Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Maurice J. Oakley, June 7, 2018

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:01 - History of Boxwood Manor

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Partial Transcript: This is Chip Oakley and Dr. Maurice J. Oakley sitting down on June sixth--no, June seventh ni--uh, 2018 to speak about Boxwood Manor.

Segment Synopsis: Dr. Maurice J. Oakley discusses the history of Boxwood Manor and the city of Bellefonte, Kentucky in which it resides. He discusses the Means & Russell Iron Company in the area, the use of gas and coal heat in the house, and the dignitaries and guests who have visited the house.

Keywords: 1878; Ashland Oil; Bellefonte (Ky.); Bellefonte Furnace; Brick chimneys; Coal heat; Cushing family; Cushings; Dignitaries; Gas heat; Gas lines; Gas-powered air conditioning; Guests; Houses; Means & Russell Iron Company; Means and Russell Iron Company; Parties; Private coal mines; Property; Renovations; Seaton family; Senator Ben Williamson

Subjects: Dwellings--Remodeling.; Dwellings.; Families.; Housing.; Manors.; Property.; Real property.

00:04:56 - City of Bellefonte, Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: Um, let's see, um.

Segment Synopsis: Oakley discusses the founding of the city of Bellefonte, Kentucky.

Keywords: Bellefonte (Ky.); Boxwood Manor; Charters; Greenup County (Ky.); Incorporated; Police; Sheriffs

Subjects: Dwellings.; Housing.; Manors.; Property.; Real property.

00:06:01 - Design of the Boxwood Manor house

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Partial Transcript: Uh, now as to the portions of the house--as to portions of the house you're talking about...

Segment Synopsis: Oakley talks about an unusual sink in a bathroom at Boxwood Manor, a spa room, and an addition built onto the house. He talks about how the house is built on a coal seam. He talks more about the dignitaries and guests who have visited the house. He talks about some of the collectibles in the house, including guns, radios, and musical instruments.

Keywords: Additions; Architects; Bathrooms; Boxwood Manor; Coal seams; Cracks; Dignitaries; Drains; Eastern Kentucky; Edison gramophones; Fireplaces; Flooring; Garages; Gathering places; Guests; Guns; Houses; Lumber; Mahogany; Pianos; Pool tables; RCA radios; Reputations; Rifles; Sinks; Spa rooms; Spas; Studies; Study; Unusual; Violins

Subjects: Architecture.; Dwellings--Remodeling.; Dwellings.; Families.; Housing.; Manors.; Property.; Real property.

00:13:03 - Boxwood Manor grounds

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Partial Transcript: Um, you mentioned the, um, place where the carriage--let's go back to the grounds of the house.

Segment Synopsis: Oakley talks about the boxwoods of Boxwood Manor, the gardens, and other vegetation growing on the grounds.

Keywords: Boxwood Manor; Boxwoods; Carriage houses; England; Grounds; Initials; Mazes; Rock gardens; Split rail fences; Sycamore trees; Trash burning

Subjects: Boxwood.; Gardens.; Property.

00:15:43 - Alcohol still

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Partial Transcript: Um, the, um--what else was there?

Segment Synopsis: Oakley talks about the possibility of distillation at Boxwood Manor during Prohibition.

Keywords: Banks; Basements; Boxwood Manor; Fishing poles; Fishing rods; Hiding places; Parties; Prohibition; Sabres; Secret compartments; Stills; Swords

Subjects: Distillation; Distilling, illicit; Dwellings.; Housing.; Manors.

00:18:17 - Construction of the house

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Partial Transcript: The, um, original house I think had only one driveway to it.

Segment Synopsis: Oakley talks about some of the special construction materials used on the house and discusses the architecture and design of various rooms.

