Visitors to Tom T. Hall's hometown will soon have the opportunity to view a variety of memorabilia from the Olive Hill native's work in music, poetry and literature.

The Olive Hill Welcome Center received a donation of several items from Hall last week, when his office manager and personal assistant, Melissa Lawrence Buck, and her sister, Beth Lawrence, came into town to drop off the items and see where their friend and employer grew up.

Both sisters have worked for Hall in the past, including when Hall and his wife, Dixie, ran their own record label and recording studio.

The items donated by Hall included a Country Music Association (CMA) award recognizing the songwriter for his1996 number one hit “Little Bitty,” recorded by performer Alan Jackson, as well as a certificate of achievement from Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI) for his song “Harper Valley PTA” attaining over one million plays on broadcast radio.

The author and songwriter also donated copies of several of his books, including non-fiction works on the craft of songwriting, fiction novels, and books of poetry. The most eye-catching donation, however, may be a guitar signed by the songwriter specifically for the Welcome Center.

“Thanks for all the good memories and a great home town, Olive Hill,” says the personalized message on the guitar, over Hall's signature and the phrase, “Love you all!”

Olive Hill Chamber of Commerce President Lisa Messer Conley said they were thrilled to receive the donations, and that the chamber is working on procuring display cases to showcase the items while keeping them safe. She talked with the Lawrence sisters about how much the donations meant to the community and about the area where Hall grew up, on Tick Ridge, and gave suggestions for how to find some of the locations that Hall has written about in his songs and books.

The sisters said they were excited to visit the areas they had heard so much about from their boss and mentor.

Contact the writer at jwells@journal-times.com.

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