Stamping Ground


Stamping Ground is located eight miles from Georgetown. Buffalo Springs at Stamping Ground was the first settlement of the county. The herds of buffalo would congregate at the salt springs to drink the water. As they could not all drink at once, the herd would stand and stomp the ground waiting their turn to reach the spring. The town grew up around this spring named by the Indians “Buffalo Stamping Ground”.

  • Stamping Ground was founded in 1790 and incorporated on January 24, 1834.
  • The first settlement in Stamping Ground was a fort built by Anthony Lindsay around 1790.
  • The first road through Stamping Ground was the Georgetown and Cincinnati Road which was cut around 1790. This road was known as the ‘main road to Cincinnati’. The road was most likely built upon the remnants of the Alant-o-wamiowee Trail, an ancient migratory path used since prehistoric times. This trail connected Stamping Ground and the small community of “Great Crossing” which also acquired it’s name from the buffalo that crossed the Elkhorn. ” Alan-o-wamiowee” translates into “path of the armed ones”.
  • The first church was established around 1795 and was call McConnell’s Church.
  • The first Post Office was established in 1814 with Alex Bradford as Postmaster.
  • Taken from an old published history, at the time of the 1880s, “It now contains three hundred inhabitants, supports four stores, two blacksmith shops, one school, under the management of W.H. Cooper, and containing some forty-five pupils. One distillery, one hotel, one undertaker, one photographer, four physicians, two churches and one colored church and school, one Masonic Lodge, No. 203 and one woolen factory”.
  • The latest available numbers show 634 inhabitants, one grocery store, one gas station, one garage, one school, one physician, six churches, one bank, one post office, two restaurants, one Masonic Lodge, one pharmacy and a Dollar General. The City has a Police Department, a Volunteer Fire Department and a County EMS station within the city limits.

Information taken from Stamping Ground’s 180th birthday celebration Oct. 15-17, 1970 brochure.

Stamping Ground


The City of Stamping Ground wishes to extend many thanks to the members of the former Stamping Ground Women’s Club. Much of the History presented here was taken from the Echoes of The Past published by the Stamping Ground Women’s Club in 1975.

The Stamping Ground Women’s Club was organized on April 6, 1946, with twenty-one members. Throughout the years, the public library was the main project of the club. In cooperation with the Georgetown Library and The Kentucky Library Extension, they opened a Branch Library in the local town hall in the fall of 1946. For a number of years, it was staffed by unpaid volunteers from the club.

After moving into five different buildings, on February 24, 1962, the club was able to buy a two-story brick building on Main Street to house the Library. On Tuesday, May 8, 1973, the club met to burn the note. The Stamping Ground Women’s Club was now the owner of the building. On April 3, 1974, the building was destroyed along with most of the town. The club was rebuilt, starting with a finished basement that housed the library until the club could rebuild the main floor.

The Stamping Ground Women’s Club voted to disband in 2005. At that time, the club donated the library building to the City of Stamping Ground and it currently houses City Hall.

The City will forever be appreciative of this gift to the City and the years of service to the community especially in providing the City with a Library.

Stamping Ground


According to records, the City has had three banks throughout history. The Citizens Bank, Peoples Bank, and Farmers Bank, and Capital Trust which is now known as United Bank.

One of the greatest tragedies to hit Stamping Ground was the bank robbery on November 28, 1932. Cashier Mr. Ben Keenon died from his injuries on December 10, 1932. A tag lost from one of the bandit’s shirts was the clue that led police to Chicago where they picked up one suspect. The rest of the gang was arrested in various places and brought to trial.

Stamping Ground


Stamping Ground and the surrounding vicinity have numerous churches of various religions.

In 1795 a church was organized in the neighborhood of Stamping Ground by the Baptist denomination. It was first called the McConnell’s Run Church and had 35 members. According to Stamping Ground Baptist Church records, McConnell’s Run Church was moved to Stamping Ground to facilitate a union with the LeCompte’s Run Church in 1819.

The Stamping Ground Christian Church was organized about 1826. During worship service on February 5, 1911, the building caught fire and was destroyed. Only the pews were saved to be used in the new building.

On January 28, 1855, the African Baptist Church was completed. In 1866 the church voted to be known as First Baptist Church. The First Baptist Church is one of the oldest churches on this side of the Allegheny Mountains. The church was destroyed by fire in 1906 and had to be rebuilt.

All three of these churches were destroyed by the April 3, 1974 tornado but all have been rebuilt. The 1962 addition to the Stamping Ground Christian Church was not destroyed by the tornado.

The Stamping Ground Church of God was established in 1982 meeting in a building on Main Street. The current church was built in 1985 on Locust Fork Road.

