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Published on December 1st, 2022

Mariam interviews Fred Mills about the history of the Kentucky Theatre and his 50 year tenure as the theatre’s manager. They discuss the opening of the theatre in 1922, and the ups and downs of the theatre industry, and of the Kentucky Theatre itself, from funding issues to the building fire that shuttered the theatre for years.

There is a brief discussion of the theatre showing adult movies in the 1970s and the first amendment implications, but no discussion of the movies beyond their titles and the legal trouble that the theatre faced, some listener discretion is advised. 

Published on September 29th, 2022

Brenna guests to share her research on three of Lexington’s Black enclaves, founded by formerly enslaved persons after the Civil War. In this episode, she discusses Davis Bottom (est. 1865; redeveloped in 2010s to make way for Newtown Pike road expansion), Adamstown (est. 1870; razed in early 1900s to make way for Memorial Colosseum), and Brucetown (est. 1865; still exists today). Brenna highlights the history we know, and points out that much of the history of these hamlets and their residents are lost to time, despite their vital contributions to Lexington’s development and growth pre- and post-Civil War. 

Tales from the Kentucky Room

Stories of Lexington, Kentucky’s history and people.

John Wilkes Booth in Lexington (2022)

Publish on September 2nd, 2022
Episode #69

Mariam and David discuss the sordid life of John Wilkes Booth before his assassination of Abraham Lincoln, including his visit to Lexington during the Civil War as a theater actor. Some listener discretion is advised.

Library Building History (2022)

Publish on August 2nd, 2022
Episode #68

Mariam and Wayne talk about the history of Lexington Public Library spaces, from its beginning as a subscription library in 1795 to the building project for the new Marksbury Family Branch (formerly Village Branch) now in 2022.

J. Alexander Chiles: The Fight Against Kentucky’s Separate Coach Law (2022)

Publish on June 30th, 2022
Episode #67

Mariam shares the history of Kentucky’s Separate Coach Law, and Lexington’s second African American attorney, J. Alexander Chiles, who took the fight to the US Supreme court multiple times in the 1890s and early 1900s.

Ten Hours of Terror: The Barnes Family Murder, 1973 (Part 2 of 2, 2022)

Publish on May 25th, 2022
Episode #66

In the final part of this series, Wayne takes us through the murders of the Barnes Family, the murders and shootings in Falmouth, KY, and the aftermath of the crimes. Listener Discretion is Advised.

Ten Hours of Terror: The Barnes Family Murder, 1973 (Part 1 of 2, 2022)

Publish on May 24th, 2022
Episode #65

In this two part series on the Barnes Family’s murder, Mariam interviews guest Ike Lawrence, whose father notified Mrs. Barnes of her family’s murder, and later, Wayne discusses the start of the crime, with the two killers escaping the custody of the US M

Nick Carter, Bloodhound (2022)

Publish on April 26th, 2022
Episode #64

Erin guests to talk about bloodhound Nick Carter and his handler Captain Volney Mullikin, who together searched for and found over 600 people in Nick Carter’s career as a tracking hound.

Washington’s Iron Butterfly, an Interview with Terry Birdwhistell and Don Ritchie (2022)

Publish on March 22nd, 2022
Episode #63

Mariam interviews Terry L. Birdwhistell and Donald A. Ritchie about their January 2022 book, “Washington’s Iron Butterfly: Bess Clements Abell, an Oral History.”

Charles Dickens’ Visit to Kentucky (2022)

Publish on February 28th, 2022
Episode #62

Mariam and David discuss Charles Dickens’ visit to Kentucky in 1842, with readings by Bill Widener from Dickens’ work “American Notes.”

Drowned Town: An Interview with Author Jayne Moore Waldrop (2022)

Publish on January 25th, 2022
Episode #61

Mariam talks with Kentucky author Jayne Moore Waldrop about her first fiction work, Drowned Town.

