Old Fort Harrod State Park

  • Originally Known As: Pioneer Memorial State Park

  • Address: 100 S College Ave
  • Vicinity: Between W Lexington St and W Poplars St
  • Travel Genus: Sight
  • Sight Category: Historic District

Lincoln Marriage Cabin and Temple


Y/M/D Person Association Description Composition Food Event
Y/M/D Person Association Description Composition Food Event
1775/03/08 James Harlan (pioneer) Life James Harrod leads a group of pioneers to buildup Harrodstown.
1775/03/08 James Harrod Developer James Harrod leads a group of pioneers to buildup Harrodstown.
1776/12/08 William Harrison Logan Born Ann Montgomery Logan, wife of Gen Benjamin McKinley Logan, gives birth to a son, William Harrison Logan, within the fort at Harrodsburg, Kentucky.
1927/00/00 Fort Harrod is reconstructed by contractor Peter Nolen Wilson. He also built the Mercer County Courthouse (razed).
1934/00/00 Ulric Ellerhusen Sculptor George Rogers Clark Memorial dedicated
1934/00/00 Franklin D Roosevelt Presider George Rogers Clark Memorial dedicated

Data »

Particulars for Old Fort Harrod State Park:
Architectural Style American Colonial Revival
Criteria Consideration Commemorative property
Area of Significance Exploration-settlement
Sight Category Historic District
Criteria Historic Event
Historic Use Monument, Marker
Disposition Reconstructed Property
Owner State

US National Registry of Historic Places Data »

Accurate at time of registration:

Registry Name:
Registry Address:
Registry Number: 88003377
Resource Type:
Owner: State
Architect: Wilson,Peter N.
Architectural Style: Colonial revival
Other Certification: Date received-pending nomination
Level of Significance: Local
Area of Significance: Exploration-settlement
Applicable Criteria: Event
Criteria Consideration: Commemorative property, Reconstructed property
Significant Year: 1927
Historic Function: Recreation and Culture
Historic Sub-Function: Monument, Marker
Current Function: Landscape
Current Sub-Function: Park

History »

The Pioneer Memorial Association was formed in the 1920's to create a monument to the founders of Harrodsburg. No evidence of the original fort remained. Even the hill on which the fort stood had been destroyed when a quarry opened on the site in the 1890's. When Lexington Street was extended west of College Street, the excavation for the road also took part of the site and a portion of the pioneer cemetery as well.

The original fort had been abandoned after the decisive defeat of the Indians at the Battle of the Blue Licks in 1783. Settlers were eager to leave the crowded conditions of the fort and began building houses on their own land. The fort was used as a place for people to stay who were in transit to the west. Its conditions during the late eighteenth century were described by Van Cleve and others. Gradually, the fort itself decayed or was dismantled. It was the site of a local academy before being used as a quarry. James Taylor, who lived in the Matheny-Tay1 or House (MeH-57) adjacent to the present fort site, began the process of creating a memorial by maintaining and protecting the pioneer cemetery which was located virtually in his backyard. Interments continued to be made in the pioneer cemetery until the mid-nineteenth century. James Taylor's granddaughter, Irene Moore, lived in the Matheny-Taylor House during the 1920's. She deeded the Pioneer Memorial Association the section of land on which the fort now stands in 1925. Very shortly afterwards, she also gave the group the house in which her family had lived for 95 years.

The Pioneer Memorial Association enlisted the help of the Kentucky State Parks Commission and hired the architectural firm of Nevins, Wexchmeyer and Morgan of Louisville. Frederick Morgan was the project director and worked closely with the contractor Peter Nolen Wilson. Wilson was a Mercer County native who also built the Mercer County Courthouse. Archival research on the appearance and dimensions of the original fort was augmented by trips to eastern Kentucky to study methods of log construction. Construction of the fort was completed in 1927. Kentucky Governor W. J. Fields dedicated the forts and other smaller memorials.

Even before undertaking the fort, the Pioneer Memorial Association had been collecting structures associated with historic Kentuckians. In 1910, they moved the log cabin in which Abraham Lincoln's parents were married from the Washington County farm on which it stood to Harrodsburg. A building called the Lincoln Marriage Temple was built to house the log structure in 1931. The structure was designed by the Louisville architectural firm of Nevings, Morgan and Kolbrook. The design was based on an old log meeting house constructed near Mt Sterling in 1799. Peter Nolen Wilson was the contractor. He moved the log structure and erected the brick structure around it.

In 1934, the U. S. Congress provided funding for the construction of a memorial to the Appalachian pioneers. The sculptor chosen to ornament the monument was Ulric Ellerhosen. The architect was Francis Kealy. Both designers were from New York. President Franklin Roosevelt came to Harrodsburg and dedicated the monument. - 29 December 1986

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