Between Christmas And New Year’s

by Don Clare

The year 2016 was a rough one here in Rabbit Hash. As we diligently continue work on the restoration of the store, we all are saying “good riddance.” The best plan is to let go of all the negatives of 2016 and make way for a very positive and exciting 2017.
The past month between Christmas and New Year’s has actually been a very happy, joyous and productive time. The interest and energy emanating from the store’s progress is so palpable around Rabbit Hash and the rest of Northern Kentucky.
This year’s Christmas parade was the best ever in its five year tradition. I heard someone say that it did actually last over one minute! The Belleview Mackville Rabbit Hash Fire Department was kind enough to bring all of their equipment (except for their coffee maker) and managed to get every neighborhood dog to join in on the singing. All the floats were exceptionally done and decorated, even considering the rule that they had to be put together on the day of the parade. We were so happy to be able to have the new ‘old’ store open for the parade visitors and the porch available for the viewing stand. Terrie’s paper-Mache snowman and Lin Unterreiner’s Christmas trees made from the discarded scraps of the store’s flooring made the interior look just like the Santa’s Workshop that it was. Thanks to Ed, Eddie, Dustin and Brandon and their combined talents and dedication, close to forty benches were made and sold in order to raise funds for the new fire suppression system for the store. The benches were all made from the unusable remnants of the original 1831 Ohio River barge timbers that were dismantled and used as foundation floor joists for the original building, one hundred eighty years ago. Just think of all the floods and mud those timbers have endured, yet kept that National Register structure safe and intact!
Each bench was unique and one-of-a-kind. They all showed the scars of the ravages they endured over these many years. Some were charred from the fire; others hacked, cut, hand hewn, nailed, drilled, bolted and so forth. Each one told a different story, and instead of being discarded or left to rot, thanks to Ed and the guys, they all have a new life and a new appreciation. You could just read the joy and the pride of the people who purchased them for their very own permanent reminder of that very first building that became our beloved Rabbit Hash General Store.
The best news of 2017 is that we don’t think the opening of the store is going to take as long as we first projected. It is not going to take until late summer and Old Timers Day. We would really like it to be on February 13, 2017—-one year to the day it burned (just for the non-believers)—–but that may be pushing it. Early Spring, however, is certainly not out of the question. Updates will be posted.
As you all know, irreplaceable artifacts were either consumed or completely ruined by the fire. It is so encouraging when people come up and say, “oh, I have this or that piece that belonged to my grandma that you can have to put in the store when it’s done.” We appreciate and cherish those offers and artifacts. Thank you all. I am also happy to report that Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, down in Harrodsburg, Kentucky, is donating some of their artifacts that they no longer use or display there to permanently put in our store. How great is that?
Work on the store this week and next will consist of the installation of the fire suppression system; the rest of the electrical work and insulation in the ceiling; the interior door and window trim; and the washing of the walls and painting. All the art and memories are now sealed away safely and securely in their time capsule behind the walls, and the right shed room already has its primer coat of Rabbit Hash white applied.
After all that comes the walk-in cooler, the two long counters, and the shelving—-again using the same vintage materials and craftsmanship and techniques
I wonder if we could get Scott Risner and The Buffalo Wabs and the Price Hill Hustle to play the very first music in the new ‘old’ store since they were the very last musicians to play there before the fire?
Good things take a little time! Have faith.




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London Calling

Rabbit Hash’s recent mayoral election has gained some international attention! The Barking Hour, a weekly BBC radio show for dog lovers, will be mentioning our election on Thursday, December 8th (10:00 a.m. “Kentucky” time) during their international news segment. You can listen to the show, hosted by Jo Good and Anna Webb, on the TuneIn app or online at BBC Radio London!


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by Don Clare

The reason I have not posted a blog update recently is because pictures are worth a thousand words and that was best accomplished by posting on face Book. Daily posts with photos helped to keep everyone up close and personal with the progress of the restoration of the Rabbit Hash General Store.

Yesterday, we reached a very important milestone in this unprecedented restoration. The completion of the billboard sign and the application of Sprite, the vintage Coca Cola mascot, was the crowning jewel or the icing on the cake of the completion of the historic façade of our beloved iconic centerpiece of the Rabbit Hash, Kentucky National Register District.



