Like the Declaration of Independence, Oldham County has been pivotal to the formation of American history. Once considered the “Gateway to the Western Frontier”, visitors can learn about people with ties to Oldham County such as: Commodore Richard Taylor (distinguished Revolutionary War officer), Capt. William Kellar (circuit riding pioneer preacher), Henry Bibb (Underground Railroad slave & abolitionist), D.W. Griffith (pioneering filmmaker), Gov. Richard James Oglesby (best friend of Abraham Lincoln who wrote the rail-splitter speech), Annie Fellows Johnston (author of the Little Colonel books that made actress Shirley Temple famous), Kate Matthews (photographer), and Buddy Pepper (composer of “Vaya con Dios”), Theodore Klein (Nurseryman/Horticulturalist) and Rob Morris (Freemason).
Under the ownership of Warner and Harriet Jones starting in 1936, Hermitage Farm became one of the most famous thoroughbred farms in the nation. Since then, Oldham KY has had a long agricultural history and many scenic horse farms lie along Highway 42. Today, Oldham, KY Tourism has developed the most successful Agritourism Program in Kentucky, and is considered to be the “Farm Tour Capital of Kentucky“, with 3 of their 15 hands-on farm tours being notable horse farms, including Hermitage Farm, Windy Meadows Farm, and Second Stride – a nonprofit dedicated to re-training retiring race horses fresh off the track.
Famous International Guests
Alexis de Tocqueville
An aristocratic Frenchman, received permission to travel to the United States in 1831 for the purpose of studying the United States prison system. On Dec. 5, 1831, the Ohio River froze over, making travel impossible for Alexis de Tocqueville and his party. They disembarked at Westport. He later wrote Democracy in America, a two-volume study of the American people and their political institution, in which he included his visit to Westport.
Marquis de Lafayette
As the last surviving French general of the Revolutionary War, the Marquis de Lafayette made a tour of the United States from July 1824 to Sept. 1825, covering more than 6,000 miles. While on this tour, he stopped in Westport to visit his friends, Major William Berry Taylor and Taylor’s uncle, Commodore Richard Taylor. The name for the town of La Grange was chosen to honor the French estate of the Marquis de Lafayette.
Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth made a historic visit to Hermitage Farm in 1986. Under the ownership of Warner and Harriet Jones, Hermitage became one of the most famous thoroughbred farms in the nation.