A pair of work mules are the first thing you see. Hand-hewn logs trail behind the sturdy animals as men guide them with their heavy load. At the clearing lies the goal: the site for the first blockhouse in Logan’s Fort.
If not for the cars encircling the site, you might easily think it is 1776 and Benjamin Logan has returned from Virginia. Since building has just begun, that would mean Logan has convinced some of his friends to build their cabins at the fort.
Instead it’s actually March 2010 and a bevy of leading citizens watch as the walls of the first reconstructed blockhouse in Logan’s Fort go up, barn-raising style with men pulling heavy, hand-notched logs into place with ropes. The leaders insist the authenticity of the building process mirror the historical correctness of the materials used, as well as the history that the townspeople have so diligently researched.
Later a palisade—a large fence or wall built to protect living things inside—was added at the front along with a large east gate. Work resumed in 2011 with the reconstruction of a corner log cabin expected to be complete by April.
Logan’s Fort is part of a triangle of historical forts in the area that was originally Lincoln County—including Fort Harrod and Fort Boonesborough—according to Irene Jaggers, president of Logan’s Fort Foundation. The foundation is one of three partners on this project, including the City of Stanford and the Lincoln County Fiscal Court, with a seven-member board overseeing the construction.
Planning the ambitious undertaking took 14 years from concept to initial construction. Fund-raising began in 2007. This 90 X 150-foot fort replica, being built in close proximity to the original fort site in Stanford, will ultimately include seven cabins, three blockhouses (a log structure with an upper story overhanging the first), a gristmill, walking trails, and a refurbished icehouse that will house a welcome center, museum, and gift shop.
Jaggers notes proudly of the community involvement, “We received donations from $10 to as large as $25,000. Schoolchildren saved their pennies to buy logs. Thirteen classes each bought a log. We later received one grant for the welcome center and have applied for grants for the fort.”
Residents of this history-rich and heritage-proud county are not new at restoring historical treasures. The William Whitley House, a State Historical Site and the first brick house west of the Alleghenies, has been restored, as well as the Old Presbyterian Meeting House, now a museum. The Lincoln County Historical Society purchased and preserved the Immanuel Lutheran Church at Ottenheim, a touchingly beautiful late-1800s structure in the German-Swiss community featuring a hand-carved altar.
No one will be more pleased than Jaggers, who is often at the epicenter of action. Her coiffed gray hair tucked neatly under a hat, green eyes sparkling, she says others are excited about the fort as well. “People have been hearing about it all these years. Now they see it is really going to happen. We don’t just want to protect part of our history; we want to help all history in Lincoln County.”
LOGAN’S FORT FACTS
• Logan’s Fort was completed and occupied by February 1777.
• The attempted court-martial of Daniel Boone took place at Logan’s Fort.
• Early settlers often referred to 1777 as the “Year of the Bloody Sevens” or “The Bloody Year of the Three Sevens.” The state was held by a handful of people confined to three forts—Ft. Harrod, Ft. Boonesborough, and Logan’s Fort. All three were part of Lincoln County at the time.
• Records at the Lincoln County Courthouse are among the oldest in the state, dating back to 1778. A few were written on sheepskin.
• The land around the fort was cleared of all trees and cane so Indians would not be able to hide and shoot at the fort.
For more information, go online to www.LogansFort.org.
Donations for continued work on Logan’s Fort can be made using the “Membership/Donations” form; all donations should be mailed to Logan’s Fort Foundation, P. O. Box 1775, Stanford, KY 40484. There will ultimately be a plaque in the welcome center inscribed with donor names. Anyone can make a donation in their own name or to honor or commemorate someone else, whose name will appear on the plaque.