We decided to watch "White Christmas", the 1954 film starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Vera-Ellen (Norwood native) and Rosemary Clooney on a less- than- snowy day this fall. One thing led to another and true to family form-we headed one hour southeast to Maysville the following weekend to discover more about this local favorite lady.
Maysville native Rosemary Clooney –often referred to as the “Girl Singer” made her mark in Hollywood, but her heart remained in her hometown.
Seasonally, there are guided tours available that highlight her life and impact on her community, but we charted out our own tour (with some help from the Visitors Bureau) and off we went through this lovely city.
Her childhood home is located on West Third Street and she and her siblings lived here with their Grandmother, Ada Guilfoyle, for four years in the 1930s. Cow Street (just below this home) was renamed in Rosemary’s honor in 1953 and the West Third Street home in on the National Historic Register.
The Kentucky Gateway Museum Center has a large collection of memorabilia including articles, photographs and a bronze bust. Additionally, the Museum has a stellar collection of miniatures as well as a collection of local historical items. There is also a Genealogical and Historical Research Library. (www.kygms.org or call 606-564-5865).
The Russell Theatre, built in the Spanish Colonial Revival style in 1929 and recently under renovation is another stop, her movie “The Stars are Singing” premiered here in 1953. Rosemary even made her singing debut here at age three!
St. Patrick’s Church and School were home to many of her memories, from her baptism, to her marriage to Dante Di Paolo in 1997, to her funeral in July 2002. She was buried at nearby St. Patrick’s Cemetery. The Gothic style church was dedicated in 1910 and its two large stained glass windows represent St. Boniface and St. Patrick, the patron saints of Germany & Ireland.
Market & Second Streets is where her grandfather, Andrew Clooney, owned a jewelry store. Rosemary and her sister Betty performed in the storefront window and also sang for his political rallies, as he was the Mayor of Maysville from 1929-1933.
Nearby Augusta is home to the Rosemary Clooney House, once her home and now lovingly maintained with many treasures on display and open to the public. www.rosemaryclooney.org.
Maysville, located in Mason County, is rich with history, from Native Americans, to settlers, and later to slaves seeking freedom on their passage across the Ohio River and there are many buildings, museums and murals where one can learn all about this town’s rich heritage.
We had a great afternoon walking in her footsteps. Thank you Maysville, for our "Girl Singer"!
For a day or a weekend, Maysville is a wonderful place to become immersed in regional history.
For complete information on events, activities, dining and lodging:
Maysville Convention & Visitors Bureau
103 E. Third Street
Maysville, KY 41056