Senator Howard H. Baker Jr., who died this week, was a longtime friend of Rugby. As a neighbor in and native of Scott County’s Huntsville (part of Rugby lies in that county), he watched with interest as Historic Rugby worked since 1966 to revive the 1880 village and make it into a historical destination on the Cumberland Plateau. He never hesitated to help. When fires destroyed two of Rugby’s buildings in the 1970s, he helped get utility district water service run to Rugby so a volunteer fire department could be organized. When truck traffic became a problem, he supported the rerouting of state Highway 52 that came to completion just last December. When dignitaries from Washington came to visit him, he invariably brought them to Rugby for a tour and sometimes a meal at the Harrow Road Café. His legacy includes development of the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, bringing preservation to 125,000 acres from Rugby’s streams north into Kentucky. When a national publication once asked for his favorite spot to visit, he couldn’t resist naming Rugby. He donated enlargements of two of his photographs of Rugby scenes that hang today in the Harrow Road Café. In short, Senator Baker was one of the best neighbors Rugby ever had. He will certainly be missed, but he will also remain long in the memory of all of us as a tireless booster of his whole beloved Cumberland Plateau region.
Senator Howard Baker (pictured third from top at left ) often visited the Harrow Road Cafe with family and friends. Photos he took of Rugby’s historic buildings over the years hang in the Cafe today. Tomilee Swain and her husband, Bill Swain, are pictured at the top right of photo.
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