RHS seniors learn local history from Rod Owens & Evelyn Richardson
By Matthew Williams

Posted on October 16, 2018 8:57 PM


On Friday, Sept. 30, Mrs. Lauren Fynboe and her students joined Rod Owens on a tour of Russellville’s history. The group traveled to the town square where they met their guide.

Mr. Owens emphasized the fact that you should never judge a book by its cover. Russellville has garnered a long list of contributions to history, and there’s proof everywhere.

They began the tour by walking from building to building as Owens depicted what stood in its place decades ago. He recalled when people escaped right before the diner collapsed, and the time teens ran their own hangout in town. They saw the Opera House, a place that attracted crowds from out-of-state for a night of entertainment. Southern National Bank of Kentucky was a thriving establishment back then and is highly known for being Jesse James’ first documented robbery.

Students learned about Alison Alice Dunnigan, the first African-American female journalist who came from Russellville. Her bronze statue is displayed at a Newseum in Washington, DC, but it will return to Russellville next year.

Senior English Teacher. Lauren Fynboe always encourages her students to be adventurers and explore the past whether it’s their own or a place’s history.

The following week, Mrs. Fynboe invited Ms. Evelyn Richardson to expand on the students' learning. Ms. Richardson is known to be the keeper of the town’s history and a sharp-witted tour guide. She brought artifacts, maps, and her own recollections of what Russellville used to be. It was also an eye opener for students to see how much things have improved over the decades.

She walked a mile every day to get to school and did so in storms, snow, and much worse. She stated some kids walked even farther. Listening to her stories made the students appreciate the advancements society has made since then.

Mrs. Fynboe’s students will continue to investigate Russellville’s history and challenge people in the Panther community to do the same! 

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