Ohio County is home to Bill Monroe, the man known as Father of Bluegrass music.
His hometown is preparing to kick off a campaign to raise a half-million dollars to build a museum in his honor. That’s despite the fact that a much larger International Bluegrass Museum in Owensboro is only 40 miles away.
For more than a decade, a collection of Bill Monroe’s personal items has been sitting in a dusty storage facility. The location is secret for security reasons. Locked away are his old gray Cadillac, a plow, furniture, suits, and awards. Monroe’s last mandolin is stored in a separate, climate-controlled facility.
Sixteen years ago, Ohio County bought the collection from Monroe’s family. Jody Flener heads the county’s Tourism Commission and says part of the deal was that the items had to stay in Ohio County.
”The connection is to Ohio County for Bill Monroe," Flener told WKU Public Radio. "What’s exciting about living in Ohio County is that you still have people who grew up with Bill Monroe and we even have relatives still here."
In December, the county hopes to start fundraising for a 15,000-square-foot museum to house the memorabilia. It’s planed for the tiny town of Rosine, just a few miles from where the Bluegrass icon was born and buried. That’s only a half-hour drive from the International Bluegrass Museum in Owensboro – but Flener says it wouldn’t be redundant.