Midway, Kentucky is a delightful little town with a population of a little over 1,620 residents. It is in the northern part of Woodford County and is connected to the Lexington-Fayette Metropolitan Statistical Area. The town is in Bluegrass Country and is a major Thoroughbred race horse breeding location.
One of the most notable horse breeding operations in Midway is the Three Chimneys Farm. A huge part of the town’s history, it has made a huge transformation over the past forty years in the horse business. Three Chimneys has managed some of the world’s top stallions like Seattle Slew, Rhay and Dynaformer. It has taken part in the breeding of some greats too such as Miss Keller, Hidden Lake, Gorgeous and Ave. There is a family atmosphere at the farm and emphasis on treating their horses with the best, loving care possible.
Man o’ War, the legendary Thoroughbred racehorse was foaled at a stud farm in the nearby area of Fayette County. Joseph Bryan Martin first rode him and is now buried in the cemetery in Midway which is a tourist point of interest now.
The town of Midway was falling apart, literally. In 2003, however, it received a total facelift. A streetscape renovation project began and Main Street was revived. New lighting and new structures now grace the town.
The known history of the town of Midway goes back to before European exploration. The entire area around it was Mound Builders territory. There are two large mounds and several smaller ones that American Indians constructed. More have been identified on properties in and around the town as well.
In 1832, a small settlement called Stevenson’s erected in what is now Midway. There was a post office there too. A local farmer, John Francisco, had a 216.375-acre ranch which he sold to the Lexington and Ohio Railroad in 1835. The land was used to establish the first railroad town in Kentucky which was called Middleway since it was between Frankfort and Lexington. In 1937, the town’s name was formally change to Midway.
The Midway Distilling Company was in operation legally until the 1920 Prohibition era and illegally thereafter. It lends more history to the town than desired. A robbery occurred and a two men lay dead. Richard James, a black man, was charged and convicted of the killings which he admitted to under pressure. In 1832, however, it was divulged that the superintendent of the bottling department, Samuel Seay, had a deal with the convicted man and others to share in the profits of the stolen liquor. Seay was convicted of the crime. In 1921, a mob came into the jail and took James and lynched him from a tree in nearby Versailles. When no one from the mob was charged, the governor, Edwin Morrow, took the sheriff from the post. Ironically, when the voters replaced him, they did so by electing his wife.
Midway is known for its horses, whiskey and agriculture. Tobacco, cattle and corn are all very plentiful. It sports a total area of 1.1 square miles which is all comprised of land.
Among the many things to do in Midway are the festivals. The Francisco’s Farm Arts Festival is an event that allows the public to explore the art of artists and to meet them as well. It is held at the Midway University campus. Guests can also purchase artwork there.
The Midway Fall Festival is a big hit in the area. Named as one of the top twenty Kentucky festivals, it features crafts from the locals, food for all, demonstrators of all sorts, children’s activities and entertainment. The festival has been around for over forty years.
The Midway Independence Day Celebration is not to be missed. It is referred to as “Sparks in the Park” and is held at the Walter Bradley Park which is located in the city park area. The fireworks are a big attraction for locals and for visitors to the area.
Equus Run Vineyards is a family run wine farm. The farm was once a tobacco and cattle farm. Nestled on thirty-five acres, it is a non-traditional vineyard that couples as a Thoroughbred farm as well. The working farm embraces visits and has tours. In the summer, they throw a celebration where the town and visitors to the town can taste their wine and enjoy the harvest and listen to local musicians in the stone amphitheater.
UnBriled Horse Tours offers a personal look at the horses in the Midway area. The custom touring agency provides horseback riding tours, horseback riding and most anything else that has to do with horses. It is the perfect setup for horse lovers.
Old Friends at Dream Chase Farms is a living horse museum of sorts. It is a unique place to experience the past and present lives of Thoroughbred whose racing time and breeding periods have ended. The horses are allowed to live out their days on the farm. The farm can be toured and donations are appreciated.
Downtown Midway has many historical sites mixed with a fine blend of the new. There are quaint shops, fun places, cozy stores and delicious restaurants that the locals love and visitors to the town adore. The rebuilt downtown area is now thriving.
Midway is home to Midway University which is Kentucky’s one and only college that is exclusive to women. It was founded in 1847. It is appreciated for its educational quality as well as for its history in the town.
There are a number of churches in Midway. Eleven establishments of varying denominations grace the community. Some date back to the early days of the town.
The climate in Midway is humid and hot in the summer. Winters can be chilly and some snow is not uncommon. Rain can be expected in the spring time.
Midway is a small town with open arms. It embraces the past, the present and the future as well. It also welcomes guest and new residents while holding fast to its long-time residents too.