Who’s the Scammer? A Tale of a Horse Sale (2021)

Publish on December 21st, 2021
Episode #60

For our 60th episode, The TFKR Radio Players present a dramatic reading of ads about a horse sale gone sideways.

History of Lexington City & Fayette County Public Schools (2021)

Publish on November 30th, 2021
Episode #59

Mariam gives a brief history of the public schools in Lexington and Fayette County.

Lafayette’s Visit to Lexington (2021)

Publish on November 1st, 2021
Episode #58

Mariam and David discuss Lafayette's 1825 visit to Lexington as we approach the 200th anniversary in 2024-2025.

The Urge to Merge: The Merger of Lexington’s City and Fayette County’s Governments (2021)

Publish on October 1st, 2021
Episode #57

Mariam and Wayne discuss the history of Lexington & Fayette County’s merged governments, one of only fifteen merged city-county governments in the United States.

Russell’s Cave: A Tiny History for Fayette County’s Biggest Cave (2021)

Publish on August 31st, 2021
Episode #56

Jamie tells an abridged history of Russell’s Cave, Fayette County’s largest cave.

Not Just a One Way Street (2021)

Publish on July 30th, 2021
Episode #55

Mariam and Wayne discuss the construction of New Circle Road, and other major transportation projects in Lexington.

The Murder of Alexander T. Hays (2021)

Publish on June 30th, 2021
Episode #54

Erin guests to tell the story of one of Lexington’s oldest unsolved murders – the killing of Alexander T. Hays in October 1846.

Fire on UK’s Campus: the 51st Anniversary of the Kent State protests (2021)

Publish on May 26th, 2021
Episode #53

Mariam and Wayne discuss the 1970 shooting on Kent State’s campus, and how protests against the shooting, including the ROTC building fire, on UK’s campus led to curfews and lockdowns by Kentucky’s Governor.

Elizabeth Keckley, an Interview with Lauren Burke (2021)

Publish on April 29th, 2021
Episode #52

Mariam interviews Lauren Burke, of the podcast Bonnets at Dawn, about Elizabeth Keckley, dressmaker for Mary Todd Lincoln.

Three Civil War Lexington Women

Publish on March 17th, 2021
Episode #51

Denise guest hosts and give sketches of the lives of three Lexington Civil War era women: Elizabeth Harbeson Hummons, Francis Dallam Peter, and Ella Bishop Ransom.

A Conversation With Reverend L. Clark Williams (2021)

Publish on February 24th, 2021
Episode #50

Naomi interviews Reverend L. Clark Williams about what progress has been made in Lexington since the June 4, 2020 march for racial justice.

Cut to the Chase: An Interview with Alan Cutler (2020)

Publish on December 8th, 2020
Episode #49

Wayne, Library resident sports expert, interviews sports broadcaster Alan Cutler about his career and new book, Cut to the Chase.

President for a Day: David Rice Atchison

Publish on October 27th, 2020
Episode #48

Mariam and Wayne share the story of David Rice Atchison, the only person in history who was possibly president for a day.

The Murder of Marion Miley, Revisited: An Interview with Author Beverly Bell (2020)

Publish on September 29th, 2020
Episode #47

Mariam and Beverly discuss Beverly’s recent book, The Murder of Marion Miley.

Pamela Brown: A Free Life (2020)

Publish on September 15th, 2020
Episode #46

Wayne tells the story of Pamela Brown and the ill-fated hot air balloon voyage across the Atlantic in 1970, in time for the 50th anniversary of the crash.

The Willipus Wallipus (2020)

Publish on June 23rd, 2020
Episode #45

Mariam tells a brief history of Lexington's first steam powered street roller, named the Willipus Wallipus.

Best of Tales from the Kentucky Room (2020)

Publish on May 19th, 2020
Episode #44

Mariam and Erin discuss and play clips of a few of their favorite moments from Tales from the Kentucky Room. This episode was recorded online from their homes.

