Lexington is a city whose history is so extensive its founding predates the Declaration of Independence and the formation of Kentucky itself, so naturally, there’s tons of fascinating and important historical sights located throughout Fayette County– and there’s no better place to look than downtown Lexington, in the heart of the city. Here are a few historical spots worth checking out.
Mary Todd Lincoln House
578 W Main Street
The childhood home of Mary Todd Lincoln, the 16th First Lady of the United States and wife of President Abraham Lincoln, can be found right on Main Street. While the house has long since been converted into a museum, its exterior is still faithful to the way it was built more than two hundred years ago, and it’s a beautiful site especially this time of year when fall leaves make their presence known throughout central Kentucky.
Colonel Robert Patterson Cabin
Transylvania University (300 N Broadway)
This small but cherished building is almost 250 years old, having been built in 1780 and believed to be among the first homes erected in the city of Lexington. Though the cabin has been moved various times, including outside of Kentucky, it was eventually returned to Lexington and placed on the campus of Transylvania University, a historic site in its own right featuring the iconic Old Morrison building that has overlooked northeast Lexington since 1834.
The Loudoun House
209 Castlewood Drive
The Loudoun House serves as perhaps the most iconic testament to Gothic revival architecture in the region, and it’s not hard to see why. The beautiful and expansive creation was built in 1851 for a family member of none other than Francis Scott Key. It is one of only five remaining Gothic revival villas designed by influential architect Alexander Jackson Davis, and today acts as a multi-purposed and beloved fixture of the Lexington community.
201 N Mill Street
Located in the Gratz Park historic district and also known as the Hunt-Morgan House, this site was built in 1814 as the home of the first millionaire west of the Allegheny mountains, Kentucky businessman John Wesley Hunt. The house is also located in Gratz Park, which is among Lexington’s oldest and most cherished parks.
Old Fayette County Courthouse
215 W Main Street
This iconic and towering former courthouse was first built in 1934, and also served the role of a post office and federal office building. Featuring four stories and built out of beautiful limestone, it’s difficult to miss this famous Lexington location when you’re near it. These days the Old Fayette County Courthouse is home to several unique shops and restaurants and is still a focal point of the downtown area.
Cover photo courtesy of By FloNight (Sydney Poore) and Russell Poore – self-made by Russell and Sydney Poore, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3660581