Beals hit the map in 1903

Taken from a Special Edition of "The Gleaner"
printed March 27, 1988
permissive use granted by Editor
newspaper provided by Vonette Shelton-Curtis

It's the 'baby' of county's rural communities

Gleaner staff report

If this county's rural communities can be considered offspring of the city of Henderson, then Beals likely is the baby of the family.

That town, named for the fellow who ran Beals Sawmill around the turn of the century, making runners for boats, won its place on the map in 1903 when its post office was established.

Alas, that post office closed only two years later and remained that way until 1924 when Joseph Simmons reopened it. The reopening came about the time of Beals' "hayday" when the community had three stores, a grist mill, barber shop, two blacksmiths, a restaurant that was operated by Walt Parker, a brickyard and sawmill.

The first store ever built there still is standing. That building, initially owned by W. S. Bennett, Annie Stewart and William Moore, now is known as Krugers and enjoys a degree of area fame as a fine place to buy Beals-produced honey.

The town first referred to as "deer Path" and then "Beals Switch" apparently began evolving in the 1880s, when Sloans Chapel Church was constructed and Griffith Creek School was founded.

AT that point, the community was separated from the main body of Henderson County by the Green River and could be reached - until the railroad bridge was built in 1888 - only by boat or via the two ferries that operated prior to 1932.

Though historical accounts of the town are sketchy, it's apparent two events were the most newsworthy to residents.

The first of those occurred on the night of Aug. 6, 1904, when a dance was in progress at one of the houses in Beals. The music and dancing no doubt abruptly stopped when word reached the revelers that a train had fallen into the Green River at Spottsville.

The second event also involved the river. In 1937, when the Ohio and Green rivers temporarily forgot where their banks were and muddy waters engulfed vast areas, Beals was one of the hardest hit communities.

The deluge washed away businesses, a church, a school and a number of homes. Those residents who remained cleaned up the mess, and the county's youngest community proved itself a survivor.

transcribed by Tina Hall 8-12-2002

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