small footpath leading down to the river and the edge of the dam. I took the foot path that day and descended from the hot asphalt of Jim's parking lot into the cool shade of riverbank oak, maple, and sycamore. I later stood on a concrete precipice beside the dam, the water roaring over it. I didn't have my camera with me, however.
As I stood there, I look across, up, and down the river. In the distance, downstream I saw something on the opposite bank. I wasn't for sure what it was, but it was huge and I had a good idea. I went back to the car and followed the highway over the river. After about 30 minutes of trying various road, I finally found myself in the vicinity of it. I parked the car in a small parking area and headed into the underbrush which led down to the river.
It was what I thought it was. But I still didn't have my camera with me! I went home, but, I knew my girlfriend would kill.me. if I didn't take her, so I waited until she got off from work and told her I had a surprise for her. A boat....
In fact, it was an old freight barge. Years of fluctuating water levels have deposited rich, fertile silt in the cargo hold allowing grass and trees to take-root and grow there.