Explore Marion County, Kentucky

Marion County in central Kentucky boasts a diverse history. Although actually explored and settled long before Kentucky attained statehood, the county was officially founded in 1834. Named for Revolutionary War hero Francis Marion, Lebanon serves as the county seat.

Marion County's history includes stories of early settlers, Catholic pioneers, Civil War raids, railroads, future governor J. Proctor Knott, and distilleries. With such a rich heritage, it is easy to see why Marion County draws thousands of visitors each year to see its sights and learn its history.

We hope you will find this app helpful in learning more about Marion County and its fascinating past.

Battle at Lebanon

Historical Marker #600 notes a Civil War battle that occurred in Lebanon on July 5, 1863. During the Civil War, Lebanon’s location in central Kentucky proved to be a strategic point for both Union armies and Confederate raiders. The town was…

Cartwright’s Station

Historical Marker #1339 in Marion County notes the location of Cartwright’s Station, an important frontier post between the Cumberland Gap and the Falls of the Ohio River. Samuel Cartwright was an early explorer into what eventually became…

Catholic Pioneers

Historical Marker #913 in Marion County notes the location of the first Catholic church west of the Allegheny Mountains. Kentucky’s earliest settlers came from the states of the mid-Atlantic region. While Virginia, Kentucky’s mother state,…

Courthouse Burned

Historical Marker #585 in Lebanon notes the burning of the Marion County clerk's office by Morgan's Raiders on July 5, 1863. Marion County, Kentucky-s eighty-fourth county to be established, was created from Washington County in 1834. The…

Knott of Lebanon/Governor's Homesite

Historical Markers #728 and #1341, one in Lebanon and the other in Marion County, note the accomplishments of J. Proctor Knott, a U.S. congressman and governor of Kentucky. Knott was born in 1830 near Raywick in what would become Marion County. He…

Death of a Morgan

Historical marker #543 in Lebanon notes the death of General John Hunt Morgan's brother, Thomas, who was killed during an engagement there on July 5, 1863. Morgan's attempt at a great raid into Indiana and Ohio started, and ended, badly…

Eminent Theologian

Historical Marker #1303 in Lebanon notes the life and service of Bishop John Lancaster Spalding. Spalding was born in Lebanon in 1840 to Richard Martin and Mary Jane Lancaster Spalding. His uncle, John Martin Spalding, was the bishop of Louisville…

Lebanon

Historical Marker #867 commemorates the history of the town of Lebanon and Marion County. Lebanon developed from a settlement that had formed around Hardin's Creek Meeting House, a Presbyterian congregation that was established by settlers from…

St. Mary's College

Historical Marker #1026 commemorates the history of St. Mary's College in St. Mary, Kentucky. Founded in 1821, St. Mary's College was the oldest extant Catholic college in Kentucky and was the third oldest Catholic college originally…

The Loretto Sisters and Loretto, Ky.

Historical Markers #206 and #207 commemorate the Loretto Sisters and the community of Loretto in Marion County. The Sisterhood of Loretto was established in Marion County in order to promote female piety and education. The Reverend Charles…

Martin John Spalding

Historical Marker #1302 commemorates Martin John Spalding, an early religious leader from Marion County, Kentucky. Spalding was born on May 23, 1810, in Rolling Fork, Kentucky, the sixth of eight children born to Richard and Henrietta Spalding. …

Old Calvary Cemetery

Historical marker #1667 commemorates the Old Calvary Cemetery in Marion County. Many of the area's early settlers are buried at this location. A large number of Kentucky's early settlers came from Virginia and Maryland. Many who came from…

Old Grist Mill and Distillery

Historical Marker #1509 commemorates the history of the grist mill and distillery that would later be known as Makers Mark in Loretto, Kentucky. In 1803, Charles Burks, his wife Sarah, and their family settled on the west bank of Hardin Creek in…

Raywick

Historical Marker #1673 commemorates the town of Raywick in Marion County, Kentucky. The mass of early settlers to this area emigrated from Virginia and Maryland. Those who came from Virginia were mostly Presbyterians, while many of the Maryland…

Sandusky Station, 1776

Historical Marker #670 commemorates Sandusky Station in Marion County, Kentucky. James Sodowsky (Sandusky) and his brother, Jacob, were members of Captain Isaac Hite's company of eleven adventurers who came to Kentucky in 1774. That May, they…

Rosenwald School

Historical Marker #2048 marks the site of one of the 158 Rosenwald schools built in Kentucky between 1917 and 1932. This school, historically called "Lebanon School," was built in 1931 in Lebanon, Kentucky. It was used until 1961, when the…