Historic Monuments driving tour of Frankfort KY
Beginning at Leslie Morris Park and ending at the Kentucky Vietnam Veterans Memorial, this tour features statues and historic buildings scattered around central Frankfort Kentucky.
The Kentucky Vietnam Veterans Memorial overlooks the state capitol and honors the 125,000 Kentuckians who served their nation between the years 1962-1975. Shaped as a giant sundial, the monument honors each of the 1,103 Kentuckians who lost their lives in the war and includes each name listed on the day they were killed. The shadow of the gnomon falls upon each soldiers name on the anniversary of his death.
The Governor’s Mansion has been the official residence of the Kentucky Governor since 1914. The historic building is also known as the People’s House. It is both a private home and a public building. Built from Kentucky’s native limestone, the Beaux-Arts style mansion was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. It is one of just a few executive residences in the United States that is open for public tours.
The rotunda of the Kentucky State Capitol in Frankfort houses five statues, including one of United States President Abraham Lincoln and one of Confederate President Jefferson Davis (1808-1889), both of whom were born in Kentucky. The presence of Davis' statue in the Capitol building has been contested for at least two years, with Republican and Democratic politicians alike calling for its removal. As Confederate statues have been increasingly scrutinized nationwide, the Davis statue in the Capitol has invited fresh debate.
The Kentucky State Capitol in Frankfort is the hub of the Commonwealth’s government. The building is in the Beaux Arts style and was completed in 1910. The final cost for the building, landscaping, furniture, power plant and architect fees was $1,820,000. The current building is the fourth Capitol building since Kentucky became a state in 1792. Kentucky's House, Senate and Supreme Court are all housed in the Capitol.
Jackson Hall was the first building constructed at Kentucky State University in 1887. The Hall was named after John H. Jackson, who was one of the founders of the school and its first president. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places on April 11, 1973. The school grew to become Kentucky State University largely thanks to the Morrill Land-Grant Act of 1890 that provided resources for state-operated Black colleges. The institution expanded to include subjects such as economics and liberal arts alongside its initial focus on agriculture and mechanics. The Campus has grown to 882 acres including 306 acres for Environment Education Center and 311 acres for Agricultural Research.
This statue honors Kentucky State University alumni Whitney Young, a civil rights leaders who led the National Urban League. The statue was commissioned in 1990 by the KSU Alumni Association and was designed by KSU alumn Ed Hamilton who also designed the Spirit of Freedom monument in Washington D.C. Kentucky State University was chartered in May of 1886. It has an 882-acre campus that includes a 204-acre agricultural research farm and a 306-acre environmental education center. KSU averages about 1,600 students and maintains more than 135 full-time faculty members. Jackson Hall is the oldest building at Kentucky State University. When it was built as the institution's first building in 1887, it was named Recitation Hall.
The gravesite of well-known frontiersman Daniel Boone overlooks the city of Frankfort from the Frankfort Cemetery. It is also the gravesite of Boone’s wife Rebecca Boone. Boone died in Missouri in 1820 and was originally buried there. The remains of Daniel and Rebecca were brought back to Kentucky in 1845.
The Kentucky Historical Society offers a museum and archive that are both open to the public. In addition to the museum and archive, this complex includes the headquarters of the organization, which also operates the nearby Kentucky Military History Museum and Old State Capitol. Together with the Society's publications and programs, the museum and archive and these nearby sites offer tours and work to preserve and interpret the history of the state.
Frankfort was selected as the location for the capital of the new state of Kentucky in 1793. Kentucky's Old State House is the third permanent capitol erected on Frankfort's old public square. On January 12, 1827, the legislature voted to build a new state house as two previous structures on this site had burned. The first structure was destroyed in 1813 and the second in 1824. Constructed between 1827 and 1830, the Old State House was the first major work of Kentucky’s first native trained architect, Gideon Shryock. Through its history, the structure witnessed debates on Kentucky’s loyalty’s during the Civil War, the assassination of a Governor, and the ratification of Kentucky’s current Constitution.
On top of a hill overlooking downtown Frankfort is Leslie Morris Park on Fort Hill. The park features a pair of Civil War forts, a picnic pavilion, hiking trails and more. Once known as Blanton’s Hill for the family that owned the property, it was the site where local militia held off an attack on Frankfort by the Confederate cavalry raiders in 1864.