Oral History Interview with Paul Hadley Part III

Kentucky Historical Society


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0:34 - His Assistant / Process of finding craftsmen to market / Using crafts to accelerate economic growth

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Keywords: craftsmen; hotels; marketing; State Parks; Susan Black

7:43 - Spreading the influence and quality of craft

16:37 - KY Guild Art Fair / Craftsmen and women living in Berea

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Keywords: Berea; Berea College; Churchill Weavers; Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen; Lila Bellando

20:54 - KY Guild train

25:56 - KY Guild should keep close connection with Chamber of Commerce / Mass production vs. handcrafting

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Keywords: art fairs; art festivals; Chamber of Commerce; Marketing; State Park

32:48 - Hand crafting wooden ships

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Keywords: Kentucky Guild of Artists ad Craftsmen; KY Guild; ship models; wood


HADLEY: Jumper trainer. She trained jumpers. And could handle even stallions. This gal was - I would say if she was pressing metal she could press one hundred twenty pounds easy. She was strong, physically strong.

WILLIHNGANZ: what time do you have to be at the airport?

HADLEY: 1 o’clock

WILLIHNGANZ: Oh, then we’ve got lots of time

HADLEY: Well, I got to be there by 1:00Susan was an attractive girl, extremely attractive. As a, physically she was without par, I mean she was, God really endowed that lady with all the feminine charm you could ask for. But there was a certain kind of toughness about her, that uh, which is needed if you are going to handle horses, you have to be nasty if you have to be, see. And Susan, uh, they told me, Susan had been employed specifically to be my assistant and I was not to pick up a bag or to pick up anything heavy, that Susan would handle it for me. That is literally what they told me and that she knows that that is her job so don’t you try to even pick something up. You just say Susan, this is one of the things I need you to take and she would carry it. I felt silly as hell, here I am walking down the hall and here is this gal carrying two suitcases or whatever, hers and mine. Of course, she went with me, everywhere I went, she went with me and when we got to a motel, she got her room and I got my room, you know. And, uh, she was a pleasant person to talk to, she was really very pleasant to talk to and everything. But God did not make her beautiful, he made her attractive and she had freckles and her voice was not typically feminine as you think of it in the south. But she had a beautiful accent. I certainly wasn’t embarrassed by her in any way, but she is not my gal, not my kind of gal, but man, she made it clear she knew what her job was and she was going to do it. And I found she had a good head on her shoulder and I found that I was consulting with her and I planned with her and everything else. And we became really good friends, really good friends. And um, Susan. When I left the company, when I left the organization, I didn’t worry a bit about the organization because I knew Susan could do it. She had been with me, she knew all the people.

We lucked out. I don’t know how we did it, but somehow or other in every community; I had a little pitch I made when I went into a community. I would ask the mayor or if there was a Chamber of Commerce, the Chamber of Commerce Executive, to set up a meeting with the business community. And I would go in there and I’d say we are seeking individuals in your area who have skills and talents that could be marketed and could be considered handcrafts or art, and we want to market their products for them. And the state doesn’t get anything for it and I’m paid by the state to find them and locate them and arrange for them to deliver their products to where they are to be delivered. And I said, your community is now included within the Department of Commerce’s sphere of influence, and I’m going to talk to you about making your community grow. If you have any interest in growth, listen to me. If you don’t want to see growth, go on home, you’re wasting your time. And then my pitch was generally, any community can do anything it wants to do if it wants to do it bad enough. I said, ‘I’ve been in one community after another where they have surprisingly been able to do anything they needed to do’. The purpose was to get them to become entrepreneurs using what the state had invested in that area as the beginning point. We started with all the communities that were near our state parks. I said, have you ever really thought about those state parks as a source of great income to you. Well, no, we got a few people in here for that. I said, ‘That’s the problem’. What is the problem with those state parks that they don’t have more people coming here? Well, we have lots of people who come here. Yeah, but what happens to them. Well, they go home. They come and they’re here for a day and go fishing or swimming or whatever they do and they go home. Why do they go home? Why don’t they stay for a while? Well, the park has only got 10 rooms in the motel -- in the hotel there. We did have rooms in the hotel, see, but we always limited it. We made them first class, but they were limited. What we wanted was people to build motels immediately adjacent to the park. There was a place to put them, see, so that people would have a place to stay. Because the first thing you have to have when you’re going to sell somebody up north on a community is a place to stay and eat well and sleep well. If you haven’t got that, you’re not going to get them. It’s that simple, see. So we’re using the crafts, you see, to introduce the community to the concept of the necessity of the community doing something to lift itself by its own bootstraps. The state will help you. If you need a road in here, we’ll put it in for you, but you’ve got to have a reason for it, see. You’ve got to have a business that will bring cash money into the community. When I left there, if they didn’t have a chamber, I formed a Chamber of Commerce for them or if not, a development corporation or if they didn’t have that, a motel or a -- we had one for Harlan. I don’t think it ever got off the ground because I left too soon. It takes them [inaudible] but I convinced them that we needed to build -- make Harlan the coal capital of the world where there is a mine you could go into and ride through in a comfortable car and protected and everything and see how they mined it, what they looked like inside, and maybe even watch people work. Well, we had dreams, see. And I said, well, is there a mine here that’s all mined out that’s really pretty big. Yeah, and they took me to it, and it was big. I mean, you could drive a car through the thing.

