Given to the University of Kentucky by the class of 2000, Historical Marker #2069 commemorates Maxwell Place. It was built in 1870-72 for Judge James H. Mulligan as a wedding gift from his father, Dennis Mulligan, who was an active and influential city councilman. It was named for nearby Maxwell Springs, one of three natural springs that crossed the property before feeding the Town Branch of the Elkhorn Creek. Some memory of the old water features still exists in the low-lying areas just south of the University's Student Center.
As Lexington was trying to get the state university and facing strong competition from a Bowling Green bid, it offered its old Maxwell Springs land and won the bid. The Mulligan family sold the home and thirteen acres to UK in 1917 for $40,000. The two-and-one-half story Italianate villa has been remodeled through the years, but many of the original features remain. First occupied by President Frank L. McVey in 1918, it has served as home to every UK president since. In the late 1960s, the home was slated for demolition as part of the University’s development plan. Fortunately an effort to preserve it succeeded; it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.
The UK Senior Challenge Historical Marker Project, administered by the Kentucky Historical Society, began in 1994 as a way for the graduating senior class to leave a memorial to the university. Every year since then, the UK historical marker committee has decided on the topic, raised the money, and written the text for the markers.