Bridges To The Past

Location: Road junction of the old L&N Turnpike and old Dixie Highway
Contact: Radcliff Tourism
Phone: 270-352-1204
Email: info@radclifftourism.org
Cost: Free
Time Required: Approximately 1 to 1.5 hours walking time

The self-paced walking tour provides a unique glimpse of the area exactly as it was 150 years ago, with no "invasion" of 20th century advances. The area is void of electric lines, billboards and advertising, and provides the visitor with a leisurely walk through a pristine, natural 19th-century valley. The tour enters an area of Fort Knox used for military training and as a result is off limits to the public except within designated times during which Fort Knox suspends training in and around the area.

The tour of the historic L&N Turnpike contains 16 points of interest, each addressed in this guidebook. You will meander through a natural environment as peaceful as the trickling creek over which the turnpike passes on three occasions in less than a mile.

150-year-old stone bridges can be viewed from atop the roadway, as well as from underneath, where visitors can get a first-hand look at the condition of the structures.

The only modern day incursion into this valley, other than signs erected for this occasion, is the black top surface of the road. Were the blacktop to be removed from atop the original cobblestone surface of the old turnpike, the pristine valley you are entering would be as it was over 150 years ago.

The Bridges To The Past tour is located entirely on a part of the route of the old L&N Turnpike. The turnpike was first chartered by the Kentucky State Legislature in 1829 by the name of the Louisville, West Point, and Elizabethtown Turnpike Road Company. Capitol stock of $100,000 was issued. Turnpike commissioners in this area included James Young, Henry Ditto, John Stockman, Horatio G. Wintersmith, and James Crutcher. The company was re-chartered in 1833 and again in 1837. The road was finally completed about 1838.

The turnpike was heavily traveled in the 19th century. President Andrew Jackson traveled the road several times. In 1851 the famous Swedish singer Jenny Lind rode a stage coach along this route during her tour of America.

During the time of the Civil War the importance of the turnpike for military operations is shown by examination of the toll gate record books kept by George Fisher. On November 16, 1861, 43 wagons of the 37th Infantry, Indiana Regiment traveled this section of the L&N Turnpike moving from West Point to Bacon Creek. On December 9, 107 more wagons from the same unit went the same way. Three entries for December 1862 show additional military activity:

Dec 9, 1862: 800 cavalry and 22 horse ambulances
Dec 11, 1862: 600 cavalry
Dec 14, 1862: 1600 cavalry

Copyright © 1996-2015 by the
Radcliff/Ft. Knox Tourism &
Convention Commission