Wednesday, November 25, 2020


Photo from the Armstrong Archives

Courtview was built circa 1823 in the Federal style by Col. Richard Sutfield, a prominent local citizen and builder of several fine houses in town. The clear view from the front porch to the courthouse less than a mile away provided the house with its name and its unusual orientation facing away from the street. The interior has examples of woodwork attributed to master craftsman and Harrodsburg cabinetmaker, Matthew P. Lowery.

The James Harrod Trust marker reads:

"Occupying out-lot 5, Courtview is so named for its view of the courthouse when this Federal brick residence was built in 1823 by Col Richard M. Sutfield and his first wife, Elizabeth Thomas. Contains Matthew P. Lowery woodwork with unique mantel pieces for every room."

Photo by Tom Bosse

Saturday, November 21, 2020

St. Philips Episcopal Church

Personal photo

St. Philips Episcopal Church is the only church in Harrodsburg's central business district that stands as it was originally built.  The Gothic architectural design was the result of Bishop Smith’s desire to create something “worthy of town.”  Harrodsburg was known at the time as “the Saratoga of the South” because of the throngs of wealthy Southerners, many of whom was Episcopalians, who came here for the benefits of the medicinal spring water.  It has been called “the most perfect specimen of pure Gothic, exterior and Interior, of its size in Kentucky.”  

St. Philips was dedicated in 1861 by its designer Bishop Benjamin Smith.  The church sits on land rich in history, from Indian fights to the horrors of the Civil War.  The land was the site of skirmishes in the late 18th century between the pioneers, including James Harrod's militia and the Indians.  After the Battle of Perryville in 1862, the church was the site of General Leonidas Polk’s impassioned prayer for blessings on friend and foe alike.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Benjamin Passmore House


Photo from personal collection

The Benjamin Passmore House and Hotel was built by Passmore and has been a landmark on Broadway Street since it was built circa 1843.  It has passed through many hands and has served - during its 168 years - as a hotel, stage coach stop, boarding house, grocery, and now the offices of the Harrodsburg Herald newspaper.  When it was the Mercer House, there was an advertisement that read, “---the bar is furnished with pure liquors and the best will be sold by the barrel if desired.”  

Photo from my personal collection

The James Harrod Trust Historical Marker on the building reads:

"The hotel was built circa 1843 and the house built circa 1853 by Benjamin Passmore, 
Harrodsburg blacksmith and entrepreneur. 
The house is a hall and parlor plan. 
During the era of stage coach travel, the hotel provided popular accommodations. 
It also served as a residential hotel for young married."
Photo from my personal collection

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Hat Factory


Photo from Images of America: Harrodsburg

The “Hat Factory,” is a building which was the St. Andrew parish house when Father Myers was there.  It was built in 1795 as an office for a hat factory on nearby Mooreland Avenue.  In 1893, Dr. Graham sold it to St. Andrew for use as a parish house and later as a convent house for the school nuns.  This historic house was the oldest brick building still standing in Harrodsburg and Mercer County until 2003, when it was bought by the Harrodsburg Baptist Church and demolished after 208 years of service to the community.

Friday, November 13, 2020

Bowman Memorial Gate


I am in search of information regarding the Bowman Memorial Gate on the north side of Old Fort Harrod. It was commissioned in honor of four pioneer brothers from the Bowman family. The Bowman brothers were excellent horsemen and became known as the "Four Centaurs of Cedar Creek"  This plaque was erected in 1928 by Descendants of Abraham Bowman. 

In 1779, Col. John Bowman erected a small fort at Bowman Station and by the fall of 1779, over 30 families had settled there. This fortified Bowman Station was located six miles east of Harrodsburg near the Dix River in Burgin. 

