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.