HISTORIC SITES OF TODD COUNTYMike Chambers
– Kentucky Historical Marker
– National Register of Historic Places
– Trail of Tears National Historical Trail
Note: Private Residence unless otherwise noted. No trespassing, please!
Note: Be sure to look at both sides of the marker. Text may repeat, or may be different.
Beginning in Clarksville at I-24, Exit 1: KY104 N
Stop # 1 –
WOODSTOCK (ADDRESS: 6338 CLARKSVILLE ROAD, TRENTON) –
Look for large residence on right side of road within a few hundred yards across the KY/TN state line.
Built in 1830, Woodstock was known throughout the country for its racehorses. It was the birthplace of Caroline Meriwether Goodlett (b1833), founder of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. Later it was the home of Elizabeth Meriwether Gordon (b1861), an American journalist who, under the penname Dorothy Dix, was the writer of the most widely read newspaper column in the history of journalism. 20th-century novelist Caroline Gordon (b1895) was raised on neighboring farm
Proceed north on KY104 approximately 6.5 miles into downtown Trenton. At US41, turn right. Drive out of town <1 mile.
Stop # 2 –
IDLEWILD (ADDRESS: 4610 DIXIE BEELINE HIGHWAY, TRENTON)-
Look for Greek Revival estate on left.
Georgian-Greek architecture, built in 1830. Former home of Col. E.G. Sebree, who was largely responsible for the construction of the Evansville, Henderson and Nashville Railroad; he served as its President and for a time he owned the controlling stock.
Proceed south on US41 towards Guthrie. Turn right on KY181S. Next stop is a few hundred yards at intersection of KY294 on left.
Stop # 3 –
GRAY’S INN, A.K.A. STAGE COACH INN (ADDRESS: 88 GRAYSVILLE ROAD, GUTHRIE) – , ,
Built in 1833 as a stagecoach stop by Major John P. Gray. Served several stage lines. Cherokee Indians camped on these grounds while traveling the main (northern) land migration route during the 1838-39 Trail of Tears. White Path, a Cherokee chief who was near death, drank from the well and blessed its sweet water. He died a few days later in Hopkinsville. Inn was also used during the Civil War as a hospital.
Take US41 into downtown Guthrie. Turn right on Cherry Street. Marker one block on the left.
Stop # 4 –
ROBERT PENN WARREN, 1905-1989 (ADDRESS: CORNER OF CHERRY & 3RD STREETS) –
Look for modest, red brick home on left.
Birthplace of nation’s first poet laureate. Three-time Pulitzer prize winner, and only person to receive Pulitzer’s in both fiction and poetry. Was a member of “The Fugitives”, a group of distinguished southern writers at Vanderbilt University, and later one of the founders and managing editor of The Southern Review. Novels include Night Rider, Who Speaks for the Negro?, and All the King’s Men.
Turn left on 3rd Street. Proceed one block to S. Ewing Street and turn left. Marker one block on left.
Stop # 5 –
TOBACCO FARMERS UNITE (ADDRESS: 236 S. EWING STREET, GUTHRIE) –
Headquarters for Planters Protective Association representing disenfranchised tobacco farmers in early 1900s. Annual meetings of the association brought in thousands from several states to rally against monopolistic practices, with 1906 rally involving over 20,000 in downtown area. The Black Patch War and infamous “Night Riders” played out throughout the region.
Stop # 6 –
GUTHRIE HISTORIC DISTRICT (ADDRESS: EWING, PARK & CHERRY STREETS, GUTHRIE) –
Guthrie was an important railroad town at the intersection of the Louisville & Nashville Railroad and the Evansville, Henderson and Nashville Railroad. Period of significance was 1879, when Guthrie first became a city, to 1957, the year passenger railroad lines were no longer used. Area contains 12.3 acres with 28 contributing features (25 buildings, two sites and one structure) and lies primarily within Ewing, Park and Cherry Streets.
From downtown Guthrie, take N. Ewing Street (KY346) approx. ½ mile to US79 north towards Allensville. Turn right onto KY102. Travel one mile. Entering the town, marker will be on left.
