The Rural Heritage Development Initiative Historic Sites Survey
The Rural Heritage Development Initiative’s Historic Sites Survey was a far-reaching effort to create a record of rural historic resources in the Marion and Washington County area. Fieldwork began in September 2006 and continued until July 2007. The Survey augmented the Rural Heritage Development Initiative (RHDI), a three-year pilot project to implement preservation-based economic development strategies in eight Kentucky counties: Boyle, Green, LaRue, Marion, Mercer, Nelson, Taylor, and Washington. This Central Heartland region was one of two areas in the country selected nationwide for this exciting program. The RHDI was sponsored by Preservation Kentucky, the Kentucky Heritage Council (KHC), and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. It was funded through a grant from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation with matching funds from private donors and the local counties.
To help us better understand, protect, and market the historic resources of this region, we applied in 2006 to the Preserve America Program of the National Park Service for a grant to do rural historic sites survey in Marion and Washington Counties. These two counties were chosen because they had incomplete or out-of-date survey data. The valuable data gathered by this survey project will be of great benefit in future historic preservation planning efforts in the RHDI region.
In all, 1,427 new sites were documented, and 77 previously documented sites were revisited. Most sites have additional resources such as barns, fences, or outbuildings. Over 600 of these resources, mainly barns, were documented on separate outbuilding forms. Other supporting structures and objects were documented less intensively in inventories on the back side of the principal resource form, keyed to the site plan in the field notes, and to photographs on continuation sheets. This includes more than 3,000 cellars, cemeteries, wells, garages, corn cribs, detached kitchens, rock fences, silos, spring houses, stores, tenant houses, barns, etc. All of these are also listed as individual entries in our historic sites database. Counting both surveyed sites and inventoried support resources documented or identified in the course of this project, over 5,000 historic resources have been recorded in Marion and Washington counties. This documentation includes over 11,500 digital photographs stored on a server and back-up disks at the KHC offices.
At this time, the data and forms generated by this project may only be accessed at the Heritage Council offices during regular business hours. The final project report can be downloaded from the right hand column of this page. It is a lengthy report, so it has been broken up into sections for more convenient access.
Do you have a historic site you would like to know more about? Call us at the Heritage Council and we'll be glad to assist you. For more information about the Kentucky Historic Resources Inventory, contact:
Interim Survey Coordinator
(502) 564-7005, ext. 132