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Kentucky State Parks

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USA Parks
Great Lakes Region
Jefferson Davis State Historic Site
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Jefferson Davis State Historic Site 200th Celebration © Dwight Carter
Confederate tents at day break Jefferson Davis 200th Celebration
Jefferson Davis State Historic Site 200th Celebration © Dwight Carter
Kentucky Orphan Company at Jefferson Davis 200th Celebration
Jefferson Davis State Historic Site Jefferson Davis Monument © Dwight Carter
Jefferson Davis Monument
Jefferson Davis State Historic Site 200th Celebration © Dwight Carter
Confederate Encampment Jefferson Davis 200th Celebration
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258 Pembroke-Fairview Rd.
Pembroke, Kentucky   42266

Phone: 270-889-6100
Email: park email button icon
Jefferson Davis State Historic Site is a memorial to the famous Kentuckian born on this site on June 3, 1808. Ironically, just eight months later, and not more than 100 miles away, another great Kentucky statesman was born, Abraham Lincoln. The two men were destined to become Civil War adversaries: Union President, Abraham Lincoln, and Confederate President, Jefferson Davis. Although Davis is most well-known for his service as President of the Confederacy during the Civil War, he was actually a reluctant seccessionist.

Davis distinquished himself as a military and political leader not only during the Civil War, but also as a West Point graduate, Mexican War hero, Mississippi congressman and senator, and Secretary of War during the Franklin Pierce administration.

The 351-foot monument to Davis constructed on this site marks Davis' birthplace and rests on a foundation of solid Kentucky limestone. Our visitor's center features exhibits detailing Davis' political life before and after the Civil War, and offers Kentucky handcrafts, souvenirs, books and Civil War memorabilia.
History of the Area
Ten miles east of Hopkinsville, at Fairview, stands the fourth tallest monument in the United States. It is the tallest poured in place concrete obelisk in the world. The monument is to Jefferson Davis 1808-1889 the first and only president of the Confederacy. The Jefferson Davis Monument State Shrine became a part of the Kentucky State Park System on June 7, 1927. Ironically, fellow Kentuckian and Civil War president, Abraham Lincoln was born less than 100 miles away in Hodgenville.

Jefferson Davis and Abraham Lincolns birthplaces being in the same state is indicative of the tragedy of the American Civil War in Kentucky and the nation. The lives of the two men became such a part of the history of the war that they are inextricably joined with each other. In intensity and carnage the Civil War had no equal in American history. Between April 1861 and April 1865 nearly 700,000 Americans perished. For four years Davis presided over the Confederate States of America during this titanic struggle. He guided the new nation from its birth to its demise. As an individual, Davis was at once praised and vilified. To the North he was a traitor and a war criminal to Southerners he became the embodiment of the greatness of the Lost Cause.

The desire to memorialize the leaders and generals of the Civil war began as soon as the guns fell silent. As time passed and many of the major participants of the conflict died, monuments to their memory proliferated. After the death of Davis in 1889, groups and individuals throughout the South began plans to erect a fitting memorial to the Confederacys only president.

At a 1907 reunion in Glasgow, Ky. of the famous Confederate Orphans Brigade, former Confederate general Simon Bolivar Buckner proposed a plan for a Jefferson Davis monument to be erected at his birthplace in Fairview. A group started the Jefferson Davis Home Association and raised money for the monument. By April 1909, the Association paid $7,052 for seven tracts of land containing twenty acres. Within the next eight years $150,000 had been accumulated for a suitable monument. In 1917 work began on the worlds tallest concrete obelisk.

The firm of C. G. Gregg of Louisville designed the monument and oversaw its construction. Americas entry into World War I halted work on the obelisk for several years. By the time construction began again, costs had risen dramatically and the project faced an uncertain future. The United Daughters of the Confederacy raised an additional $20,000 toward completion of the monument and the Kentucky General Assembly appropriated $15,000 to install an elevator originally run by steam in the 351-foot structure. On June 7, 1924, dedication of the Jefferson Davis State Historic Site took place and it became a part of the Kentucky State Parks system.
The monument has a base of 35 feet by 35 feet with 10-foot thick walls at the lower level, tapering to two feet at the top. Construction cost $200.000. The observation windows at the top of monument offer visitors a breathtaking view of the surrounding countryside.

Open from May 1 to October 31, the Jefferson Davis Monument State Historic Site is located 10 miles east of Hopkinsville on U.S. 68. There is a gift shop, picnic areas, and a playground.

Jefferson Davis State Historic Site is located near Hopkinsville, Clarksville and Hendersonville

Enjoy your next family outing under the proud auspices of the historic monument. A picnic area, two picnic shelters (near rest room facilities) and a playground are available at the monument site.
Area Attractions
Gift Shop/Visitor Center:

Visitor Center Opened in 2001, the visitor center enhances a visit to the Site and enlightens visitors on the unique history that caused its preservation. A short DVD presentation and exhibits detail the political life of Davis before the after the Civil War and the building of the monument. Also told is the little known story of the Kentucky "Orphan Brigade." The center includes a gift shop featuring Kentucky handcrafts, souvenirs, books and Civil War memorabilia. Open May 1 through October 31. Hours are 9 -5 CT seven days a week.

The Monument:

In 1907 at a reunion of the Orphan?s Brigade of the Confederate Army, General Simon Bolivar Buckner, a famous Confederate general from Kentucky, proposed that a monument be built to honor Jefferson Davis at the site of his birthplace. Contractor C. G. Gregg of Louisville submitted a bid of $75,000 to design and build the monument. In 1917, construction of the world?s tallest concrete obelisk began. Steam was the principle source of power, and monument workers used steam engines to power their equipment, including steam-powered drills. A quarry was dug on the south end of the 19-acre park site and the stone crushed for use in mixing cement. The monument had reached a height of 175 feet by the fall of 1918, when construction was halted due to rationing of building materials during World War 1. Construction resumed in January 1922 and was completed in 1924 at an increased cost of $200,000. The 351 foot obelisk rests on a foundation of solid Kentucky limestone , and contains walls seven feet thick at the base, tapering to two feet thick where the point inclines. The monument features an elevator to an observation room high atop the structure for a panoramic view of the countryside.The Monument has undergone major renovation and reopened to visitors in May 2004.

Visitor Comments, Memories and Reviews
September 28
park review stars; one to five We arrived shortly before closing and we were greeted kindly by the staff. The monument is under renovation so no trip to the top. A nice small gift shop. Would like to go again and enjoy all the resources available. Worth your time to visit.
June 2
park review stars; one to five It would be nice to be able to view souveniers for sale at the site. It would surely attract more visitors. We were treated fairly snotty by the shop during our visit, as if we were being done a favor.
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Area Fishing Related Businesses
B & J Bait Co
1718 E 1st St
Hopkinsville, KY
(270) 886-6813
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