Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Thornton Moore Helm, October 12, 1990

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:00 - Family background

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Partial Transcript: Today is Friday October the twelfth, nineteen-and-ninety.

Segment Synopsis: Thornton Helm is introduced. He talks about growing up in Lexington, Kentucky, his family background, and his education.

Keywords: Basketball championships; Brothers; C. Foster Helm; Farmers; Farms; Fathers; Lexington (Ky.); Lexington Herald Leader; Market Street; Mothers; North Broadway Street; Northwestern University; Original Second Presbyterian Church; Schools; Sisters; University of Kentucky; Winchester Pike

Subjects: Childhood and youth; Churches--Kentucky; Education, Higher; Families.; Family histories.; Family life; Family--history; Fires; Presbyterian church buildings; Second Presbyterian Church (Lexington, Ky.)

GPS: Market Street (Lexington, Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.049522, -84.495851
00:05:03 - Market Street church / new church

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Partial Transcript: Well going back to the early church I believe you said that you were on the cradle roll at, uh, the old Market Street church?

Segment Synopsis: Helm talks about the original location of Second Presbyterian Church, on Market Street in Lexington. He talks about witnessing the fire that destroyed the original building. He talks about holding church services in the Ben Ali Theatre before funds were raised to build a new church. He talks about the location of the new church.

Keywords: Bells; Ben Ali Theatre; Benjamin Bush; Congregation; Construction; Cradle Roll; Damage; Donations; East Main Street; Firemen; Livery stables; Location; Market Street Church; Ministers; Original Second Presbyterian Church; Pastor Dr. Benjamin Jay Bush; Pledges; Ransom Avenue; Streetcars

Subjects: Childhood and youth; Church buildings--Kentucky.; Clergy--Kentucky; Construction; Fires; Presbyterian church buildings; Religious facilities.; Second Presbyterian Church (Lexington, Ky.)

GPS: Market Street (Lexington, Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.049522, -84.495851
00:11:21 - Church in the Ben Ali Theatre / more on the new church

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Partial Transcript: Before you tell m--uh, before you tell me about the building I want to ask you a little bit more about when you met at, uh, the Ben Ali Theatre.

Segment Synopsis: Helm talks more about the church services held in the Ben Ali Theatre after the fire destroyed the original church. He talks about the construction of the new church, including building materials, plans, and the architects that designed the building. He talks about additions to the sanctuary over the years.

Keywords: Additions; Architecture; Ben Ali Theatre; Choirs; Dedications; Donations; Dr. Bush; Gothic architecture; Limestone; North Limestone Street; Organ; Pastor Dr. Benjamin Jay Bush; Piano; Plans; Pledges; Quartets; Radiators; Reverend Dr. Jesse Herrmann; Roosters; Sanctuary; Singing; Stained glass windows; Steam heaters; Steeples; Stonemasons; Sunday school

Subjects: Childhood and youth; Church buildings--Kentucky.; Church maintenance and repair; Church music; Clergy--Kentucky; Construction; Presbyterian church buildings; Religious facilities.; Second Presbyterian Church (Lexington, Ky.)

GPS: Second Presbyterian Church (Lexington, Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.039723, -84.490626
00:20:52 - Stained glass windows / organ

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Partial Transcript: Well so after Dr. Herman came, and I believe that was in 1925 maybe, or... I know Dr. Bush was here when it was dedicated in '24.

Segment Synopsis: Helm talks about when the stained glass windows were put in the sanctuary. He talks about when the organ was installed, as well as other additions to the church, including air conditioning.

Keywords: Air conditioning; Caverns; Cost; Donations; Dr. Bush; Organ; Pastor Dr. Benjamin Jay Bush Reverend Dr. Jesse Herrmann; Plans; Recommendations; Sanctuary; Stained glass windows

Subjects: Church committees.; Church maintenance and repair; Church music; Churches--Kentucky; Construction; Musical instruments.; Organ (Musical instrument); Presbyterian church buildings; Religious facilities.; Second Presbyterian Church (Lexington, Ky.)

