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Photograph from Bremen returned to family

Mary Azeline Gish Stewart stands in front of Graham High School in Muhlenberg County. The photo was found in Reynolds Station, and has been returned to James Stewart.


A photograph from Muhlenberg County found on a farm at Reynolds Station has been returned to the subject’s son in Bremen. The photograph was inside the home of James Stewart, which was destroyed in the Dec. 10-11 storms.

“The photo is of my mother, Mary Azeline Gish Stewart,” Stewart said Monday. “I appreciated seeing and receiving the photo. It is amazing that it travelled that far and stayed in good condition.”

Stewart said the family’s home was destroyed, and they are currently living with relatives. He is currently searching for a home to buy, and the family does not plan to rebuild or return to the property in Bremen.

The tornado that struck the community has been rated as EF-4 by investigators from the National Weather Service. Stewart said in a Facebook post a storm shelter behind the house held nine people and four cats the night of the destructive tornado.

The photograph was found by Steve and Samantha Ray. Steve said the day after the tornadoes ripped through west and central Kentucky, he and Samantha were looking over their 27-acre property from the couple’s side-by-side utility vehicle.

“We were aware there had been debris travelling long distances with the storms, so we were out just to see what might have been there,” Steve said. “We were finding bits of construction debris, small pieces really. Then I noticed something about 50 feet off the trail, and went to see what it was.”

The object was a small black-and-white print of a young woman standing in front of a three-story school building. Steve posted the photo on the Quad State Tornado Found Items Facebook group, and the building was soon identified as the former Graham High School in Muhlenberg County.

Today, that building is the home to The Bard Distillery. It was last used as a school in 2004, when it closed following consolidation of the county’s elementary and middle schools. It was last used as a high school in 1990.

Steve said Monday the photo was identified after being on the Facebook group for more than a week. It has been mailed back to Stewart. Stewart said in a Facebook post that while his mother did not attend the school, she had a sister who lived across the street from the building. His mother had grown up in the Gishton and Bremen communities in the county.

“I would have much rather found the photograph than a $100 bill,” Steve said. “So many people have gone through the trauma of losing family members and their homes, being able to return just one precious photograph is a small gesture, but it could make someone’s day.”


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