Grand Gateway to Kentucky

Grand Gateway to Kentucky (HM1ZKT)

Location: Crab Orchard, KY 40419 Lincoln County
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Country: United States of America
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N 37° 27.745', W 84° 30.369'

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Crab Orchard Kentucky

Long Hunters, led by Elisha Walden, first recorded the beautiful orchard of crab apple trees in 1763. Soon, the long hunter's trail from Cumberland Gap to Crab Orchard, as it became known, carried a swelling tide of settlers. Crab Orchard, long known as the "grand gateway to Kentucky", became an important station. Some of those traveling the Wilderness Road settled here, including Colonel William Whitley and his wife, Esther. Col. whitley completed Sportsman's Hill, the first brick house in Kentucky near Crab orchard in 1794. It is now a State Historic Site. At his estate he constructed the first circular race track in America on which races were run in a counter-clockwise direction.

Crab orchard's eight mineral springs were renowned for the medicinal properties. As early as 1827, Jack David built "A House of Entertainment" to exploit the springs. The elegant Crab Orchard Springs Hotel, with accommodations for 700 guests, was built about 1850. At the height of its popularity in the late 1850s, the hotel received almost 500 guests daily, among them John Hunt Morgan and his Lexington Rifles. Crab Orchard was known nationwide as the "Saratoga of the South".

During the Civil War the Wilderness Road was an important military route. Thousands of soldiers, Union anad Confederate, passed through Crab Orchard. John Hunt Morgan
raided the town in 1862, destroying 120 Union supply wagons on the Somerset Road. The Union army turned the Baptist Church building into a hospital and in 1863 built a supply depot that helped supply the important Knoxville Campaign.


Top: The Civil War monument in the Crab Orchard Cemetery.

Middle: The monument at the William Whitley House memorializes the race track that encircled the knoll in the background.

Bottom: An advertisement for the Crab orchard Springs Hotel, ca..1880.

Left: The William Whitley House, once known as the "Guardian of the Wilderness Road".
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Monday, July 10th, 2017 at 9:01am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)16S E 720560 N 4149092
Decimal Degrees37.46241667, -84.50615000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 37° 27.745', W 84° 30.369'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds37° 27' 44.7" N, 84° 30' 22.14" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)606, 859
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling North
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 209 Main St, Crab Orchard KY 40419, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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