[graphic] National Park Service Arrowhead and link to NPS.gov [graphic] 1900 changes picture in photo box to Carnegie Library [graphic] 2000 changes picture in photo box to Keeneland Horse Racing [graphic] 1850 changes picture in photo box to Henry Clay [graphic] 1800 changes picture in photo box to First African Baptist Church [graphic] 1775 changes picture in photo box  to  McConnell Springs
[graphic] National Park Service Black Bar
 [graphic] photo box - map of Kentucky [graphic] Lexington, Kentucky: The Athens of the West A National Register of Historic Places Travel Itinerary
 [graphic] Link to Lexington Home Page  [graphic] Link to List of Sites  [graphic] Link to Essays  [graphic] Link to Learn More Page  [graphic] Link to Travel Itineraries Home Page  [graphic] Link to NR Home
 [graphic] Link to Map
[graphic] link to previous site
[graphic] McConnell Springs
[graphic] link to next site

[photo] The Blue Hole at the McConnell Springs Nature Preserve
Photograph by Eric Thomason, courtesy of Blue Grass Trust for Historic Preservation

McConnell Springs is a significant site in Lexington history successfully preserved by local citizens. It is at McConnell Springs that the naming of the city of Lexington took place in 1775. In the 1770s Kentucky began attracting numerous frontiersmen, particularly after the conclusion in 1774 of Virginia Governor Dunmore's campaign against the American Indians of the west. William McConnell and some fellow frontiersmen came from Pennsylvania to explore the "Kentucky Country." In 1775 McConnell and his group were camped at the McConnell Springs site when news of the first shots of the Revolutionary War reached them from nearby Fort Boonesborough. Lexington, Kentucky, was thereby named by these frontiersmen in honor of the city of Lexington, Massachusetts, where "the shots heard round the world" were fired and the American Revolutionary War began.

[photo]
A historic stone foundation at McConnell Springs
Photograph by Eric Thomason, courtesy of Blue Grass Trust for Historic Preservation


Over the next 220 years this property served as the location of a mill, distillery, gunpowder factory, and dairy farm. Sadly enough, as the city of Lexington grew, McConnell Springs was swallowed by industrial development. Fortunately, local citizens undertook efforts to reclaim the site in the late 1980s and funds were raised to turn the site into a park. Returning the site to its natural state required removing tons of trash and construction debris that had accumulated in the area over several years. Now, McConnell Springs serves as not only a historical site of interest but also a natural park. The park is interspersed with rock fences that attest to its earlier years as well as a dam from the early mill and the foundation of what might have been the home of the early proprietor William McConnell.

McConnell Springs is located on Old Frankfort Pike west of downtown Lexington. McConnell Springs is open to the public daily for hiking, exploration, and bird watching with a major emphasis on education. Public tours of the park are given on a regular basis. For more information on tours or special events please call McConnell Springs at 859-225-4073 or visit their website.

[graphic] link to Athens of the West Essay  [graphic] link to Civil War Essay  [graphic] link to Architecture Essay
 [graphic] link to Lexington Preservation Essay

 

Lexington Home | Main Map | List of Sites | Learn More | Itineraries | NR Home | Next Site
Essays: Athens of the West | Civil War | Architecture | Lexington Preservation

Comments or Questions

JPJ/RQ/SB

[graphic] Link to the National Park Service website