First settled in 1789, Marion County was later named after Revolutionary War General Francis Marion in 1834. Marion County is also a center of Kentucky history, found in such places as the Holy Cross Church, which dates back to 1823, and the Loretto Motherhouse, dating back to 1812.
Marion County is also home to Maker’s Mark Distillery, a National Historic Landmark that continues to produce the world-famous Maker’s Mark Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky. The Maker’s Mark Distillery, with its cypress vats dating back at least 100 years, is the only continuously operating distillery in America to be named a National Historic Landmark. Established in 1840, some of its buildings date from the 19th century, have been lovingly restored, and are open for free tours.
In the 1860′s, Lebanon was a crucial location on the L&N Railroad and the scene of considerable Civil War activity. It served as a recruiting center, a hospital center, headquarters for the Union Army and headquarters for the Confederate Army.
Lebanon, the county seat, was incorporated as a city on January 28, 1815, and because of its superior style and beauty, elegant homes and flourishing businesses, it had the reputation of being Kentucky’s Philadelphia and was considered for the site of the state capitol.
During the Civil War, General John Hunt Morgan’s Raiders descended on Lebanon, and after Morgan’s brother, Tom, was killed during a battle, the raiders burned much of the town in retribution. Even though twenty buildings were destroyed in the attack, Lebanon recovered, and more recently the downtown historic district was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Also, our Historic Homes and Landmarks Tour is part of the Kentucky’s Civil War Heritage Trail and includes twenty-four listings.
The Lebanon Civil War Park depicts Major Gen. George H. Thomas, the “Rock of Chickamauga,” who led Union forces from Lebanon to Mill Springs in January 1862 for the first major Civil War battle in Kentucky.
257 Penn's Store Road Gravel Switch, KY
**Currently closed for renovations.
- Phone: 859.332.7706, 859.332.7715
- Website: http://www.pennsstore.com/
- Get Directions: Google Maps
- Shopping: Gift Shops/Regional Items/Collectibles
- Hours: Summer (April - Nov) Wed., Thurs. & Sat. 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Sun. 1-4 p.m. Winter (Dec - March) Fri. & Sat. 11 a.m-4 p.m., Sun. 1-4 p.m. *Hours are subject to change so visitors are encouraged to call in advance
Rev. R. Joseph Hemmerle
3560 N. St. Francis Rd.
Loretto KY 40037
In 1785, a “league” of 60 families was formed in Maryland, all Catholics, and mostly from St. Mary’s County, each one of whom pledged to emigrate to Kentucky within a specified period of time. Their primary purpose of settling together was to secure as soon as possible the advantages of a pastorate and a church.
Twenty-five families left Maryland early in 1785 and reached Kentucky before the end of spring. Father M. Whelan was assigned to Kentucky and reached the Pottinger’s Creek settlement in the early summer of 1787 and remained until the spring of 1790. Six months later, the Rev. William de Rohan followed and it was he who built the first Holy Cross Church in 1792, the first Catholic church erected in the state.
This state-wide trail makes a path through the heart of Lebanon. The residence at Holly Hill Inn, one of Lebanon’s historic landmarks, was known for years as “Sunnyside,” It’s the site where Confederate Gen. John Hunt Morgan’s brother, Tom Morgan, laid in state after falling in a battle in Lebanon July 5, 1863. He was later buried in the garden until the war was over. Morgan was so enraged upon learning of his brother’s demise that he rode his horse into and up the staircase of Myrtledene, his headquarters at the time but now a local bed & breakfast. Myrtledene, a designated a Kentucky Landmark by the Kentucky Heritage Committee, is the inspiration for the outdoor drama/musical “Hoofprints on the Stairs.”
A century ago, a hardworking man named T.W. Boswell came to the rugged land of the Missouri Ozarks to develop a working stave mill at the crossroads of white oak country. The year was 1912. In those days, saws at the mills were powered by steam engines. Mills were portable, moving from forest to forest deep in the Ozark Mountains in search of tight-grain white oak for aging America’s greatest spirits.
Now, 100 years later, Boswell’s early vision has developed into a successful family-owned cooperage company led by his great-grandchildren. Independent Stave Company has stave mills in Missouri, Indiana, and France, and cooperages in Kentucky, Missouri, France, Chile, and Australia.
A link to the past 100 years of Independent Stave Company: http://www.independentstavecompany.com/library/documents/ISC100YearTimeline.swf