WILLIHNGANZ: One second. I need to change my tape.

HADLEY: Already?

WILLIHNGANZ: Something happened with this tape.

HADLEY: Oh, okay.

WILLIHNGANZ: Okay. So, go ahead.

HADLEY: Where was I? I’ve forgotten now.

WILLIHNGANZ: You were talking about --

HADLEY: Well, wait a minute. Wait a minute. I’ve got a problem I’ve got to attend to.

WILLIHNGANZ: Oh, okay. So we were talking a little bit about the coal. I wasn’t sure how we got there --

HADLEY: Oh, the coal mountain.

WILLIHNGANZ: -- and all that, but what we really are getting toward is what the history of the guild has been --


WILLIHNGANZ: -- in terms of --

HADLEY: I’ll get it back to that.

WILLIHNGANZ: -- yeah. That’s where we’re going. Okay.

HADLEY: Mm-hmm. Well, the result was in my persuasion of those -- trying to persuade those people to do something there, we came up with this idea of a motel on top of that mountain and coal exhibit of all kinds of mining machinery around it and what have you, a nice swimming pool, and a better airport because the airport there was -- man, you had to be a good pilot to get in and out of that airport. So anybody who flies, the downwind leg is -- was -- you don’t see -- you can’t see the airport and when you get to the crosswind where you make your turn to line up with the runway then you turn around again and land because when you’re going downwind, you’re going right past it paralleling the airport. Then you go back across and then you come in to land for your landing approach. Well, you can’t see the airport on the downwind leg at all, you can’t see it on the crosswind at the bottom, and you can’t see it on the final approach until you go over the top of a little hill. The minute you go over the top of the hill, there’s the airport, and it extends out I think probably 1500 feet. And at the far end of the airport, about 150 feet off the end of the runway is mountain wall straight up, and there’s a creek that goes in there and turns around, there’s a mountain on this side, a mountain on this side, and a mountain at the other end because the creek, you know, runs around through there. So when you’re landing, you have to know that it’s there, and you have to realize, look, what I do is I’m going to go pass over that hill ahead of it, about 10 feet about it, my wheels 10 feet above it, because I know right after it I’m going to have to set that thing down as soon as I can to get it down. So you just almost [inaudible] you come into that last part of the landing. That was the airport. Now they’ve got it up on top of the mountain where it belongs so it’s a little bit like landing on a carrier. There’s nothing at the end. When you come off the end, that’s the end and when you get off that end, there’s nothing at that end either, so you better make it, but it’s long enough so it’s safe. Well, of course, I love to fly and I had a license, and I flew several places when I was up there, sometimes in my -- in an airplane that I rented or the state’s airplane. When I flew the state’s airplane, there was a pilot with me, of course, a guy who was paid to do it, but that was -- I mean, I lived pretty well [inaudible.] Who else flew for the state in a state aircraft, but I could do that. And I drove a Cadillac Fleetwood, silk upholstery. Now, why? Well, for two reasons. One, I knew where I was going; the car would leave some kind of impression. And I wanted to leave the impression that handcrafts were a very successful business. So I drove the best, one of the best. Lincolns were just as good, but I just drove that. Of course, that helped my ego tremendously, too. And I think it did -- I think it helped -- it opens some doors I think might not have opened to me because they knew my background, see, when they announced my appointment, they announce at the appointment that I had been Vice President and General Manager of the Churchill Weavers, so it was a handcrafter of the highest order, et cetera, et cetera, you know. And of course it drove my mother-in-law nuts, the poor dear. We used the handcrafts as a means of convincing -- ultimately convincing northerners. We’d take, literally, the people who went north to talk to industrialists; they’d take some handcrafts along with them to show them the quality of the work that was done by the handcrafters in Kentucky. And it was to help to overcome that idea that they didn’t know how to work and wouldn’t work and certainly had no imaginations. And I don’t know what all they took, but I know they had some various kinds of things that they would take, small things they could put in a suitcase. They wore Churchill ties, for example. I know several of them had rings that came out of the mountains, you know, that were made for them. A couple of them -- there was one guy up in the mountains who made little dioramas of coalmining, two pieces of wood with a block across the back and then he’d put a hunk of coal in there and he’d carve a little figure in there digging coal out of it in the little cart, just little things, you know. I think we got 25 bucks for those and as fast as they’d show on the shelf, they wouldn’t be there long, they’d be gone.