Stop # 7 –
FIRST RFD IN KENTUCKY (ADDRESS: POST OFFICE LAWN AT INTERSECTION OF KY102 AND JOE GILL RD., ALLENSVILLE) –
First rural free delivery (RFD) of mail in Kentucky was established at Allensville post office in 1897. RFD enabled farmers to receive daily mail and avoid a drive to the post office.
Stop # 8 –
ALLENSVILLE HISTORIC DISTRICT (ADDRESS: KY102/MAIN STREET) –
Allensville formed around railroad depot beginning in 1860. The boundary of the district includes 18 acres, 40 buildings and 1 structure featuring historic houses, churches, commercial and municipal buildings, and outbuildings that historically constituted its streetscape. Period of significance 1860-1941.
From downtown Allensville, take KY102 north. Cross over US79 and proceed on KY102 north towards Elkton.
Stop # 9 –
W. L. REEVES HOUSE (ADDRESS: 415 ALLENSVILLE STREET [KY102], ELKTON) –
Look for large brick house on the right just inside city limits.
Once the focal point of a vast plantation holding, the house is built of bricks which were made on the grounds in 1844-45. Built by Judge Reeves, Liberty Hall has five stairways; 52 windows; 28 doors, including seven outside entrances; 10 closets; an enclosed porch in the rear, a front porch and a side porch; and a basement with three rooms, each with a stone fireplace, and 11 foot ceilings.
Proceed north on KY102 into Elkton. Turn left on Goebel Avenue. Next stop will be on your left.
Stop # 10 –
EDWARDS HALL (ADDRESS: 306 GOEBEL AVENUE) –
Built in 1821 by Benjamin Edwards, father-in-law to John Gray, founder of Elkton. House said to have been modeled after a place which was designed by famed English architect Sir Christopher Wren. Features include black walnut woodwork, eight-paneled interior doors with a fine reeding, mantels and woodwork carved by slaves, along with the bricks burned on the grounds.
Proceed on Goebel Avenue approx. one block. Next marker will be on left (Note: marker pending)
Stop # 11 –
GREEN RIVER ACADEMY (ADDRESS: 204 GOEBEL AVENUE) –
Constructed in 1835, this structure is considered a prime example of the transition between Federal and early Greek Revival architecture. Originally a female academy formed through subscriptions of southern planters. School expanded to multiple auxiliary buildings, and later admitted young men. Converted to private residence in late 1800s, and then divided into apartments in mid 1900s. Restoration effort currently underway by local preservation group.
Proceed on Goebel Avenue. At stop sign, turn left on S. Main Street. Marker will be one block on left.
Stop # 12 –
BRISTOW, THE SOLDIER – BIRTHPLACE (ADDRESS: 425 S. MAIN STREET, ELKTON) –
Look for marker on left side of street to the right of park entrance.
Benjamin Helm Bristow (1832-1896), served as an officer for the Union in Civil War. Practiced law in Elkton, served as U.S. attorney for Kentucky district, first U.S. Solicitor General (1870-72), Secretary of the Treasury (1874-76), lost Republican presidential nomination to Rutherford B. Hayes.
Drive north on S. Main Street toward Public Square. Next marker will be approx. 1/8 mile on left.
Stop # 13 –
HOME OF U.S. JURIST, A.K.A. MCREYNOLD’S HOUSE (ADDRESS: 302 S. MAIN STREET, ELKTON) – ,
Born here in 1862 and schooled at local Green River Academy. Practiced law in Nashville and rose to U.S. Attorney General under President Woodrow Wilson. Later appointed Associate Justice of U.S. Supreme Court where he served for nearly three decades.
Proceed north on S. Main Street to Public Square.
Stop # 14 –
ELKTON COMMERCIAL HISTORIC DISTRICT (ADDRESS: JUNCTION OF N., S., E., AND W. MAIN STREETS, ELKTON) –
The historic district encompasses the perimeter of Public Square (2.8 ac.), intersected by North, South, East and West Main Streets. The area was laid out in 1820 when Elkton was established as the county seat of Todd County. There are 19 buildings, in addition to the Courthouse which was previously listed on the Register, that contribute to the historical significance. It is a notable assemblage of mid-to-late nineteenth and early twentieth century commercial architecture.
