Rebuilt Monroe cabin to open to public

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Associated Press

Posted on March 20, 2013 at 3:01 PM

ROSINE, Ky. (AP) — James Monroe has rebuilt a log cabin on the site where his father, bluegrass icon Bill Monroe, once lived and plans to open it to the public.

Monroe told the Messenger Inquirer (bit.ly/Yr5ZdV) that the cabin is complete and will open on Thursday at noon with festivities that include barbeque and bluegrass music by an assortment of performers.

The two-room cabin is basically a replica of one that belonged to his great uncle, James Pendleton Vandiver, who was made famous in a song by his father called "Uncle Pen." Bill Monroe went to live with his uncle at the age of 16 after his parents died.

"It really is nice," James Monroe told the newspaper on Tuesday. "I'm proud of it. I wanted something nice for my father and my uncle."

Bill Monroe left the cabin two years later at the age of 18.

"This was the last place my father lived in Kentucky," James Monroe said. "I think bluegrass fans will want to see it."

James Monroe said he'll be part of the entertainment on opening day.

"I'll be performing with my band, the Midnight Ramblers," he said. "Don Stanley, Tom Ewing, the McCormick Brothers and some more groups will be there too."

In the summer, the cabin will be open Wednesday through Saturdays for tours.

Although the weather forecast for Thursday is chilly, Monroe said he is prepared.

"We have a big tent that will hold around 150 people," Monroe said. "And we'll have heaters inside."

The cabin has only a few logs from the original structure, which had deteriorated badly.

"It had been neglected for years and we had been on the road and didn't have time to keep it up. Most of the wood was rotten by the time I tried to save it."

Bill Monroe, who called his uncle "one of Kentucky's finest old-time fiddlers," immortalized Vandiver in lyrics that reminisce about how he would play the fiddle in the evening at the cabin.

A monument he dedicated in 1973 to Vandiver in the Rosine Cemetery that has the words of the song engraved on it still draws bluegrass fans from around the world.

James Monroe says he thinks those visitors will want to see the cabin too.

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Information from: Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer, http://www.messenger-inquirer.com

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