HADLEY: And then we had a gal, who did horses, oh, she did beautiful horses. She worked for the college, and we got her to let us have some of her stuff and she taught a couple of people how to do it, so we were able to get [inaudible] horses and put some of them in -- some of the gift shops had them.

WILLIHNGANZ: One of the questions I had was what was the relationship between Berea College and the guild?

HADLEY: Berea College provided office space in one of their buildings. They owned a commercial building next to the Boone Tavern. I believe it was up over those -- the officers where one of those officers up over one on the grocery store, perhaps. I’m not sure because I don’t know, but the college was always -- they had their own hand -- I mean, I would say probably as high as 35 or 40 percent of their students -- you see, Berea College doesn’t charge any tuition, no room or board. You work your way through school there. And so they manned the hotel, they manned the dining rooms, they manned the farm, they manned all the handcraft industries, the printing plan, the newspaper; they own all of that stuff. The power plant, the water plant, all of those belonged to the college, and students are used extensively, every one. Every student works a certain number of hours every week. And so they have a gift shop, probably one of the finest in the state, and almost everything -- I think everything in it is -- maybe they have some Churchill stuff there, I’m not sure, because Bellando ran that part of the thing for the college. When he -- he left for two years to work for the college. And while he was working for the college, of course, he -- I’m sure he tried to get some of our product in there somewhere. But anyhow, we didn’t sell anything to them because we were -- they were very -- we were real competitors. We kept our prices low because of it because we were working against labor that was earning their way through college. The college is very richly endowed so that they don’t have to worry about money and the students can work there and do so without straining anything. It doesn’t pay exceptional salaries, but it does pay well and they provide housing for their props and so forth. It’s a well run institution and educationally, I guess it’s as good as any college in the country.

WILLIHNGANZ: It’s very [inaudible.]

HADLEY: So that’s how they got involved, but the president of the college and the controller or comptroller or whatever his title was were very sympathetic to what we were doing and they recognized that -- they were very loyal and participated in the thing. We used their amphitheater, for example, the college amphitheater, which was a huge thing. We could sit something like 1,500 people up there. We used that for -- and it had stages, you know, plus structures for the lights and all that sort of thing that they could use for sheds to hang to put crafts and that’s where -- very often they used that for the annual fair, handcrafts fair.

WILLIHNGANZ: When did they do that?

HADLEY: Way back.

WILLIHNGANZ: The accounts and I’ve talked to a couple people who were at the first of the fairs that they did, and they did this in a park outdoors somewhere around Berea, I believe.

HADLEY: Well, I think the park they’re talking about is the amphitheater. See, there’s a big parking lot right there for it and everything.

WILLIHNGANZ: There wasn’t a parking lot and there was -- you walked through trails to get to this place.

HADLEY: That’s the amphitheater.

WILLIHNGANZ: That’s the amphitheater.

HADLEY: That’s the amphitheater.

WILLIHNGANZ: But there was no overhead cover?

HADLEY: No. There was no cover over it.

WILLIHNGANZ: It was just open.

HADLEY: Open, you bet.

WILLIHNGANZ: Yeah, because it rained [inaudible.]

HADLEY: Yeah. It’s just a regular amphitheater, outdoor amphitheater.

