Bullitt County History

Local Roadways in 1887

An interesting description of local roadways is found in Karl Kron's Ten Thousand Miles on a Bicycle which he published in 1887.

Below are descriptions of the road from Louisville through Mt. Washington toward Bardstown, and also a briefer description of the road from Louisville through Shepherdsville to Bardstown Junction. Mr. Kron used frequent abbreviations which we have left intact, as they are generally understandable.

"Louisville ladies often drive out to the old reservoir, 5 m. n. e,; and Reservoir av., the smooth pike leading thither, is a continuation of Southall st. The s. e. pike to Bardstown (40 m.), however, ranks next in wheelmen's favor to the e. or Shelbyville pike ; and frequent club runs are had to the half-way point, Mt. Washington, 20 m., where dinner may be got at a hotel. An ascent of 1 m. must be made to reach this, and the following m. is down grade. This Bardstown pike begins at the head of Baxter av., and some of the first post offices along it are Doup's Point, 4 1/2 m.; Fern Creek, 7 m. beyond, and Fairmount, 14 1/2 m. from the start. At the 17 m. stone, is Hayes Spring, whose water is always cool enough to be refreshing, though ice may be procured, if wished for, at the adjoining public house. At Doup's Point, the Taylorsville pike branches off l. (n.e.), and is good straight along for 30 m. to its terminus at the little village called Little Mount, which is 6 m. beyond the court-house town that gives the pike its name. I consider the best stretch on this pike the 7 m. from Jeffersontown (also called Brunerstown) to Fisherville, entrance into which is by a long descent. This is 15 m. from Taylorsville; and at the first toll-gate just beyond the creek another good pike branches l. to Finchville, about 9 m. Both roads at the fork, which is reached in about 5 m., lead to F., but the l. road is 1 m. shorter, as the r. road strikes the Shelbyville and Taylorsville pike, about 1 m. from F., and you must ride n. on this to where the other one strikes. The fact that I once went to F. and part of the way back without dismount, mostly at a 10-m. pace, shows the goodness of the road. From Little Mount a pike runs w. through Normandy (r. r.), striking the Taylorsville pike somewhere near Wilsonville, about 8 1/2 m. It seemed rough on the dark night when I tramped it with my bicycle, but might perhaps be ridable by daylight. From N. to the T. pike are 2 m. of good riding. A second branch l. from the Bardstown pike is the Waterford, 8 m. long and all ridable, but having too many rough places to be called excellent. It begins at the foot of Mt. Washington hill, about 18 m. from home. In the only trip I ever took from Waterford directly to Taylorsville, 6 m., I found muddy roads and two or three creeks to be crossed. Indeed, the road itself is in Plum creek, some of the way; and I went over the meadows in my final m. to T. The third and last branch l. from the Bardstown pike is the one to Bloomfield (r. r.), 13 m. It turns off e. at Steve Lord's house (which is 1 1/2 m. beyond the village of Smithville and 15 m. from Bardstown) and it has a good surface, with few hills,—the village of Fairfield being about half-way. A Bloomfield bicycler told me he wheeled thence to Louisville (3S m.) in 3 h., beating the train, whose schedule time for the 57 m., with stops at every station, is also 3 h. I was told, too, that a splendid pike extended from B. to Chaplin.

"The direct pike to Newberg, 8 m. s. e. from Louisville, starting from Barrett av., is hilly and usually rough. A better route to the same place is the Poplar Level pike, which starts at Campbell st. The pike to Shepherdsville (r. r.), 20 m., runs s. from Shelby st. (Preston st. joins this at the first toll-gate), and is for the most part good and level. S. is connected with Bardstown Junction (3 3/4 m.) by a dirt road which, when I went over it, was as good as a pike. Salt river must be crossed at S.; but there is not much difficulty about this, as in some places one can ride most of the way over, if careful for the ridges. Passage may be made also on the trestlework of the r. r. though the train-times are uncertain."

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The Bullitt County History Museum, a service of the Bullitt County Genealogical Society, is located in the county courthouse at 300 South Buckman Street (Highway 61) in Shepherdsville, Kentucky. The museum, along with its research room, is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday; and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday. Admission is free. The museum, as part of the Bullitt County Genealogical Society, is a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization and is classified as a 509(a)2 public charity. Contributions and bequests are deductible under section 2055, 2106, or 2522 of the Internal Revenue Code. Page last modified: 12 Sep 2020 . Page URL: bullittcountyhistory.org/bchistory/roads1887.html