Historical Marker #53 in Laurel County commemorates the famous "fork in the road."
Here in 1775, Daniel Boone and his party of trailblazers diverged from the more primitive hunting trail, known as Skagg's Trace, and continued on to mark Boone Trace. At this location Skagg's Trace turned westward toward Crab Orchard. Boone and his party, however, proceeded northward to Boonesborough where a fort was established.
Shortly after Boone passed through Hazel Patch, John Floyd and Benjamin Logan diverted westward along Skagg's Trace to St. Asaph (modern-day Stanford) where Fort Logan was constructed. This trail ultimately extended to Louisville, which was then known as "The Falls of the Ohio." Eventually, that route saw wider use than Boone Trace. It became officially known as the Wilderness Road in 1796.
Hazel Patch earned its name because the hazel nut tree abounded in the area and produced a fruit on which small animals fed. Because it attracted plentiful game, the site became a favorite for long hunters passing through the area. Also, when the fruit was ripe, a hunter could easily fill a bag with the nuts and carry them on the hunt for nourishment.
In close proximity to the Hazel Patch marker are two other markers that pertain to Boone Trace. One is about one mile north of the marker on Highway 490 in front of the Mount Carmel church. On a monument placed by the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) in 1915, this marker is one of fifteen DAR markers along Boone Trace. Behind the church is a small remnant of the historic Boone Trace.
The other marker is a 1942 stone marker placed by the Laurel County Historical Society, which is one of eight commemorating the 150th anniversary of the founding of Kentucky in 1792. This stone maker was placed at the site of Wood's Blockhouse, one of the oldest permanent buildings in the wilderness and a refuge for travelers along Boone Trace. Bishop Frances Asbury, a renowned traveling minister, reportedly lodged there on April 10, 1793. It is located on private property and can only be viewed at somewhat of a distance across Hazel Patch Creek from Merritt Cemetery Road.