Uncle Pen’s Cabin to be Rebuilt


James Monroe rebuilding cabin where his father lived, will open for bluegrass fans to visit
... "This was the last place my uncle lived in Kentucky," Monroe said. "I think bluegrass fans will want to see it." ...

imageJames Monroe is rebuilding a log cabin where his father, bluegrass icon Bill Monroe, once lived. Monroe hopes to have the cabin, which sits on 2.5 acres on a hill above Rosine in western Kentucky, open for bluegrass fans to visit as soon as next month.

The two-room cabin belonged to his great uncle, James Pendleton Vandiver, and was made famous in a song by his father called "Uncle Pen." Bill Monroe lived in the cabin with his uncle after the death of his parents. In 1973, Monroe dedicated a monument to Vandiver in the Rosine Cemetery that still attracts visitors from around the world.

"This was the last place my uncle lived in Kentucky," Monroe said. "I think bluegrass fans will want to see it." James Monroe says the cabin will have old photos of his uncle, fiddles and other information about him. On a recent day, bluegrass fans Jerry and Betty Boyd of Tomball, Texas, were at the cemetery to visit Bill Monroe's grave.

"I remember listening to Bill Monroe on the Grand Ole Opry when I was a kid," Jerry Boyd said. "We were in Alabama for a family reunion and then came up to Nashville to visit my sister. I said, 'As long as we're this close, why don't we go see Bill Monroe's boyhood home.' " They said they would have visited Uncle Pen's cabin if it had been open. "It's on the original site, but it will be mostly new logs," said Monroe, who bought the property in the 1970s and gave it to his father as a birthday present.

"It had been neglected for years and we had been on the road and didn't have time to keep it up," Monroe said of the original cabin. "Most of the wood was rotten by the time I tried to save it." A few salvaged logs will be used around the fireplace and to make a shelf in the kitchen, said Joe Johnson, co-owner of Johnson & Johnson Construction of Dundee, which is building the 24- by 20-foot cabin.

After the cabin is finished, James Monroe said three or four people will be hired to keep it up and give tours.  People will come from far away, to quote the song, to see it. It is truly a magical place."
Vandiver was a well-known fiddle player and was often accompanied by his nephew on mandolin and sometimes guitar when he played at dances around Ohio County. "He was one of Kentucky's finest old-time fiddlers," Monroe wrote on the cover of his 1972 album, "Bill Monroe's Uncle Pen," a compilation of Monroe's renditions of Vandiver's tunes. "And he had the best shuffle with the bow I'd ever seen."...
Source: Wire Service

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