Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Harrison County Courthouse - Cynthiana, Ky.
I set out this morning knowing that I would drive to Cynthiana to begin my trip through the east/central part of the Bluegrass, but I really had no idea what I was in for. I must admit that I got a bit lost on the way to Cynthiana, but getting a little lost was probably the best thing I could have done. This area of Kentucky is absolutely gorgeous. If you want to see some of the most beautiful stone fences and rolling countryside, follow my route. It was amazing. What continues to suprise me on these trips is how completely distinct different areas of Kentucky are. Owen County and Harrison County nearly touch each other, but they couldn't be more different in geography.
Anyway, Cynthiana is a pretty little town, with a motto that is something like "A town as beautiful as its name." I learned at the courthouse that the origin of the name "Cynthiana" is actually a pretty interesting story. According to the plaque on the courthouse, Robert Harrison (interestingly, not the county's namesake, but the man who donated land for the courthouse square) had two daughters - Cynthia and Anna. Combining the two names gave us the name of the county seat.
According to the sign on the courthouse, the present courthouse is the third - built in 1853 with the clock and bell added in 1856. Wings were added in 1914, and it was listed on the National Historic Register in 1974.
What keeps surprising me about this project is how many times I find myself thinking "I could live here." Cynthiana was no exception.
* BONUS PIC FOR PETER - I've decided that if I see something that is particularly noteworthy, I'm going to give everyone a bonus picture. This is labeled as the "Old Log Court House"- and has a pretty awesome history. It's the oldest building in Cynthiana, built in 1790. Henry Clay practiced law here, and both the county's first newspaper and a notable early arithmetic textbook were printed here.