Nicholasville History Walk

Take a self-guided audio tour of downtown Nicholasville. On this tour, you’ll visit thirteen different sites, beginning with the Jessamine County Courthouse. Other sites include the Old Jail, several churches, and former locations of the Jessamine County Public Library.

Travel back in time with stories about an 1888 grand hotel feast enjoyed by both Democrats and Republicans, a 1955 explosion that rocked Farmers Bank, the importance of hemp in the county’s early growth, Nicholasville’s dark past of racial violence, and more.


Listen on Apple Podcasts I Listen on Spotify I Listen on Google Podcasts Ι RSS Feed

Tour Map

View a Google Map of the Nicholasville History Walk. Click each numbered point on the tour map to see photos of the stops.

Episode Credits

Written by Michael Cunningham and Carrie Green.

Narrated by Michael Cunningham, Carrie Green, and Levi Simonton.

Recorded by Carrie Green and Levi Simonton.

Engineered by Carrie Green.

Music by Scott Whiddon.

Episode Sources

Blackford, Linda. “Jessamine’s Confederate statue sits near site of lynching. Time for it to move.” Lexington Herald-Leader: Web Edition Articles (KY), 17 Dec. 2020. NewsBank: America’s News, Accessed 30 Mar. 2021.

“A blast from past: foiled 1955 bank heist Nicholasville residents recall explosion that rocked Main St.” Lexington Herald-Leader (KY), 17 Jan. 2011. NewsBank: America’s News, Accessed 15 April 2021.

Book Committee. “History of Jessamine County, Kentucky.” Nicholasville, Jessamine County Historical and Genealogical Society, Inc., 1993.

Bower, Billy Jackson. “Crossing the Rivers and Other Lore of Jessamine County, Kentucky.” Nicholasville, Billy Jackson Bower, 1999.

Bower, Billy Jackson. “A History of the Ash Grove Pike, Catnip Hill Pike and Other Byways of Jessamine County, Kentucky.” Nicholasville, Billy Jackson Bower, 2002.

“Burglars Breach Brick Wall Sunday at Hemphill’s, Collect Drugs, Cash.” The Jessamine Journal, 18 Dec. 1986.

“Camp Nelson: History & Culture.” National Parks Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, 28 Feb. 2021,

Cannon, Frank Robert Jr. The History of Bethel Methodist Church, 1838-1996. Nicholasville, KY, 1996.

Cannon, Frank Robert Jr. Personal interviews. 8-9 April 2021.

“Dynamite Bombs.” The Jessamine Journal, 16 Nov. 1888.

“E.R. Sparks.” The Jessamine Journal, 8 May 1914.

“Edward Robert Sparks (1840-1914) – Find A Grave…” Find a Grave, Accessed 30 March 2021.

“Explosion Wrecks Farmers Bank Vault, Money Saved.” The Jessamine News-Week, 21 Jan. 1955.

“Farmers Bank is Wrecked by Explosion Early Monday Morning in Robbery Attempt.” The Jessamine Journal, 21 Jan. 1955.

“Feb. 6, 1902: Thomas Brown Lynched on Courthouse Lawn in Nicholasville, Kentucky.” Home, Equal Justice Initiative,

“A Festive Evening.” The Jessamine Journal, 30 Nov. 1888.

Historic Jessamine County. Photo album.

Hopkins, James F. A History of the Hemp Industry in Kentucky. University Press of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, 1998.

“Jessamine County Courthouse Study and Exterior Renovation.” GRW,

Jessamine County, Kentucky Bicentennial Committee. Jessamine County Bicentennial, 1798-1998: Celebrating Yesterday, Reaching for Tomorrow. Asbury College, Wilmore, KY, 1997.

“Jessamine County Pictorial Page 1.” KY Kinfolk, Accessed 22 April 2021.

“Jesse Mason.” The Jessamine Journal, 9 May 2002.

“Jones, William A., Sr.,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, Accessed 2 April 2021.

Kentucky Heritage Commission. Survey of Historic Sites in KY: Jessamine County. Kentucky Heritage Commission, Frankfort, KY, 1979.

“Kentucky Mob Lynches Negro.” Los Angeles Herald, 7 Feb. 1902. California Digital Newspaper Collection, Center for Bibliographic Studies and Research, University of California, Riverside,——-en–20–1–txt-txIN——–1.

“Local Druggist Shot in His Store.” The Nicholasville News, 7 Nov. 1945.

“Mason, Jesse Edward,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, Accessed 2 April 2021.

“N-ville Policeman is Cleared of Charges in Shooting at Jail.” The Jessamine News-Week, 25 Feb. 1955.

“New Building Planned for Farmers Bank, Old Structure to be Razed.” The Jessamine Journal, 28 Jan. 1955.

“Our History.” Farmers Bank Jessamine County, Accessed 10 April 2021.

Patrick, Randy. “Courthouse renovation nearing completion.” The Jessamine Journal, 17 June 2020. NewsBank: America’s News, p=NewsBank&docref=news/17BAC39E532C2460. Accessed 23 Mar. 2021.

Patrick, Randy. “Judge wants to ‘repurpose’ local Confederate statue.” The Jessamine Journal, 17 June 2020. NewsBank: America’s News, Accessed 17 Mar. 2021.

Sparks, Jenna. “Sign Petition: Petition for the Removal of the Confederate Memorial of Nicholasville.” Care2 Petitions, Accessed 11 May 2021.

“The Spirit of Service.” Visit Jessamine, Jessamine Tourism Commission, 26 Feb. 2020,

Talbott, “First Hemp Crop,” ExploreKYHistory, Accessed 30 March 2021.

“Tom Brown, Colored, Assaults a Young Lady, and Is Hung to a Tree in the Court House Yard.” The Jessamine Journal, 7 Feb. 1902.

Ward, Karla. “‘Lost Cause puzzle.’ Many Ky. towns have Confederate statues. Here’s how they got there.” Lexington Herald-Leader, 11 Sept. 2017. NewsBank: America’s News, Accessed 18 Mar. 2021.

“Weber Dies from Wound.” The Nicholasville News, 14 Nov. 1945.

“Weber Slayer Convicted: Roy James Acquitted.” The Nicholasville News, 12 June 1946.

Wright, George C. Racial Violence in Kentucky, 1865-1940: Lynchings, Mob Rule, and “Legal Lynchings.” Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge, LA, 1990.

Young, Bennett Henderson. A History of Jessamine County: From Its Earliest Settlement to 1898. Courier-Journal Job Printing Co., Louisville, KY, 1898.