When dealing with a National Register Structure, it is the exterior façade of the structure that satisfies the requirements for National Register eligibility. The dedicated craftsmen of Rivertown Construction Inc made sure that every detail, method of construction, fabric and material were as close to original as was humanly possible. In this, they exceeded beyond requirement by the Department of Interior’s Guidelines for Historic Preservation. They took this restoration very personally. They are to be highly commended and praised for their unique professional approach to a seemingly impossible task and project. I feel certain that some award will eventually come their way and they will be regarded on a national level.



The decision to allow the damaged Rabbit Hash General Store to be restored and retain its National Register status required the consent and cooperation of a myriad of national, state-wide, and local regulatory bodies. With approximately seventy-five percent of its original state still standing, the historic mercantile structure filled the requirements for a restoration, which is semantically much different than renovation, rehabilitation, rebuilding, retrofitting, remodel and all the similar such words. This project is a restoration. As it stands right now, it fits all the requirements of the Department of Interior and is considered to be its former National Register Structure.
Now, the caveat. Just because the General Store appears to be its old self does not mean we are finished, nor close to opening for business. It would be a fair estimation to say it is about one third complete. Our goal, since day one of the foundation work, after all the necessary permits were issued and in-hand, has been to get the exterior completed and the building completely closed up before cold weather set in. That happened this morning! Talk about meeting a deadline. Had it not been for the unusually mild November weather, the exterior would not have been painted until Spring, and, of course, the billboard sign would still be a wish. It would be safe to say that the official opening will coincide with the 2017 Old Timers Day celebration. Hopefully we will be planning a week-long celebration of festivities, food, music and fun. So, stay tuned.



Many people believe in many different things, but I am convinced that providence had a major hand in this entire project and process. Call it God’s will, Karma, voodoo, black magic, a miracle, coincidence or whatever you like, but for some reason the stars and the planets aligned just right for what eventually happened.

The interior work will begin on Monday. I am calling this Phase Three (foundation Phase One; exterior Phase Two) and it will be the most time consuming of all three. There is a lot tedious, intricate and detailed carpentry work involved in the flooring, walls, ceilings trim and shelving throughout the three rooms. We are poised and postured to treat the interior of the building in the very same manner as the exterior, using as much original material as we can, complemented by similar, vintage material and using the same period-appropriate construction techniques. Doing the interior in this manner is not required in order for the store building to remain on the National Register. We are doing it this way because she deserves it! So, once again I say, “good things take a little time, a little bit of yours and a little bit of mine.” (From a song by Dan’l Wilson, one-time General Store proprietor).



In addition to all of this interior restoration, we will also be installing electrical; furnace and ductwork HVAC; special watertight dense-cell spray foam insulation and traditional attic insulation; a fire suppression system; a state-of –the-art walk-in cooler with removable, external compressor (in the event of a flood); and a new(er) Rabbit Hash Iron Works wood stove and stove pipes (courtesy Louie Scott). That’s not all. In order to complete the restoration, one coat of primer and two coats finish everywhere except the (original) floors.



There is one other thing that needs to be addressed here. Right after the fire and during the fundraising stages of this project, there was a lot of evil, unfair, and cruel accusations leveled against the Rabbit Hash Historical Society as a board, as well as against certain individual members. Several unnecessary bridges were burned, never to be rebuilt. Despite cruel and demeaning accusations about the funds raised for this restoration and degrading the integrity of our organization and its members, we persevered and carried on as our hearts, souls, passion and conscience dictated. This was culminated yesterday by the topping off ceremony. As president of the Rabbit Hash Historical Society, I can personally give account and proof of every penny raised in our name and every penny spent in the name of this unprecedented historic preservation undertaking.

Have a loving and blessed Thanksgiving and a very happy and Merry Christmas….

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BRYNN is the new Mayor of Rabbit Hash Kentucky!!! In an unprecedented move, the Rabbit Hash Historical Society has given official positions to the 1st and 2nd runner ups, Bourbon and Lady, as Ambassadors to Rabbit Hash. In the case that the official mayor is unavailable for an event or obligation, the Ambassadors will fill in.

Here is the official tally:

Brynn: 3367
Bourbon: 2336
Lady: 1621
Higgins: 495
Stella: 400
Walter: 397
Bossy: 216
Louis: 76
Izacc: 53

Mayor Lucy Lou said that she has has been honored to serve for the past 8 years. Through the course of a tense evening of voting she sniffed the butts of all the candidates and has given her approval to the Mayor elect, Brynn. She looks forward to working with the new mayor and the Ambassadors as Rabbit Hash strives to restore the General Store.

