Washington, Kentucky, A diamond in the rough

Saturday I discovered Washington, Kentucky.  What a treasure. 

The town was laid out in 1785.  It prospered and, as the county seat, it boasted many homes, churches, and businesses, from pioneer cabins to sophisticated, two-story stone homes.  While visiting the Marshall Key family, in Washington, Harriet Beecher Stowe, witnessed a slave auction on the courthouse lawn.  She later drew on that experience when she wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin.  Although slavers worked their ugly trade, here, some surprisingly prominent town residents secretly supported the “underground railroad” helping slaves to freedom, while others were staunch, open, abolitionists.   

In 1848, the county seat moved to the Maysville riverfront and “Old Washington” was frozen in time.  Washington has the only US Post Office operated in a log cabin.  The National Parks Service includes the entire historic district in its Historic American Buildings Survey. 

Old Washington is south of Maysville, past Kentucky route 9, on Highway 62, 30 minutes from Hopewell Croft.  Guided tours are available on weekends, 11-3.  Arrive before noon for a complete tour.