With Wendover Complex, group looks to turn past into the future in Leslie County

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UPDATE POSTED 12 P.M. FRIDAY, JULY 2, 2021

HYDEN, Ky. (WTVQ) – Since it was built in 1925, Mary Breckinridge’s home at Wendover has stood as a monument to philanthropy and perseverance.

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Mrs. Breckinridge came to Leslie County, Kentucky with the goal of bringing modern medicine to the mountains and through her work, countless lives were improved

Leslie County Betterment is honored to be afforded the opportunity to preserve and expand the legacy this complex represents and share this impactful message with generations to come.

To accomplish this, LCB has formed the Wendover Preservation Council, a committee of local leaders and experts, who will guide Wendover to a bright and successful future. Members include Joel Brashear (Chair), Yalanda Scalf (Vice-Chair), Frank Baker II (Treasurer), Kiristen Webb (Secretary), Amy Pennington Brudnicki & Leroy Lewis.

The Council is aware of the onerous task ahead but are anxious to start on this amazing endeavor.

The first task of the Council is to procure funding for the facility. Through a partnership with the Leslie County Community Foundation, a campaign fund has been established where all donations will go directly to the preservation and operations of Wendover. Gifts can be made online at http://bit.ly/LCCFWendover or mailed to PO Box 948 Hyden, KY 41749 c/o Frank Baker.

Other funding opportunities and events are being pursued and will be announced soon.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for all of Leslie County, as well as a huge responsibility. This facility houses an amazing legacy and invaluable resources that our community can both enjoy and bolster for generations to come,” says Council Chair Joel Brashear.

Future plans for the facility are still being developed. In the coming months, the Council plans to hire a Founding Director, who will act as the guiding force behind the facility.

“Finding the right person with the correct skillset is vital to the success of this project. But we also need someone who is passionate about the story and the legacy of this place. It is more important to find the right person than to find someone quickly,” Brashear says.

Lodging, historically-based programming, event planning, food service, and adventure tourism are just some of the areas being discussed for Wendover.

With the centennial anniversary of Mary Breckinridge’s home approaching, The Wendover Preservation Council appreciates the impact this donation has on the local community. “Mrs. Breckinridge was committed to increasing the quality of life for the citizens of this region and we hope to continue that legacy with this facility,” says Brashear.

ORIGINAL STORY POSTED WEDNESDAY, JUNE 30, 2021

VERSAILLES, Ky. (WTVQ) – Frontier Nursing University announced Wednesday Leslie County Betterment, Inc., has accepted the university’s offer to donate the Wendover Bed & Breakfast and Retreat Center to them for the benefit of the people of Leslie County.

The gift includes all the property and buildings that make up the Wendover Bed & Breakfast and Retreat Center.

The total value of the donation is estimated at just under $2 million. The transfer of the property was completed June 30, 2021.

The decision to donate the property was made by the FNU Board of Directors at its meeting on April 29, 2021.

The property was the home of Mary Breckinridge and the Frontier Nursing Service. The centerpiece is the “Big House”, which was built in 1925 and is a National Historic Landmark.

“While we are sad to say goodbye to such a significant part of our history, we are extremely happy that the residents of Leslie County will be able to continue to enjoy the beauty of Wendover,” FNU President Dr. Susan Stone said. “We are thankful for the wonderful home that Wendover provided us for so many years and for the memories we will carry with us always. We know that many more fond memories will be created there and that Leslie County Betterment will put the property to continued good use for the benefit of the county and its residents.”

FNU has completed construction on its new campus in Versailles, Ky. The land, which was purchased in 2017, was the former home of The United Methodist Children’s Home. The new 217-acre campus maintains FNU’s presence in a rural county while providing more space to serve FNU’s more than 2,500 students.