GPS: Second Presbyterian Church (Lexington, Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.039723, -84.490626
00:29:02 - Family and the church

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Partial Transcript: Believe you would've been a teenager about the time that, uh, they moved into the church.

Segment Synopsis: Helm talks about Sunday school classes and the Director of Christian Education at the church. He talks about his wife and children and events in their lives connected to the church.

Keywords: Baptism; Barbara Helm; Director of Christian Education; Grandchildren; Married; New church; Scottie Wild; Sunday school

Subjects: Children.; College students; Education, Higher; Families.; Family life

GPS: Second Presbyterian Church (Lexington, Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.039723, -84.490626
00:34:24 - Role in the church

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Partial Transcript: Well I know during the years that--and I don't know anyone else in our church today who, uh, has been in their--in this church all of their life, uh, that's attending now, do you?

Segment Synopsis: Helm talks about some other church members who have also been longtime members of Second Presbyterian Church. He talks about some of the positions he has held in the church, including Trustee and Elder.

Keywords: Alvis Derrickson; Boards; Church life; Dr. Lewis Bosworth; Elders; Gordon Bechtel; Joe Saunders; Pastor-seeking committee; Tenure; Trustees

Subjects: Church committees.; Church membership; Presbyterian Church--Membership; Second Presbyterian Church (Lexington, Ky.)

GPS: Second Presbyterian Church (Lexington, Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.039723, -84.490626
00:38:37 - Dr. Herrmann

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Partial Transcript: From--I've found it now in Sanders' book, it says from 1928 to 1953 that Dr. Herrmann was the minister here.

Segment Synopsis: Helm talks about a former minister at Second Presbyterian Church, Dr. Jesse Herrmann. He talks about his intelligence as well as his interest in the social aspects of church.

Keywords: Baseball; Intellectual; Kouples Klub; Married; Minister wives; Ministers; Personality; Princeton Theological Seminary; Princeton University; Reverend Dr. Jesse Herrmann; Social life; Wives

Subjects: Christian education.; Clergy--Kentucky; Education, Higher; Second Presbyterian Church (Lexington, Ky.)

GPS: Second Presbyterian Church (Lexington, Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.039723, -84.490626
00:42:12 - Career

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Partial Transcript: Thornton I'd like to ask you about, um--a little bit more about your life, um, after you had gone to school.

Segment Synopsis: Helm describes his career after graduating from college. He talks about the various places he worked, why he left certain jobs, and what he did after retiring. He talks briefly about being turned down to serve in the military due to previously having tuberculosis.

Keywords: Advertising; Barbara Helm; Businesses; Clothing stores; College majors; Growth; Hobbies; Jobs; Merrill Lynch; Military service; Occupations; ROTC training; Retirement; Social security; Storage garage; Tobacco buyer; Traveling; Tuberculosis; Vacations; Wives; Working

Subjects: Career changes.; United States. Army. Reserve Officers' Training Corps

00:51:15 - Community involvement

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Partial Transcript: Well, um, go--coming back to the church, do you see any big changes in what's going on in church today?

Segment Synopsis: Helm talks about how the church has changed since his childhood, stating that church members now are involved in more community outreach. He talks about some of the programs offered at Second Presbyterian, including Meals on Wheels and Helping Hands. The interviewer interjects more information about the fire that destroyed the original Second Presbyterian Church. The interview is concluded.

Keywords: Active; Activities; Alzheimer's patients; Church involvement; Church members; Community outreach; Community service; Community work; Dr. Bush; Helping Hands program; Memorial windows; Morris Robertson; Mothers; Pastor Dr. Benjamin Jay Bush; Role in church; Tom Brokaw

Subjects: Change; Church work; Community life; Fires; Meals on wheels programs--Kentucky.; Second Presbyterian Church (Lexington, Ky.); Volunteers

GPS: Second Presbyterian Church (Lexington, Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.039723, -84.490626