Keywords: Additions; Africa; Asphalt; Boxwood Manor; Bricks; Bridges; Ceilings; Construction; Cushing family; Cushings; Driveways; Great rooms; Hunting trophies; Imported; Pre-Civil War; Redwood; Replacement; Staircases; Steel beams; Stones; Trees; Zulu

Subjects: Architecture.; Dwellings--Remodeling.; Dwellings.; Families.; Housing.; Manors.; Property.; Real property.

00:24:15 - More on the grounds

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Partial Transcript: I was trying to think of any--on the, the patio out back, uh, was originally marble.

Segment Synopsis: Oakley talks more about the Boxwood Manor grounds, including the patio, walls and fencing, and gardens. He talks about lightning damaging the house and grounds.

Keywords: Acreage; Bellefonte (Ky.); Boxwood Manor; Cushing family; Cushings; Estates; Fencing; Herb gardens; Land; Lightning; Lots; Marble; Patios; Stone walls; Trees; Water lines

Subjects: Boxwood.; Gardens.; Property.

00:27:14 - More on the design of the house / Bud Crabtree

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Partial Transcript: I'm trying to think of anything else that I want to do.

Segment Synopsis: Oakley talks more about various rooms in the house. He talks about the construction of the roof. He talks about groundskeeper Walter "Bud" Crabtree who "came with the house" when the Oakleys bought it.

Keywords: Boxwood Manor; Bud Crabtree; Groundskeepers; Hot tubs; Houses; Lionel electric trains; Maintenance; Marble; Roof; Slate; Spa rooms; Spas; Walter Crabtree

Subjects: Architecture.; Dwellings--Remodeling.; Dwellings.; Employment; Families.; Gardeners.; Housing.; Manors.; Property.; Real property.

00:29:22 - Industry and economy of the area

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Partial Transcript: Now if we get to the area we're in, as mentioned before, this was all started by the Means Russell Iron Company...

Segment Synopsis: Oakley talks about the steel, coal, and railroad industries in the Bellefonte area. He talks about a racetrack in the area, a Civil War outpost, and more about the dignitaries and guests who have visited Boxwood Manor.

Keywords: Boxwood Manor; Camp Swigert; Civil War; Clubhouses; Coal; Heads of industry; Iron ore; Limestone; Means & Russell Iron Company; Means and Russell Iron Company; Race tracks; Racing; Rail service; Steel plants; Trains; Transportation; Union Army

Subjects: Economic history; Economics; Industries; Railroads

00:34:15 - Favorite places on the property

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Partial Transcript: Can you tell us about one of your favorite spots in the house or on the property, Dad, that you really, that you really like?

Segment Synopsis: Oakley talks about some of his favorite parts of Boxwood Manor, including the porch and his workshop. He talks about the construction of the porch.

Keywords: Base; Boxwood Manor; Ceilings; Comfortable; Concrete; Construction; Decks; Marble; Porches; Screened-in porches; Side porches; Slate; Tongue and groove; Workshops

Subjects: Architecture.; Dwellings--Remodeling.; Dwellings.; Housing.; Manors.; Property.; Real property.

00:37:13 - More on the history and construction of the house and grounds

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Partial Transcript: Now back to the structure of the house itself, the original portion of the house was built on the outside with redwood siding, which is overlapped.

Segment Synopsis: Oakley talks more about the special construction materials used on the house and discusses the architecture and design of various rooms. He talks about the boxwoods of Boxwood Manor. He compares Boxwood Manor to the Rockefeller House in Williamsburg, Virginia. The interview is concluded.

Keywords: Additions; Aluminum; Boxwood Manor; Boxwoods; Bricks; Burglar alarms; Cushing family; Cushings; Donations; Grounds; Kentucky bluegrass; Mrs. Cushing; Neighborhoods; Parties; Paul Osborne; Redwood siding; Rockefeller House; Shutters; Structures; Trees; Williamsburg (Va.); Wreaths

Subjects: Architecture.; Boxwood.; Dwellings--Remodeling.; Dwellings.; Gardens.; Housing.; Manors.; Property.; Real property.