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Home > Faces & Places > Buffalo Trace
Buffalo Trace

Buffaloes were among our first road builders. In Nicholas County, as in many parts of our country, the ponderous buffalo, in finding its way from point to point, invariably selected the highest and best routes. These are, in large part, still used today in our county.

Early pioneers and settlers used the buffalo built road, or "trace", to work their way toward Lexington and central Kentucky from the river landing at Limestone, known today as Maysville. As danger from Indians gradually diminished, gradual improvements were made to the road. Thomas Metcalfe and Henry Clay worked with President Andrew Jackson to raise investment capital from private sources. A much-improved road was built and supported by tolls collected every four or five miles. One of the toll houses at the edge of Nicholas and Bourbon Counties on Highway 68 has been torn down, but a historic marker still reminds us of its location.

As stagecoaches became the principal means of travel, travelers stopped at Forest Retreat Tavern, still standing on Highway 68, across from Forest Retreat. It was known as "one of the most lavish and hospitable taverns;" horses were stabled across the road in the old post barn which still stands today. Presently, the property is owned by Dr. and Mrs. Phillip Tibbs of Lexington and Carlisle.

Source: The Most Famous Buffalo Trace, Dr. Taylor Asbury, published 1976.

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