Shakertown at Pleasant Hill, KY
May 25, 2013 § 2 Comments
Last night we found ourselves on Harrodsburg Road going to Asian Wind, one of our favorite restaurants in Lexington. As we were driving I said that we might as well go on to Shakertown. We haven’t been in a couple of years. We didn’t, but perhaps this summer we can make time. It would be a good hiking place.
Shakertown, also known as Pleasant Hill, KY, is located near Harrodsburg, KY. This is one of the original Shaker villages, which still stands. Although, there are no longer any Shakers the life style is preserved through interpreters in costume in the original buildings, 28 of which still stand, on the original site.
It was founded in 1806 and closed in 1910.
The village offers lodging in these same buildings and meals consisting of the fare that was once served in their dining halls. I have to comment that this is some of the best food that I have ever eaten. The tour of the village is self-guided. You will see craftsmen and craftswomen performing the same tasks that the Shakers once performed there. Some of these include broom making, weaving, spinning, sheep herding, oval box making, and hearth baking to name a few.
There are special events throughout the year as well as paddleboat excursions down the Kentucky River.
The United Society of Believers in the First and Second Appearance of Christ, or the Shakers, the name given to them by the outside world because of the dancing they did during their meetings, were a celibate religious sect, who followed the teachings of Mother Ann. Mother Ann, after having been in prison for disrupting a Sabbath, left England, bringing with her eight followers to the United States. She believed that carnal relations were the cause of most of the world’s troubles. Although she couldn’t even read or write, she started one of the largest and best know communal societies in this country. There were nineteen communities from Maine to Kentucky.
Shakertown has always been one of my favorite places to visit.
The Trustees’ Office, built from 1839-1841, was where business with the world was conducted. The deacons and trustees of the village welcomed travelers and visiting Shakers here. The building is now used for dining and overnight lodging.
One of the twin spiral staircases in the Trustees’ Office. This along with their building construction attests to superb Shaker craftsmanship.
The forty-room Center Family Dwelling, the largest of all the structures, stands in the center of Shaker Village. Families in the religious community were divided into groups. The center family was the main family. The building now serves as a museum housing original Shaker furniture and implements they used in their daily lives.
The West Family Dwelling housed what was considered to be the west family. You will note two doors. There was a division between the males and females; and, they always entered the dwelling places separately. There were also separate stairways within. There were other communities, such as East and North, within the larger community as well. The children were kept in another dwelling where school was conducted. Workshops stood behind each family dwelling.
Pictured below are some of the gentle rolling hills and horses pull carts during the village hours showing visitors the grounds.
Excavation still continues to unearth where structures once were.