Historical Marker #1542, near Bethel in Bath County, remembers the life of one of Kentucky's most notable newspaper writers.
Joe Cross Creason was born in Benton, Kentucky, on June 10, 1918. After graduating from the University of Kentucky, and working for a couple of newspapers in his native western Kentucky, Creason was hired in 1940 as a sportswriter for the Louisville "Courier-Journal." He was promoted to the staff of the "Courier-Journal Magazine" before he enlisted in the U.S. Navy for World War II, serving from 1944 to 1946.
The writer became legendary after he was given his own column in 1963. Titled "Joe Creason's Kentucky," the column focused on the everyday lives of common Kentuckians. His writings detailed the struggles, hopes, and dreams of average citizens in the commonwealth. For his column, Creason traversed the state looking for interesting people who had intriguing life stories. Creason also enjoyed writing about the history of Kentucky. He won the hearts of Kentuckians from all walks of life with his genuine concern and interesting column.
Joe Creason died of a heart attack in 1974 as he was playing tennis with television and radio personality Milton Metz. The beloved columnist was buried in Longview Cemetery in Bethel, Kentucky. Today, Joe Creason Park, located adjacent to the Louisville Zoo, is a memorial to the man who captivated the interest of readers across the state. Creason is also honored with the annual Joe Creason lecture series at the University of Kentucky.