Last month friends of Hindman from across the state and around the globe joined together on Kentucky Gives Day to support the restoration of the James Still Cottage. Built in 1924 and formally named Oak Ledge, this historic property was built for Lucy Furman, an acclaimed writer in her own right. James Still lived in this cottage for much of his time as the Settlement’s writer-in-residence. At nearly a century old, the cottage was in need of some focused efforts to preserve this space where many of Mr. Still’s most influential works were written. With resounding support from donors and the passage of a few short weeks, signs of change are underway at this property!
A crucial component of the restoration was addressing encroaching trees that were, quite literally, growing into the home. Moses and Nathan, our stellar maintenance staff, have shored up the property and rebuilt walls that were bowing inward as a result of these trees.
A fresh coat of paint is breathing new life into this space.
The original wood floors in the living room are being refinished (as shown in the header photo of this blog), but the unevenness and sway that has developed over time remain invoking the storied history of this property with each step.
Many of the original furnishings remain in the space, including the dining room table and bookshelves loaded with hundreds–possibly thousands–of books in Mr. Still’s extensive collections.
While much is changing in the property, even more remains the same. Mr. Still’s office and library remain completely untouched. His books tower over the desk. Photographs and objects, both from his home and our archives, will soon adorn the walls. Writers who retreat to this cottage will be immersed in the space home to multiple literary giants and, it is our hope, that the inspiration that comes from being in this place will fuel new voices in Appalachian literature.
Want to support this project? We are in need of donated copies of Mr. Still’s and Ms. Furman’s books to include in the space as his originals are preserved in school archives. You can visit our Amazon WishList to gift a copy or reach out and let us know one is in the mail. This is a fun way to ensure everyone who stays in this property has these important works at their fingertips!
You can also make a donation towards the ongoing restoration and maintenance of this property by using our secure online form.