Bluegrass Country

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BLUEGRASS COUNTRY, a region of about 8,000 square miles in north central Kentucky, is named for its nutritious grass. European settlement, coming from Virginia, Maryland, and the Carolinas, started in the mid-1770s, and the region was well settled by 1800. The fertile soil, especially around Lexington, attracted many of the old agrarian gentry who were granted or bought large tracts of land, created estates, usually with slaves, and continued their former way of life. Smaller farmers occupied interstices between large farms as well as the less-fertile outlying areas. The region produced tobacco, hemp, and grains, and bred livestock, especially horses. The undulating countryside, with meadows, trees, rock fences, and elegant buildings, presents a patrician landscape, much like that of an English park. A similar region with a similar history is located in middle Tennessee.


Alvey, R. Gerald. Kentucky Bluegrass Country. Jackson: University of Mississippi Press, 1992.

Aron, Stephen. How the West Was Lost: The Transformation of Kentucky from Daniel Boone to Henry Clay. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996.

Davis, Darrel H. The Geography of the Blue Grass Region of Kentucky. Frankfort: Kentucky Geological Survey, 1927.

Raitz, Karl B. The Kentucky Bluegrass: A Regional Profile and Guide. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina, Department of Geography, 1980.

———. "Rock Fences and Preadaptation." Geographical Review 85, no.1 (1995): 50–62.

Trimble, Stanley W. "Ante-Bellum Domestic Architecture in Middle Tennessee." In The American South, vol. 25 of Geo-science and Man, edited by R. L. Nostrand and S. B. Hilliard. Baton Rouge: Department of Geography and Anthropology, Louisiana State University, 1988: 97–117.

Stanley W.Trimble

See alsoKentucky .