WILLIHNGANZ: I see, hmm, interesting. Okay.

HADLEY: But that’s how it happened, see. So they were very much involved with it. And I don’t think it could’ve continued if it hadn’t. Now the other interesting thing that happened, though, as a result of them being there in Berea is a lot of the craftsmen moved to Berea and there isn’t an empty store in the town now. It’s all handcrafters.


HADLEY: See. So it did do that. Now here sits the Churchill building empty and nobody’s doing anything with it. And Lila and I are both in accord on this. We hope that the college will take it over and use the building as a center for handcrafters and handcraft training because it’s a perfect building for that. That’s what it was. Plus it has the water protection, air conditioning, and everything else.

WILLIHNGANZ: That makes good sense. I hope you’re right.

HADLEY: I hope so too. But, we’ll see. I mean, the Bellando’s did a beautiful job. I mean, they really did. I have nothing but admiration and respect for both of them. But I think if the company that bought the business from them had left them alone and just let them run it, it would still be there, but they started meddling in the management of it and the first thing you know, they couldn’t meet -- their investors had no interest in whatsoever, no interest in Berea itself, no interest in the fact that it was an industry that was worthy of trying to save one way or another. I mean, they thought enough of Berea that the state built that magnificent handcraft center there right at Berea. Have you ever seen it?

WILLIHNGANZ: I have not, I’m sorry to say.

HADLEY: Well, listen, if you’re going to make your story complete, you’ve got to get that.

WILLIHNGANZ: Yeah. I’ve got to get that. There are a whole series of things I need to do.

HADLEY: And I’m sure the museum would let you take a photograph of the interior of that storeroom where they’ve got all that stuff stored for the Churchill Weavers, which is unbelievable. I mean, once -- what do they call those things; you know the flats they pile stuff on to ship?


HADLEY: Shipping --

WILLIHNGANZ: Yeah. They call them -- what do they call them.

HADLEY: Crates -- no. I want to call them skids, but whatever they are, they’ve got -- I guess they must have at least 30 or --


HADLEY: Pallets, that’s it, Pallets. I think they must have 20 or 30 or 40 of them maybe even.


HADLEY: I don’t know how many. I didn’t count them, but -- and they’re stacked high. They’re not just -- most of it is stacked high. You have to see that museum’s interior behind the scenes stuff if you can because --


HADLEY: -- that is -- they’ve got a preparation room that’s better than the Smithsonian Institute’s.


HADLEY: It is unbelievable, all stainless steel cabinets, vacuum systems, and everything else. I mean, it is something to see.


HADLEY: And it’s -- the gal that worked for the Smithsonian tells us, it’s better than what we had there.


HADLEY: And it’s right here in Frankfort.


HADLEY: Well, what else can I tell you about that? I do know that the association has done very well without me. In fact, they’ve done better than I expected. And I don’t know when they closed our shop, but I assume it closed because the state didn’t continue to support it. I think the state helped us -- in fact, I’m sure the state helped us actually by paying the people who worked there, put them on state payroll.

WILLIHNGANZ: Now, which shop are you speaking of?

HADLEY: The one out there in St. Matthews.

WILLIHNGANZ: Okay. Yeah. There were a number of things that happened here, it seems to me, where different things got closed down like the train got closed down after about --

HADLEY: That was the third governor, whoever the third governor was. Bert Combs and what was his name?

WILLIHNGANZ: Hmm. I’m trying to think.

HADLEY: He was his assistant.

WILLIHNGANZ: Phyllis George was involved. Was she…

HADLEY: Phyllis George, did she own the TV station?


HADLEY: Yeah. Well, she followed in the Department of Commerce. She was Department of Commerce.


HADLEY: And she worked in that second administration and she was very much sold on it.


