Hiram and Art Stamper House

864 Stamper Branch Road, Hindman, Kentucky


Hiram and Art Stamper House


View this photo at nps.gov



The Art Stamper Home (KT- 98) meets the National Register criterion B and is significant as the home of two master fiddlers, Hiram Stamper (1893 - 1992) and Art Stamper (1933-2005). Hiram Stamper was a well known fiddler within traditional Old Time Music. Art Stamper learned Old Time fiddling from his father, and contributed greatly to other forms , including Bluegrass Music, and Mountain Music, as evidenced by the increasing popularity of his recordings, as well as from the honors and awards he received during his life, and the many tribute concerts and fiddle-playing contests that grow in popularity as new generations learn of his pioneer style of fiddle playing. Both Stampers' mastery of the fiddle has its roots in their home place, the isolated hollow in Knott County, Kentucky. When outsiders "discovered" Eastern Kentucky and the rest of Appalachia in the early 20 th century, they came to regard it as a place where an 18th and 19th-century way of life persisted due to isolation. Certainly this view was applied to the understanding of music produced in this mountainous area. Rather than focusing on how musicians innovated in creating music over time, folklorists who document mountain musicians observe how those players have maintained centuries old traditions. A large share of both Stampers' significance as fiddle players relates to archaic methods, fiddle tunings and style of play. However, place becomes an important element of this analysis. Both Hiram and Art had exposure to the world beyond Knott County, as both served in the military overseas. However, Hiram remained in his Knott County home after 1934, and his music is noted for its purer connection to Knott County's musical past. Art Stamper, on the other hand, did not return to his home after military service, migrating to a number of Kentucky towns, including Louisville; his musical expressions also had a greater range. Both Stamper fiddlers help us reflect on the way that folk music serves as more than a mere past time. Because traditional music results from, transmits, reinforces, and is symbolic of the .culture which produces it , that music can help us know the culture that it carries.

Posted to the NRHP 1-8-2014

Update Log 

  • August 12, 2014: Added by Dave King