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This entry in the For Namesake blog is about London, Kentucky and the World Chicken Festival [1}, which this year is being held on September 25 to 28. This is one of 14 "London's" from the book "For Namesake, a Travel Book" London, Kentucky (37.128670, -84.083341) London, Kentucky is a town of 7,993 located in Laurel County along US Route 25 and Kentucky Route 80, just east of Interstate 75 in the southern part of the state. London is the county seat of Laurel County. London has a satellite campus of Union College. The main campus is in Barbourville 20 miles to the southeast of London. London also has the Somerset Community College. Corbin, 10 miles south of London, has a satellite campus of Eastern Kentucky University. The act that created Laurel County in 1825 provided for a popular vote to select the county seat. John and Jarvis Jackson’s offer of the site of London was accepted along with their suggestion that the town be named London. It is believed that they selected the name based upon their English ancestry and the hope that the new settlement might grow to be like its namesake. London was officially found in 1826. The post office was established in 1831 with Branham Hill as the first postmaster. The town was incorporated in 1866.  London is the home of the World Chicken Festival that can draw as many as 250,000 people on the last weekend of every September. Attractions in London include the Camp Wild Cat Civil War Battlefield, Daniel Boone Motocross Park, Kinlee Stables, Laurel County History Museum & Genealogy Center, London Community Orchestra, London Dragway, London Laurel County Farmers Market, Mountain Life Museum and Rockcastle Adventures Canoe Livery. Barbourville has the Historic McNeil’s Crossing, Knox Historical Museum, and the Dr. Thomas Walker State Historic Site. Corbin offers the Cumberland Star Riverboat, Kentucky Native American Heritage Museum and the Sanders Café & Museum, in Colonel Sanders’ original restaurant. Manchester has the Clay County Community Farmers Market. Mount Vernon offers the Climax Horse Camp, Renfro Valley Entertainment Center, Rockcastle Speedway and Sigmon Farms. Somerset has the Carnegie Community Arts Center, Cedar Creek Vineyard, the Center for Rural Development Performing Arts, Children’s Botanical Garden of South Central Kentucky, Pulaski County Farmers Market, Sinking Valley Winery and SomerSplash Water Park. The Daniel Boone National Forest located both to the east and west of London, has many campgrounds. Nearby lakes include Laurel River Lake and Wood Creek Lake. State Parks in the area include Cumberland Falls State Resort Park, General Burnside Island State Park, Levi Jackson Wilderness Road State Park and Pine Mountain State Resort Park. Notable residents of London include Teel Bruner, College Football Hall of Fame inductee; Chera-Lyn Cook, beauty queen & Miss Kentucky in 1998; Roy L. Gilbert, American thoroughbred horse jockey; Flem D. Sampson, former governor of Kentucky; and Darrell Scott, country singer and songwriter. Notes: 1. http://chickenfestival.com 2. http://http://www.amzn.com/B00CBM6JFK 3. Rennick, Robert M., Kentucky Place Names (Lexington, Ky: University Press of Kentucky, 1987) p.178 Picture Credit: Laurel County Courthouse in London, Kentucky (Wikimedia Commons - User: W. Marsh CC-BY-SA)
This entry is about New London, Minnesota, a small town with a surprising number of attractions. New London is just one of 14 "London's" that you can read about in my book "For Namesake, a Travel Book - Places in America inspired by Famous World Cities".  