Gratz. Kentucky

Gratz. Kentucky

Gratz Graded School, 1909 Looking West on Main
 Street in Gratz


Gratz. Kentucky Gratz. Kentucky Gratz. Kentucky
Minish's Drug Store, on Brown Street
Thanks to Lynette Owen for posting these.


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Gratz Lead Mine
It burned down on Sept. 16, 1914. A 1902 news story on lead in Moxley, here.
At the Gratz Lead Mine, 1923
“About 1.5 miles northwest of Gratz and about 2 miles due north of Noe Crossroads.”

Black Damp
The Madisonian (Richmond VA), September 22, 1914

Gratz man awarded Carnegie Medal for life saving efforts in a 1918 mine collapse in Gratz.

Gratz. Kentucky Scenes from Gratz, Owen County, Kentucky Scenes from Gratz, Owen County, Kentucky
Map of the Lead Mines   Gratz Lead Mine from the river, 1920


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Lead was mined in and around Gratz since the Revolutionary War. All of these mines were at one time in the greater exurban Gratz area. See the map above for their exact locations. All these are c. 1941.  

Willard Rouse Jillson wrote extensively about lead mining in Kentucky in 1941. His Gratz remarks are here (pdf)

If you want to know more about the geology of the lead around Gratz, head
for UK, and find a copy of  William Kendall Smith's The Concentration of a Central
Kentucky Lead Pre by Means of Flotation
, a 1929 thesis.


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The Revonah, (read it backwards), on the Kentucky River near Gratz, 1923. Bryant's Showboat, docked at Gratz in 1923.  That's the Valley Belle towing her.


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Gratz, 1964 Gratz in the 1937 Flood Gratz, 1941


An item in the November 19, 1886 Owenton Democrat says that Gratz citizens shipped 300 rabbits to
 market aboard the  steamship Blue Wing.  A week later, 1,000 were shipped.


“Capt. Newt Abrahams [Captain of the steamer Falls City] and family are enjoying the big peach orchards near Gratz for a few days, during which Capt. Preston is pulling the Falls City's big bell.” Inland Waterways Journal, September 2, 1892


Maysville's Evening Bulletin, October 18, 1895


“On the 4th, the citizens of Gratz, Owen county, hoisted the Federal flag; among the several persons present were several citizens of the town and vicinity who had taken the oath of allegiance; they assisted in raising the flag with a willingness which seemed to indicate a return to loyalty.  After the flag had gone up, the declaration of independence, and Washington’s Farewell Address were read by Mrs. Nick Vinyard, to a small but respectable audience.  This is the first United states flag since the war began.  Long may it wave, raised by the citizens of 'Sweet Owen.'”   From the Frankfort Tri Weekly Commonwealth, July 14, 1862

A longer version of the 1862 Gratz Fourth of July celebration.


“The suit against A. C. Rice by the Gratz Deposit Bank of which he was the cashier, has been settled.  Rice was short in his accounts $9,000, money spent on diamonds, flowers, and fancy driving horses.  The American Bonding Company of New York was his surety.  His morals were not bad but he had a fool habit of buying diamonds and flowers for his lady friends, while he kept a stable of fine horses equal to a nabob. It is said a rich uncle from Bergie, Mercer County, where Rice formerly resided put up $6,000 of the shortage, the surety company paid $1,000, and the bank took care of the balance.  Rice is said to be traveling for a hardware house in Eastern Kentucky.”  from the Warsaw Independent, January 6, 1906


Gratz. Kentucky Gratz. Kentucky
Gratz Dentist  Benjamin Gratz Brown
...after whom Gratz is probably named.  A grandson of Kentucky's  first senator, John Brown, he was later a Governor of Missouri.

On February 11, 2011, the State Highways folks blew up the Kentucky River bridge at Gratz.
The first person across the old bridge was Dr. Charlie Alexander. On horseback.
The bridge had been there since 1931.


Story of the dedication of Gratz Methodist, in 1886, is here. Curiously, the following week finds the story of the dedication of the new Gratz Baptist Church, here. History of Gratz Baptist is here. (pdf)

“The wife of Rev. J. Basil Thomas, at Gratz, Ky., cowhided Banda West, a Methodist minister, for reporting that she had had improper relations with her physician.”from the Semi-Weekly Journal, of Stanford, Ky., July 17, 1888


Gratz. Kentucky Gratz. Kentucky
Gratz Deposit Bank W. R. Minish, Jr. & Co.


Originally named Clay Lick, the named was changed to Gratz on February 18, 1851. “The money taken from the bank at Carrollton and buried on the hills near here [Gratz], yet remains undiscovered.”
The Owen County Democrat, April 15, 1887
“A party composed of Misses Edith Ireland and Ida Lillard, Prof. W. H. Cord and R. C. Ford attended the
dedication of the Baptist church at Gratz Sunday, and after the services were over and a bountiful dinner
had been spread and partaken of, they, with their team, boarded the steamer Hibernia, and went to Monterey,
then returned home.  The trip was greatly enjoyed, and everything passed off quietly – save that, as they
boarded the boat at Gratz, one of their horses passed overboard with a lunge into the river and almost drowned. 
Reasons many and ludicrous were given for the horses demeanor; one being that he had absorbed religious proclivity and was determined upon baptizing himself; another, that Owenton was very dry.” 
  From the Owenton Democrat, November 11, 1886.
Louisville's Courier-Journal ran a feature on Gratz in 1964. Gratz officially established in 1861.
Gratz declared tobacco inspection site in 1850.
An incident in Gratz, a town “with a reputation
for deeds of violence,” here.
“An eighteen inch vein of bituminous coal has been discovered near Gratz, in Owen county, which will be worked.” Courier-Journal, March 10,1885
“Frankfort Ky., Oct. 18 - Reports have reached here of the hanging of James Willis and Susie Bottoms, colored, with whom he was living, near Gratz, Ky.  Several parties who came up the river say the bodies are where the mob left them.  Willis and the colored woman were ordered out of the city by the police judge about a month ago and they took a shanty boat and went down the river.”   from the Maysville Evening Bulletin, October 18, 1895 “While the election for constable was being held at Gratz, Owen county, on the 1st inst. a shooting affray took place at the grocery of J. B. Roberts, in which James Russell and Mort Penny were wounded. Some twenty shots were fired in all, and there seems to have been a general row in which whiskey, Spencer rifles, and navy revolvers figured promiscuously. It is not stated whether the wounds were serious or not” Courier-Journal, May 10, 1869