HADLEY: And it is probably a good thing that Susan took over because Susan understood her better than I did. She was very abrasive with me. Of course, I wasn’t working for her then, but even so, she was abrasive. I went to California with her one time; a whole bunch of us went out there for the department of commerce. I was working for the barge line. The barge line sent me. I went out there for economic development. We called on businesses. That’s how you do it. You take a bunch of your local business people representing the best businesses you got and go up there and then we all brag about what a great place Kentucky is to bring your business and so forth, try to get them started on it. I can’t remember -- anyhow, that’s what happened. But why they dropped the guild train, I don’t know. I presume it was because the L & N was beginning to feel like maybe we ought to be charging for this or something. I’m not sure what it was, but whatever it is, they decided they couldn’t afford it anymore. It was fairly expensive and then we had to pay that guy who was on it, you know, and it cost money to have a person who was totally devoted to doing nothing but scheduling it, and then we had a troubleshooter that we could send out there if necessary to relieve him or one thing and another. So it was fairly expensive to maintain it and manpower, but everywhere it went, it was welcome. Boy, we got -- the local press just couldn’t stop praising the state for having the imagination to bring this kind of quality to our community. A little mountain community with a one-room school got us. I mean, it was -- it was a marvelous program.

WILLIHNGANZ: Do you know if his train and that the program that the Guild basically did encouraged local craftspeople to actually produce any crafts?

HADLEY: Yes, almost inevitably. That was the other part of it. It was a very important part of it. He was to keep his eyes open for people who would show up, no matter what they looked like, and show an interest in something, you know, one of the crafts, and get his name and everything and make sure he didn’t know or if he could do something, encourage him to make it and send it to us and we would certainly pay him for it and what have you. I told him it had to sell, had to sell it to the state park. It had to be good enough to go into the state park [inaudible] anything if they think it’s good enough to go there, but obviously it goes past that filter we had. So she was marvelous. She really was. We could blame everything on her and she took the blame, bless her heart. People actually came to Frankfort and wanted to see the governor because their craft didn’t go into the parks and we want to know why. The governor would say, see Joan, she’s the one, she’s totally in charge. And she’d look them right straight in the eye and she’d said, look, dear, you’re very good, but you need to be better. And then she’d tell them, if you want to know how to improve this, I’ll tell you what you need to do to make it so I can sell it, that simple. We’re not going to take it just because you made it. We’re going to take it because we can sell it, that way we can keep our money and continue to roll it over. The taxpayers aren’t going to buy this for you just because you want them to. I mean, she was good.

WILLIHNGANZ: Were there other organizations that were working with craftspeople in the state or did those develop later on?

HADLEY: If there are, they probably grew out of it. My guess would be that somebody went to a meeting one time and said, you know, we ought to have one of those locally here. We got enough of us.


HADLEY: But you see, the thing that the -- the craft itself, the craft guild itself, the important factor that they need to do it, if I were asked to say what do we need to improve our operations here, I’d say, the one thing you need to do is to better establish yourselves with the state department of commerce. If they don’t have an arts and crafts division anymore, it’s your fault.


HADLEY: You should be there. If you’re not selling to the state parks, it’s because your quality or your delivery hasn’t been good or your prices have gone too high. You’ve got to reexamine that. Work on figuring out ways and means to meet the market. If you want to sell something and if you want to make your living at something, you better find out what the market can do. The state can tell you quicker than anybody else, they’ve got so many outlets. Work with them. Get the -- if it was me, I’d put the -- I’d try to persuade the gal who’s doing the buying on the board of directors or on the committee of the judges. You want to find out what you need to do, that’s the way to find out. If not, certainly bring her on an advisory committee and let her be the committee of one. If you let her look at the products and make the determinations, you’re going to have marketable products, period. Doesn’t that make sense?

WILLIHNGANZ: Oh, it makes perfect sense to me, yeah. One of my concerns about the craft area --yeah, tell me if you think we need to [inaudible] through it.

HADLEY: Well, how long until you get out to the airport. I’ve got to be there at 2:00WILLIHNGANZ: I’m telling you I can get you there at 3:00if we leave here at 11 o’clock.

HADLEY: And that’s just -- how many minutes from now?

WILLIHNGANZ: Half an hour.

HADLEY: Half an hour from now.

WILLIHNGANZ: We’ve got a half an hour from now. And I don’t know how much packing or whatever you have to do.

HADLEY: Well, I’m pretty well packed.


HADLEY: I hope.

WILLIHNGANZ: Yeah. If we leave here at 11 o’clock, we’ll be at the airport by



WILLIHNGANZ: But one of the things that I’ve been aware of as we do this is you have a natural conflict between individual craftsman who make an artifact, an art item, that’s --

HADLEY: That’s an artist.

WILLIHNGANZ: Right, an artist, and manufacturing. And different levels make different parts --

HADLEY: Right.

