Old Fort Harrod State Park – Harrodsburg, Kentucky - Atlas Obscura

Old Fort Harrod State Park

Harrodsburg, Kentucky

A full-scale replica of a 1774 colonial settlement in Kentucky. 


Living in the American West in the 18th century was laborious and dangerous. Families faced threats from Native Americans and outlaws, while also fighting against disease, famine, and harsh winters. One of the ways they survived these conditions was to build settlements surrounded by walls. Fort Harrod is such an example. 

The first permanent colonial settlement in what is today the state of Kentucky, the original Fort Harrod was built by James Harrod in 1774. Since that time, the original fort has been mostly lost and replaced. The fort that stands today is a faithful replica of the original, with a fully functioning village safely nestled inside the impressive wooden walls. 

During your walk through you can meet a gunsmith (who is usually working on an actual black powder firearm), a broom maker, cooks, a blacksmith, a tailor (complete with a functioning loom), and a farmer. You can learn how they defended the fort, how they fought, and how they stored gun powder to keep it dry and avoid accidental explosions. You can also walk through their houses, seeing how they lived, how they slept, and where they congregated in the evenings to spend time together. 

In the middle of the fort is a functioning garden and pens that hold animals. Nearby is a replica of a colonial school house. You will probably notice the uneven dirt floor. At the end of your walk through you will end up at a quaint little gift shop. 

Know Before You Go

Make sure to check the website before visiting. As it is a state park, the hours of operation are limited to March 1 through November 30.

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July 4, 2018

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