Harland Sanders Cafe and Museum

Good morning, dahlings!

When you think of Kentucky, what is the first thing that comes to mind? A history-rich land?¬†The sight of green tree-covered mountains fading to a cobalt blue off into the distance? The varied cultures spanning from the simplicity of “The Bluegrass State” to the elegance of the Kentucky Derby? Kentucky Fried Chicken?

Let’s face it: as much as Kentucky has to offer, most of us immediately think of KFC.

Kentucky knows this, and that is why they created and preserved the HARLAND SANDERS CAFE AND MUSEUM- 688 U.S. Highway 25 W, Corbin, KY.

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Harland Sanders, better known to most of us as Colonel Sanders (has anyone figured out the reason “colonel” has no R but an L and an O in the middle?!), started out his legacy during the Great Depression. Before this, he was supporting his family by running a gas station in Corbin located on a main route to Florida. After the Crash of ’29, tourism slowed way down, so Sanders started supplementing his income by cooking meals for motorists. This helped his family through the hard times¬†until several years later when a Federal highway was being put in that would bypass Corbin. Sanders went on the road selling his seasoning and fried chicken recipe. The rest is history.

Though the building has changed a bit, this is the site of the original restaurant. For all intents and purposes, it is a regular KFC with a small museum in the back about Colonel Sanders and his restaurant.

By the way, yes, he is a real colonel. During Sanders’ gas station days, a local competitor kept painting over Sanders’ roadside advertising. When Sanders and others tried to stop him, the competitor shot and killed one of the men. Sanders is reported to have shot the competitor in the shoulder in self defense, aiding police in the man’s apprehension. That is when the governor made him a Kentucky colonel.

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One can buy KFC memorabilia at the counter, though none of it was displayed; there was a sign listing items and prices next to the cashier. The dining area maintains an old-fashioned feel with dark wood and hanging lights.

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Model of the original restaurant and hotel as it would have looked in the 1940s.
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Highway sign from the 60s.

Go to Corbin to nod hello to the colonel and his ingenuity, then stuff your face with chicken. It’s the American way.

Until next time, dahlings…

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