Kentucky Baseball Bonus Episode (2020)

Publish on April 21st, 2020
Episode #43

Enjoy this discussion of Lexington born Major League Baseball players that was cut from the KY Baseball episode.

Kentucky Baseball (2020)

Publish on April 7th, 2020
Episode #43

Mariam and Wayne discuss the rich history of baseball in Kentucky.

Breaking the Bronze Ceiling (2020)

Publish on March 10th, 2020
Episode #42

Mariam interviews Dr. Randolph Hollingsworth, Barbara Grygutis and Rob Bolson about their involvement in Lexington’s “Breaking the Bronze Ceiling” monument initiative.

Ruth Gaylord, Lexington Public Library's First African American Librarian (2020)

Publish on February 25th, 2020
Episode #41

Mariam interviews Ruth Gaylord about her life and work as Lexington Public Library’s first African American librarian.

The Extraordinary Life of Dr. Mary E. Britton (2020)

Publish on February 18th, 2020
Episode #40

Brenna Pye guest hosts to celebrate the life of Dr. Mary E. Britton (1855-1925), a passionate advocate for equality, her charitable works, and her professional accomplishments in teaching and medicine.

Dolly Johnson Dandridge: Lexington's White House Chef (2020)

Publish on February 11th, 2020
Episode #39

J.P. Johnson guest hosts to celebrate the life of Dolly Johnson Dandridge (1852-1918), a Kentucky native who was the White House Chef for President Benjamin Harrison, and later a much sought-after chef after her return to Lexington, Kentucky in 1894.

The Murder of Geneva Hardman: An Interview with Peter Brackney (2020)

Publish on February 6th, 2020
Episode #38

Mariam interviews local author and attorney Peter Brackney about his latest book, The Murder of Geneva Hardman and Lexington’s Mob Riot of 1920.

The Tragic Life of Margaret Garner (2020)

Publish on February 4th, 2020
Episode #37

Mariam discusses the life of Margaret Garner, the real life Kentucky Woman who inspired Toni Morrison’s novel, Beloved. This episode may be difficult for some listeners to hear, listener’s discretion is advised.

The League of Women Voters (2020)

Publish on January 28th, 2020
Episode #36

Mariam interviews Cindy Heine and Dee Pregliasco from the Kentucky Chapter of The League of Women Voters about the organization’s 100 year history and its current initiatives.

Women's Suffrage in Kentucky (2020)

Publish on January 6th, 2020
Episode #35

Mariam interviews Shea Simanek Magnuson about the history of women’s suffrage in Kentucky.

The History of Lexington Newspapers with Tom Eblen (2019)

Publish on December 17th, 2019
Episode #34

Mariam interviews Tom Eblen about the history and personalities surrounding Lexington’s Newspapers.

Eastern State Hospital (2019)

Publish on November 26th, 2019
Episode #33

Mariam interviews Susan Griffith and Vikki Franklin from Eastern State Hospital about the 195 year history of the hospital, and shares stories from contemporary newspaper articles.

Bad Sex in Kentucky, An Interview with Kevin Lane Dearinger (2019)

Publish on November 5th, 2019
Episode #32

Mariam interviews Kentucky native Kevin Lane Dearinger about his forthcoming memoir, Bad Sex in Kentucky, his Broadway career, and his second career in education.

Joyland Amusement Park (2019)

Publish on October 15th, 2019
Episode #31

Mariam and Denise discuss the history of the Joyland Amusement Park (1923-1963).

Cassius Marcellus Clay: Abolitionist, Newspaper Man, Knife Fighter (2019)

Publish on September 24th, 2019
Episode #30

Mariam interviews Wayne Johnson about the colorful life of abolitionist and Ambassador to Russia, Cassius Marcellus Clay (1810-1903).

Podcast Episode 165520

Publish on September 3rd, 2019
Episode #29

Mariam interviews Arwen Donahue, visual artist and oral historian, about her 2009 work This is Home Now: Kentucky’s Holocaust Survivors Speak.

