Shared with TripAdvisor – Re: The Lovely Conrad-Caldwell Mansion in Louisville

During the first week of October, at the annual St. James Art Show in Louisville, I had the pleasure of volunteering as a tour guide for the Conrad-Caldwell house on St. James Court. On Day One, I was stationed in the Billiards Room on the third floor where I enjoyed the questions of tourists and meeting new people. During one memorable moment, I watched the vivacious and intrepid Executive Director of the mansion, Ally Wroblewski, hang out of the third floor window to tie ropes from a gigantic plastic poster around gable posts while assuring me that she felt quite safe. As a writer, I love obscure stories and was intrigued by a postcard on a wall display in the Billiards Room that showed in photographs the history of the Ohio River trade. The postcard’s long-ago message reads: “Hope you are well and in good health make me some candy and send me am nearly starving.” The most pertinent facts on my info sheet describe how the Conrad-Caldwell house was finished in 1885 at a cost of $75,000.00, an enormous amount at the time. Mr. Conrad was in the leather business and it was a retirement home for him and Mrs. Conrad. It was W. E. Caldwell who had moved to Louisville in 1885, and prospered in a water tank business, who purchased the home in 1905. Mrs. Caldwell took two years to make improvements and added the touches that make the inside of the house a glorious wonder. Mr. Caldwell’s water tanks were not only for the city and big businesses, but were also used in making vats for silos, distilleries, etc. One example is a sign made by his company which is an advertisement—an Old Forrester Bottle replica that hung on the Brown-Forman property for decades. On the second day of my volunteer work, I was stationed on the second floor, guiding people through the bedrooms of Grace Caldwell, Mr. Caldwell, the family sitting room, and the guest room—for eleven months of the year. During one month each year it served as the sewing room where a lady stayed while traveling from home to home—spending one month at each to do their sewing. What a life she must have had! There was also the housekeeper’s room. We were told that many years later, after the first Mrs. Caldwell had died, the master married the housekeeper. Quite a difference in the bedroom she inherited from the one where she had stayed as housekeeper. My third volunteer experience was yesterday, in the Library on the first floor, trimming a tree for Christmas. The decorations were in baskets, and we hung homemade ornaments, feathers, pine cones, strings of artificial berries, and big shiny bows on the lighted branches. It made one beautiful tree of several in this splendid house. I enjoyed a discussion with Barb Caldwell Huber, docent and great-granddaughter of Grace and W. E. Caldwell. She told of her daddy’s stories, of the ghosts seen in the mansion, and spoke of many interesting facets of the history of her ancestors’ house, including the dumb waiter, the inter-com, the wheat patterns in the woodwork that depict wealth and abundance. Barb is a kind and interesting woman, and she invited me back. “On December 6th & 7th, 2014, the Conrad-Caldwell House Museum will host its 8th Annual Victorian Tea in conjunction with the Old Louisville Holiday Homes Tour. Set within the Conrad-Caldwell House, decked out in Holiday decor, this traditional Victorian Tea will feature sweet and savory treats as well as a selection of teas. All proceeds from this tea will benefit the Conrad-Caldwell House Museum. For more information contact the Museum office at 502-636-5023.  Space is limited …Tickets are $30 per person…After Tea get your fill of festive cheer at the 58th Old Louisville Holiday Homes Tour! Good cheer and tidings of the season abound as visitors to this one-of-a-kind national historic preservation district tour nine neighborhood dwellings that have been lovingly decked in old-world finery and festive holiday décor.”

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My Literary Heroes

Literary Heroes

by David Dominé

by Mary Popham (Contributor) While not all readers are writers, all writers read. It’s part of every interview to ask, “Whose work has influenced you? Which books do you read as guides for your own writing? What authors do you admire?” During Spalding University’s Master of Fine Arts in Writing program, I had assignments—opportunities—to study […]

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Reading at The Bard’s Town with New Southerner magazine

Sat Jan 17, 2015 – Louisville  –  5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. New Southerner magazine will have a celebratory reading, free and open to the public, from their contest for Literary Prizes at The Bard’s Town, 1801 Bardstown Rd, Louisville, KY 40205, Phone:(502) 749-5275. The work of finalists and semifinalists will be published in The New Southerner Literary Edition. Mary Popham will read along with others.

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Short Story–“Mickey Make-Out”

Oct 28, 2014 “Mickey Make-Out”- New Southerner Literary Contest – Honorable Mention- runner-up

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Spirituality on the Page – October 7 & 14 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

“Spirituality on the Page”

A workshop for writers of all skill levels
Led by Mary Popham of the Cherokee Roundtable

Cost: $45 ($55 at the door)

Ckick Here to Register

When pondering faith, each of us arrives at a custom-made spirituality. Sometimes, in order to figure out just what it is we believe, it helps to put it in writing.
During two week-night sessions with Interfaith Paths to Peace, we will discuss the creative writing of ideas, with time set aside to organize and write down our thoughts into a poem, an essay, or a piece of fiction.
Even if you’ve never written on this topic, these sessions will open up exciting avenues of thought.
Two evenings with Mary Popham: October 7 & 14, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., at Thomas Jefferson Unitarian Church, 4936 Brownsboro Rd, Louisville, KY 40222.

About Mary Popham
Mary Popham holds an MFA from Spalding University. Her fiction, nonfiction, poetry, essays and book reviews have appeared in the Courier-JournalNew SouthernerAppalachian Heritageand The Louisville Review. She has done many readings, and has facilitated several writing workshopsRecently, her essay “The Kindnesses We Give Each Other” appeared in This I Believe: Kentucky and her novel Back Home in Landing Run was published by MotesBooks. She is currently writing a sequel and a collection of short fiction.
Terry Taylor
Executive Director, Interfaith Paths to Peace
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Local Speed Reading – Mary Popham and fellow readers tonight, Friday September 19, 2014

Dear Spalding at the Speed Participant:
We very much appreciate your reading during our new series combining Spalding MFA folks and community writers. The September event Friday, Sept 19 will be the final one for our late spring-summer-early fall series. We’d like to make it a GALA event, with as many readers from earlier sessions (as possible) returning to hear the closing session AND . . . I thought it would be fun if each of you returnees selected your favorite one (or even 2-3 but not 4) sentence(s) from what you read before to read again, as a kind of reprise. Choose the sentence for its stylistic vividness or felicitous turn of phrase, independent of context. I’m thinking that after the program, perhaps with a glass of wine in hand, while we’re standing around, people could step forward, introduce themselves and the title of the piece, and read. If you can, please bring a guest(s) who might himself/herself want to volunteer next year. 
    I’m going to join you in reading one of my own favorite sentences from my paperback edition of The Fountain of St. James Court; or, Portrait of the Artist as an Old Women, which was published this spring.
     We do plan to continue this very successful gathering next year. I must say, personally, that I’ve never enjoyed a reading series more; the work has been superb, and the variety of readers has been inspiring. Thank you!
Hope to see you Sept 19. at 6:00 at the Speed on Market Street.
Cordially yours,
Sena Jeter Naslund
Program Director, Low-residency MFA in Writing, Spalding University & Editor, The Louisville Review and Fleur-de-Lis Press.

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Sixth and Main Coffeehouse, Shelbyville, KY

Saturday, September 13, from 2-4
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