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Harrodstown/Harrod's Town/Oldtown/Fort Harrod


"To be born in Kentucky is a heritage;
to brag about it is a habit;
to appreciate it is a virtue."

- Irvin Cobb

Historic Harrodsburg

Known by many names in the past, Harrodsburg, is the oldest town in the Commonwealth. Nestled in the Bluegrass Region of the state, in Mercer County, it was named for its founder, James Harrod. Harrodstown, as it was called then, was founded on June 16, 1774 by a group of 31 men, Harrod led out of Pennsylvania in the spring of that year. Called Harrodstown at that time, it was the first permanent English settlement west of the Allegheny Mountains (Appalachians).

Later that same year, Daniel Boone and Michael Stoner were sent to warn the settlement of imminent danger from Indian attacks. Despite the hardships of the unsettled land, Boone fell in love with Kentucky. Although abandoned briefly, the town was resettled the following spring and became the seat of Virginia's Kentucky County in 1776, before becoming the seat of Mercer County, Kentucky.

The Harrodsburg Tankers

These brave members of the Kentucky National Guard fought in WWII and many endured voyages on the infamous "Hell Ships" for POWs and the Bataan Death March. Of the 66 who went into war, only 37 survived the tortures of their captivity. These "Battling Bastards of Bataan" are featured in our Harrodsburg Tanker history pages.

Harrodsburg Tankers Feature

The Doctor's Ledger

A recently discovered doctor's ledger is now here for you to peruse. This volume from Dr. Robert Wilson who cared for soldiers of the Perryville Battlefield has been added to our exhibits and you can search by name or rank; regiment or state for a soldier and then see a digital copy of the actual ledger in the doctor's own hand!

Perryville Battlefield Doctor's Ledger

  • Happy Chandler
    I've never met a Kentuckian who wasn't either thinking about going home or actually going home.
    Happy Chandler
  • Andrew Jackson
    I have never in my life seen a Kentuckian who didn't have a gun, a pack of cards and a jug of whiskey.
    Andrew Jackson
  • Jesse Stuart
    If these United States can be called a body, then Kentucky can be called its heart.
    Jesse Stuart
  • Jesse Stuart
    I take with me Kentucky embedded in my brain and heart, In my flesh and bone and blood since I am Kentucky and Kentucky is part of me.
    Jesse Stuart
  • Daniel Boone
    Heaven must be a Kentucky kind of place.
    Daniel Boone
  • Abraham Lincoln
    I hope to have God on my side, but I must have Kentucky.
    Abraham Lincoln
  • Daniel Boone
    Soon after, I returned home to my family, with a determination to bring them as soon as possible to live in Kentucky, which I esteemed a second paradise....
    Daniel Boone
  • Irvin Cobb
    To be born in Kentucky is a heritage; to brag about it is a habit; to appreciate it is a virtue.
    Irvin Cobb
Harrodsburg Historical Society Fancy Divider

"What a people believe determines what they build."

Harrodsburg Historical Society Fancy Divider
The Old Mud Meeting House

More Historic Places in Mercer County

The National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 authorized the National Park Service's Register of Historic Places -- an official list of our Nation's historic places worthy of preservation. The register is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America's historic and archeological resources.