Stop # 15 –
TODD COUNTY COURTHOUSE (ADDRESS: PUBLIC SQUARE, ELKTON) –
Completed in 1835, the structure is the second oldest courthouse still standing in Kentucky. Legend has the four walls built by four different men hired by the contractor, which may explain the absence of a central arch and other unusual features. Was used as a courthouse until the 1970s, with county officials occupying the first floor, and the courtroom located on the second level.
Note: Old Courthouse serves as the Todd County Welcome Center. Enter on East side.
Stop # 16 –
COUNTY NAMED, 1819 (ADDRESS: OLD COURTHOUSE LAWN, PUBLIC SQUARE, ELKTON) –
Todd County is named for Col. John Todd, early pioneer and statesman of Kentucky and co-founder of Lexington. Helped Clark expedition capture Illinois territory and served as first governor-equivalent there. He was killed at the Battle of Blue Licks in 1782 in the American Revolution
From Public Square, drive west 1½ blocks on W. Main Street to next marker on right.
Stop # 17 –
HOUSE OF THE LOVING HEART, A.K.A. MILLIKEN MEMORIAL COMMUNITY HOUSE (ADDRESS: 208 W. MAIN ST.) – ,
Built by a wealthy benefactor with ties to Elkton, the community house opened in 1928. It has an imposing center entrance hall, a meeting room, library room, kitchen, combination dining room and ballroom, and a full auditorium on the second floor.
Continue west approx. 1 ½ blocks on W. Main Street to next stop on right.
Stop # 18 –
JOHN GRAY SPRINGHOUSE (ADDRESS: 402 W. MAIN STREET, ELKTON) –
Halcyon (circa 1814), the home of John Gray, founder of Elkton. Larger structure built on the front of the John Gray’s original home in 1837 by his daughter and son-in-law. A springhouse on the property sits in front of “Old Indian Spring”. Crude steps which were cut into the rocks to the water level by Indians are still visible. Gray and his wife are buried in a cemetery on the property
Note: The National Register of Historic Places also includes another Todd County entry, referred to as Hadden Site (15T01). The Register lists the address as “restricted” in or near Elkton. It is considered to have “prehistoric” significance.
Proceed west on W. Main Street out of town. Drive approx. 2.5 miles to junction of US68. Turn left onto US 68/80 and drive 8.5 miles. Turn left onto Britmart Road and drive ¼ mile to park entrance.
Stop # 19 –
JEFFERSON DAVIS MONUMENT, A.K.A. JEFFERSON DAVIS BIRTHPLACE (ADDRESS: US 68 & KY115, FAIRVIEW) – ,
Marks the birthplace of the only president of the Confederate States of America. Now a state historic site. Park was dedicated in 1909. Monument, which stands 351 ft. high, was completed in 1929. It is the largest unreinforced concrete obelisk in the world, and the fifth tallest monument in the U.S.
JEFFERSON DAVIS’ SALUTE TO KENTUCKY (ADDRESS: US68 & KY115, FAIRVIEW) –
Marks a public address made by Davis on last visit to his birthplace in 1886. During the visit, he donated site of family cabin where he was born in 1808 to Bethel Baptist Church.
Turn right out of park entrance onto West Jeff Davis Highway. Next stop is less than ¼ mile on right
Stop # 20 –
BETHEL BAPTIST CHURCH (ADDRESS: 8487 W. JEFFERSON DAVIS HWY, ADJACENT TO MONUMENT) –
Congregation first formed in 1814 in Christian County. Acquired current property ceremoniously from Jefferson Davis in 1886. The home was demolished and replaced with a new Gothic Revival church. Davis attended the dedication in fall of that year and presented a communion service, still with church. Church burned in 1900, with current building erected on same site in 1901 following a similar design.