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Louise Ginn's Hubbard Scrapbook
Hubbard memories still vivid
By Don Ward
Louise Ginn grew up on a farm atop the hill above Payne Hollow in Trimble County. She and her three sisters were frequent visitors to the home of Anna and Harlan Hubbard. They would sometimes help them with various chores.
“We raised corn on both sides of that valley,” she said. “Mr. Hubbard would come up and trade fish he had caught for apples.”
Ginn recalls a time when Harlan helped nail shingles on a barn roof belonging to her father, Cecil Hackett. Because of his physical impairment, her father was unable to climb on the roof, so Louise, who was only 15 at the time, and Harlan did the work while Hackett gave directions from down below.
She recalls the time when the Hubbards had first moved into the valley below, bought the 60-acre parcel from Ansel McCord and began building their house on a bluff overlooking the Ohio River. During construction around 1952, the Hubbards slept under a lean-to, created by carefully leaning an old car hood against some trees to create a primitive shelter.
Later in her life, Ginn became the first Trimble County librarian when the facility was built in Bedford, Ky. Her close relationship with the Hubbards was rewarded when Harlan gave Ginn a large painting to hang in the library.
“He told me I could have the painting for as long as I was the librarian,” Ginn recalls. “So when I retired in 1982, I took that painting back to him. I don’t know what ever became of it. I think he had someone else in mind to give it to.”
Harlan later gave two other smaller paintings to the library. One was stolen off the wall while Ginn still worked there. The second still hangs in a more secure location behind the desk.
During her 13-year run as librarian, Ginn recalls an art exhibit that Harlan had there. Harlan sent several paintings to hang there for a time. When the exhibit period was over, a man driving a late model station wagon showed up unannounced to collect the paintings. Ginn was afraid to hand over the paintings to a stranger.
“He said Harlan had sent him to pick up the paintings, but you couldn’t just call Harlan and asked him if this was true,” Ginn said. “So I went over to the courthouse and checked his license plate to see if he was who he said he was.”
Turned out, the man was legitimate. He had come from the Behringer Crawford Museum in Covington, Ky., to collect the paintings.
Ginn owns no Hubbard paintings today but wishes now that she had bought one back then. But she does have other prized possessions – correspondence and a nine-page unpublished, handwritten manuscript that Harlan gave her.
“It’s a story about a day on his shantyboat while traveling down in Louisiana,” she said. “As far as I know, it has never been published.”
Ginn has visited Payne Hollow several times since Harlan’s death in 1988. She has met Paul Hassfurder, who inherited the property from the Harlan.
“I still enjoy going down there, although I did not make it down this year.”
As far as the future of Payne Hollow, she believes Hassfurder has the right “to do whatever he wants to with it – it’s his, so I think he ought to decide.”
But like many others familiar with the Hubbard legend, she hopes the place will continue to exist in its previous form and be accessible to those who still enjoy visiting it.