Kentucky Historical Sites
10 State Historical Sites in Kentucky with desciptions of their locations and activities.
Kentucky's State Park system includes many parks, resorts, and historic sites, which offer nice accommodations, camping, recreational activities, educational opportunities, and facilities for meetings and conferences. These ten historical sites offer a wealth of knowledge about the Commonwealth of Kentucky and its heritage. The Kentucky Department of Parks can be reached at: Kentucky Department of Parks, Capital Plaza Tower, 500 Metro Street, Suite 1100, Frankfort, KY 40601-1974. You may also call 1-800-255-PARK (7275).
Boone Station State Historic Site is located south of Lexington off I-75 at exit 104. This 46-acre site memorializes Daniel Boone, one of Kentucky's most important historical figures. Two of Daniel Boone's brothers, Samuel and Edward, are buried at this site along with Samuel's wife, Sarah. Picnic tables are available.
Constitution Square State Historic Site is located in Danville, which is 35 miles southwest of Lexington and 80 miles southeast of Louisville. It was the birthplace of Kentucky's statehood when it separated from Virginia on June 1, 1792. The Governor's Circle is a bronze statue that depicts the state seal in a circle of plaques dedicated to each Kentucky governor. Replicas of the original log courthouse that was completed in 1785, a meetinghouse, and the jail that was constructed out of 9-inch thick logs stand on the site. There are also several brick houses, a tavern, and a schoolhouse. A museum and art gallery can also be found at this 3-acre site that is open year-round. Picnic tables are located on the park grounds as well. For more information write: Constitution Square State Historic Site, 134 South Second Street, Danville, KY 40422-1880, or call 859-239-7089.
Dr. Thomas Walker State Historic Site is located 5 miles southwest of Barbourville, on KY 459 and consists of about 12 acres. Dr. Walker was a physician and surveyor who led the first expedition through the Cumberland Gap in 1750. A replica of a cabin he built stands on the site today. The gift shop, concession stand, and miniature golf facilities are open seasonally. The house and grounds may be toured year round. The picnic areas, playground, and basketball courts are also accessible all year. For more information write: Dr. Thomas Walker State Historic Site, H,C, 83, Box 868, Barbourville, KY 40906-9603, or call 606-546-4400.
Isaac Shelby Cemetery State Historic Site is located 5 miles south of Danville off US 127. This site features the grave of Isaac Shelby who was Kentucky's first and fifth governor. Shelby was also noted for his military, political, and educational accomplishments and has counties named after him in 9 states. For additional information write: Isaac Shelby Site, c/o Constitution Square State Historic Site, Danville, KY 40422-1880.
Jefferson Davis State Historic Site is located 9 miles east of Hopkinsville on US 68. This site was built in honor of Confederate President Jefferson Davis who was born at this site on June 3, 1808. He was a distinguished politician, a West Point graduate, a Mexican War hero, a congressman and senator for Mississippi, and the Secretary of War for Franklin Pierce's administration. Davis founded the Army Medical Corps, suggested the purchase of the Panama Canal Zone, suggested that a transcontinental railroad connect the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, and wrote "The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government." The 351-foot obelisk rests on a foundation of solid Kentucky limestone and has seven-foot thick walls at the base. It features an elevator and observation room at the top of the structure that offers a panoramic view of the countryside. The grounds consist of about 19 acres. A gift shop, picnic shelters, museum, and a playground are also located on this site. This site was closed for repairs on January 6, 2000, and a re-opening date has not yet been determined, but the closing is only expected to last for a short time. For more information write: Jefferson Davis Monument State Historic Site, P.O. Box 10, Fairview, KY 42221-0010, or call 270-886-1765.
Old Mulkey Meetinghouse State Historical Site is located about 25 miles south of Edmonton in Tompkinsville. The Old Mulkey Church was originally called the Mill Creek Baptist Church and was established by a small group of pioneer Baptists from the Carolinas and their leader Phillip Mulkey. John Mulkey was the first recorded preacher. By 1804, the congregation had grown so large that a meetinghouse was built. In 1809 the congregation was split by a controversy over Mulkey's teachings, and a second church was formed and called the Old Mulkey Church. This 60-acre park includes a cemetery in the churchyard where many Revolutionary War soldiers, early pioneers, and even Daniel Boone's sister Hannah were buried. A picnic area with playground and a gift shop are also located at this site. For more information write: Old Mulkey Meetinghouse State Historic Site, 1819 Old Mulkey Road, Tompkinsville, KY 42167-8766.
Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site is located 45 miles southwest of Lexington in Perryville. This 250-acre site was the scene of the most destructive Civil War battle on October 8, 1862. More than 6,000 soldiers were killed, wounded, or missing during the South's last attempt to take Kentucky. The museum displays Civil War artifacts form the battle as well as maps of the battle's layout. Monuments from several states honor their fallen soldiers. A Confederate monument was erected in 1902, and a Union monument was erected in 1931. Hiking trails and picnic areas are available for visitors as well. The annual Perryville Commemoration features authentic weaponry, clothing, campsites, and demonstrations of artillery, cavalry, infantry, and Civil War reenactments. For more information write: Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site, 1825 Battlefield Road, Perryville, KY 40468, or call 859-332-8631.
Waveland State Historical Site is located 6 miles south of Main Street in Lexington. This 10-acre site is where the beautiful Greek Revival home built in 1847 by Joseph Bryan stands. Bryan was a descendant of Daniel Boone, and his family accompanied Boone through the Cumberland Gap before establishing one of the first settlements at Bryan's Station in 1796. Tours of the home are available from March through mid-December with an admission fee. A picnic area and playground are also located there. For more information write: Waveland State Historic Site, 225 Waveland Museum Road, Lexington, KY 40514-1601, or call 859-272-3611.
White Wall State Historical Site is located off I-75 in Richmond. It was the home of Cassius Marcellus Clay, who was an abolitionist, newspaper publisher, Minister to Russia, and personal friend of Abraham Lincoln. This Italianate mansion, built by Clay's father in 1799, has 44 rooms and was completely remodeled in the 1860s. More recently it was restored and showcases heirloom furniture. The house had indoor running water and central heat, which were unusual for that time period. Costumed guides lead visitors on tours of the house between April and October and share history about White Hall and the Clay family. Candlelit tours of White Hall, decorated in traditional 19th century Christmas fashion, are available during the holiday season. A gift shop and picnic area can also be found on the 13-acre grounds. For more information write: White Hall State Historic Site, 500 White Hall Shrine Road, Richmond, KY 40475-9159.
William Whitley House State Historical Site is located 10 miles south of Stanford. This 10-acre site is where the first brick home and circular clay racetrack in Kentucky were completed in 1794 by Kentucky pioneer William Whitley and his wife Esther. The estate, known as Sportsman's Hill, was reputed for its architectural features and became a gathering spot for famous early Kentuckians like Daniel Boone and George Rogers Clark. Tours of the house are available from mid-March through December. A gift shop, picnic area, and playground are also available to visitors. For more information write: William Whitley House State Historic Site, 625 William Whitley Road, Stanford, KY 40484-9770, or call 606-355-2881.