Olympian Springs

Historical Marker #1342 in Bath County commemorates the site of Olympian Springs, a famous resort that was a War of 1812 camp site.

Originally known as Mud Lick Springs, the springs' supposed medicinal properties made it a popular site. In the early nineteenth century, the area was purchased by Colonel Thomas Hart, who was Henry Clay's father-in-law. Colonel Hart built a hotel, changed the name to Olympian Springs, and promoted the site's health benefits. It soon became a popular resort that grew during the next few decades. As the number of visitors increased, so, too, did the need for better transportation. Therefore, in 1803, the first stagecoach route in Kentucky was established between the springs and Lexington. One legend even held that Henry Clay owned and then lost the springs during a poker game.

During the War of 1812, the 28th United States Infantry Regiment camped at the site. In 1833, as cholera ravaged central Kentucky, many Lexington residents visited Olympian Springs to escape the disease. During the Civil War, a sharp cavalry skirmish was fought there, and several of the buildings were burned. The resort's popularity ultimately declined, and, by the mid-1940s, it was used for farmland.