Winchester, Kentucky is a breathtakingly beautiful town that is small enough to embrace a small town feel but is upwardly mobile enough to offer opportunities and convenience. Its devotion to history and the tradition it has been accustomed to for centuries make it unique and cozy while its progressive attitude gives it the outlook of a prosperous future.
Located in Clark County, Winchester is the county seat with over 18,360 citizens calling it home. It is a part of the Lexington-Fayette, KY Metropolitan Statistical Area. The town is in the Bluegrass Region, known for its gorgeous rolling hills and horses where the Bluegrass meet the Eastern Appalachians. The Appalachians are thought to be about 480 million years old.
Established as a town in 1793, it is endearingly named after the town of Winchester, Virginia. At the time it was founded, it was the Western Frontier. It played an important role in building the County of Clark as well as building the new Commonwealth.
The downtown area is a picture-perfect scene, enjoyed by many tourists to the city and by the locals too. It has charming vintage homes and noteworthy architectural buildings that offer an old-town feel.
The Bluegrass Heritage Museum is a tourist attraction that is well-loved in the town. It offers a mecca of exploration of many eras dating back to the Eskippakithiki Indian Village which was a branch of the Shawnee Indians. It has historical features from Daniel Boone and the settlement of Boonesboro all the way up to the modern day and times. Military history, local agriculture, antique quilt displays and even telephones through the ages can all be seen. The museum is three stories tall and is open to the public for touring.
The Blackfish Bison Ranch is a family friendly, up close and personal experience where visitors can see buffalo herds. Transported by wagon or pickup truck, guests can even feed the buffalo by hand. Children can try their hand at lassoing a hay bale steer and can throw a tomahawk too. The two hundred and forty-two acre ranch is named in honor of the leader of the Shawnee Indians, Chief Blackfish. Lessons on the history of the ranch are taught during the tour.
The Beer Cheese Trail is another adventure visitors can take part in when in Winchester. Winchester is the Beer Cheese capital of the world and is where the unique beverage was born when Johnnie Allman first served his cousin’s product, Joe’s Snappy Cheese at the Driftwood Inn. The Beer Cheese Trail is comprised of eight different restaurants that serves the authentic beer cheese. There is also a Beer Cheese Festival that takes place in Winchester every year.
A centerpiece of Winchester, the Clark County Courthouse has history written all over it. A Greek Revival style courthouse, the building was constructed in 1853. Although the courthouse has been rebuilt four times, in part, it still has the Family Courtroom and Circuit Courtroom of the old building and is listed as an official historical site – listed on the National Register of Historic Places in the year 1974. Visitors can take a look at both the outside and the inside of the site.
Winchester’s Opera House is both an entertainment facility and a historical monument. It was designed by J.D. Simpson in 1873. He was the very first mayor of the town. He presented it to the town as a gift. Classical concerts and off-Broadway presentations were popular when it was in full swing. It suffered from neglect through the years until it was purchased by private owners in 2003 and renovated into the place it is today.
Another place of interest to see in Winchester is the old Clark Mansion. It is also referred to as the “Holly Rood” or even the “Gov. James A. Clark Mansion”. It is one of Clark County’s oldest historical homes. It was constructed in 1813 for the thirteenth governor of Kentucky, James Clark. The finishing touches were laid in 1814. The two-story brick on the home is painted red and it boasts a wide front porch which was popular for the era. The house sits away from the road which allows a nice, large front yard. The mansion is open for tourists and is often used for occasions and events such as weddings. Clark is actually buried in a private spot on the grounds and a monument marks the grave.
The Indian Old Fields ae the site of the Eskippakithiki Indian ruins where the village was. There is a trading post as well. The name means “Place of Blue Licks” which is in reference to the Lulbegrud Creek salt deposits. The settlement dates back to 1670 when Thomas Goff resided there. The history of the fields include Indians, American explorers and settlers, cartographers and surveyors.
The Old Providence Church is a treasured building in town. Built in the late eighteenth century, it was Daniel Boone’s place of worship. It was named Old Howard’s Creek Church originally but was renamed in 1790. In 1801 “United Baptist”, a church organization, was founded at the church. Later, in 1870, the church was passed on down the Negro Baptists. People come from all over the country to see the church that has so much history behind its doors.
There are 7.8 square miles of area in the town of Winchester. All but 0.04 square miles of it is comprised of land. It has easy access to surrounding towns like Lexington which is sixteen miles away. It is close to Paris and Mt. Sterling as well. The location is considered to be perfect as far as many are concerned.
Employment opportunities are great in the town with Amazon and Catalent Pharma coming in as the number one employers. East Kentucky Power Cooperative and General Dynamics Information Technology are close contenders. Leggett and Platt, Infiltrator Water Technologies and the Save-A-Lot Distribution Center do a lot of hiring too. Medical staff and teachers make up a good segment of the employed population as well.