NOTE: This Rural Driving Tour is a large tour and the map covers a lot of ground in Mercer County. You may want to select the sites you want to visit on your computer to help you plan your day (our map is large and mobile phone screens are small!) We have made it as mobile friendly as possible, but it may be more enjoyable if you select which of the sites you most want to see before you get behind the wheel!

(However, you should use your mobile phone at each site to capture the QR codes on our historical markers and do a deeper dive into the history of the place where you are standing!)

Pioneer Stations in Mercer County

What is a Pioneer Station?

These frontier structures were used by early settlers to protect themselves primarily from Indian attacks but also served as protection from wild animals and other dangers.

These stations were "little forts" of sorts, usually built of logs and surrounded by high fences.

Pioneer Stations were built to be easily defended and could be built for a single family, a few families or a larger group of families, depending on the need for "strength in numbers" for survival in a given area.

Early Kentucky-area settlers (then a part of Virginia) were required to build a dwelling on the land, have it surveyed, and plant a corn crop to "settle" their land.

There were a number of Pioneer Stations built inside and outside Mercer County to settle land that would eventually become Kentucky. (View an 1874 sketched map of nearby Pioneer Stations.)