WILLIHNGANZ: -- just as you learned at Churchill Weavers how to speed up the process and make it faster and more efficient but still make it handmade, they’re doing the same things at the potteries. You look at Louisville Stoneware, for instance, and I had the opportunity to work with one of their managers who was there for like 25 years, who told me about the progressions that they went through and the things that they did to try and basically mass produce, but in a handmade way.

HADLEY: Well, there’s Hadley Pottery here.

WILLIHNGANZ: Yeah. Hadley Pottery does the same thing. And any of those, there’s always that conflict between individual artisan crafts and the needs of a mass-produced society, the number of products that have to be made.

HADLEY: Well, you see, here’s the point. The state park system is not likely to sell an item that’s worth $200 because their buyers are not there -- they’re looking for things they can take home or use, not works of art, but there is a place for those things. And here’s what I was going to suggest, if you want some suggestions. I suggest that they get a creative marketing committee with people who understand and marketing. If they don’t, then don’t put them on the committee because you’ve got to have some real hard thinking. For example, I would think that one of the ways we could do a lot with our handcrafts, especially those artistic things you’re talking about, is to have a couple of annual art festivals. Get the state to support the art festival by promoting it and have it at the museum and have the stuff in the backyard or maybe have some stuff inside displayed, a couple of them a year. If it’s going to be a historical society, they can be involved in the arts and crafts by getting to use those magnificent facilities.

WILLIHNGANZ: Yeah. Now one of my concerns personally is just that so many of the art fairs here, like the St. James art fair, have very few Kentucky artists because they can’t compete at the level that art fair is selling products, so they bring in people from all over the country to sell wildly expensive artworks.

HADLEY: That’s because that’s strictly for money. What we’re [inaudible] here, we’re talking about encouraging individual production, which can lead to things that may become production. What I would do is I would have a Kentucky Artists and Craftsman’s fair or Kentucky artists that are sponsored by Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen in Louisville, up there across from Cincinnati, maybe out at the other end of the state and down at Paducah and -- I don’t know, what’s the biggest southern state -- I mean southern city. I suppose the current Sanders home city, what’s the name of that?

WILLIHNGANZ: I’m not sure. Just --

HADLEY: It’s south of Berea.

WILLIHNGANZ: Yeah. Harlan is down there, isn’t it?

HADLEY: Harlan. That’s it, Harlan. That’s it, Harlan. In other words, locate them geographically to encourage local, see.


HADLEY: And your first year, it may do nothing.


HADLEY: And if it doesn’t create any interest enough to sustain itself, then I would approach churches in the state. Now, we’ve got some pretty strong churches here and I would approach them on the basis of, we have people who are creative who can just as well create for God as they can create for anybody else, and what we’d like you to be is a sponsor locally of a fair put on by -- let them arrange it, where it is, provide all the promotion and everything else for it and just have the guild itself, if you’ve got a good director that can do these kinds of things, that would be great. I mean, if Bellando was still there, he could do it. I know he could. And if I were there, I’d sure do it. But, you know, you’ve got to think creatively. Where can we get sponsors who can provide us with a space, provide us with the facilities, put volunteers to help us put the things in here, and let us have our part of the cost of the thing here when we sell the item and we give them something -- give them the bonus part of it, the sales? They’d have money raisers, outright money raisers for the church.

WILLIHNGANZ: Now you haven’t actually been involved in the guild since the 60s --


WILLIHNGANZ: -- is that right?




WILLIHNGANZ: You’ve been pretty much doing your own thing. Do you market your current …?

HADLEY: No. It takes me a year to build one. How do you market something that takes you a year to build?

WILLIHNGANZ: [Inaudible] contribute it to the museums or --

HADLEY: Yeah. They’re all in museums, 107 of them -- 106 of them.

WILLIHNGANZ: You’ve made 107 of them?

HADLEY: Well, 106 of them, less --

WILLIHNGANZ: Well, then you must be going faster than one a year.

HADLEY: Oh, I’ve done them since 1917 -- I mean 19 -- since I was 17, 1937. I’ve been building them since 1937.


HADLEY: Yeah. I’ve got two in Mystic.


HADLEY: And I’ve got -- let’s see what do we have here locally. I guess I don’t have any in Kentucky, but scattered all over Minnesota, of course. Well, my daughter has one up in the mountains. I made her one way, way, way back when she was, oh gosh, when she was just a young girl. It’s just what I do for fun, you know. And they take a long time, not because of the hours it takes; it does take quite a bit of time. You’ve built one. You know it does take time.

