Royal Spring and the Birth of Georgetown, Kentucky
Published by: The University Press of Kentucky
Imprint: The University Press of Kentucky
Sales Date: 03/28/2023
392 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 x 1.28 in, 13 maps, 45 b&w illustrations
- Published: March 2023
In the earliest days of the United States as settlers made their way west and into what would eventually become Kentucky, they were faced with many challenges in the task of surveying and claiming new and unknown land.
Among the highest priorities for new residents was to determine if their chosen homestead could provide the fertile soil and fresh water they needed to sustain life and service their agricultural needs. Kentucky, with its underlying base of predominantly limestone rock—perfectly suited to the natural formation of caves, sinking streams, and springs of cool water—proved the ideal location on which to build their new lives.
In Bluegrass Paradise: Royal Spring and the Birth of Georgetown, Kentucky, author Gary A. O'Dell tells the story of the Royal Spring, the largest spring in central Kentucky. Practical and essential to the creation of a successful settlement, the spring and its location became the primary reason pioneers would eventually congregate here and found the city of Georgetown as one of the earliest Kentucky communities. In the ensuing 250 years, the Royal Spring has faithfully served the water needs of the community and the locale remains a cherished cultural and historical asset that provides greenspace within a rapidly growing city.
1. From Wilderness to City
2. The New Frontier
3. Bluegrass Paradise
4. A "Goodly Land"
5. The Land of Springs
6. Floyd's Spring
7. McClelland's Station
8. Serving God and Mammon: Elijah Craig and Lebanon Town
9. "Clear Beautiful Spring Water"
10. Blue Grass Park and the Civil War
11. The Water Works
12. Who Owns Royal Spring?
13. "Gulping Down Royal Spring Sewage": Water Quality and Sanitation
14. Protecting Royal Spring
15. "All that is unsightly in Georgetown seems to have gravitated toward it"
16. Royal Spring Park
Gary O'Dell's book offers a richly contextualized analysis that draws on geographical and historical perspectives to consider the complexities and nuances of place in a holistic sense. His subject, the Royal Spring in Georgetown, Kentucky, is well worthy of study given its environmental and historical significance and complexity. The result is an intellectual tour de force made imminently accessible to readers by his engaging writing style and broad knowledge.~Nancy O'Malley, retired Assistant Director of University of Kentucky's Museum of Anthropology
Gary O'Dell's Bluegrass Paradise is more than the history of a Bluegrass community in relation to its water sources. It is a comprehensive portrait of the settling of the Bluegrass. It provides an illuminating outline of the evolution of the entire region—its enabling geography, its trials, its growth in agriculture and industry as well as its formation from the post-Revolutionary era as a mecca of settlement to the convergence of forces and events that give it a distinct character. This book confirms the age-old proposition that civilization occurs with the consent and cooperation of geography.~Richard Taylor, author of Elkhorn
This exhaustive effort captures the important history and truths of Georgetown's Royal Spring, explaining the many legends and local stories surrounding the water source. Gary O'Dell provides insight into the very beginnings and development of Georgetown and Kentucky history in a delightful way by focusing on a key water resource that is still in use today. This book should be required reading for every future mayor of Georgetown!~Tom Prather, Mayor of Georgetown
Kentucky's Royal Spring emerges from the Bluegrass Region's limestone ledges with exceptional volume and enduring flow. The spring was a node for settlement during Kentucky's dynamic frontier period and a pragmatic rationale for the founding of Georgetown, the Scott County seat. Gary O'Dell's treatise on Royal Spring is the product of meticulous archival research and decades of inspired field work. The book blends humanistic and science perspectives and links historic and contemporary cultural practices with environmental surroundings—from the eighteenth century to the present day. It is a 'must read' for those seeking insights into the multigenerational building of a community's heritage; its founding, development, and durability.~Karl Raitz, author of Making Bourbon: A Geographical History of Distilling in Nineteenth-Century Kentucky
From a readable and personal beginning, through pages of interesting prose, to a solid conclusion, Gary O'Dell has crafted a detailed and excellent study of an important part of the Kentucky landscape. His is a well-researched story that goes from frontier times to the present, and is much broader in scope than the title suggests. It is a fine work.~James C. Klotter, State Historian of Kentucky, Professor Emeritus of History at Georgetown College