The Faith Tabernacle Church currently meets in the building located on Main Street.

Some of the churches in the outlying areas of Stamping Ground include Long Lick Baptist Church, est. 1805; Corinth Christian Church, est. 1833; Minorsville Christian Church, est. 1854; Cedar Grove Baptist Church, est. 1877; and Watkinsville Baptist Church, estimated est. 1878.

Stamping Ground


Some of the earliest surveying in this area was done under the order of Lord Dunmore, Governor of Virginia. He sent surveyors into this area to chart public lands so it could be used to pay soldiers for service in the French and Indian War. After the Revolution, many came into Kentucky to claim the land that had been given them for their service in the War.

The early explorers called it “Buffalo Stamping Ground” and was probably first seen by William McConnell and Charles LeCompte in 1775. Stamping Ground is located on the Alanant-o-wamiowee Trail or “Buffalo Path”. This trail had been established ages ago and was an ancient migratory route since prehistoric times.

Anthony Lindsay chose a site just outside of city limits for his station about 1790. It was a refuge and a regular stop for travelers and traders. It consisted of three log cabins and a stockade to hold livestock. Lindsay was a veteran of the French and Indian War and a Revolutionary War Patriot. Lindsay’s Station has a historical marker indicating its site and Lindsay’s grave is 100 yds. north. Some of Lindsay’s descendants moved to Missouri and his great-grandson was one of the most notorious outlaws in American history, his name was Jesse James. The house where Jesse James’ parents were wed still stands and is in the Stamping Ground area.

It is not known when or by whom the first settlement was made within the city limits itself. Even though the area had been settled since 1790, the town was not incorporated until 1834 by an Act approved at that time. Five trustees were to be elected in March by the citizens of the town. These trustees were to appoint a clerk and a chairman. They were to fix metes and bounds, lay out streets and alleys and cross streets and record these in the County Clerk’s Office in Georgetown.

Stamping Ground took its name from the fact that in the first settlement of the county the herds of buffalo used to congregate at the salt springs. They tramped or stamped down the soil for a great distance around the spring as they stood under the shade of the trees waiting to get water. The town grew up around this spring called “Buffalo Springs”.

The town of Stamping Ground was laid out in 1817 on land which had been purchased by Joseph and Scott Herndon. Scott Herndon died before he and his brother could develop their plans for the town which they planned to call “Herndonville”.

Alexander Bradford, Rodes Smith, and Mareen Duvall were the three commissioners who laid off and sold the building lots in the new town of Stamping Ground in 1817.

Stamping Ground

Great Disasters

Stamping Ground has had three great disasters which almost wiped out the business district. Two fires one on December 2, 1916, which burned both sides of the street and the other in the early 1920s, then the tornado in 1974.

On Wednesday, April 3, 1974, a series of tornadoes hit Kentucky. In Scott County, Stamping Ground was the hardest hit, being almost completely destroyed. Only three buildings remained standing after the tornado. Those were the State Forestry Building, a grocery store, and the Masonic Lodge Building. The elementary school, the three churches, the stores, the Public Library, and the downtown district were completely destroyed. There was no loss of life but thirty-five people were injured, with ten serious enough to require hospitalization.

Through each of these tragedies, the citizens of Stamping Ground have worked together and helped one another and the town has been rebuilt each time.

Stamping Ground

Historical Homes and Sites

Within Stamping Ground and the surrounding area, there are numerous sites of historical interest. Much of the information in this section is taken from Ann Bevin’s research on the buildings of Scott County as published in the Echoes of The Past published by the Stamping Ground Women’s Club.

The John Scott Home is probably the oldest home in the whole area near Stamping Ground. The home was built near McConnell’s Run.

The Alexander Bradford House on Main Street was the only old house left standing in Stamping Ground after the 1974 tornado. Alexander Bradford became the Stamping Ground Postmaster in 1814. He was also clerk of the Baptist Church and in 1821 he received a license to operate on “ordinary” or tavern in the house.

The Henry Hockensmith house on Cedar Pike is believed to be the oldest house in the vicinity of Stamping Ground. It was a three-bay and one and one-half story log house with huge stone chimneys at either end. The house was built in 1790 which is the same year Stamping Ground was founded. This house was still standing until mostly destroyed by fire a few years ago.

A Kentucky Historical highway marker indicates the spot where once stood Anthony Lindsey’s Station in the Stamping Ground community on Owenton Road. It is located just outside of city limits. It consisted of three log cabins with a stockade to hold livestock. During Indian raids, neighboring families and the stock would seek protection in the fort and travelers would stop there, too.