This month New London will celebrate two events that it sponsors every year. The first is the 27th running of the New London to Brighton Antique Car Run. Details are available at: http://www.antiquecarrun.org Next on August 17 they will celebrate the New London Music Festival. There is a nice website for this with videos of all of the performers at: http://newlondonmusicfestival.com New London, Minnesota (45.30108, -94.94418) http://aMAP.to/newlondon-minnesota New London, Minnesota is a town of 1,251 located in Kandiyohi County along Minnesota Route 9. The motto of New London is “Life, Simply Better”. It lies 15 miles northeast of Willmar, the county seat of Kandiyohi County. The nearest colleges and universities are in St. Cloud, 40 miles to the northeast of New London. There you will find St. Cloud State University, a campus of Global University/Minnesota School of Business and a campus of Rasmussen College. Willmar has a campus of Ridgewater College, a 2-year community college. A Swedish emigrant named Louis Larson discovered the falls on the Crow River near the site of New London in 1860. Within the next two years he built a cabin there and started construction of a dam and sawmill. In August of 1862, the Dakota Indian War broke out, forcing Larson and other settlers in the area to flee for their safety. In 1865 Larson returned with another settler named Samuel Stone. They rebuilt the dam and sawmill and also added a gristmill. Setters in the area would come to them for lumber, flour and other items. Larson named the small community that had sprung up New London, after New London, Wisconsin. By 1868 the population had grown to about 40 people with three stores and a blacksmith shop. The tiny town became the county seat of Mononagalia County from 1866 to 1870 when it was merged with Kandiyohi County. The original courthouse still stands on Main Street in town.  The town mill remained in operation for 73 years until 1938 when the federal government acquired the mill, the dam and the water rights for a fish hatchery, which is now operated by the state of Minnesota. The railroad arrived in 1886 connecting New London to Willmar and St. Cloud. The New London Library was founded in 1887 starting with $50 in books raised by the local students.  For a small town, New London has a number of attractions including the Art House Gallery, Glacial Lakes Bicycle Trail, Kaleidoscope Art Gallery, Little Crow Water Ski Shows, Little Theater of New London, Monongalia Historical Society & Museum and the New London Fish Hatchery. New London is home to the New London Music festival and the New London to Brighton Antique Car Run, both of which are held every August. The small community of Eden Valley has the Amaze’n Farmyard with 19,000 square feet of mazes and farm animals. Litchfield offers the Forest City Stockade, the Grand Army of the Republic Hall & History Museum and the Litchfield, Civic Arena. 7 Miles east of Litchfield, in Darwin, you will find the Darwin Twine Ball, the largest ball of twine in the world made by a single person. Paynesville has the Antique Center, Paynesville Antique Mall and the Paynesville Historical Museum. In Spicer you may see the Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center and the Spicer Castle. Willmar offers The Barn Theater, J&L Bison Ranch, Kandiyohi County Historical Museum, Memorial Room in Willmar City Auditorium, Mikkelson Falls Flyers Boat Collection, Schwanke Museum and the Willmar Arts Council. Willmar is located at the southern end of the Glacial Ridge Trail Scenic Byway, which runs some 245 miles throughout this part of Minnesota.  There are many lakes in this area of Minnesota; the largest are Green Lake, Lake Koronis, Long Lake, Mud Lake and Norway Lake. Nearby state parks include Glacial Lakes State Park, Monson Lake State Park and Sibley State Park. For winter sports, Powder Ridge Ski Area is located to the east of New London near the community of Kimball. Notable residents of the county seat of Willmar include Bradley Joseph, music composer; George Nelson, former NASA astronaut; Kenneth L. Olson, Medal of Honor recipient; Albert E. Rice, politician; Marion Ross, actress best known for her role as Marion Cunningham on TV’s Happy Days; and Curt Swan, illustrator of Superman comics. Notes: 1. http://www.amazon.com/For-Namesake-Travel-Book-ebook/dp/B00CBM6JFK/ http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/for-namesake-a-travel-book-places-in-america-inspired-by-famous-world-cities-rick-etchells/1115130086?ean=2940016722009 2. http://www.newlondonmn.com/images/history_sign.jpg 3. http://www.rootsandroutes.net/body.htm?http&&&www.rootsandroutes.net/londonmn.htm 4. http://www.byways.org/explore/byways/11186/index.html Picture is the Beach at Sibley State Park near New London. Picture Credit: (Wikimedia Commons - John Mahowald CC-BY-SA)