The Hidden History of Horse Racing in Kentucky (2019)

Publish on August 13th, 2019
Episode #28

Mariam interviews Foster Ockerman, Jr., author of Hidden History of Horse Racing in Kentucky, and President and Chief Historian of the Lexington History Museum about his book and horse racing in Kentucky.

Black Soil: An Interview with Trevor Claiborn (2019)

Publish on July 23rd, 2019
Episode #27

Mariam interviews Trevor Claiborn, co-founder of Black Soil: Our Better Nature, about the organization and the history of African American farmers in Kentucky. Trevor also performs as “Farmer Brown tha MC” to attract young people to farming.

Harry Dean Stanton Festival (2019)

Publish on July 2nd, 2019
Episode #26

Mariam interviews Lucy Jones, founder of the Harry Dean Stanton Festival in time for this year’s festival.

A Little Kidnapping (2019)

Publish on June 11th, 2019
Episode #25

Mariam interviews Wayne Johnson about Lucille Caudill Little's kidnapping in 1979.

Lost Lexington: An Interview with Peter Brackney

Publish on May 28th, 2019
Episode #24

Mariam interviews Peter Brackney, author of the 2014 book Lost Lexington, and creator of the blog The Kaintuckeean.

Smiley Pete: Lexington's Town Dog (2019)

Publish on May 6th, 2019
Episode #23

Denise Shanks tells the story of Smiley Pete, Lexington’s “town dog” in the 1940’s and 1950’s.

Swope v. Goodloe, or Possibly the First Time “Going Postal” Might Apply (2019)

Publish on April 15th, 2019
Episode #22

Mariam interviews Rand Dotson, the Editor in Chief of LSU Press, about his research into the political rivalry between Armistead Swope and William Cassius Goodloe, which culminated in a deadly fight in the Lexington Post Office.

Kentucky Duels (2019)

Publish on March 19th, 2019
Episode #21

Mariam and Wayne discuss the Code Duello and several nineteenth century Kentucky duels, including duels fought by Andrew Jackson, Henry Clay, and a pair of doctors from Transylvania University’s School of Medicine.

Henry Faulkner Week: Sweet Evening Breeze (2019)

Publish on February 27th, 2019
Episode #20

Mariam interviews artist and activist Robert Morgan about his recollections of Sweet Evening Breeze.

Henry Faulkner Week: An Interview with Robert Morgan (2019)

Publish on February 25th, 2019
Episode #19

Mariam interviews artist and activist Robert Morgan about his life with the internationally known queer Kentucky artist, Henry Faulkner.

Henry Faulkner Week Preview: Alice, Disappeared (2019)

Publish on February 19th, 2019
Episode #18

JP Johnson tells the story of the time artist Henry Faulkner’s goat, Alice, disappeared for several weeks in 1965, and gives a preview of Lexington Public Library’s Henry Faulkner Week, February 25-March 3, 2019.

A Wounded Snake: An Interview with author Joseph Anthony (2019)

Publish on February 11th, 2019
Episode #17

Mariam interviews Joseph Anthony, local author of historical fiction, about his latest work about the life and death of R.C.O Benjamin in Lexington, KY.

The Murder of Marion Miley, Part 2 (2019)

Publish on January 31st, 2019
Episode #16

Mariam interviews Wayne Johnson about the murder of golfing great Marion Miley in Lexington, KY in 1941. This is part two of a two part series.

The Murder of Marion Miley, Part 1 (2019)

Publish on January 10th, 2019
Episode #15

Mariam interviews Wayne Johnson about the murder of golfing great Marion Miley in Lexington, KY in 1941. They discuss Marion Miley’s life, and the events leading up to her death. This is part one of a two part series.

