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 Virginia in 1789. The town of Lebanon was formally established in 1814. It was incorporated the following year and supposedly named for the Biblical location due to the many cedar trees in the area.
Originally part of Nelson County, Lebanon was located in Washington County when that county was formed in 1792. When Marion County was created from Washington County in 1834, Lebanon became the county seat. Marion County was named for the famous South Carolina Revolutionary War soldier Francis Marion, whose daring guerrilla tactics earned him the nickname the "Swamp Fox."
Lebanon received an economic boost when a spur line of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad was built to the town in 1857. The citizens of the county subscribed funds to build the railroad line, which connected them to important markets to the north and south.
Lebanon's strategic location in the center of the state and its location along the railroad ensured its involvement in the Civil War. Lebanon was a base for General George Thomas's campaign to Mill Springs in early 1862. That fall, when Confederates invaded the state en masse, Lebanon was occupied for nearly a month. The town was visited three times during the war by John Hunt Morgan's raiders. The Battle of Lebanon, fought on July 5, 1863, led to many of the town’s buildings being burned. In addition, the town also served as a recruiting station for United States Colored troops in 1864 and 1865.
The commerce created by the Louisville and Nashville Railroad helped Lebanon recover from the damage caused by the Civil War and prosper into the twentieth century. When rail traffic declined in the mid-twentieth century, Lebanon marketed itself as a center of industry. Today, Lebanon and Marion county promote their heritage tourism to annual visitors from across the world.