Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Welcome to Augusta!

I thought I'd take a moment and write about my hometown, Augusta, Kentucky. Augusta is located on the Ohio River, 35 miles to the east of Northern Kentucky, and 12 miles from Maysville, Kentucky. Although it's the largest city in Bracken County, it is not the county seat, that would be Brooksville.

Augusta was settled in 1781 as part of a Revolutionary War Grant by Virginia to Captain Philip Buckner. Buckner returned to Virginia, however, but came back to Augusta in 1796 with 40 families. In 1795, the Kentucky Legislature incorporated the City of Augusta, and trustees were established. Buckner deeded the City 600 acres.
Augusta was the county seat of Bracken County until 1830, when it was moved to Brooksville. The original courthouse is still standing and currently inhabited. In the early 1800s Augusta became a popular river port, with hemp, tobacco, corn, livestock and wine being its top trading commodities. The ferry service is one of the oldest operating ferries in the country, having been in operation since April 2, 1798.
In September 1862, Colonel Basil Duke led 350 of Morgan's Raiders against the city of Augusta with Colonel Joshua Bradford leading 150 of the home guard and three gunboats in the harbor. The gunboats, however, abandoned their posts, leaving Augusta vulnerable to the raiders. A hand to hand battle ensued in the middle of town where 35 men lost their lives. A monument to the 11 unknown Confederate Soldiers was erected in town.
More recently, Augusta has been a sleepy rural town. The ferry still operates, but it is no longer the trading port it once was. Agriculture is still king in the county, but tourism accounts for the largest part of the city's annual revenues. Clopay owns a manufacturing plant in Augusta and is a major employer.
As much as the river has aided in the development of Augusta, it has also been detrimental. The floods of 1937 and 1997 are far from memories. While many homes were washed away, the city held onto its character, turning much of the remaining green space into parks. The old southern architecture along Riverside Drive has been restored. The Rosemary Clooney Museum has been opened to the public since 2006 and draws thousands of tourists each year.
This is my hometown, Augusta, Kentucky.

No comments: