Touring the Bluegrass!
51st Pierce-Arrow Society Annual Meet
Pierces at the Gate in Lexington, Kentucky
submitted by David Tyminski
Thursday, Pat and I joined Bill and Wilma Morris in their 1929 Model 133 Club Sedan, a vehicle
that asks to be driven long distance, and traveled along to a Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill
along peaceful two lane roads. We learned something about the brothers and sisters as they called
themselves who focused on their religion and efficiently producing products for other prairie consumers.
We observed their style of living as equals who remained separate at the table and at rest. We
observed craftspeople: spinner, weaver, carpenter, cooper and straw broom makers replicating
articles that the Shakers would sell. During celebrations the brothers and sisters might dance, sing
and “shake”. After an ample meal, we cruised the river on the Dixie Belle, a watercraft, relatively
new in construction that simulates a Mississippi paddle wheel boat.
Friday, our group traveled to Adena Springs Farm, with sprawling pastures and grazing horses. We
had a brief introduction to the breeding of thoroughbred horses and observed some with Kentucky
Derby or other premier event credentials like Giacamo. We learned about who earns what: Stallions
must earn their room and board racing and in a matter of a few years are retired to a very different
life (we observed a sleeping horse with its nose in the straw after performing during the previous
night with mares. We looked at beautiful pastures and building structures thanks to previous successes
of their stable of horses. In my mind, I transformed the stable and arena from spaces for horses to
spaces for more horsepower (the four wheel type).
We drove to the Cane Ridge Shrine where an original log building has been preserved; it was so
unusual to find an early log church protected by another building built up around the original.
The church is still actively used with its religious roots extending to an earlier time.
We traveled to Ashland, the former residence of the Kentucky statesman Henry Clay. Ashland was
Clay’s haven for relaxation and thinking, away from affairs of the state and nation. For many
generations, the Ashland estate was enjoyed by the descendents of Henry Clay. Now the estate
remains as a testament to an earlier time and provides an education to the public. The Italianate
style house, we walked through, was built by Henry Clay’s son, James Brown Clay, between 1854 and
1856, after Clay’s original house was torn down. There were numerous unique design features of the
house, like the domed study or library, gardens, icehouses and vegetable or fruit cellars and
lots of memorabilia to look at. A Gasoline generator produced the gaseous vapor that supplied
the house’s needs for heat and illumination.
The day of our concours at the Kentucky Horse Park, we experienced hot and humid weather.
We were blessed that the dire prediction of copious rain did not develop. The Park is focused
on the horse and all forms of competitions with horses and their riders. Fifty-seven vehicles
from 1911 to 1936 took part in this 51st PAS meet. The variety included the simple to the opulent,
both factory and custom built bodies and in “original” condition to restorations that produced
gleaming vehicles that are better than showroom brand new.
The cars were displayed in a semi circle around a fenced dressage field where horsemen and
women practiced their skills, before their show time and competition. The location and the shade
from mature trees provided a most pleasant environment for judging our vehicles and observing the
beautiful lines of sculpted metal preserved in lacquer and enamel finishes. The afternoon included
a technical presentation by Fay Butler. Then our awards banquet was next on the agenda. Many
people displayed formal vintage attire and the meal provided was delicious. President McKittrick
offered some words of wisdom and a positive spin of the state of the Pierce Arrow Society, before
our head judge, and a wizard with sheet metal, Fay Butler announced the awards for bicycles and
the five car classes. All too soon we were saying thanks and good buys until next year in California.
Our sincere thanks to the meet committee for selecting the Marriott Griffin Gate as the hub of
the meet with its generous accommodations and organizing daily tours to many interesting places
and attractions. Well Done….