“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Lexington in Fayette County, Kentucky — The American South (East South Central)


Woodburn Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Doda, March 21, 2022
1. Woodburn Marker
Inscription.  Woodburn, Idle Hour, and Calumet - each farm in this group is an iconic example from a distinct era in the history of the pure-blooded horse farm. Of the three, Woodburn is the oldest and the only establishment still owned and operated by the family who founded this internationally-significant farm in 1790.

"The Standardbred originated at Woodburn Farm, Spring Station, Kentucky. It was the first establishment devoted to systematic, thoroughly planned and carefully conducted racehorse production, both Standardbred and Thoroughbred, in America." (Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame)

Brothers, Robert Aitcheson Alexander and Alexander John Alexander invented the modern Thoroughbred horse farm.

Every Thoroughbred horse farm in Kentucky reflects in some way, some aspect of Woodburn Farm.

Born on Woodburn in 1819. Robert Aitcheson (R.A.) Alexander (above left), inherited the farm as a young man in his 20s, Educated at Cambridge, R.A. devoted himself and his farm to the scientific improvement of livestock and agricultural practices, Woodburn served as a working laboratory for decades, where
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R.A. systematically applied his knowledge of genetics to breed ever-superior horses, cattle, sheep and hogs. His detailed Stud Books are among the earliest records of blooded horses and livestock in America.

Wooburn's Thoroughbred legacy is founded on the great stallions Lexington, Asteroid, and Australian (among others). Yet, from the 1850s through 1900, Woodburn also reignod as a premier national breeder of Standardbred horses, Shetland ponies, Aldernay, Ayrshire, Durham and Shorthorn cattle and Southdown sheep. For forty years, Woodburn's annual Livestock Sale, held in the "Sale Woods” at the corner of Old Frankfort Pike and Woodlake Road, brought thousands of buyers from America and abroad to the farm's railroad stop, "Spring Station". Every year for decades, international buyers and neighborhood farmers alike bid on some of the finest livestock available anywhere in the world.

Alexander John (A.J) Alexander (left and right with his family), inherited Woodburn when his brother R.A. died in 1867, and continued to build upon his older brother's achievements in horse and livestock improvement. With farm manager Lucas Brodhead Jr., he furthered Woodburn's success, During his tenure, Woodburn spanned almost 3000 acres on both sides of Old Frankfort Pike, It included numerous stables and barns, two 1-mile oval race tracks, several springs, a saw mill,
This Woodburn Marker is the nearest of the three. image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Doda, March 21, 2022
2. This Woodburn Marker is the nearest of the three.
the Spring Station Railroad Depot and warehouse, school, grist mill, woodworking shop, brick kiln, orchards, wood lots, gardens, greenhouse, and numerous houses, Dry-laid limestone walls still encircle the farm perimeter and define interior fields, For two miles between Aiken and Steele Roads, Old Frankfort Pike is flanked by limestone fences and canopied by ancient trees. This extraordinary stretch of the Pike, locally known as "Shady Lane, passes through the lands of Alexander's Woodburn.

Woodburn Farm produced five Kentucky Derby winners, four Preakness winners, and ten winners of the Belmont Stakes.

Woodburn is today comprised of Airdrie Stud, Lanark and Woodburn Farms; all owned by Alexander descendants. Airdrie Stud furthers the Woodburn legacy as an outstanding breeder of stakes winning Thoroughbreds.

Images left and right: R.A. Alexander portrait Woodburn, 1898 "Lexington by Edward Troye AJ. Alexander photograph -A.J. Alexander and family at Woodburn. (KHS) Woodburn today Old Frankfort Pike "Shady Lane Canewood on Airdrie Stud (CA)
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Animals. A significant historical year for this entry is 1790.
Location. 38° 4.115′ N, 84° 33.45′ W. Marker is in Lexington, Kentucky, in Fayette County. Marker is at the intersection of Old Frankfort
Woodburn Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Doda, March 21, 2022
3. Woodburn Marker
Pike and Alexandria Drive, on the right when traveling east on Old Frankfort Pike. Located at the Old Frankfort Pike Scenic Overlook. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2450 Old Frankfort Pike, Lexington KY 40510, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Preservation and Conservation (here, next to this marker); Calumet Farm (here, next to this marker); the International Thoroughbred Landscape (here, next to this marker); Gentlemen Farmers and Burley Tobacco (a few steps from this marker); Idle Hour Farm (a few steps from this marker); The West Fayette County (a few steps from this marker); Breed Only The Best (a few steps from this marker); Create An Agri-culture (a few steps from this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Lexington.
Credits. This page was last revised on April 7, 2022. It was originally submitted on March 29, 2022, by Craig Doda of Napoleon, Ohio. This page has been viewed 579 times since then and 271 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on March 29, 2022, by Craig Doda of Napoleon, Ohio. • Mark Hilton was the editor who published this page.
Editor’s want-list for this marker. Clear, unobstructed photo of marker. • Can you help?

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May. 29, 2023