Saturday, July 24, 2010

HARLAND SANDERS CAFE & MUSEUM, Corbin, Kentucky

We enjoyed lunch where it all began!  Colonel Harland Sanders' original restaurant in Corbin, Kentucky, the birthplace of Kentucky Fried Chicken.  What do you think we ordered?  Hello....Delicious dublicious Kentucky Fried Chicken.


Colonial Harland Sanders began his career in a small gasoline service station.  Born on 9/9/1890, near Henry ville, IN, Harland left school at the age of 12 to support his family.  Some of the jobs he held were farmhand, soldier, railroader, secretary, insurance salesman, and ferryboat operator until 1930 when he came to Corbin, KY.  He moved his family behind the gas station and started pumping gasoline.  This was the main route to Florida from the north.  During the Great Depression he augmented his income by preparing and selling meals to tourists.  His food was tasty and his career as a restauranteur began.


In 1956 plans were announced for a Federal highway to by-pass Corbin.  Sanders, age 66, sold the restaurant and started traveling America selling seasoning, and his recipe for fried chicken to other restaurants.  His success in this effort led him to begin the world's largest commercial food service system and made Kentucky a household word around the world.


The Colonel rebuilt his cafe and part of the motor court in 1940.  The restaurant has been carefully restored and has been placed on the National Register of Historical Places.  Everything is an exact replica of how it actually looked in the 1940's.  You actually see the open kitchen as well as an exact replica of what a motel room looked like in the model motel.  There were exhibits featuring the Colonel's artifacts and memorabilia from the early days at Kentucky Fried Chicken.    Part of his marketing genius was to show what a room would look like so the "lady of the house" might check it out before checking in.  In an effort to show quality, he installed a wall phone in the closet of each room.  



While Corbin, KY appears to be a very urban city  of almost 18,000 in their last census, we were amazed at the amount  of coal being transported through town - looked like hundreds of train cars.  Where some cities have central logos in their downtown area sprinkled throughout their commercial districts, it seemed like CSX trains have had a definite impact on the City of Corbin.
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