Georgetown was founded in 1790 by the Baptist minister Elijah Craig. The Reverend Craig is perhaps best known for his world famous invention, bourbon whiskey. Royal Spring, still visible today at Royal Spring Park on West Main Street, provided the water for the reverend's new mixture in 1789. It is Kentucky's largest spring-based public water system, serving some 7,000 customers.
Downtown Georgetown features some of the city's outstanding residential and commercial architecture including more than 300 buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Scott County Courthouse, the fourth to be constructed, was built in 1877 in the second empire or "General Grant" style. It was designed by Pittsburgh architect Thomas Boyd and was most recently renovated in 1995. The Georgetown-Scott County Museum features an eclectic collection of local artifacts and exhibits.
Georgetown is also one of the nation's top locations for antiquing. The city is home to more than 40,000 square feet of antique shops, malls and specialty shops. There are numerous cafes and restaurants in the area. During the summer months, the Scott County Farmers Market is held in the Courthouse Square every Friday morning. Other events such as the annual Kid's Day festival are also held in the square.
The downtown area is also home to Georgetown College, founded in 1829 and the oldest Baptist College west of the Alleghenies. The college's Anne Wright Wilson Fine Arts Building is home to major art exhibits and is one of Central Kentucky's largest galleries.
Just five miles from Georgetown is the world famous Kentucky Horse Park. The 1,030-acre educational theme park hosts some of the nation's most prestigious horse shows and events. The park is like none other in the world. Dedicated to man's relationship with the horse, the park features two outstanding museums, twin theaters and nearly 50 different breeds of horses. All of these elements combine to make a visit to the park an enjoyable learning experience for everyone - from those unfamiliar with the horse to the horse expert.
The Georgetown area offers plenty of other attractions. Shoppers can visit the Factory Stores of America Outlet Center with more than 30 stores to choose from. The Cardome Centre, the former monastery building designed for the Sisters of the Visitation in 1898 on land acquired from the family of Kentucky Governor James F. Robinson, has been preserved for use to a variety of events, festivals and meetings including the annual Georgetown International Kite Festival.
Georgetown Cemetery, the city's main burial ground since the 1850s is full of interesting Victorian monuments. Equine artist Edward Troye and several Kentucky governors are among the notables buried there.
The area's back roads offer beautiful horse farms, Irish fieldstone fences, the meandering Elkhorn and Eagle creeks and rolling fields of tobacco and cattle. The North Fork of Elkhorn Creek flows through Scott County and has always been a focal point for its residents. For canoeing enthusiasts, the Elkhorn is runnable from late fall to late spring, downstream from Georgetown. Several dams in the Georgetown vicinity create pools that permit the paddling certain two to four-mile stretches year-round. The Creek, the inspiration for Walt Whitman's "Leaves of Grass," also offers fishermen a rewarding and relaxing experience. The Elkhorn is considered one of the best small-mouth bass fisheries in America. If fishing is not your interest, take a stroll along the shaded water on the Great Crossing Park Nature Trail.
The Scott County Parks and Recreation Department offers a wide variety of facilities and programs including the Community Sport and Activity Pavilion that includes special purpose rooms, gymnasium, aquatic area and an aerobics and fitness area. There are numerous tennis facilities and golf courses in the area.
Throughout the 20th century, Georgetown and Scott County have been in a transition from an economy based primarily on agriculture, to a diversified one mixing manufacturing, small business, and the family farm. During the 1960s, the construction of Interstate 75 placed the county on one of the busiest highways in America.
The selection of Georgetown as site of Toyota's first American assembly plant in 1985 has resulted in the greatest period of growth in the county's long and storied history. Today, Georgetown and Scott County stand as a mix of a rich past and an exciting future.