She sincerely thanks ALL the candidates for their efforts to raise funds for Rabbit Hash.

Vote for Brynn

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Here it is, folks… THE SECOND TO LAST TALLY OF THE VOTES for the next Mayor of Rabbit Hash Kentucky!
YOU CAN STILL VOTE in person at the Rabbit Hash General Store and online at until approximately 8 pm tomorrow night!

Don’t despair if your candidate is behind. Many candidates hold back votes until the last possible second… so act now! Exercise your constitutional (sort of) right and VOTE for your choice of mayor!!!

Brynn: 1536
Bourbon: 1412
Lady: 500
Higgins: 354
Walter: 314
Bossy: 201
Stella: 156
Louis: 73
Izzac: 50

You are invited to our wrap up party with live music by The Cincinnati Dancing Pigs at The Rabbit Hash General Store tomorrow night from 7-8 pm, where the last votes will be cast and the New Mayor will be announced!


(Votes cast online AFTER 8 pm on Tuesday Nov. 8th will go into the RHGS restoration fund with all other votes, but will not be counted as votes towards any candidate).

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General Store Restoration Not Without Precedent

“This, milord, is my family’s axe. We have owned it for almost nine hundred years, see. Of course, sometimes it needed a new blade. And sometimes it has required a new handle, new designs on the metalwork, a little refreshing of the ornamentation . . . but is this not the nine hundred-year-old axe of my family? And because it has changed gently over time, it is still a pretty good axe, y’know. Pretty good.”

― Terry Pratchett, The Fifth Elephant




Since 1831 there have been many fixes to the old building that we are working so lovingly and hard on in Rabbit Hash. The sign has changed with various owners, it has been repainted and re-roofed, main beams and pillars have been switched out. Tongue in groove siding went up to hide the old aging barge timbers that were once it’s only walls. Additions were added to create space for increased commerce, as were iron bars to hold it in place when the waters rose and filled the store to the attic. Whatever ravages were left behind with the receding floods were accessed and corrected.

In this way our store is like our family’s axe. We can’t restore it to it’s brand new condition, because it had already been gently changed throughout the years. We do promise, however, to bring it back to the way it was on the afternoon of February 13th, 2016. And it will be a pretty good store.


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8359aHi folks. I know an update has been a long time coming, and I apologize for keeping you waiting for so long. A lot of things have been going on around here and a lot of it is not worth discussing. But you should rest assured that the disassembly work and the foundation work has all been moving along at a quicker pace than we expected. I would say that in another week, you will see the new “old” store begin to emerge. Again, keep in mind that this is not your ‘normal structure construction’ that everyone is so used to. We are doing things exactly as there were done in 1831. We just have better and more efficient tools and help-aids.

This summer has been a grueling, miserable, hot (as you know) time to be disassembling old houses and buildings. Ed, Eddie and Dustin have been determined to get this project completed and ready for the construction phase. They are so dedicated, focused, and passionate about the roles they are performing. When this project is completed, it will have been an unprecedented undertaking in the world of Historic Preservation.

They have already successfully prepared the store foundation and sill logs to assist the “phoenix out of the ashes!”In about one more week, the materials will all have been gathered and mostly de-nailed and stored away. You can now expect to see things happen, just like you have been anticipating for the past six months (believe it or not!) Good things take a little time!

The replacement footers and piers, posts, and sill logs are all in place, ready for the main building to commence. A very significant surprise and gift was donated to the community by one of our neighbors. Dale Bardes arranged for all the necessary sills logs to be custom sawed from a mill down in Kentucky (I believe) and trucked up here to the site. This was a major gift and boost for the project. And they are all in place. Whenever you see Dale, be sure to offer him your thanks and appreciation. Rabbit Hash people are just amazing!

The old Florence, Indiana bank and Masonic lodge building has been a godsend for us. But it has also been a living hell! Six to eight inches of 100 year-old pigeon dung graced us in the attic and made demolition that much more difficult and uncomfortable. But, under the shit was the Shinola! This building is providing us with the much needed 25 foot long 2 by 12s needed to complete our foundation and walls.

