Powell lies along Highway 25 which, before the Interstates, was one of the famed Blue Highways, a road that ran from Detroit to Miami. In Michigan and Ohio, it was known as the Dixie Highway. The road splits in Corbin, Kentucky into 25E and 25W. Hwy. 25W runs through Powell, where it is known as the Clinton Highway, along which lies two distinctive and very different roadside attractions, Ciderville and the Airplane Service Station.
Ciderville is the curious name given to a combination performance hall, music store, and museum devoted to Cas Walker. Although big names such as Dolly Parton and the late Chet Atkins have played the music hall, most of the bands are locals. Bluegrass and country are the flavors here, and the most fun time to hear them is on Soup Thursday. Every Thursday, David and Faye West, brother and sister, serve free, homemade vegetable soup at lunchtime to anyone who shows up. The music begins at lunchtime and sometimes continues all afternoon. Concerts are also held on Saturday night from 7:00 until 11:00 PM. Open mic is held on the first Friday of every month. For more information, call (423)945-2816.
If you get inspired by the performances, you can outfit several bluegrass bands with instruments available in the store. Owner David West claims that Ciderville is among the top national sellers of Martin guitars. Several hanging on the wall have price tags in excess of $3,000. Other instruments include banjos, Dobros, and mandolins.
The oddest part of Ciderville is all of the Cas Walker memorabilia in the place. David West played banjo on Cas Walker's show for years, and when "the ole coon hunter" passed away, West came into possession of some of his clothes, murals that adorned his television shows, and other items. The store does a lively business selling Cas Walker's autobiography and DVDs of his shows.
The next roadside attraction, south of Ciderville, is the Airplane Service Station--or what's left of it. According to the website of the Airplane Filling Station Preservation Association, this one-time filling station dates back to 1930, when Elmer and Henry Nickle envisioned a show-stopping structure. The building stayed in the family until the 1970s and was then used for a variety of purposes. In 2003, a group formed to purchase and eventually restore the filling station, which was was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2004.
copyright 2007 Jeff Bradley