Colonel Abraham Bowman
1749 ~ 1837
Eighth Virginia Regiment Revolutionary War
Settled Bowman Station, Kentucky, 1779
Now Bellevue

Colonel John Bowman
1733 ~ 1784
First County Lieutenant of Kentucky, 1778

Major Joseph Bowman
1752 ~ 1779
Second in Command to George Rogers Clark
Vincennes Expedition; Captured Cahokia

Captain Isaac Bowman
1757 ~ 1824
Vincennes Expedition

Erected by the Descendants of Abraham Bowman
Honoring Four Pioneer Brothers - 1928

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Aspen Hall


Post Card from my personal collection

Aspen Hall is an 1840 Greek Revival Manor House built on land that was originally part of Greenville Springs. This 9,000 square foot home was built by Dr. James Shannon, President of Bacon College, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has received a Kentucky Landmark Certificate by the Heritage Commission. Aspen Hall sits on an acre of land surrounded by magnolia trees, within walking distance of downtown Harrodsburg.

Post Card from my personal collection

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Birthplace of Kentucky - November

It is hard to find illustrations from Kentucky's harsh winter, but this is a photo of a snowy cabin at Valley Forge from
Severe snow and cold from November 1779 until the middle of March 1780 had harsh effects on the settlers. Deer coats grew thick, the buffalo turned weak very early, and geese flew over cabins and forts in long Vs.  The Ohio River froze over and the Kentucky River had ice two feet thick on it. Cattle died and wolves, beavers, and otters froze to death in the woods; streams froze and fish died. Cane offered protection and winter fodder for buffalos, but when the canebrakes sleeted over, buffalo couldn’t eat the tall grass and they starved. Turkeys froze to death roosting in trees with their nose slits frozen over. “The hogs were frozen to death, the deer, not able to get water or food, were found dead in great numbers.”
Maple trees cracked as their sap froze until they burst open. Water was so scarce that a single Johnny cake would be divided into a dozen portions and distributed out to make two meals. This finally failed and the settlers survived on emaciated wild game; some people ate cows and horses that perished in the lots. Many settlers roasted buffalo skins to eat and others died for want of provisions and lack of solid food.
Nearly everyone was sick and many settlers developed frostbite and some died from the cold. Harrod, normally a very healthy man, developed rheumatism caused by wearing porous deerskin moccasins and leggings. Colonel Fleming noted the number of illnesses, especially fever and dysentery, in Harrodsburg was because the spring below the fort was washing down putrefied flesh, dead dogs, horse, cow and hog excrements into it, along with the ashes and sweepings of filthy cabins He noted they steeped skins and washed “every sort of dirty rags and clothes in the spring,” poisoning the water and making it “the most filthy, nauseous potation imaginable.”
Margaret was named for Ann’s mother, Margaret Coburn. Because of her interest in education, Ann opened the Harrod Latin School in 1786 at their home. A Latin teacher, Mr. Worley, was imported to the station for the education of Harrod’s stepson James as well as other students who came from the surrounding fortifications to dwell with Harrod.  Another of the students was John Fauntleroy, then eight years of age, who would later marry Margaret and become Harrod’s son-in-law. In November 1787, young James McDonald wandered off into the woods where he was taken by Native Americans and burned at the stake. Harrod’s grievous mourning was inconsolable at the tragic loss of his adored stepson, and unable to bear the sight and sounds of the dead boy’s classmates, he closed the Latin School. The widow Fauntleroy sent her son to Lexington to finish his schooling. He would return later and marry Margaret Harrod. 
Of all the twelve Harrod children, James Harrod appears to be the one most devoted to family. His wife Ann and daughter Margaret (seven years old when James disappeared) waited a year before giving up hope. Harrod’s will was made on November 28, 1791, before the fateful trip. It was probated December 1793. Harrod willed his entire estate to Ann and Margaret. An inventory showed personal items valued at more than 400 pounds.


Harrodsburg Opera House

  This is a photo we had never seen and Belinda S Kurtz shared this from another group. “Wasn’t Bob Martin that used to run the radio statio...