Amazingly, even the roof sheeting was brand new mill-sawn red oak one-by boards. I have never seen brand new lumber used as roof sheeting before. It is always second or third hand recycled barn lumber or scrap flooring. So, the store’s sub floor promises to be a very tight and sturdy base to apply the old and the recycled tongue and groove pine flooring that we all are so used to seeing.

Stay tuned. Now that we will be back in town, I will be able to have more time for updates and photographs. Now you can take a seat by the beautiful Ohio River and watch the progress go backwards!

Donald E. Clare

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RHrecruitment poster_lo


Rabbit Hash Mayor, Lucy Lou, has instituted term limits and is set to retire on November 8, 2016, opening the door to a new mayoral election for the town. She is the first Rabbit Hash mayor to NOT die in office. The new mayor will become the very first mayor of Rabbit Hash to succeed a living mayor.


Candidates may be biped, tri-ped or quadruped and must be able to chase a rabbit from their home to the Rabbit Hash town center within one hour’s time. (Ducks and geese are still excluded).


The election process will begin on Old Timers Day in Rabbit Hash on Sept. 3, 2016. Declared candidates will register by casting 1 (one) vote for themselves in the form of 1 (one) dollar at which time his or her name will be added to the tally board. Candidates may register any time between Sept. 3 and Nov. 8.

Voting is open to anyone, any age, anywhere in the world. Votes are cast by writing your candidate’s name on a ballot, then paying $1 to submit it. You are allowed to vote as much and as often as you like, and stuffing the ballot box is encouraged. Bribery and graft among the candidates is acceptable. The Rabbit Hash Historical Society will accept votes via this website through paypal, by mail and in person at the Rabbit Hash General Store. A tally board will be kept at the store and updated on this page.
The final tally will be held in Rabbit Hash on the evening of Nov. 8 in the store. Votes are accepted up until the last ten minutes. As in politics everywhere else, the candidate with the most money will become the next mayor of Rabbit Hash KY.

Candidates are invited to register and appear for an introduction to the public at Old Timers Day on Saturday Sept. 3rd! The distribution of campaign material and the kissing of babies is highly encouraged!

You can also declare your candidate on Your candidate will become official when the first vote is paid… um, cast!

Good luck and may the best man/dog/cat/jackass/or other species, WIN!

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May, 18, 2016

by   Don Clare

Hello friends and supporters.

We had a very good turn-out for our public meeting this past Monday at the Boone County Extension Service Meeting Rooms. What a great facility!

If you were unable to attend, you missed a great presentation hosted by Mike Striker, our project manager, who is a principal at Gray and Pape, which is a nationally recognized Cultural Resource Management and Historic Preservation Management Company. Rabbit Hash is lucky to have their Kentucky office located in our town.

Also present to answer questions was Harry Sparks, retired owner of AGI Architectural Firm who is serving as our project’s historic architect and consultant. Harry is donating his services to the cause just because of what Rabbit Hash means to him and his many musician and artist friends who call Rabbit Hash their home.

Ed Unterreiner, our General Contractor and owner of Rivertown Construction and Terry Sawyer, the Rabbit Hash and regional construction-art innovator and master were both there, representing the ‘bricks-and-mortar’ experts.

And, of course, the Rabbit Hash Historical Society was in house, acting as host and resource managers.

Every bit and piece of up-to-date information and planning was presented to the attentive audience. This was a ‘stakes-holder’ meeting, meaning that we were there to provide every one with as much insight, information and planning involved in this restoration process as we had.

The meeting was well received and questions answered as best as could be. Some things are still up in the air and not yet determined. When they are, you will be kept up-to-date.

I wanted to update you on the progress of our materials acquisitions over the past few weeks. We were given an historic house in Bullittsville to dismantle, by Vicky and Mike Toebbe. It is a very high-style 1880s structure that was atypical and unusual in that kind of rural, agrarian setting with 11 foot ceilings, highly crafted doors, transoms, trim, mantles and an elaborately hand carved, curved, grand staircase. The house was  entered from a superbly fancy, tree lined drive up to the residential structure, with myriad outbuildings and farm-related barns, sheds, milk-house, and so on that were typical of a working farm. But the residential structure was far from the typical farm house.

