Photos from the Lexington Herald-Leader archives updated daily

Penn’s Store, 1983

Posted on June 12, 2017 | in Uncategorized | by

Haskell Penn helped customer Susie Edelen at the counter of Penn’s Store on Sept. 8, 1983, in Gravel Switch. The store, the oldest country store in America being run continuously by the same family, sits on the Boyle and Casey county line. Opened in 1845, it has been in the Penn family since 1850. It was the community’s first post office in 1882. Over the years it has become a popular tourist site for visitors seeking living history. The store remains much as it has been throughout its 170-plus years. The store is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places and is a designated Kentucky Historical Landmark. About the time of this picture, the store had no telephone and used a cigar box as a cash register. Haskell Penn operated the store seven days a week. Even after closing time, Penn, who lived next door, would open up for regular customers who blew their horns. If cars got stuck in the creek, Penn would tow them out with his tractor. There was no restroom in the store. “We have to send them to the closest tree or bush,” Haskell Penn’s niece Jeanne Lane said in 1992. “And in the fall of the year, when the leaves are gone, … well, you can see the problem.” In Oct. 1992, an outhouse was dedicated at an event touted as “The Great Outhouse Blowout”. Today the store is open only on weekends. Photo by David Perry | Staff

Customers inside Penn’s Store, the oldest country store in America being run continuously by the same family, on Sept. 8, 1983, in Gravel Switch. Owner Haskell Penn, behind the counter, said Casey County is on the left side of the stove and Boyle County is on the right. Photo by David Perry | Staff

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