(ODD)yssey, Blog Post

Little-known weird tourism sites in Elizabethtown, KY

Sweetums loves the rom-com film “Elizabethtown,” which is kinda funny for a big guy who also loves horror and Bigfoot movies … not that I’m judging. When we took a trip last year to Louisville, Kentucky, we had to stop and see what the little town had to offer.

The answer: not much as far as weird tourism. But. You know Sweetums and I can sniff out the weirdness in any town, even if it’s not as obvious as a World’s Largest Thing. Plus, Elizabethtown, population 30,000, has a beautiful downtown area filled with historic homes and buildings.

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Elizabethtown, Kentucky. (Photo by Wil Elrick/Permission Required)

Here’s what we found:

Lincoln marriage site in parking space

You’ve gotta love a town with a parking space memorial. Just sayin.’ In Elizabethtown, the home where Abe Lincoln’s father married Abe’s stepmother was paved over for a parking lot. Now, a home-made-looking memorial stands at the spot. Two figures are drawn on a standing board, much like one of those carnival photo opps you stick your face through. A plaque on a rock beneath the figures was erected on February 12, 2009. It says,

Dedicated in honor of the Bicentennial observance of the birth of President Abraham Lincoln
Upon these stones stood a log house where the wedding vows of his father, Thomas Lincoln, and a good and kind stepmother, Sarah Bush Johnston, were exchanged on December 2, 1819. Elizabethtown, Hardin County, Kentucky.

E town lincoln
Lincoln marriage memorial in parking lot, Elizabethtown, Kentucky. (Photo by Wil Elrick/Permission Required)
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Lincoln marriage memorial in parking lot, Elizabethtown, Kentucky. (Photo by Wil Elrick/Permission Required)

Site of bar saved from Carrie Nation’s hatchet

You’ve probably heard of Carrie Nation, the hatchet-wielding leader of the Temperance Movement. You may not have known she cut an imposing figure at about 6 feet tall. Elizabethtown has a historical marker explaining an incident there. Nation was in Elizabethtown in 1904 to give a lecture but, as everyone knew, she would target local saloons with a hatchet that she would use to bust up kegs and liquor bottles. The evening she arrived in town, it is said, Nation walked past a saloon owned by Robert Neighbors. She stopped on the sidewalk to tell Neighbors “shame on you” for running his naughty business. Neighbors couldn’t help himself. He grabbed a chair from his saloon and struck Nation twice. She sustained lacerations that had to be tended and bandaged, which saved Neighbors’ bar from attack.

E town Carrie Nation
Plaque detailing Carrie Nation’s visit, Elizabethtown, Kentucky. (Photo by Wil Elrick/Permission Required)

Cannonball that was stuck in building wall – twice

We’ve been to a few cities with Civil War cannonballs stuck in walls of buildings and homes. In Elizabethtown, a cannonball fired in 1862 stuck in a building on the downtown square but it fell out when the building burned in 1887. Thankfully, locals decided to preserve their little piece of history and reinstall the ball when the building was rebuilt. It is stuck on the third-story wall, in the approximate location of the original. An arrow points the way for tourists.

Historic downtown

Downtown Elizabeth town has some beautifully restored historic buildings, and the square is surrounding by lovely homes, many of which are on the National Register of Historic Places. Click here for a listing.

Here are a few we saw:

The Brown-Pusey House, now the Brown Pusey House Community Center, was built on Maine Street in 1825 by John Y. Hill.

brown house elizabethtown
Brown-Pusey House, Elizabethtown, Kentucky. (Photo by Wil Elrick/Permission Required)

Severns Valley Baptist Church, built in 1834, is now a meeting place for Shriners.

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Severns Valley Baptist Church was built in 1834, Elizabethtown, Kentucky. (Photo by Wil Elrick/Permission Required)

The Hardin County Courthouse was built in 1933.

hardin county courthouse
Hardin County Courthouse, Elizabethtown, Kentucky. (Photo by Wil Elrick/Permission Required)

The Morrison Masons Lodge was built in 1913.

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The Morrison Masons Lodge, Elizabethtown, Kentucky. (Photo by Wil Elrick/Permission Required)

The State Theater was built in 1942.

state theatre
The State Theatre, Elizabethtown, Kentucky. (Photo by Wil Elrick/Permission Required)

Taylor Hotel was built ca-1902.

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The Taylor Hotel, built ca-1902, Elizabethtown, Kentucky. (Photo by Wil Elrick/Permission Required)
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The Taylor Hotel.

Here are some general photos:

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General Custer was here, Elizabethtown, Kentucky. (Photo by Wil Elrick/Permission Required)
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Elizabethtown, Kentucky. (Photo by Wil Elrick/Permission Required)

E town lincoln rock

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Elizabethtown, Kentucky. (Photo by Wil Elrick/Permission Required)
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Elizabethtown, Kentucky. (Photo by Wil Elrick/Permission Required)
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Elizabethtown, Kentucky. (Photo by Wil Elrick/Permission Required)
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Elizabethtown, Kentucky. (Photo by Wil Elrick/Permission Required)
bell from 1872 courthouse
The bell from the 1872 Hardin County Courthouse in downtown Elizabethtown. (Photo by Wil Elrick/Permission Required)

3 thoughts on “Little-known weird tourism sites in Elizabethtown, KY”

  1. Interesting stuff! My husband’s family comes from Kentucky (father’s side) Two of his sisters still live there. (Near Lexington) We go to visit occasionally. Next time, we’ll have to check these out.

    Like

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