Kentucky's Frontier Highway: Historical Landscapes along the Maysville Road

Kentucky's Frontier Highway: Historical Landscapes along the Maysville Road

by Karl Raitz, Nancy O'Malley


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Eighteenth-century Kentucky beckoned to hunters, surveyors, and settlers from the mid-Atlantic coast colonies as a source of game, land, and new trade opportunities. Unfortunately, the Appalachian Mountains formed a daunting barrier that left only two primary roads to this fertile Eden. The steep grades and dense forests of the Cumberland Gap rendered the Wilderness Road impassable to wagons, and the northern route extending from southeastern Pennsylvania became the first main thoroughfare to the rugged West, winding along the Ohio River and linking Maysville to Lexington in the heart of the Bluegrass.

Kentucky's Frontier Highway reveals the astounding history of the Maysville Road, a route that served as a theater of local settlement, an engine of economic development, a symbol of the national political process, and an essential part of the Underground Railroad. Authors Karl Raitz and Nancy O'Malley chart its transformation from an ancient footpath used by Native Americans and early settlers to a central highway, examining the effect that its development had on the evolution of transportation technology as well as the usage and abandonment of other thoroughfares, and illustrating how this historic road shaped the wider American landscape.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780813136646
Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
Publication date: 11/30/2012
Pages: 424
Sales rank: 1,238,589
Product dimensions: 7.10(w) x 10.10(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Karl Raitz is professor of geography at the University of Kentucky.

Nancy O'Malley is the assistant director of the William S. Webb Museum of Anthropology at the University of Kentucky.

Table of Contents

List of Maps and Illustrations vii

Part I Introduction

1 Reading America's Roads 3

2 Traveling the Road 17

Part II Overland Roads and the Epic of Kentucky's Settlement

3 Coming to Kentucky 35

4 Regional Context 43

5 Road Evolution 47

6 Indian Paths and Buffalo Traces 51

7 Pioneer Road 55

8 Turnpike Road 61

9 State and Federal Highway 77

10 From Turnpike to Parkway 87

Part III The Maysville Road: A Landscape Biography

11 The Road as a Corridor of Complexity 93

12 Lexington 97

13 The Original Limestone Trace-A Side Trip on Bryan Station Road 119

14 The City-to-Country Transition 133

15 Gentleman Farms and the Inner Bluegrass Landscape 139

16 Siting Paris 171

17 Side Trip: High Street from the Bourbon County Courthouse South to the Juncture of High and Main Streets 185

18 Nineteenth-Century Paris 187

19 Paris toward Blue Licks 191

20 Millersburg 203

21 The Eden Shale Hills 217

22 Blue Licks 227

23 Commemoration, Heritage, and a Battlefield Park 235

24 Blue Licks toward Maysville 239

25 Fairview and Ewing 243

26 Fairview toward Mason County 251

27 The Outer Bluegrass 255

28 Mayslick-"The Asparagus Bed of Mason County" 261

29 Old Washington 277

30 Slavery, the Underground Railroad, and Hemp Production 295

31 Intersections and Commercial Roadside Development 301

32 Maysville 305

33 Living with the River 325

34 East Maysville 329

Part IV Reflecting on Roads and American Culture

35 The Changing Landscape of Mobility 335

Acknowledgments 341

Notes 343

Bibliography 371

Index 389

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