You’ve seen it. But probably never gave much thought to it. It’s been in operation since 2010. The Frankfort Trolley Bus, affectionately known as “The Trolley”, is a bus purchased with federal stimulus grant money back in 2009 and run by Frankfort Transit. It’s Sponsored by Frankfort/Franklin County Tourism, Downtown Frankfort, Rebecca Ruth Candy Factory, and Buffalo Trace Distillery. It’s a much overlooked resource to the community and to visitors alike. It travels through downtown Frankfort, around the Kentucky State Capitol, and up to Buffalo Trace Distillery, and back downtown. The driver will give you a personal tour and point out historic sites and places. It operates April 3rd through October 27th, Tuesday through Saturday, beginning at 10:00 am and running through 2:30 pm. The entire route takes about 40 minutes. Please enjoy this 5 minute long video, which is a time lapse video, taking through beautiful Frankfort, Kentucky. We’ve also made note of the historic places that the trolley passes and the many stops throughout town, as well as a route map below. Many merchants and restaurants throughout Frankfort also offer discounts for riding the trolley. Ask the drive for your hand to be stamped and you can enjoy those discounts! Please enjoy utilizing this wonderful and FREE resource the next time you are in Frankfort or would just like to explore your own backyard!
What You’ll See…
Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History (Ann Street Side)
THOMAS D. CLARK CENTER FOR KENTUCKY HISTORY
100 West Broadway
Journey through time in A Kentucky Journey permanent exhibition, reflecting over 12,000 years of Kentucky history. Trace your family’s roots in the KHS Library. Take home something uniquely made from the 1792 Store. Wed 10-4, Thu 10-8, Fri/ Sat 10-5, Closed Sun, Mon, Tues.
Ann St. and Broadway
CAPITAL CITY MUSEUM
c. 1880, 325 Ann St. (former site of Gayle Drug Store)
Explore more than 200 years of politics, architecture, enterprise, misbehavior, and everyday life in Frankfort. Mon-Sat 10-4 Closed Sun.
Frankfort Visitor Center – Capital Ave. & Second St.
FRANKFORT VISITOR CENTER
c. 1890, 100 Capital Ave.
This Queen-Anne building is locally known as the “Gooch House” for George and Sarah Gooch who purchased it in 1919. For a time it served as the “Green Hedges Tourist Home” and was once the home of Rebecca Gooch, co-founder of the Rebecca-Ruth Candy Company. The City of Frankfort purchased the dwelling for $80,000 in 1980 and converted the structure into the present tourism center. Mon-Fri 8-5, Sat (May-Sep) 9:30-2:30, Closed Sun.
Kentucky State Capitol & Governors’ Mansion
KENTUCKY STATE CAPITOL
Completed in 1910, the Capitol building features 70 Ionic columns, sculptures of Kentucky dignitaries and decorative murals. It is one of the most impressive capitols in the nation. The 212 feet high dome is based on the tomb of Napoleon in Paris. Interior marble staircases leading to the legislative chambers on the third floor are fashioned after the Opera House in Paris. The ornate State Reception Room on the second floor is copied after the Palace at Versailles. Guided tours Mon-Fri 9, 10, 11, 1, 2 and 3. Self-guided tours Sat 10-2. Closed Sun.
The architect for the 100 ton clock was the Frankfort firm of Oberwarth & Livingston. The minute hand is 20 feet long and weighs 530 pounds. The hour hand is 15 feet long and weighs 420 pounds. The hands move every 60 seconds. It was dedicated in 1961.
The Capitol Annex was completed at a cost of $6 million and dedicated October 8, 1952.
Built in 1914, the mansion keeps with the French influence of the nearby Capitol, designed on a plan inspired by Marie Antoinette’s summer villa, the Petit Trianon at Versailles, France. Tue, Wed, Thu, 9, 9:30, 10, 10:30 Must call ahead
Rebecca Ruth Candy Tours
Friends Ruth Hanly and Rebecca Gooch founded Rebecca-Ruth Candy in 1919. In 1929 Gooch sold her half of the business to Ruth Hanly Booe. Booe is credited as the inventor of the “bourbon ball” in 1938, now a world famous confection. Mon-Sat 10-6.
The Arsenal was designed by architect Nathaniel Cook and built in 1850 to house weapons and equipment for the Kentucky militia. It continued in service with the Kentucky National Guard and other state agencies until a renovation in 1973-74 that made it into the home of the Kentucky Military Museum, a joint operation of the Kentucky Department of Military Affairs and the Kentucky Historical Society. Sat only 10-5. Visitors must start tour at the Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History.
