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I was hiking Tom Sawyer State Park, near Louisville, yesterday. Took photos of the foundation of the east wing of Lakeland Lunatic Asylum–1880 to 2000. The foundation is all that remains above ground of a hospital building once serving 3,000 patients. (more lies buried–it was too expensive to completely demolish)

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From about 1880 to 1980  Lakeland Lunatic Asylum was a mental hospital of 2 to 3 thousand patients near Louisville, Kentucky. Tom Sawyer State Park occupies much of the farms and land once comprising the hospital. A much smaller facility, Central State Hospital, is in one corner of the old hospital’s grounds.

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Note: Greg Anderson, the main character from my Musa Publishing thriller, Neanderthal Protocol, decided to rant. His troubles begin when a DNA test classifies him as a Neanderthal and a court ruling strips him of civil rights. You can see why his view of Louisville veers from mine.

 

Greg: Like Chuck said, after what happened to me, I have a different take on Louisville: Tom Sawyer State Park occupies the farm of the old Lakeland Lunatic Asylum. The huge park has ponds, creeks, a nature area, playing fields, activities buildings, pools, and facilities such as a BMX track, a dog park, and an airport for remote-controlled planes. Neanderthals live in the wooded areas. It also has a cave/morgue and an old mill from the mental institution, but Neanderthals can’t be choosey. (It also has herds of wild turkeys and deer, but Neanderthals aren’t allowed to hunt, so we won’t discuss that)

 

Back in the day, before my life changed, I liked to bring my family to a nearby restaurant, Goose Creek Diner, a little place serving comfort food and Louisville dishes.

Burgoo is a fiery stew made with three different meats. Old-timers liked game meat, such as rabbit or squirrel, and they added a dash of bourbon, but Goose Creek Diner avoids them. Hot Browns are open-face toasted sandwiches, made with turkey, bacon, tomatoes, cheese and Mornay sauce. Fried green tomatoes are southern, and Louisville is certainly southern.

 

The Louisville Riverfront features parks, restaurants, hiking trails and attractions stretching for miles along the shore of the Ohio River, including the Indiana side. The Belle of Louisville is a century-old, operating steamboat based at the Louisville wharf. Carriage rides, docks, a foot bridge spanning the river, and music amphitheaters attract visitors year round.

My favorite section of the waterfront is the Louisville Water Tower Park. Built in the 1850’s, the Water Tower hosts the WaterWorks Museum and countless music festivals.

 

Even Neanderthals like the Kentucky Derby, which is held on the first Saturday in May at Churchill Downs. In a crowd of 150,000, a few Neanderthals can sneak in with no one the wiser. The race is only 2 minutes, but they have more races, bands, Derby food (burgoo & barbecue), and mint juleps. And the Derby has happy crowds—celebrities, buskers, bettors, partying college kids, and ladies with Derby hats (extravagantly decorated hats).

 

After I became a Neanderthal, I divorced. My girlfriend, Rachel, loves Bardstown, a small town a few miles to the south. Museums, shops, colonial houses, and restaurants make it a tourist destination. My Old Kentucky Home as in the song is in My Old Kentucky Home State Park in Bardstown. Although we Neanderthals legally can’t buy alcohol, its distilleries make it the Bourbon capital of the world.

Bernheim Forest is a private recreation area that is open to the public. Mid way between Bardstown and Louisville, it has over 14,000 acres of landscaped parks, forest, visitor’s centers, observation towers, hiking trails, and lakes. It’s perfect for families and for Neanderthals who need a place to hide.

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