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Frankfort, Kentucky

Spotlight: Frankfort

Pay a visit to the home of bourbon balls, whiskey and Daniel Boone

Frankfort treats visitors with historic architecture and beautiful scenery. Take a trip to the capital of Kentucky for whiskey, candy and trips into America’s compelling past.

Beautiful Buildings

Like Lexington and Louisville, its neighbors to the east and west, Frankfort boasts streetscapes that are lined with attractive 19th-century buildings. The Old State Capitol, occupied beginning in 1830, was the first Greek Revival building erected west of the Allegheny Mountains. The government temple featured no windows, but a domed lantern on the roof admitted light.

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Getty Images/iStockphoto

The Old Governor’s Mansion on High Street is one of America’s earliest Executive Mansions. The second Kentucky governor, James Garrard, was the first of 35 chief executives to move into the two-story Federal-style house in 1798. So many Bluegrass State politicians resided in the town’s north section that it is now known as the Corner in Celebrities Historic District.

Anchoring the district on Wapping Street is the Vest-Lindsey House, which also has roots in the 18th-century. George Graham Vest was a lawyer known for coining the phrase, “a dog is man’s best friend,” during a trial over a canine killing.

Whiskey and Candy

The local mash house is the Buffalo Trace Distillery, which is the oldest continuously operating distillery in America. In a particularly interesting episode during the 1920s, operators convinced government regulators to permit them to operate during prohibition for “medicinal purposes.” Distillery tours leave hourly and include tastings from the family of award-winning Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskeys.

Also open for touring is the Rebecca Ruth Candy Factory in downtown Frankfort, started in 1919 by two schoolteachers, Ruth Hanly Booe and Rebecca Gooch. In the 1930s, Booe resuscitated a struggling Depression-era business by blending chocolate and bourbon. “Bourbon Balls” were born.

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Outdoors in Frankfort

Frankfort’s nature centers beckon. The Buckley Wildlife Sanctuary offers trails across three sections of Kentucky River floodplain with self-guided interpretive tours. At the Salato Wildlife Education Center, indoor and outdoor exhibits introduce visitors to the native Kentucky plants and animals.

Established in 1844, the Frankfort Cemetery overlooks the Kentucky River and the downtown area from a bluff on East Main Street. This is the eternal resting place for scores of notable Kentuckians, including seventeen who served as governor of the Commonwealth. None is more famous than America’s greatest 18th-century frontier celebrity—Daniel Boone. Boone blazed the first trails into Kentucky across his Wilderness Road and had made it to Missouri by the time he died in 1820.

For More Information

Visit Frankfort
Kentucky Department of Travel