WILLIHNGANZ: Well, I haven’t finished it yet. I mean, I built plastic models and stuff, but this is the first time I’ve actually tried to work in wood.

HADLEY: Oh, it’s fun to work with.

WILLIHNGANZ: Yeah. I like wood.

HADLEY: Because the kits supply you stuff that will do what you want it to do.


HADLEY: If you’ve got a good bender -- do you got a bender?

WILLIHNGANZ: I don’t have a bender. I have a small vice and [inaudible.]

HADLEY: Well, there’s -- let me give you a clue. You can -- if you steam it --

WILLIHNGANZ: Mm-hmm. Right.

HADLEY: -- just steam it and then have a form that you want it to fit, make something out of plastic or plywood --


HADLEY: -- that you can bend it around and put clamps on.

WILLIHNGANZ: And clamp it that way.

HADLEY: The most important things to have are clamps, all kinds of clamps. I bet I’ve got 300 of these pinch clamps, little 2-inch pinch clamps, and I’ve got these little slider clamps that you do this on to squeeze them up.


HADLEY: I’ve got, oh probably 50 of them, and I mean, all together, I’ve got about 500 clamps of various sizes in volume, so I can clamp anything from yea big down. And I might use that biggest one; I’ve only used it twice in 30 years.


HADLEY: But at those times, that’s exactly what I needed. Because I could lay that along side of it and I could squeeze the bow and stern, which I needed to do on a model, a pretty big one. But I try to work in 1/8th inch as much as I can because there are a lot tools you can -- a lot of things that you can buy that make it so much easier. You can buy parts, you can buy portholes, you can buy anchors, and lights and all these things you need to put on the ship. You know, your kit had to have a lot of little parts in it.

WILLIHNGANZ: Yeah. It does.

HADLEY: Well, there are manufacturers of those things and the model fair -- I’ve forgotten the name of it. Anyway, there’s an outlet that sells that stuff, they have a catalog of it, and they sell you the wood. There’s a bender where you can -- it’s like a metal bender. Its two rolls with a third roll here.


HADLEY: You turn a little crank and put your board through it and put it through it and bends the board just as nice as anything you ever saw.


HADLEY: And you can bend those things with -- you can bend most -- that real thin stuff, you can usually bend it where you want it and just clamp it and glue it and it will stay bent.

WILLIHNGANZ: Have you considered doing a video training?

HADLEY: No. No, I don’t.

WILLIHNGANZ: You know I just did a one-hour video for a guy who raises and grows shitake mushrooms. I went out to his farm. We spent five hours walking around his lumber yard. He drills holes and inoculates the seeds, then seals them with wax and puts them in these [inaudible] and shows how you harvest them and how you grow them and how you keep them.

HADLEY: Mm-hmm.

WILLIHNGANZ: He has a little --

HADLEY: Well, I think that -- I’ve never seen a video of clamping.

WILLIHNGANZ: Well, that’s what I’m wondering. I’m wondering how much of the technology that you’ve learned over the decades that you’ve been doing this is going to die out with you, frankly.

HADLEY: [Laughter.] Yeah. Yeah.

WILLIHNGANZ: Because, you know, the truth is some of these things -- I have a good friend, a very close friend, who is a bookbinder. And he’s been putting his stuff onto video, basically, which he markets then he can sell the training films that he does in terms of how to do bookbinding because it’s a dying art. I mean, a lot of the equipment he owns, you can’t buy. It hasn’t been manufactured for 50 years.

HADLEY: Mm-hmm.

WILLIHNGANZ: I mean bookbinding is all mechanized now. They have huge plants that do it by the thousands and hundreds of thousands of copies --

HADLEY: Nobody will do one at a time.

WILLIHNGANZ: Yeah. He does one book at a time. He does restorations of 300-year-old bibles and those types of things and specific books for artists for writers.

HADLEY: That is a craft.

WILLIHNGANZ: It is. That’s a craft. It’s definitely a craft.

HADLEY: That’s a craft.

WILLIHNGANZ: And so is what you do. You know, the thing with the boat builders, I wonder how many boat builders -- I mean, I know there are a lot of kits out there and all that stuff, but how many people really know what you know about this art.

