One of the great things about traveling around all the time is that it's pushed me to appreciate where I am at all times. This past week, I've been visiting my hometown of Lexington, Kentucky. Usually when I'm here, I'll hang out with family and friends and lay low, but since I'm now in the habit of getting out and about to see the sights, I've been taking some time to act like a tourist in a place that I know very well.
This weekend, I toured McConnell Springs Nature Park, the birthplace of Lexington. Tucked away in a heavily industrial area of town, you might not notice this lush preserve unless you make a point to find it.
Back in 1775, frontiersman William McConnell had been camping here when he heard news of the American Revolution. In honor of the first battle which was fought in Lexington, Massachusetts, he named his camp Lexington. In the years following McConnell's temporary settlement near the Blue Hole, pictured at the top of the post, this site served as a dairy farm, a mill, a distillery, and even a gunpowder factory. By the beginning of the 20th century, McConnell Springs had become an all but a forgotten wasteland, a swampy sinkhole that was impossible to build on.
In 1993, Friends of McConnell Springs was founded to save the historic site. Together with the local parks department, they were able to successfully turn an industrial wasteland into a flourishing park, teeming with natural beauty and featuring an educational center that focuses on local history and nature alike.
More Info: McConnell Springs
(Images: Smith Schwartz)