History of Lexington, KY

Known back in the day as the “Athens of the West”, Lexington is where history is made. Its nickname was given because of the town’s rich culture and lifestyle. During your stay in Lexington, discover where it all began, and visit these notable historic sites.

 

McConnell Springs Park

Go back to the source of where it all began. It is known that in the spring of 1775, a group of men, amongst them William McConnell set up camp at the local spring (couple miles from downtown) and to commemorate word of the battle that started the Revolutionary War, they named their campsite Lexington. Over the years this campsite has been protected and eventually turned into the modern 22-acre city park that it is today.

 

Mary Todd Lincoln House

Mary Todd, the wife of Abraham Lincoln, who would become one of America’s most controversial First Ladies, was born in Lexington in 1818. She lived in Lexington until she was 21. She and Abraham Lincoln would visit the house she grew up in several times during their marriage. Visitors can tour the home and learn more about the wife of the famed president.

 

First National Building

Located on Main Street is Lexington’s first “skyscraper”, a 15-story building that was the tallest building between Cincinnati and Atlanta back in 1914. It is now home to the 21c Museum Hotel.

 

Old Fort Harrod

About 30 minutes outside of Lexington is Old Fort Harrod State Park, in Harrodsburg. A replica of Kentucky’s first permanent settlement is on display along with the next-door Pioneer Cemetery, with fascinating artifacts on display in the Mansion Museum.

 

Lexington Cemetery

While it may not sound like something you want to do on your vacation but visiting the Lexington Cemetery is a special piece of history that is worth adding to your travel itinerary. Since 1849, over 60,000 people have been buried here. This park-like cemetery is nationally known as an arboretum and garden, sprinkled with interesting monuments, and statues.

 

Ashland: Henry Clay Estate

As Kentucky’s favorite son, Henry Clay was a famous statesman and patriot who served on the United States Senate and House of Representatives, as the leader of the Whig Party. His estate sits on 17 acres of land and includes a historic mansion, carriage house, smokehouse, dairy cellar, and much more. Visitors can stroll through the gardens and dirt paths and explore the estate’s glorious grounds.

 

Waveland State Historic House

An Antebellum house, also known as Joseph Bryan Estate is operated as part of the Kentucky State Park system. Visitors can walk the grounds on their own or with a guided tour to see what an average day was like for the family and slaves that occupied the estate. Grounds include the original slave quarters, smokehouse, and ice house.

 

Explore Lexington’s rich history during your next stay at Bluegrass Extended Stay. And for other fun things to do in Lexington, be sure to read our activities page.