IMG_1291loresIMG_1261loresThanks to the Toebbe Family’s insight and gracious generosity, the structure was donated to the Rabbit Hash Historical Society for dismantling and use in the restoration of the General Store. The house sat vacant for at least 25 years and the lot itself served as a hog, cattle, and goat lot for all those years. As surmised by the Toebbe’s, the house, by now, was beyond restoration. The entire lower floor was practically eaten away by the termite family, and the upper stories became home to raccoons, opossums, and other rodents along with numerous bats and bird species. Several abandoned bee hives were also uncovered. It was a very popular habitat….just not for humans!


Not sure of the age of the house, or the original owner, or the builder, we met a lady who lived in the house for many years, and currently lives in a newer-build home just next to the structure. Her name is Norma Long, and she lived there with her parents and brother for many years. She is all that is left now. She told us that she thought the house was originally built in 1889, according to family oral history.

Well, lo and behold, we found two separate pieces of door trim dated and signed by the builder (presumably). They were marked “1886, Rice”. We are currently seeking the assistance of the local history department of the Boone County Public Library, headed by Bridget Striker, to lead us to further knowledge of the structure, the original owner, and the builder. More to come on that, hopefully!


Viewed as a providential gift, this house is going to relinquish SO many pieces of needed materials for the full restoration of the General Store, it is almost unbelievable! We are getting a multitude of tongue-and-groove flooring, which not only covered the store’s floor, but also the walls and ceiling; along with the exterior clapboard; the thin beaded ceiling boards that covered the up-river bay shed; numerous 2×12 floor joists, used throughout,  and solid pine sheeting used for subfloors in both bays as well as exterior bay siding. Then the multiple roof rafters, roofing tin, ceiling joists, trim boards and various other dimensional lumber examples are so needed and available. This was the perfect structure to meet a lot of our materials needs!


We cannot thank the Toebbe Family enough for this most important and necessary donation of materials, encouragement and support.

In addition to this much needed structure, we are also the benefactor of materials from an 1850s mansion in Fort Wright which is being professionally dismantled by Green Rhino Company for the Maile Company, who has graciously donated flooring and clapboard and floor joists.

Volunteers are always welcomed, if you don’t mind real scut work! There are still some needs that are eluding us. We are in dire need of 20 foot long 4inch by 12 inch timbers, for the floor joists in the central bay area. Also, we dearly need 10 inch by 12 inch 40 foot log beams for the foundation beams.

Something that is non-wood related that we sorely need right now is a 40 foot by 40 foot tarp….preferably not one of those cheap plastic blue tarps, but a REAL tarpaulin    that will last. We need to keep the foundation free from the weather while we are preparing the restored foundation. This is one of our major needs if anyone has access to these tarps. Please let us know if you have any leads.

That’s about it until next time…..and there will always be a next time…..

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Southgate House “Restore The Store” Benefit

If you love live local music then there is no way you should miss the upcoming benefit at the Southgate House Reunion. This is an AMAZING lineup of over 30 acts for only $20/person for 2 days! All proceeds benefit the restoration of our beloved Rabbit Hash General Store! So check out this list of what YOU get, then click the link and get your tickets now!!!


815 Jake Speed & The Freddies

915 Honey & Lauren Houston

1015 Wilder

1115 Almighty Get Down

1215 500 Miles to Memphis


8 Center of The Universe Band

9 Ricky Nye

10 Harlot

11 Lightening Tim Trio

12 Lovecrush 88

1 Mudpies

Revival Room
730 G Miles

830 Lawson Family Reunion

930 Hickory Robot

1030 Rabbit Hash String Band

1130 Part Time Gentlemen

1230 Lagniappe

SUNDAY May 29th


4 Welcome
430 Leroy Ellington

530 Ma Crow & The Lady Slippers

630 Shiny & The Spoon

730 Krystal Petersen & The Queen City Band

830 Magnolia Mountain

930 Kentucky Struts

1030 Buffalo Wabs & The Price Hill Hustly

1130 The Tillers


5 Judge & Jury

6 The Turkeys

7 Moonshine & Wine

8 Anna Mae

9 The Swells

10 Dallas Moore
11 The Modified

12 Andyman Hopkins

1230 Open Mic

Revival Room

515 The Crick Gypsies

615 Hobilly

715 The Less Moore Band with Todd Hepburn

815 Strawboss

* Silent Auction will be in The Revival Room 5-9
 Click the link (or copy and paste in your browser) for tickets:
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