Commonwealth Credit Union
CCU is a not-for-profit financial institution that is a leader in the financial service industry.
OLD GOVERNORS’ MANSION
Home to 33 Kentucky governors from 1798 to 1914, this structure is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and notable for seven U. S. Presidents who visited here. In 2009 the Old Mansion was renovated by professional decorators to house visiting dignitaries doing business with the Kentucky government. Call 502-564-5500 for tour information.
STATE OFFICE BUILDING
This Art Deco building designed by Ernst Vern Johnson was completed in 1941. The building recently completed a $47 million renovation and now houses the Cabinet for Environmental and Public Protection. The massive stone foundation surrounding the building is all that remains of the state penitentiary that formerly occupied the site.
Kentucky Department of Revenue – High St.
Department of Transportation Bldg
This seven-story building cost $113 million dollars when completed in late 2003. Winner of an American Institute of Architects Design Award in 2005, the sloping roof is meant to convey a sense of motion. The floor is polished limestone. Gracing the lobby is a two-story glass map of Kentucky showing highways, rivers, and county lines. Two outdoor artwork sculptures include Tony Higdon and Erika Strecker’s Nexus and Garry Bibb’s Now Get.
Capital Plaza Tower
Built in 1971 the $49 million Capital Plaza features shops and offices and the Capital Hotel. The Plaza boasts a 28-story tower with state government offices and beautiful fountains throughout.
Liberty Hall Historic Site
LIBERTY HALL SITE
c.1796, 202 Wilkinson St.
This Georgian-style house served as the home of eminent statesman U. S. Senator John Brown, one of the two first US Senators to represent Kentucky after it joined the Union in 1792. President James Monroe dined here with aides Zachary Taylor and Andrew Jackson in 1819. Lafayette and Aaron Burr also visited here. The first Sunday School west of the Allegheny Mountains was started in the Liberty Hall gardens by Margaretta Brown and her friend Elizabeth Love. Tour hours: Tue-Sat 10:30, 12, 1:30 and 3.
Orlando Brown House
c. 1835, 218 Wilkinson St.
This Greek Revival house was built from plans designed by Gideon Shryock, for the second son of Senator John Brown. It is the only known residence designed by Shryock. It remained in the Brown family until it was bequeathed to the National Society of Colonial Dames. It contains much of the original furnishings, including paintings by Robert Burns Wilson. Shryock designed the Old Capitol and the Franklin County Courthouse here in Frankfort. Tour hours: Tue-Sat 10:30, 12, 1:30 and 3.
Broadway and St. Clair
OLD STATE CAPITOL
c. 1827-30, Broadway & Lewis St.
Built over the ashes of two earlier Capitols, this Greek-Revival building was the first public work of Gideon Shryock. The self-supporting circular staircase under the temple-like dome stands entirely independent of the rest of the structure. William Goebel, Kentucky’s “martyr governor,” was shot by an assassin from the State Office building next door. His statue stands on the grounds, and a brass plate in the brick walkway marks the spot where he fell. Wed-Sat 10:30, 12, 1:30 and 3, plus 4:30 and 6 on Thur. Closed Sun, Mon, Tue
Buffalo Trace Distillery
1001 Wilkinson Blvd.
The most award-winning distillery in the world, Buffalo Trace Distillery holds the title of the oldest continually operating distillery in America, remaining operational even during the Prohibition era – for “medicinal” purposes. Tours are available. Mon-Fri 9-3, Sat 10-2.
Fair Oaks Complex
This huge office complex once served as whiskey warehouses for the nearby distillery. In 1965 the buildings were used to represent an automobile manufacturing plant for the movie The Great Race starring Tony Curtis, Natalie Wood, Jack Lemmon, and Keenon Wynn.
SITE OF THE KENTUCKY RIVER HEMP MILL FACTORY – JIM’S SEAFOOD RESTAURANT
The restaurant opened here on November 15, 1974 when James C. Ashcraft purchased the land once leased by the Kentucky River Mills which opened in 1878. They used Kentucky-grown hemp to make sails for boats, baling twine for the cotton industry, and to make rope.
Riverview Park Wilkinson Blvd.
This Frankfort city park offers a scenic Kentucky Riverside picnic area, pavilions, fishing pier, a one mile historic walking tour, monuments representing the three original Kentucky counties, a refurbished 1880’s bridge, and Dry Stone conservancy restoration stone walls. The Farmer’s Market Pavilion is also adjacent to the park.
Here’s Your Sign!
Look for the sign below for trolley stops throughout Frankfort!