Airdrie- A Mile Below Paradise

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The following is an interview with Lisa about the novel: 

Q: How did you find out about the lost city?

A: When I was a little girl, my youth group went out for an outting in the woods close to where I lived. When we happened upon a mysterious staircase cascading down a hill and the old stone strucures, my imagination went wild. Nothing I learned about the place was true really, so later, when I became a writer I researched "Ole Airdrie's" history.

Q: Have you been back since you were a little girl?

A: The property is privately owned. No. Do I want to? Yes. I have sailed by it on the Green River and tried to peep through the trees to see it, but I usually can only see the three story stone building and a little of the staircase, I think.

Q: How much of the story is fiction?airdrieBuellbw

A: All of the treasure hunter characters are fiction. The treasure they are looking for was actually real and how I would love to find one of those gems. Every time I go to an antique store, I look for the "treasure." There are records that indicate the "treasure" I wrote about survived until at least 1906. All of the history is true as far as dates and how Airdrie was erected. I did take some license with the story line characters. For example, in order to get the historical account as accurate as possible, I studied names of Airdrie's citizens in record books and built my characters around their real lives. If I saw that two teenagers came over on the boat and then were later recorded as married in the census, I built that into my novel.

Q: How long did it take to write the book?

A: I don't remember. However, the research took years. Bobby Anderson's book on Airdrie helped tremendously...I have one new copy he gave me and one worn out copy.

Q: Who is your favorite character?

A: Easy. Archie Pollock. After I had written the book...but before it went to print, I tracked down Archie's REAL great, great, great, great grandson. (I'm not sure on how many greats...I think there are six descendants with the name Archie.) When I met Mr. Pollock, it was like meeting a movie star to me. 

Q: Who is the man in the kilt who did the book signings with you?

A: Archie Pollock. What fun it was to have a real descendant of Airdrie signing books along with me and Amy. (Amy was the photographer.) Archie also gave me the photo I used on the back of the book of his grandmother...who later married the Archie in the book.

Q: How has the book been received?

Airdrie Bellefontaine BWA: I'm amazed at how well the Muhlenberg Countians and others have enjoyed my story of the lost city

Q: Have you met any other descendants since the book was released?

A: Yes! There are sisters who operate Ms. Janey's Tea House in Sacramento who are descendants of Archie Pollock's brother. I've signed books for several descendants from other states including New York, Indianna, Florida and more.

Q: What did you do to research for the book?

A: First, I poured over the books written by Bobby Anderson and Otto Roberts. There are newspaper articles and personal accounts. Many of the personal accounts have fokelore that wasn't exactly accurate. My research took me to Ohio County and Greenville grave markers, to St. Louis to Bellefontaine Cemetary, and to Frankfort for public records. I also spoke with a lot of Muhlenberg Countians, Hopkins, Countians and others who spent time at Airdrie in their youth. (Some of their accounts are written at the end of the novel.)

The following are other photographs Lisa collected while doing her research for A Mile Below Paradise, Lost City of Airdrie

 AirdrieMasonGrave  In the novel, you will read about General George Mason. During Lisa's research, she visited his grave and hopefully, you can see the detail in this grave marker. You can read about the fascinating details in the novel, A Mile Below Paradise.
AmeliaWelby1819-1852 of poemsbyAmelia In the novel, Lisa talks about poetry by Ameila and this is a photograph of her. It is recorded that her work was read as Lisa writes about on the boat while travling on the Green River.
 460px-Simon Bolivar Buckner Sr  This is a photograph of Simon Bolivar Buckner. For those who have read the novel, this should be an interesting photograph for you to put with the face of the novel's character.
 Amy II  Amy Hourigan is the photographer who captured the photographs for the novel's cover. Here she is opening up the package and seeing her work on the book for the first time.
 1992 Airdrie Staircase

 This is what the famous Airdrie staircase looked like in 1992. Thank you to A.D. Pollock for this photograph.

Lisa describes in the book how these steps were places as well as their size and purpose.

Nov1992 Pollocks at Airdrie

1992. The Pollocks are shown visiting "Ole Airdrie." They are standing on the land that is the reason their forefathers became citizens of the United States of America.

AD and Clara Pollock in Kilt

A.D. and Clara Pollock. The Pollock's continue to be proud descendants of Scotland. After reading the novel, A.D. said, "Lisa, I do not know how you did it, but you captured the character of what I know of my grandfather, Archie Pollock."  Many of the Mile Below Paradise novels are signed by Lisa and by Mr. Pollock.

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These relics from Airdrie's General Buell are on display at the Duncan Cultural Museum and Art Center in Greenville, Kentucky.

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A.D. at a book signing at the Duncan Cultural Center with Lisa Piper.

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 After reading the novel, you may wonder what Robert Aicheson Alexander looked like. When Lisa was in Frankfort going through a museum, she happened upon his portrait. Here is a photo of the picture of Airdrie's founder.

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 General Buel's private park and residence at Airdrie.

 buell residence 7 years before fire

 As the photograph notes, this is what was known as the Buell Masion seven years before it burned down. There are no remains today of this home on the Airdrie land.

 major-general-buell

 General Buell. In A Mile Below Paradise, Lisa gives a lot of insightful information about the man and his family. The family and Buell are buried in St. Louis.

GilmourGeneralStore1916

Gilmour General Store in 1916. After reading the novel, you will want to take a look again at this photograph.

GilmoreFamily1911

Gilmore family 1911. Again, an interesting photograph after reading the novel.

 1900ruinsAirdrieFrameHouses

 1900 ruins of Airdrie frame houses.

 airdire in color photo

Three story stone house. It has the inscription of 1855 at the top.

 AirdrieStoneSteps

 An undated old photograph of Airdrie's incredible staircase.

Airdries McLean Mine Bank

Undated photograph of McLean Mine Bank entrance.

Airdrie Hotel Remains

Airdrie hotel remains. Undated photograph. No remains can be seen today.

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Inside the ruins.

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 Airdrie Remains from 2010.