Pioneer Times Banner

Graphic Enterprises - Home of the Pioneer Times USA - A Web Site for Living History


A Visit to
The William Whitley House
State Historic Site

May 22 & 23, 2010

Photos by Jim and Kathy Cummings


By Kathy Cummings

William Whitley chose well, when he picked the site for his home and also his racetrack. The estate was named Sportsman’s Hill and today is preserved as a state historic site in Kentucky.

Built of brick made on the property, this house welcomed visitors along the Wilderness Road. Of simple design with two rooms on each of it’s three floors it was home to William and Ester Whitley and their 11 children. The house was continually occupied as a home until the state took possession of it in the late 1930’s. 

But to come upon such a grand site as this house must have amazed and delighted travelers in the late 1700’s. At a time when Indian attacks were prevalent on the frontier, both Whitley and his brick house were well known. Visitors were always welcome and the races and shooting matches became legendary. Across the road from the house is the land where the racetrack stood. It has only recently again become part of the property. And on the day we visited several 18th century gentleman rode their horses up to the top of Sportman’s hill. So travel along with us and see the sights and sounds of a typical 1790’s day at the William Whitley house.


The Whitley’s often housed travelers and friends. Today these visitors have camped outside the house and are enjoying a beautiful spring day in Kentucky. Click here to see a slide show of the Encampment.


Click here to see the newsreel about The William Whitley House at Sportsman’s Hill


Tour the house and learn more about what life was like for the Whitley family. Click Here

Enthusiasm for Kentucky’s Historical Past Continues to Grow

By Charles Hayes

Another seed was planted at the William Whitley House state historic site near Crab Orchard, Kentucky. It was not a tobacco or cotton seed. It was not a seed to produce conventional food or fiber. It was rather a seed to feed the imagination while connecting 21st Century people with the 18th Century.  This is important because Kentucky has a rich and beautiful history that should be re-experienced as well as made available to visual and tactile learners.

Today, the William Whitley House hosted an Eighteenth Century Trade Fair on the grounds surrounding William and Esther Whitley’s 225 year old house. Women in chemises and petticoats accompanied men in knee breeches and weskits. They looked as though they could feel at home in either the eighteenth or twenty-first century.

 Meals were cooked over coals while Maggie Delaney demonstrated the skills of an Irish washerwoman to tourists. Maggie’s laundering tips were interspersed with anecdotes of the life of an eighteenth century indentured servant.

On another part of the grounds, Danny Hinton, Scott New and others were supervising children who were fascinated by the horses. Several children enjoyed their first ride on a horse. Several experienced re-enactors, including Bill Farmer (Fort Boonesborough manager) and “Doc” Muzzy answered questions from onlookers.

From small seeds like this event, interest in Kentucky’s people, history and past way of life can grow. With growth, a greater appreciation of the hardships and trials of past generations can be fostered.  Kentucky’s rich and beautiful history should continue to be re-experienced as well as made available to visual and tactile learners.

web page hit counter

The Photo Gallery of Events

18th Century Living History Events

Fort Boonesborough Events

19th Century Living History Events

Civil War Living History Events

Timeline Events

Indoor Trade Events

Museums, Workshops, Schools and Other Events