horizontal banner with Preserve America logo and images of a historic downtown, farm, courthouse, and mountain

Preserve America is a national initiative in cooperation with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation; the U.S. Departments of Defense, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, and Education; the National Endowment for the Humanities; the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities; and the President's Council on Environmental Quality.

Preserve America Community:
Munfordville, Kentucky

Munfordville (population 1,563) was founded after 1801, when Richard Munford settled at a natural ford along the Green River. He established a ferry, and planted vineyards and orchards. Munford set aside 100 acres for a town he hoped would become the county seat and a center for commerce.

In time hemp, flour, and tobacco shipping were an important part of the local economy, and this crossroads became an important stopover point. President-elect Andrew Jackson stayed here on his way to Washington, DC, for his inauguration.

Munfordville, as the town came to be known, attracted national attention in the 1850s when an iron railroad bridge, seen as an engineering marvel, was constructed over the Green River. It is most well known as the site of three Civil War battles fought to control this vital supply link and for four years of continuous occupation by military forces. An annual Civil War Days event each September and guided tours of the battlefields help pass on this part of the local heritage.

Today, Munfordville is home to the Hart County Historical Museum in the historic Chapline Building, center of operations for the Battle for the Bridge Historic Preserve and the starting point of the Old Munfordville Walking Tour. The 1835 Francis Asberry Smith House was used as headquarters by both the Union and the Confederate Army, and the log 1810 Old Munford Inn, was a well-known way station for travelers to nearby Mammoth Cave.

Tourists who follow a driving tour route through the historic downtown and local back roads encounter Amish horse-drawn buggies and rural landscapes. The town recently employed a full-time tourism director to help develop the infrastructure necessary support growing number of tourists.

The Main Street Munfordville program and many civic groups are also helping to revitalize the downtown area, preserving the community's resources while improving the economy and quality of life.

For more information

Munfordville Tourism Commission: www.visitmunfordville.com

Battle for the Bridge Historic Preserve: www.battleforthebridge.org

Posted April 22, 2009

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