Nestled in the hills of Ohio County in Kentucky sits the homeplace of Bill Monroe, the Father of Bluegrass Music. The address is 6210 US Highway 62 East in Beaver Dam, Kentucky. The home was built in 1917 when Bill was around 6 years old. The house he was born in was not too far from where he was born. The Bill Monroe Homeplace is on an 800 acre farm that use to raise tobacco, corn, cattle, chickens, and much more.
James Pendleton Vandiver, also known at Uncle Pen, would often visit the family whenever he was playing a dance nearby. Bill Monroe often said that Uncle Pen was who he learned how to keep time and rhythm in music.
As time went on, the Monroe Homeplace would sit aging. In 2001, the home was restored with much effort to make it like how it did while Bill Monroe lived there. There is furniture, family items, and photos to make you feel like you have stepped back in time while touring the home.
One of the notable people I should mention that helped in the restoration efforts of the Monroe Homeplace, as well as the Jerusalem Ridge Bluegrass Music Festival, would be Campbell Mercer. Campbell was known as Doc Mercer to many as he was a Veterinarian. He started in Laurel County before moving to Ohio County. He hosted the Cumberland Highlanders tv show that was on RFD-TV for a while with episodes taped there at the Homeplace.
While you are in the area, you will want to visit the Rosine Cemetery where Bill Monroe and his family are buried. There is also a Bill Monroe Museum that was built in 2018 that you can visit. The address to the museum is 55 Amelia Street in Rosine, KY. You can also enjoy music at the Rosine Barn Jamboree at 8205 Blue Moon of Kentucky Hwy (US 62) in Rosine, KY.
Below are links to each attraction:
Bill Monroe Homeplace – http://www.ohiocounty.com/billmonroe
Bill Monroe Museum – http://www.billmonroemuseum.com/
BM Museum Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/BillMonroeMuseum/
Jerusalem Ridge Bluegrass Festival – http://www.jerusalemridgefestival.com/
Jessica Blankenship is the owner and founder of Kentucky Country Music website. The Berea College graduate has been a music journalist and historian for over 20 years. She enjoys providing concert photography, reviews, historical articles, red carpet event coverage, and exclusive interviews of your favorite musicians. Jessica is proud to be a Kentucky Colonel and alumni of the FFA and 4-H Clubs. In 2018, she was named one of Laurel County’s Ten Under 40 Award Recipients. In 2019, she was a member of the Inaugural class of BRIGHT Kentucky as part of Leadership Kentucky. She has been featured on the Kentucky Music Preview podcast, Overtones radio show, WFKY Nashville News Roundup, KET, and more. Beyond music, she enjoys traveling, helping her community, collecting gnomes, and Volkswagens.