Pulaski County has a storied past, which is highlighted in two walking tours and on the grounds of the Civil War’s Battle of Mill Springs.
Historic Pulaski County Walking Tour
A self-guided, interpretive walking tour of downtown Somerset leads visitors through part of Pulaski County’s 200-year history. In addition to showing such places as the once-thriving Commercial District or the historic homes on Harvey’s Hill, the tour gives insight into diverse aspects of life in Pulaski County, such as town beginnings, the development of rural commerce and a turn-of-the-century trolley car system.
Mill Springs Battlefield National Monument Visitor Center and Museum
9020 W. Ky. 80
Mill Springs Battlefield National Cemetery is the burial site of Union soldiers killed in the Jan. 19, 1862, Civil War battle. The visitor center and museum utilize multimedia technology and primary-resource books to tell the story of the battle. Regular events include a living history weekend and a ghost walk. A 10-stop driving tour of the Mill Springs Battlefield corridor — which includes the historic Brown-Lanier House, West-Metcalf House and Mill Springs Park and Mill — is available with a companion brochure that can be downloaded from the website. Brown-Lanier House and the West-Metcalfe House guided tours are also available with advance notice.
Old Crab Orchard Road
Dutton’s Hill is marked by a marble obelisk called the Battle of Dutton Hill Monument. The Battle of Dutton Hill followed the more significant battle in Pulaski County at Mill Springs, and this is where Confederate Brigade Commander Gen. Felix K. Zollicoffer was killed in January 1862. The soldiers killed at the Battle of Dutton’s Hill are buried at this site.
9155 Hwy 1275 N
Located adjacent to Mill Springs Mill and built before the Civil War, the Brown-Lanier House was traditionally home to families that operated the nearby grist mill. The historic farmhouse became headquarters for generals on both sides of the fighting, before and after the Battle of Mill Springs. Today the Mill Springs Battlefield Association offers seasonal guided tours on site (Memorial Day to Labor Day). Tours are conducted Friday and Saturday 10 AM to 4PM and Sundays 1 PM to 4 PM, contact the Battlefield for costs and updates 606-636-4045.
Mill Springs Mill and Park
9155 Hwy 1275 N.
By taking a stroll through Mill Spring’s Park on the shores of Lake Cumberland, one is instantly immersed in the culture and history of another time. It all began in 1700 when hunters and explorers, called “Long Hunters”, found a place “with excellent springs near a waterfall.”
Sitting on the shores of Lake Cumberland and fed by 13 springs, the current grist mill was built in 1877 and restored in 1976 complete with working water wheel. The first mill at Mill Springs was built in 1817, it burned and was rebuilt in 1839. That mill sold and the current mill was constructed. The Army Corps of Engineers operates the mill, which is open for tours seasonally, on weekends and holidays. You can check out their Mill Tour Video any time of year at the Corps’ website.
On Jan. 19, 1862, blood was shed on the grounds of Mill Springs as the North fought the South. The Battle of Mill Springs, as it came to be called, was one of the first great battles of the Civil War.
If you are in the area, Mill Springs Mill and Park are located 19 miles from downtown Somerset and 8 miles from downtown Monticello.
Historic Dunagan’s Store
1748 Old Mill Springs Rd.
Monticello, KY 42633
This quaint country store, located across from the Mill Springs Mill Park and the Mill Springs Battlefield National Monument’s Brown-Lanier House, began operation in the late 1920s. The store was moved 100 yards, to its current location by mule power in 1935. The store was a real “Country Store”, carrying almost anything the Mill Springs community might need and served as the Mill Springs Post Office. Times change, but the overall appearance of the store has not. The store has been locally owned and operated since the 1920’s. Current owner and Mill Springs native Carolyn Boston Speers now owns the beloved old store. She and her son have steadily worked toward the preservation of Dunagan’s recreating the “sit down and stay awhile” warmth that Everette Dunagan always extended to the community. Dunagan’s Store now serves smoked meats, BBQ and the homemade sides to go with it.