â€œThe town layout was not to be oriented to the compass, but rather aligned to the Town Fork of Elkhorn Creek, whose course became the site of an elongated common ten poles (165′) wide. Lots were arranged on a grid in three rows, one on the rise south of the stream, extending to Hill (High) Street, and two on the more level north side divided by Main Street and bounded by Short Street.â€
—1781 Lexington Town Plan.1
â€œThis stream flows unseen beneath the streets of the city now and with scarce current enough to wash out its grim channels; but then it flashed broad and clear through the long valley which formed the town common, â€“ a valley of scattered houses with orchards and corn fields and patches of cane.â€
— James Lane Allen story, â€œJames Gray,â€ in which the hero relates the tale of the Battle of Blue Licks while on the bank of the Town Fork.2
â€œThey beheld a land of bewildering beauty; a land of running waters, of groves and glades and prairies and canebrakes; a land teeming with game, great herds of shaggy-maned buffalo, the lordly elk, the deer, the bear, and the panther, flocks of wild geese and turkeys and paroquettesâ€”a land literally flowing with milk and honey.â€
— Maude Laffertyâ€™s description of Town Branch as seen by settlers in 1775.3
1 Clay Lancaster, Vestiges of the Venerable City, a Chronicle of Lexington, Kentucky (Lexington, KY: Lexington-Fayette County Historic Commission, 1978), 9.
2 James Lane Allen, â€œJohn Grayâ€ (Lippincottâ€™s Magazine, June 1892) in Wilson,Samuel M., ed. â€œSesqui-Centennial Symposium: A symposium of tribute to Lexington on the occasion of the sesquicentennial anniversary of its birthâ€ (Lexington, KY: 1925), 37.
3 Maude Lafferty, The Town Branch. 1917, p. 2.