Konstanzer Legacy

Carolyn Konstanzer at the 2018 Fayette County Free Fair with the typewriter her husband Dick Konstanzer would have used to write his Evening Chat columns with for years.

Fayette County held its first fair in September 1852. It was located on the site of the city cemetery and stretched all the way to Central Avenue not yet occupied by homes. At that time this area would have been on the outskirts of town. The contests and judging from the first fairs were similar to today. One prize that stands out was given for the best female equestrian and was given to Rosie, daughter of Caleb Smith, later Abraham Lincoln’s Secretary of the Interior. The fair moved north to property owned by the Claypool family and was held until 1884 beginning of a twenty year period the county was without a fair. Beginning in 1903 the Fayette County Free Fair began on ground donated by Col. James E. Roberts at what is now known as Roberts Park.

This brings us to the story of a local woman who was born in 1927. Carolyn Konstanzer figures that she has been to about 90 of the 117 free fairs at the time of writing. Her parents were Ernie and Lorena Hopkins. They were owners of a local restaurant called the Rose Trellis Tea Room. It was located at 725 South State Road 1 in the house that was always rose colored but recently painted gray that sits very close to the roadway. They operated the business until the late 1930s. The contractor put in charge of the original paving of the state road leased the business to house and feed the large crews of workers employed in the road project. Her grandmother Minnie Brown was also involved in the business. They featured fried chicken and were a very popular stopping place along the highway.