When my teenage niece from Orlando visited several years ago, I took her to all the tourism sites in the area. But Fort Boonesborough — depicting life on the Kentucky frontier more than 237 years ago — was her favorite.
In fact, we had to visit the fort one more time before she left to catch her plane. What was it about Fort Boonesborough that captured her attention?
Why would a teenager be distracted from texting and computer games to be captivated by men and women in period clothing re-creating a hardscrabble life is a primitive settlement?
Brianna said she “loved Fort Boonesborough because it is so real.”
She said the people at the fort made her see what life was really like in 1775. She said her text books made it seem so boring, but the fort and its people were simply “awesome.”
You and your family and friends can share Brianna’s excitement about Fort Boonesborough this summer. The daily activities and the special events come together to intrigue just about everyone who visits.
You are likely to see and hear Scott New as he portrays Daniel Boone with such realism that you forget it’s not 1775. New is historian/interpreter at Fort Boonesborough as well as presenter of the Daniel Boone program for the Kentucky Humanities Council Chautauqua series.
On days when the weather is good, New likes to take visitors a short distance to the original site of the fort, which is closer to the banks of the Kentucky River. Be sure to call ahead to make sure New is on site if you want to see the Daniel Boone program.
As you visit the log cabins inside the fort compound, you will surely meet Shay Lelegren demonstrating the art of an 18th century tinsmith. Lelegren, the only 18th century tinsmith in the country, is spending the summer at Fort Boonesborough crafting items of tin such as those used by the early settlers of Fort Boonesborough. Lelegran will demonstrate his craft every day, using vintage tools to make tin coffee and tea pots, dippers and ladles, tin cups, wall sconces and lanterns.
Lelegren is looking forward to an annual gathering of tinsmiths and coppersmiths to the fort Friday through Sunday, June 22–24. The purpose of the gathering is to share knowledge and demonstrate the tools, techniques and skills used to produce tin and copper ware. The artisans at this gathering will usually have some of their wares or patterns for sale.
Under a shed in the center of the compound, you will meet Ryan Gore, a blacksmith and gunsmith from Lexington, who is working as a volunteer at Fort Boonesborough this summer, forging iron implements like those used by settlers at Fort Boonesborough.
Ryan is working with Art Cain, a blacksmith and gunsmith from Richmond, who will show how he makes a Kentucky rifle like those used for hunting and defense at Fort Boonesborough.
In the garden plot you might meet and talk with Brook or Barbara Elliott of Richmond, who are working this summer as interpreters of food ways of 18th century Virginia. Using heirloom seeds of the 18th century, the Elliotts will show off a garden much like those grown by the first residents of Boonesborough.
You can ask the Elliotts how the early settlers stored food without benefit of freezers or refrigerators and how they hunted, foraged and preserved wild game and vegetables for use in winter.
In addition to the day-to-day activities at the fort, you will want to mark these special events on your calendar. On July 14–15, the fort hosts the Seven Years War/French and Indian War encampment. You can see camps, drills equipment and uniforms of the French and Indian War, also known in Europe as the Seven Years War. Youngsters will really enjoy this event.
On July 21-22, the fort hosts the military/militia muster where members of the public can join up as a new recruit and participate in musket drill and marching. This is a great time to learn about drilling and practicing the art of war on the frontier.
One of the premier special events takes place Sept. 22–23 as a reenactment of the 1778 Seige of Boonesborough. Bill Farmer, fort manager, describes the siege when Indians and the British attacked the fort as a pivotal battle in the American Revolution. If Boonesborough had fallen at that time, the American Revolution would have had a western front that likely would have changed our history, he said.
One of Brianna’s final stops during her visit to Fort Boonesborough was the well-stocked gift shop, aptly named the Transylvania Trading Post. Here Brianna found great gifts for her three brothers and I spotted reproduction pottery and tinware that I couldn’t live without.
Fort Boonesborough and Fort Boonesborough State Park/Campground are located at 4375 Boonesboro Road (Ky. Hwy. 627). For more details, visit the Fort Boonesborough website www.fortboonesboroughlivinghistory.org. Or, phone Bill Farmer, fort manager, at 527-3131, Ext. 216
SUMMER IN MADISON COUNTY
- Local News
State champs get their rings at YMCA breakfast
Two months may have passed, but Madison County continues to celebrate the state basketball championship won by the Madison Central boys team.
Team members were presented championship rings while their cheerleaders received pendants Saturday morning during a breakfast at the Telford YMCA attended by nearly 300.
Sand artist, pastry chef wow audience at cake expo
Joe Castillo dazzled audiences while performing at Eastern Kentucky University’s Center for the Arts Saturday during the Grace with Taste Cake Expo.
Castillo, along with pastry chef Stella Parks, were the entertainment acts at the expo early in the afternoon.
District urges students to ‘PowerMyLearning’ through the summer
Sixteen little penguins need help jumping from iceberg to iceberg as a hungry killer whale swims menacingly in the chilly water below.
The fate of the poor little penguins lies in the hands of a third-grade student, who must quickly find the answer to a math equation to lead the penguins to safety.
Vietnam vets mark Armed Forces Day
In the 1960s and ‘70s, when many campuses around the country were the scene of anti-war riots and demonstrations, Eastern Kentucky University was naming buildings and streets for its alumni who had died fighting for their country.
GREAT bridges gap between cops, preteens
Bridging the gap between public misconceptions about police officers and the reality of what’s behind the uniform can be a daunting task. But, a growing program at Madison County middle schools is helping break down those barriers.
Exit 95 rebuild delayed until 2017
Originally scheduled for 2014, the reconstruction of Exit 95 on Interstate 75 won’t take place until 2017, Madison Judge/Executive Kent Clark told a joint meeting of the Richmond and Berea chambers of commerce Friday.
The state Transportation Cabinet is delaying the project, Clark said, until a decision is made on the proposed highway that would run from Exit 95 to Nicholasville.
Toyota bornlearning Academy graduates parents
Seven graduates received their certificates Thursday night, but not with the customary rendition of “Pomp and Circumstance.”
It was a celebration of the parents’ six-month journey with the Toyota bornlearning Academy at Berea Community School.
The academy works with parents and caregivers of children from prenatal to 5 years old on ways to turn everyday moments into learning opportunities.
Caudill Middle School student showcase
Members of the Caudil Middle School Jazz Band entertain the crowd during the school's end of year student showcase Thursday.
Man arrested Friday after early morning break-in
Richmond police made an arrest Friday in connection with an early morning break-in at Jack’s Cleaners on West Water Street.
Scott Hobbs, 42, of McKee, was charged with first-degree burglary, according to Richmond Police Chief Larry Brock
At 3:25 a.m., a witness reported seeing a man enter and exit the cleaners through a broken window and drive away, Brock stated in a news release.
Grand jury indicts inmates in jail assault
Two inmates at the Madison County Detention Center were indicted Wednesday on charges related to the beating of another prisoner.
A Madison grand jury indicted 28-year-old Justin Morgan Howell and 26-year-old Lucas Wayne Shanks on charges of second-degree assault, second-degree escape and second-degree persistent felony offenders.
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