Capital of Kentucky, Frankfort (population 27,741) was founded in 1786. The community is located on a double curve of the Kentucky River, which played an important role in the success of Frankfort as a viable business center. Frankfort was a hub of commerce and trade for the central Kentucky area during the 19th century.
When the Civil War erupted in 1861, Kentucky was torn apart by conflicting loyalties. Officially a neutral State, brother often fought against brother as Kentucky supplied approximately 100,000 troops to the North and 40,000 troops to the South. Frankfort was briefly occupied by Confederate forces, making it the only State capitol so occupied.
Frankfort celebrates its Civil War heritage by participating in the week-long Civil War Heritage Trail, a series of interpretive events and activities in several central Kentucky communities. The city further promotes heritage tourism through self-guided and escorted tours of historic sites.
The city also is working to revitalize its downtown. In partnership with Downtown Frankfort, the local Main Street organization, the city has recently implemented streetscape improvements that eliminated an outdated pedestrian mall, which both helped local businesses and reopened an important historic viewshed from the Old State Capitol (1830). Historic photographs were used to determine historic streetscape features.
The city has also spent $540,000 in façade improvement grants. Other ongoing preservation projects include renovation of the Grand Theatre (1928), which will bring a needed entertainment component to the downtown retail mix, and restoration of the fountain on the lawn of the Old State Capitol.
Designated a Preserve America Community in January 2005.