Disappearance of Town Branch
by Zina Merkin, November
Many mid-western cities are laid out on a grid oriented to the four principal
directions. Lexington's grid, and its designations of North Limestone
and East Main Street are curiously askew from those compass directions.
The city originally was oriented along the banks of the Middle Fork of
the Elkhorn, also known as Town Fork or Town Branch. But this stream along
which the town initially was laid out is now nowhere to be seen. This
paper sets out to track the vanishing of Town Branch, the reasons for
its disappearance, and its influence on the development of the city of
Lexington, linking this particular history with issues in the settlement
and development of the United States in general.
While the stream in the earliest years may have been a pretty little creek,
it quickly took on an urban character. Water supply was derived from springs,
and later, wells, while the creek supported early industry. Tracking the
fortunes of Town Branch offers an interesting window on the development
of various kinds of urban infrastructure, and a reflection of Lexington's
growth, its changing economic base, and local effects of landscape changes
occurring on a national level.
Click this link to open
the "The Disappearance of Town Branch" in PDF format (100 kilobytes).
New Town Branch
Renders of New Town Branch a vision of Town Branch behind Rupp Arena
Town Branch Water Walk
Did you know there is a creek beneath the city? Lexington was founded on the banks of the Town Branch Fork of the Elkhorn River, which provided a source of freshwater for colonial settlers. Listen to audio tours by University of Kentucky students.
Town Branch Trail Guide
This double-side 11" x 17" document was printed for our 2002
Annual Progress Report. It contains a narrative discussing the benefits
of Town Branch Trail and descriptions of significant Landmarks along
Branch Trail Guide
Education Sign Brochure
1.8 megabyte Adobe PDF