Approximately a third of a mile out Locust Fork Road is the home where the parents of the famous outlaw Jesse James were married. Jesse James’ father, Robert received a Master’s Degree in 1847 and was respected as a minister and leader in education in Missouri. He passed away in 1850 when Frank James was seven and Jesse James was only three years old.



  • In 1790 a road was cut from Georgetown to Cincinnati by way of Stamping Ground. By 1820 there was a tavern in the town. In 1837 a mail route went from Georgetown to Ghent once a week.

  • In 1837 the Stamping Ground Hotel was used as a voting place. Scott County 1870 census showed the Stamping Ground vicinity had a population of 1,600 people.

  • By the year 1882 Stamping Ground had grown to the largest city in the precinct. There were 300 residents and the city had four stores, two blacksmith shops, one school with 45 students, one distillery, one hotel, one undertaker, 1 photographer, four doctors, two churches, a colored school and church, a Masonic Lodge and a woolen factory.*

  • By 1904 Stamping Ground had doubled to 600 citizens. There were 65 residences, 12 businesses, three hotels, two banks, three churches, gasoline street lights, a public school with three teachers.*

  • During this time, the City had two saloons and they each contributed $500.00 a year to run the city so there were no city taxes.*

  • The first known distillery in Stamping Ground was in 1868. All distilleries were closed by prohibition in 1918. After the repeal of prohibition construction was begun on October 23, 1933, on the Buffalo Springs Distillery. The last whiskey was barreled at Stamping Ground in February 1960. The warehouses were used as storage for Schenley until they were emptied in 1968. The Dollar General Store now stands on the grounds of the former distillery.

  • The former distillery building was the site of a woolen mill in 1864. In 1868 it was turned into a distillery. There were numerous mills in the area. These included a flouring mill on the waters of North Elkhorn; a saw and grist mill located on Lytle’s Fork, a woolen mill; a grist mill on South Elkhorn, and a paper mill with a flouring mill attached. During WWII the distillery received railcars full of potatoes from Idaho and was used in the manufacturing of butyl rubber for the war effort.

  • Through the years Stamping Ground has had a fluctuating population. Before the tornado of April 3, 1974, the town was growing faster than it could take care of the many people wanting to live in this area. The tornado almost completely destroyed the town and much of the surrounding territory.

  • Telephones were first installed in Stamping Ground about 1910. Dial telephones were installed in 1939, the first in Scott County.

  • The Waterworks system was ready for use in the city limits in 1936.

  • A jail was located near Buffalo Springs and was built approx. 1880-1890. It was a two-cell jail and prisoners either paid their fines or worked on the streets in the early history of the town.

  • The first Post Office in Stamping Ground was established in June 1816.

  • Electricity was in town about 1915 by W.D. “Mr. Bill” Adams set up an electric company of his own. Later in 1919, the Stamping Ground Electric Company was formed with stockholders and operated for 75 years.

  • Frankfort and Cincinnati Railroad was routed through Stamping Ground under the name of the Paris, Georgetown, and Frankfort Railway company in 1871. It became the Kentucky Midland Railroad Company in 1888 with the first train passing through on its way to Georgetown in 1889.*

  • The name was changed to F&C Railway Company in 1897, and in 1927 to F&C Railroad Company. The F&C was discontinued after serving this and other communities for 99 years.*

* This information was taken from 1790 Stamping Ground, Kentucky 1990 Celebrating 200 Years of Pride and Progress Sponsored by the Stamping Ground Ruritan Club

Stamping Ground


When Scott County was created in 1792 there was not any land granted for schools. The churches took on the responsibility of the early school and the preachers usually served as teachers.

Here’s a photo of a school established in 1825 for sons of Indian chiefs. It is located three miles from Stamping Ground city limits. Future leaders of many tribes were educated at this site. It was called the Choctaw Indian Academy.

One of the first schools within the present corporate limits of Stamping Ground was established about the middle of the 19th century. This was possibly the male academy with a female academy located nearby. The male academy burned in 1876 and a new building was constructed on Main Street. In 1923 the school building burned again and a temporary school was built. By 1927 there was a need for a larger school. The land was bought and a large two-story brick building for the elementary grades and four-year high school was built on the site of the current elementary school.

This building burned in 1938 and was replaced on the same site.

Around this time in history, the one and two-room country schoolhouses were being discontinued and consolidated into the Stamping Ground School. In 1955 all county high schools were consolidated into one county school. In 1965 all junior high grades were consolidated into one school. At that time, Stamping Ground School became strictly the elementary school

The April 3, 1974 tornado partially destroyed the school building and again temporary buildings were constructed. The school was repaired and one again housed the elementary school.

The current Stamping Ground Elementary School was built in 2000.