Kentucky Heritage Council
Kentucky Lincoln Heritage Trail continues to generate interest, visitors to historic sites
FRANKFORT, Ky. – As 2009 and the bicentennial year of President Abraham Lincoln's birth winds to a close, it’s a good time to reflect on successful activities along the Kentucky Lincoln Heritage Trail. Most recently, in late October the Kentucky Department of Travel received four awards in the 2009 Kentucky Tourism Council’s Annual Traverse Awards for Excellence in Tourism Marketing, including second place for its Saving Lincolns television ad promoting travel deals to Lincoln-related sites.
A signature project of the Kentucky Heritage Council / State Historic Preservation Office, the trail was revived in 2008 in partnership with the Department of Travel, Lincoln sites, Kentucky Historical Society, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and Kentucky Lincoln Bicentennial Commission. The scenic driving route across central Kentucky is made up of nearly 20 historic sites that in some way shaped the Lincoln legacy and influenced the president throughout his life.
For each of the last two summers the Heritage Council has sponsored a passport promotion to encourage trail travel. This summer Kentucky interstate welcome centers were featured as high-visibility passport stamping locations referring travelers to local Lincoln sites.
Winner of the summer promotion, and a grand-prize gift basket of Kentucky travel- and Lincoln-related merchandise worth more than $200, was Micki Leichman of Cincinnati, who took the opportunity to accept her prize recently in front of the Boone County Welcome Center (see photo). Micki said her husband, Will, discovered information about the Lincoln Heritage Trail while searching travel opportunities at the Kentucky Department of Travel Web site, www.kytourism.com. The Boone County center was where they received their first Lincoln Trail passport stamp.
Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet Secretary Marcheta Sparrow did the grand-prize drawing during an appearance on the Frankfort Cable Channel 10 tourism program hosted by Joy Jeffries, executive director of the Frankfort/Franklin County Tourist and Convention Commission. During the half-hour show, Secretary Sparrow emphasized the importance of regional travel and efforts to attract visitors from border states such as Ohio.
In fact, according to a fall 2008 survey by Lexington-based Certec, Inc., to determine Who Are Our Top Ten Visitors to Kentucky?, Ohio is the number one state for visitors to Kentucky lodging facilities, and number two for attractions.
The Leichmans said their favorite Lincoln site was the Camp Nelson Civil War Heritage Park in Jessamine County, so they were excited the grand prize package included a signed and limited-edition print of the Officers’ Quarters by the late Kentucky artist Howard Fain. The print was donated by the park and Jessamine County Tourism. Many Kentucky Lincoln Heritage Trail sites donated items.
The trail was featured prominently during the 2009 National Historic Preservation Conference October 13-16 in Nashville, with a proposal by Heritage Council Economic Development and Lincoln Coordinator Karen Keown accepted as a poster presentation. 16 Great Kentucky Lincoln Heritage Trail Promotions in honor of our 16th President highlighted the successful model for cross-promotional marketing between each of the Kentucky Lincoln sites, sister agencies of the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, and non-profit partners. Branding and marketing materials including maps, logos, posters, a Web site, flickr pages and YouTube videos; highway signage and a series of 28 interpretive panels installed along the trail; connections to Kentucky African American heritage and the Civil War; and support of National Scenic Byway and potential National Heritage Area designations were also cited among successful collaborations.
Special trail events included a community day and open house August 15 at the Holt House in Breckinridge County, home of Lincoln’s Judge Advocate General Joseph Holt, which attracted more than 1,500 visitors. Late last year the home was acquired by the county through a Kentucky Heritage Council Lincoln preservation grant, funded by the Kentucky Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, and its restoration was named a Legacy Project by the commission.
Lincoln and Lincoln sites were featured prominently during October 23 celebrations noting designation of the Lincoln Heritage Scenic Highway from Hodgenville through Danville as a National Scenic Byway. Nomination of the region was a two-year undertaking sponsored by LaRue county government with the assistance of Preservation Kentucky, Inc., and the Rural Heritage Development Initiative.
The Kentucky Lincoln Bicentennial observance continues through February 2010, and with the holiday season approaching, travelers will want to keep in mind unique Lincoln-related gifts available at Kentucky Lincoln sites gift shops and merchandise online at the bicentennial commission Web site, www.kylincoln.org. For a custom gift, each Lincoln site continues to stamp passport maps and other items for visitors.
For more information about the trail, visit www.kylincolntrail.com. Trailgoers are invited to upload their photos to share at the Kentucky Lincoln Heritage Trail flickr site, www.flickr.com/photos/kentuckylincoln/
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An agency of the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, the Kentucky Heritage Council / State Historic Preservation Office is responsible for the identification, protection and preservation of prehistoric resources and historic buildings, sites and cultural resources throughout the Commonwealth, in partnership with other state and federal agencies, local communities and interested citizens. This mission is integral to making communities more livable and has a far-ranging impact on issues as diverse as economic development, jobs creation, affordable housing, tourism, community revitalization, environmental conservation and quality of life. www.heritage.ky.gov