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October 10, 2013

Hazel Patch played central role in opening the west

'Little road, big deal'

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — It is said that no other road is of greater historical significance to the founding of Kentucky and opening of the west than Boone Trace.

“This was a little road, but a big deal,” said John Fox, president of the Friends of Boone Trace Inc., as he spoke to approximately 50 people awaiting the unveiling of the new historical highway marker to commemorate the Hazel Patch pioneer trail.

The re-dedication of the original 1950 highway marker was held Saturday at Levi Jackson State Park. Following the unveiling ceremony, the marker was transported to its permanent site in Hazel Patch.

“Daniel Boone blazed a trail through this very park, that wasn’t a park at the time, and traveled 10 to 15 miles up to Hazel Patch on Ky. 490, and then proceeded on up to Boonesborough,” Fox explained.

Dressed in period costume, re-enactors from the Fort Boones-borough Foundation helped the audience envision Boone and his party’s journey through the park and on to Hazel Patch.

“When you leave here today, I want you to remember two things: 1) Levi Jackson Park and Hazel Patch are connected by Boone Trace; and 2) Boone Trace and Laurel County played a central part in the opening of the west, and for that I think you ought to be very proud,” Fox said.  “The spirit of America was born in part because of this little road.”

That same spirit lives today, said the Rev. William Woods, fifth great-grandson of Daniel Boone and pastor of Middletown Baptist Church in Berea.  Woods and several other descendants of Boone were present Saturday for the re-dedication, as well as the foremost expert on Boone’s route, Neal Hammon, who documented his March 1775 journey on modern-day maps. Other special guests included Kent Whitworth, executive director of the Kentucky Historical Society; State Rep. Marie Rader, 89th District; Laurel County Judge-Executive David Westerfield; London Mayor Troy Rudder; and London City Councilman Jim Hays.

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