Telling tall tales

‘A Step Back in Time’ to offer
walking tours of historic sites

New tourism company in Bedford
to offer unique perspective on area’s history

By Michella M. Marino
Contributing Writer

(May 2007) – The new tourism venture started by Autumn Kruer of Bedford, Ky., and called “A Step Back in Time” will soon be offering walking tours for local Jefferson County, Ind., and Trimble County, Ky., residents and visitors alike. Locations such as cemeteries, the Ohio River and the Richwood Plantation in Milton will be among those sites featured.

Autumn Kruer

Photo provided

Autumn Kruer of
Bedford, Ky., dresses the
part for the history tours
she is offering this year in
the Ohio Valley region.

Kruer has been a medical transcriptionist for the past 22 years, but history has always been her passion. She has lived in Trimble County for nearly two decades, but her family’s roots lie in the West Virginia and Virginia. Kruer’s relatives have resided there since the American Revolution, and many remain today.
“It’s in my culture. I know who my people are,” she said.
Kruer’s love for history, traditions, legend and lore have always been deeply imbedded within her, as they have in other family members. Kruer’s cousin, Sherri Brake-Recco, founded the Haunted Heartland Tours in Ohio. According to the company’s website, it was voted into the top 10 best ghost tours by “Haunted America Tours.”
While Kruer finds the ghost tours interesting, her tourism venture will go in a different direction. She plans on focusing more on the local people’s history. She wants her customers to learn about the average people of Madison and the surrounding areas in times past.
“I realized something was missing (from this town),” she said. “It’s the people’s history. We seldom hear about the everyday people, the guts of this town.” Kruer believes lore and legend fall into this people’s history, particularly with the various sub-groups she studies, such as the Irish-Catholic or German immigrants who settled here in the early 19th century.
Kruer has spent the past year and half researching local people, events, customs, legends and the area in general to provide information for her tours. She focuses on “anything that grabs my eye.”
Kruer uses online sources, newspaper articles, abstracts and also local people as sources, particularly since they can fill in the legends and lore of the area. Janice Barnes, the Madison-Jefferson County Public Library’s specialist on Madison and Jefferson County, has been particularly helpful to Kruer when it comes to understanding the history of people patterns and the roles of churches and the immigrants in the local area.
As far as support from local businesses and other tourism offices are concerned, Kruer said, “So far, I’ve gotten nothing but encouragement.”
Annie McClintock of the Evergreen Trading Co., 103 E, Main St., in Madison, has helped Kruer get things under way and offered endless support for her endeavor, Kruer said. Marci Jones of the Madison Area Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, said she is excited for Kruer’s tours to begin so she can start spreading the word.
“Kruer’s tours will feature a different idea than normal,” Jones said. “People are always looking for something different. She’s offering something unique that no one’s done here before.”
Tentatively, the excursions are going to be evening walking tours led by Kruer and illuminated with a lantern. She will wear time-period dress that she makes herself. She has also been working with area transportation companies to possibly set up some riding tours as well. Three sample tours from “A Step Back in Time” are listed on Kruer’s website. These include titles like “Sundown in the Graveyard,” “By Moonlight on the River” and “Richwood Plantation.”
She hopes to team up with Whitehall Bed and Breakfast, 1229 W. Main St., Madison, and Bella Vista Restaurant, 1251 W. Main St., Madison, for a Civil War tour in the near future. Kruer is now researching information on local bars for a Haunted Historic Tavern Pub Crawl.
Although Kruer will not be solely focusing on haunted ghost tours, she will be providing cemetery tours. “I’ve always been interested in cemeteries,” she said.
Surprisingly, many Americans enjoy learning about cemeteries, the gravestones and the history of the peoples located within.
Recently, Kruer and McClintock were at a local cemetery taking pictures for her tours when several teenagers stopped to ask what they were doing. Kruer gave the teens a mini-tour and described the history of a particular gravestone that depicted the life and death cycle through nature.
One of the kids responded, “This is way cool – much better than history class!”
Kruer is optimistic that if she can impress a 16-year-old, she will also have luck with more interested customers. Kruer hopes her tours can also raise money for some cemeteries in desperate need of preservation as well.
She would like her tour business to provide “more awareness of Madison and the Ohio Valley area in general. I hope to see excitement about the area and to preserve some places.”
Eventually, she’d like to hold some fundraisers to put money into local places for which she provides tours. Other than that, Kruer is unsure of where her business will take her, but she wants to make sure it will be fun for others so she can provide an historic adventure that is also educational.
“Americans forget who we were, but we need to know who we were to be who we are.”

• For more information on “A Step Back in Time” or to contact Autumn Kruer, visit: www.astepbackintime.net.

Back to May 2007 Articles.



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