Railroad Track Removal from Downtown Lexington. (2018)

Publish on December 20th, 2018
Episode #14

Mariam and Wayne discuss the 1968 removal of the railroad tracks from Downtown Lexington in time for the 50th

Cholera, Part Four: The Outbreak in 1849. (2018)

Publish on November 27th, 2018
Episode #13

Mariam interviews Megan Couch about her research into the 1849 outbreak of Cholera in Lexington. They discuss finding more deaths from cholera than were actually reported, and tell the stories of families that were completely wiped out by the disease. Thi

Cholera, Part Three: From the Home of the Friendless to Ashland Terrace (2018)

Publish on November 19th, 2018
Episode #12

Mariam interviews Mariam interviews Nisa Hanna, assistant director of Ashland Terrace about the history of the facility, and its origins from the 1849 Cholera epidemic. They discuss how Ashland Terrace is working to preserve their history. This episode is

Cholera, Part Two: The Pie Seller, the Drunk, and the Lady (2018)

Publish on November 12th, 2018
Episode #11

Mariam interviews Terry Foody, author of The Pie Seller, The Drunk and The Lady, about her book and the 1833 Cholera epidemic in Lexington, KY. They discuss the causes of the epidemic, and what treatments contemporary doctors attempted for this devastatin

Cholera, Part One: King Solomon (2018)

Publish on November 5th, 2018
Episode #10

JP Johnson gives a biography of William “King” Solomon, hero of the 1833 Cholera epidemic. He also talks about later efforts to memorialize him by the city. This is the first episode in a four part series. Interlude music is “Life’s Ups and Downs” by José

Lexington Ghost Stories (2018)

Publish on October 29th, 2018
Episode #9

Jonathan Coleman guest hosts this episode, and tells his favorite ghost stories from his popular Lexington History Walks. Dr. Coleman conducts Lexington History Walks year-round, which can be booked on his website:

The Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (2018)

Publish on October 25th, 2018
Episode #7

Mariam interviews Reinette Jones, founder of the Notable Kentucky African Americans database. They discuss Kentucky’s Centenarian Librarians, the boxer David Moore, and the prison shoe-making industry. Visit the NKAA at

The Cherokee and the Newsman (2018)

Publish on October 25th, 2018
Episode #8

Mariam interviews Terry Foody, author of The Cherokee and the Newsman: Kinsmen in Words. They discuss Ms. Foody’s inspiration to write about the two men, their family lives, and how their words contributed to their communities.

The Murder of Betty Gail Brown, part 2 (2018)

Publish on August 28th, 2018
Episode #6

Mariam interviews Wayne Johnson, librarian and local historian about the murder of Transylvania University student Betty Gail Brown in October 1961. In the last episode, they discuss the court case and other theories of the crime.

Podcast Episode 162530

Publish on August 8th, 2018
Episode #5

Mariam interviews Wayne Johnson, librarian and local historian about the murder of Transylvania University student Betty Gail Brown in October 1961. In the first episode, Wayne and Mariam discuss the events leading up to the crime.

Belle Brezing (2018)

Publish on July 20th, 2018
Episode #4

Mariam interviews Doug Tattershall, author of Belle Brezing: American Magdalene, about his book. They discuss Belle Brezing’s early life, her years as the nationally known brothel owner, and the generally unknown final years of her life in seclusion.

Mary Todd Lincoln (2018)

Publish on June 28th, 2018
Episode #3

Mariam interviews Dr. Jonathan Coleman, head curator of the Mary Todd Lincoln House, about her life in Lexington, the White House, and after the assassination. They also discuss the collections and events at the Mary Todd Lincoln House museum.

Podcast Episode 162533

Publish on June 5th, 2018
Episode #2

Mariam and Erin tell the story of Constantine Samuel Rafinesque’s visit with naturalist John James Audubon, and how the resulting prank by Audubon on Rafinesque wasn’t fully discovered for nearly 150 years.

Faulkner Morgan Pagan Babies Archive (2018)

Publish on May 10th, 2018
Episode #1

Mariam interviews Dr. Jonathan Coleman about the founding of the Faulkner Morgan Pagan Babies Archive and the upcoming “Out in Plain Sight” exhibit at Lexington Public Library.

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