Explore the History of Epidemics in Kentucky

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way Kentuckians live and interact with one another, but this was not the first time civilians have been forced to adapt due to health concerns.

This tour will take you across the state and share the narratives of talented physicians, caring inn-keepers, and prominent politicians, among countless other Kentuckians, who sought to serve those around them during some of the most devastating epidemics in our history.

Markers #1057 Dr. Reuben Saunders

Reuben Saunders was born on September 6th, 1808, near Frankfort, Kentucky. Saunders attended Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia and moved to Paducah during the 1840s to start his own practice. While practicing in Paducah, Dr. Saunders…

Marker #1503 Dr. Carl Clifford Howard/Local Humanitarian

Carl Clifford Howard was born in Summer Shade in 1888. Following in his father’s footsteps, he graduated from the University of Louisville School of Medicine in 1911. The following year, he began practicing medicine in Glasgow. He served the people…

Marker #2519 St. Matthew Church/Act of Compassion

The House of Ruth was founded by eight women: Anne Binder, Elizabeth Blandford, Marilyn Spink, Sharan Benton, Sharon Benton, Sharon Cook, Sharon Gray, and Rebecca Miles. The women joined together in 1992 to help women affected by HIV/AIDS. The…

Marker #1823 Bedford Springs and Hotel

The legend of the Bedford Springs and Hotel indicates that in April of 1836, Noah Parker and his wife were on the search for a turkey nest. To take a break, they sat down near a stream. The pair drank from the running water and were shocked at the…

Marker #1999 Buena Vista/Todd House

The Todds were among the first white families to set roots in Kentucky. During the eighteenth century, the Todd brothers John, Robert, and Levi, settled in the land that is now central Kentucky. Levi’s son, Robert S. Todd, was a wealthy banker,…

Marker #2152 Dr. James E. Randolph

James E. Randolph was born in 1888 to Frank and Lizzie Randolph of Frankford, Missouri. He was the oldest child of the family. Randolph remained in Missouri through college; he attended Lincoln University in Jefferson City. Following this, he was…

Marker #1671 Keene Springs Hotel

In 1841, Mason Singleton, Jr., built a two-story Greek Revival hotel and tavern in the hamlet of Keene, in Jessamine County. Singleton and his wife Nancy built the resort near the white sulfur springs (waters that naturally contains amino acids and…

Marker #1928 African American Physicians

For the first 30 years of the 1900s, the office building at 118 North Broadway and The Marble Sisters Pharmacy housed Black professionals, particularly physicians and pharmacists. Marker #1928 now stands at this location to commemorate the lives of…

Marker #1342 Olympian Springs

Originally known as Mud Lick Springs, the supposed medicinal properties of the springs made it a popular site. In 1801, the area was purchased by Colonel Thomas Hart, the father-in-law of Henry Clay. Colonel Hart built a hotel, changed the name to…

Marker #1815 Governor Simeon Willis

Simeon Slavens Willis was born in 1879, in Ohio. Willis, however, grew up in Kentucky; his family moved to the state when he was just ten years. Willis was admitted to the Kentucky Bar in 1901 and started his own law practice in Ashland. While he…