LEXINGTON, KY. (July 24, 2019) — Trail’s End, a former girls’ camp in southern Fayette County, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on June 26, 2019. The 59-acre tract is owned by Floracliff Nature Sanctuary and encompasses the former camp lodge, the surrounding forest used for camp activities, as well as remnants of additional camp facilities.
Established in 1913 by Mary DeWitt Snyder, Trail’s End Camp was one of the first organized camps for girls in the South and came about during a period of major development for the organized camping movement in the United States. The camp was originally situated on 250 acres along the Kentucky River between Elk Lick Creek and Boone Creek. With a focus on building character and physical strength through outdoor activities and exposure to nature, the camp “provided a program of living…which makes for alertness of mind, skill of hand, and poise of body.” In 1917, the camp lodge was built overlooking Elk Lick Creek and the Kentucky River, providing a gathering spot for the girls and a center for camp life. In the surrounding landscape, the girls participated in a variety of camp activities such as swimming, canoeing, nature study, horseback riding, archery, handicrafts, and more. Sarah Gibson Blanding joined as Assistant Director of the camp in 1921 and was instrumental in expanding camp programs. Although Trail’s End Camp closed in 1935, it impacted the lives of hundreds of girls and young women during its 22 years of operation.
“After acquiring the Trail’s End tract in 2017, we quickly recognized the significance of its history as a girls’ camp in the early 20th century and are honored to have the National Registry listing as confirmation,” said Ellen Tunnell, Board President of Floracliff Nature Sanctuary. “It’s both exciting and humbling to be the stewards of this historically unique and beautiful piece of Fayette County and Central Kentucky.”
The National Register of Historic Places is the nation’s official list of historic places worthy of preservation for their local, state, or national significance in American history, architecture, archaeology, engineering, or culture. This recognition would not have been possible without historic preservationist Tim Condo, who prepared the nomination, and the support of The Blue Grass Trust for Historic Preservation.
7/24/19 – Press Release
8/8/19 – Lexington Herald-Leader article