Untitled Document

Books and DVDs


Local History Related to Rivers

Title: Bluegrass Craftsman: Being the Reminiscences of Ebenezer Hiram Stedman Papermaker 1808-1885

Author: Ebenezer Hiram Stedman, Edited by Frances L. S. Dugan and Jacqueline P. Bull

Description: A series of letters written in 1878 by Ebenezer Hiram Stedman to his daughter about his early life as a papermaker in Kentucky. He worked all over the area as a child after moving from MA, including in Lexington and Georgetown, ended up owning a mill in Georgetown with his brother before moving over to our stretch of the Elkhorn around 1834 and buying a mill property that had been dilapidated for several years, turning it around and becoming fairly successful - expanding enough with employees, houses and buildings that the area was called Stedmantown. That is how the Steadmantown Ln that we take from US 460 over to Peak's Mill Rd got its name. Eventually the Civil War wiped him out and he ended up moving in with another daughter's family in West Texas.

He tells stories of trips he took from Frankfort to Louisville on a keelboat and paddlewheeler, then back on foot to Georgetown, and other trips on foot to Ohio, and by wagon to Winchester and Richmond, and tales of the many characters he met throughout his life.

Review: Although a little hard to read because spelling and capitalization rules apparently weren't too important back then (even worse than our forum posts), he is a good storyteller. If you like history, especially local history of areas with placenames you are very familiar with, this is a good book. Doesn't focus too much on papermaking or the techincal details of the mills which I would have liked to have seen. He does focus more on the people and their everyday activities.


Title: Kentucky River Development: The Commonwealth's Waterway

Author: Leland R. Johnson and Charles E. Parish

Description: Describes the development of the lock and dam system on the Kentucky River, mostly from a political, engineering, construction, and use aspect. Does have a section on the pioneer use of the river before the lock and dam system. It then takes you from the earliest construction in the late 1830s up until the last dam was completed in 1917 and through to the late 1990s when they were all turned over to the state.

Review: Its been awhile since I read this, but I remember it as being very detailed and "academic." I enjoyed reading about the sections of the river I was familiar with, and there are a ton of old pictures and maps. The engineer in me liked the engineering an construction details.



Title: River Rescue: A Manual for Whitewater Safety

Author: Slim Ray and Les Bechdel

Description: Whitewater paddling is exciting, adventurous_and sometimes risky. That's why every fast-water paddler needs the skills so clearly defined in River Rescue. This completely revised third edition of the AMC classic manual gives expert advice, with clear, concise instructions and hundreds of vital illustrations and photographs that cover all aspects of river safety.


  • expanded material on big-water rescue
  • self-rescue and rescue of others--by hand, boat, rope, and other ways
  • tools and techniques--rope work, throw bags, boat handling, high and
    low-tech gear to use when seconds count
  • rescue organization: leadership, teamwork, patient care, evacuation, and more

Review: See the May/June 2009 Bowlines for Spangler's review


Title: Never Turn Back: The Life of Whitewater Pioneer Walt Blackadar

Author: Ron Watters

Description: NEVER TURN BACK is the gripping and compelling life story of Dr. Walt Blackadar, a physician from a small town in Idaho. At the age of 49, he shocked the outdoor world when he made a solo kayak journey down the treacherous rapids of Turnback Canyon on the remote and wild Alsek River in Canada and Alaska.

Blackadar's accomplishment on Turnback Canyon was the river equivalent of the first ascent of Everest, and when excerpts from his Alsek journal were published in Sports Illustrated, he became an instant sensation. He was at the top of his sport at an age when most athletes are long retired.

Then suddenly, his spectacular rise veered wildly off course when a young woman tragically died on one of his kayaking expeditions. Heartbroken over her death and plagued with mounting physical problems, his kayaking technique began to deteriorate.

Yet he had a spirit that was irrepressible, and pitting himself in a race against his body's clock, he sought out and faced off against the world's most formidable whitewater.



Title: The Laugh of the Water Nymph and Other River Stories

Author: Doug Ammons




Title: Whitewater Philosophy

Author: Doug Ammons



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