HADLEY: I’m sure there are lots of them because they sell so much of that stuff that there must be a lot of them.

WILLIHNGANZ: I don’t know. I look at the stuff and I look pretty closely --

HADLEY: Well, for example --

WILLIHNGANZ: -- and very few of the models I have seen for sale in stores or anyplace have any art involved with them. They’re nothing. They’re not even as good as the kits I can buy [inaudible.]

HADLEY: Well, one of the things that’s available to us that boat builders use is planking that’s already glued together for decks.


HADLEY: You can get it 1/16 of an inch, 1/8 of an inch, 1/4 of an inch.

WILLIHNGANZ: Wow. So then you just cut it out and it’s already planked.

HADLEY: You just cut the shape and put it on the deck.


HADLEY: You don’t tell people that because they think, oh, well; you put all those little planks together. Well, you know, it’s not a kit.


HADLEY: It’s from scratch. And that’s all -- you don’t explain how you build them. But in fact, I do a lot of cheating. I’ve learned how to cheat terribly. I mean, it’s -- you learn, for example, when I put the framing in now --


HADLEY: -- I build the frame, the keel --


HADLEY: which is the backbone of it…


HADLEY: -- and I put the ribs on.


HADLEY: And usually it’s bulkheads, not ribs.


HADLEY: And if it is bulkheads, what I do is I put blocks of wood in between them on the keel down at the bottom that are 3/4 of an inch thick and I put it on every one of them, and here’s the reason. If I drill a hole down there through there for the mast, I’ve got some wood to get into.


HADLEY: See, and it will hold it.


HADLEY: And if I want to run a screw down through there to nail something -- to put something on the deck that’s going to stay there. And I no longer make my cabins hollow. I use wood about that thick to make the cabin wall, see.


HADLEY: And I put posts in each corner to strengthen it so they’re strong. Then I drill holes through it for the windows and I use grommets. Do you know what a grommet is?

WILLIHNGANZ: Yeah. Mm-hmm.

HADLEY: I use grommets as portholes.


HADLEY: And I use -- I’ve got a set of punches that you use to punch out leather.


HADLEY: And those I use to punch through plastic -- clear plastic to make the portholes the right size. And I just put a little glue in there and I push that in and the glue dries and you can’t see the glue and there you’ve got a porthole.


HADLEY: See, you learn to do things like that to save time --


HADLEY: -- and save money because, boy, you can put a lot of money into those parts. A porthole, I think, costs -- a really good glass porthole is going to cost you about $4 a piece.


HADLEY: I’d rather something like 4 cents. It’s quite a difference.

WILLIHNGANZ: Yeah. That’s a big difference, all right.

HADLEY: And for doors, I just cut out the door shape and then I frame it on the outside, paint the -- on my riverboats, I paint the boat white, which is standard for all boats, and the frame is painted in black, the support frame on the door itself, then they put a frame around the door and put a small brass tack in the door with a round head on it that looks like a doorknob or if I want to put a handle on it, I can make that out of just a little piece of brass that looks like the shape of a handle and then put a pin through it. I use pins all over the place for nails and for fasteners. They’re marvelous. And if it’s a real fine, thin wood, I drill a hole through it using a pin as the drill. I cut it off at an angle with a pair of sharp electrician’s pliers, see, right up near the head. I’m teaching you some tricks here.

WILLIHNGANZ: Yeah, you are.

HADLEY: And you put it in your drill with the point, the sharp point into the drill, see, and you use that sharp point at the other end to drill holes that you have to go thin wood or to start your nails. And then when you use the nail, you use a tack hammer, a small tack hammer, and tap very gently and you always check it so you don’t bend it. You can drive that thing in and that’s a darn good nail.


HADLEY: And I planked a lot of vessels using that way.


HADLEY: And they also make good standoffs if you want to put a handrail along a wall, you drill a small hole through that with a brass drill, see, and then just put a pin through it and it holds it out away from the wall with a little glue there and you get those pins that are brass so it fits.

WILLIHNGANZ: [Inaudible] brass pins.

HADLEY: Oh, yeah. Well, they’re plate, they’re not brass. They’re steel pins, but they’ve been plated, see.


HADLEY: Well, anything else?

WILLIHNGANZ: Well, probably not.

[End of Interview Part III]