Out of The Springs ... 

our city was born




The Blue Hole
In June 1775, William McConnell and his fellow frontier explorers camped at a natural spring in the wilderness of the Virginia territory known as Kentucky. Word came from nearby Fort Boonesboro that the first battle of the American Revolution had been fought in Lexington, Massachusetts. In honor of the battle, the group named their future settlement “Lexington”.
Kentucky-American Water Company Education Center at McConnell Springs
During the ensuing years, McConnell Springs — a National Registered Historic Site — served as the location of a mill, a gunpowder factory, a distillery, and a dairy farm. In more recent years, however, the site lay abandoned — but not forgotten.

Citizen efforts to reclaim McConnell Springs for its historical and natural value began with the publication of Carolyn Murray-Wooley’s book The Founding of Lexington published in Lexington’s Bicentennial Year. In 1993, The Friends of McConnell Springs came together to raise funds and recapture the site. JPMorgan Chase donated the original property to the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government for parkland. Meanwhile, The Friends had cleared hundreds of tons of trash and construction debris, and in November 1994 purchased an adjoining lot to build the Kentucky-American Water Company Education Center.

McConnell Springs is owned by the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government and managed by its Division of Parks and Recreation.

NEW! McConnell Springs in Historical Perspective, by Nancy O'Malley.

A visit to McConnell Springs today exposes the visitor to a seemingly natural landscape, with springs bubbling to the surface and the dense tree canopy; a closer look reveals remnants of stone fence and foundations that hint at the cultural past of the place. Come travel through time and learn what McConnell Springs has been and how it came to be what it is today. The past awaits you when you click on the downloadable file below. (Requires free Adobe Reader.)


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McConnell Springs in Historical Perspective
Newsletter is now available online!

Learn more about activities at McConnell Springs, news of The Friends of McConnell Springs, and enjoy fact-filled articles about nature, history, and archaeology.

Requires the FREE Adobe Reader. To download the reader, click here.


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Winter 2014 Newsletter
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Fall 2014 Newsletter
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Summer 2014 Newsletter


 Contact The Friends of McConnell Springs
Reenactors at Annual Founders' Day Celebration
 About the owl
One of the highlights of the education program at McConnell Springs is collecting and analyzing owl pellets (regurgitated bone, hair, feathers, etc.). Although this sounds gross, it is completely sanitary — and the children have a vicarious thrill in sorting out and identifying the various remains. Then, the students create art designs using these items — the results of which are both humorous and enlightening. These are displayed in the Kentucky-American Water Company Education Center.