Burlington in Boone County, Kentucky — The American South (East South Central)
Historic Burlington, KY
Making a Living...
From its earliest days, Burlington was the hub of a community rooted in farming. Prior to World War II, the majority of people in Boone County lived and worked on farms and the livelihood of nearly everyone else was somehow connected to farming. By the mid-19th Century, a blacksmith and a general store could be found at most crossroads towns. Larger towns like Burlington might have two or more of these essential services, along with a feed mill, tavern, post office, and town doctor. Like Petersburg and Walton, the population of Burlington could support several such businesses and, of course, as seat of justice, many lawyers called Burlington their home. Additional specialized concerns ranging from banking, printing, and carpentry to shoe repair and tobacco and drug sales set up shop in Boone County’s larger settlements.
As the center of business and economic activity for Boone County, Burlington attracted unique industries and individuals, especially in the mid-20th Century. The Tastee Foods Corporation built a potpie factory on North Jefferson Street, where they produced up to 50,000 pies a day. Renowned Kentucky artist Caroline Williams lived in a log house just west of Burlington from 1945 to 1988. Inventor Dr. George S. Sperti operated a large experimental farm in Burlington from the late 1930s until his death in 1991, where he spent a lifetime searching for a cure for cancer.
Photos from top left going counterclockwise:
The Gulley-Pettit general store was one of Burlington’s longest running general stores. The first such concern was the Burlington market House, which opened in 1814 on South Jefferson Street. General stores typically supplied staples ranging from food and clothes to household goods and hardware.
Taverns and inns were among the earliest businesses. A room and a hot meal could be found in one of the several Burlington taverns. Larger facilities such as the Central House Hotel (pictured) and the Boone house offered more rooms and were community focal points.
Burlington was the home of specialized businesses including shoe repair, a carding mill, a cabinetmaker, chair making shop, and a tobacco factory. The county’s newspaper of record, The Boone County Recorder began in 1875, 25 years after the short-lived Burlington Advertiser.
Inventor Frank S. Milburn built a machine shop in Burlington in 1938. During World War II, Milburn and his employees quietly made parts for the top-secret Norden Bombsight. Afterwards, Milburn coached thousands of would-be inventors from his Burlington shop.
Burlington’s first bank was chartered in 1818, but failed in the Panic of 1819. The Boone County Deposit Bank began in 1886 and its competitor, the People’s Deposit Bank, followed in 1905. This photo was taken for the grand opening of the Boone County Deposit Bank’s new building in 1925. It merged with the People’s Deposit Bank in 1927.
With the transition to the automobile in the 1910s, many blacksmith shops turned to auto repair. The Eddins Brothers Burlington Garage was located on South Jefferson Street.
The blacksmith shop was one of the earliest trades to set up in Burlington and was essential to the farming community. The smith primarily made and repaired tools, hardware, and farm equipment. Most smiths also repaired wagons and wagon wheels and could shoe horses and other animals.
Lester Fisher stacks hay by hand in this c. 1950 photograph. Mr. Fisher worked many of the farms that once lined the Burlington-Florence Pike
Location. 39° 1.706′ N, 84° 43.392′ W. Marker is in Burlington, Kentucky, in Boone County. Marker can be reached from Washington Street (Kentucky Route 18) near Jefferson Street, on the right. Touch for map. Marker is on little white building beside the the new courthouse in Justice Square. Marker is in this post office area: Burlington KY 41005, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. A different marker also named Historic Burlington, KY (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Historic Burlington, KY (within shouting distance of this marker); Old Boone County Courthouse (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Duncan House (about 300 feet away); From Craig’s Camp / To Burlington (about 300 feet away); George Speri Sperti (1900-1991) / Boonetucky Farm (approx. 1½ miles away); Crash of TWA Flight 694 (approx. 2.2 miles away); Hopeful Lutheran Church (approx. 4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Burlington.
Categories. • Industry & Commerce • Settlements & Settlers •
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Credits. This page was last revised on May 25, 2019. This page originally submitted on May 24, 2019, by Steve Stoessel of Niskayuna, New York. This page has been viewed 35 times since then. Photo 1. submitted on May 24, 2019, by Steve Stoessel of Niskayuna, New York. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.