Preserving Our Past for the Future



Architecture is the biggest unwritten document in history.

- Daniel Libeskind

Our Events

We have a number of history-centric events and projects to bring education, awareness, and a sense of community to citizens and visitors to Mercer County and Harrodsburg. We sponsor: Colonial Dinners, Other Themed Dinners and Award Dinners, Cemetery Tours, Garden Tours and Porch Tours, Oral History Events, Sock Hops, Publishing Local History Books and Calendars. These events are made possible by our fantastic volunteers, donors and board members.



  • Kandie Prather Adkinson
    It has been said, "How can future generations benefit from the lessons that can be learned from yesterday's history if we are not willing to preserve yesterday's history today?" The James Harrod Trust stands as a steadfast beacon shining the light on the preservation of the history of Harrodsburg (the first permanent English settlement west of the Allegheny Mountains), and, by extension, the history of Mercer County, the sixth county established by Virginia within the boundaries of the territory that would become the 15th state in the union. The beautiful and historic territory we lovingly call home--the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
    Kandie Prather Adkinson
    Member & Proud Supporter of the James Harrod Trust
  • Stuart Sanders
    We owe a great debt to the James Harrod Trust for their inspiring work preserving and interpreting our past. Through their incredible efforts—including historic preservation, publications, educational programs, and more—the Trust educates the public, elevates their community, and improves our economy by spurring heritage tourism.
    Stuart Sanders
    Author and Director of Research and Collections at the Kentucky Historical Society
  • Janie-Rice Brother
    My mother is a native of Mercer County, it has always held a special place in my heart. And thankfully, the character and rich history of the community has an excellent steward in the James Harrod Trust. I don’t think I’ve ever worked with a more imaginative, hard-working, dedicated, and passionate group in my career. Countless times their work has helped save the Harrodsburg my ancestors knew and loved so that another generation can enjoy Kentucky’s first town.
    Janie-Rice Brother
    Architectural Historian
  • Dianna Rose
    I really hadn't realized the number of important actions by the Trust until I tried to list them in order of my favorites. I don't have favorites. They all are. Let's start with the Walking and Driving Tours of Harrodsburg-Mercer County and placements of historic markers. A project such as this isn't supposed to be fun, but it was. Amalie Preston, Dr. David Dolen, and I really enjoyed the research, and the assembly of the information into its final form should have been a drudgery. It wasn't. Obtaining the Dedman Drug Store and saving the wonderful cabinets located there from ever being removed from the building by restrictive covenant in the deed was another major accomplishment. What a wonderful building. The purchase of the Haggin House overlooking the Fort, which was truly on its last leg, and finding a person who could and would stabilize it was another amazing feat. Annual awards to deserving entities and persons acknowledged their contributions to the preservation and restoration of our historic sites. Rosalind Turner spearheaded the publication of "The Men of Mercer County" and "The Women of Mercer County," a project that allowed our citizens to preserve their memories of important people for the future. There are many more, including the Cemetery Tour, and saving the Pawling House, but these are just a few. Well done, JHT!
    Dianna Rose
    Local Genealogy Researcher & Former Board Member
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Step Back in Time

Harrodsburg historically ranks as Kentucky's oldest town, as well as the first permanent English settlement west of the Allegheny Mountains.



The James Harrod Trust chose the 1880s Dedman Drugstore on Main Street as an early project. This structure still had a majority of its architectural treasures and original fabric, although restoring them required a lot of tender loving care. We secured grants, took out loans, and involved our members in this labor of love.

Philanthropist, Mr. Ralph Anderson, took an interest in the project and paid the remaining mortgage on the drugstore. Once our restoration was complete, we advertised for a history-centric business owner. We hoped to find someone interested in renting it for a coffee shop/soda fountain or a small restaurant.

Luckily, we found the perfect couple, Tim and Jennifer Kazimer. Their venture, the very successful Kentucky Fudge Company, currently resides in the restored Dedman Drugstore. Within two years, they bought the building -- which freed up resources for us to tackle new historic preservation projects -- and they have since expanded. It's a win-win with the preservation this gem in our historic downtown and the creation of a productive new business on Main Street that serves both our local residents and tourists.

Compare Before and After Images of the Historic Dedman Drugstore

(Before: Unused, empty, lifeless building in continued decline. After: Restored, invigorated, historic building that invites active interaction downtown)


We encourage the participation and support of every person who values history, architecture, and the education of future generations. Find out how you can donate your time or your financial resources.




A Little Local History

Harrodsburg was named for Captain James Harrod (1742-92), a native of Pennsylvania who learned of Kentucky -- then still a part of Virginia -- through Daniel Boone. Leading a party of 32 men in 1774, he founded Fort Harrod (now Harrodsburg) on June 16 of that year. Importantly, Harrodsburg historically ranks as Kentucky's oldest town, as well as the first permanent English settlement west of the Allegheny Mountains. Mercer County was named for General Hugh Mercer (1725-77) who was killed in action while leading American forces in the Revolutionary War's 1777 Battle of Princeton. General Mercer was never to lay eyes on the place named in his honor.

The historic homes and attractions of this locale play a tremendous role in the heritage of its people and serve as a lesson book on the changing modes of American architecture -- from Kentucky's pioneer days of the late 1700s up to the Great Depression of the 1930s. Where possible, we have mentioned the architects and craftsmen responsible for creating these wonderful homes such as Matthew P. Lowery, a Mercer County woodworker, who produced the intricate carvings which embellished the interiors and exteriors of many fine Central Kentucky homes until his death in 1835.


We have included in our tours historically significant sites located throughout Mercer County. These encompass the majority of early stations located within our borders during the earliest period of Kentucky's settlement. A station was considered a place of refuge for settlers and travelers during Indian raids. It could be an actual stockade or simply a fortified cabin where the populace would remain during an attack. From these forts and stations came the volunteer militia who protected the frontier and formed the backbone of the fighting force at the Battle of Blue Licks, which was the last battle of the American Revolution. Nearly every family in this our local area suffered the loss of a relative or close friend in that 1782 Battle. As you view the designated areas, envision a land yet undeveloped with high cane breaks and forests. The log structures and stockades are long gone, but the springs and fertile land that enticed us across the Appalachians still remain.

Again, welcome. We are truly gratified by your interest in our historical and architectural treasures. Also, we request that you respect the matter of private ownership since many of the properties listed with the James Harrod Trust are privately owned and are not fully accessible to the public.

Want to volunteer? Here's how!