Sunday, April 17, 2016

Cafe and Museum of Colonel Sanders

On our return home to Florida we had plans to visit my sister Linda in Atlanta.  We had no plans to stop for anything on that particular route, but we saw signs directing us off the highway to the Colonel's museum.  We turned off interstate 75 unto the "Dixie Highway"- highway 25 to Corbin, Kentucky.  
At first we were not sure what we were doing there, it was too soon for lunch.  Then we discovered, while wandering through the dining area of the cafe, there was an interesting museum in the building regarding the beginnings of one of America's popular food eateries- Kentucky Fried Chicken. 
Pictured above is the old gentleman himself, Colonel Sanders, done by his daughter Margaret Sanders.  As we learned at the museum, his was an interesting life story.  He dropped out of the seventh grade (eventually did attend law school), and over his lifetime was a soldier, ferry boat captain, insurance salesman, railroad laborer, and tire salesman.  In 1930 he bought a gas station across from the present-day cafe, and began pumping gas.  Because of the Great Depression that was not bringing in enough money so he began selling food as well as gas.  In 1930 he built a restaurant and a motel near the present site of the cafe. 
The motel and restaurant burned, but some of the kitchen was restored and rebuilt as it was back in 1932.  While working in this kitchen Colonel Sanders perfected his recipe for fried chicken at the age of 66 years.  In the picture below is one of his barrels of the spices.  The Colonel had removed the label which could reveal any information regarding contents, manufacturer, or location from which it was shipped.
  Interestingly enough, it was his country ham that was at first most popular with his customers.  A reproduction of his cafe is pictured below.  Hutch, chairs and tables are the originals.  A breakfast of ham, biscuits, gravy, grits and eggs cost $1.70.  In the museum is also a replica of one of his motel rooms.
After the motel and restaurant burned the Colonel began traveling America and selling his recipe for fried chicken.  His first franchise of Kentucky Fried Chicken started in Salt Lake City in 1952.
In 1964 Colonel Sanders sold his company for 2 million dollars.  That sale was noted on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.  A large fish bowl containing that amount of cash represented the sale of the company. Later the Colonel became a goodwill ambassador and symbol for KFC.
By the time we had toured the museum the smell of fried chicken was getting through to us, and we returned to the cafe for lunch. 

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