NoDestination: Somerset

Somerset, the seat of Pulaski County, is apparently a haven for tourists making the trek to Lake Cumberland during the summer months. During the winter months, however, this community is quite sleepy. First settled in 1798 and named after Somerset County, New Jersey, Somerset was incorporated in 1887.

Pulaski County, Kentucky’s 27th, was named after Polish County Casimir Pulaski who came to America to help and fight for our independence (among other things, he at one point saved the life of George Washington). Pulaski gave his own life for the cause of American freedom at the Battle of Savannah; he died October 11, 1779. In fact, KRS 2.140 requires each October 11th to be commemorated in Kentucky as “General Pulaski’s Day.”

Unfortunately, you would not learn much of this in Somerset. Despite a few memorials, history is not at the forefront of this community’s concern. It’s most impressive monument was erected in 1976 to commemorate the nation’s bicentennial; it is located in a parking lot between two strip malls/office parks. Pictured above, it is a white brick obelisk with an eagle perched on top. In front, is an exposed portion of the spring which first brought settlers to this location. The saying goes (and is inscribed in the memorial), “Whoever drinks from Old Town Springs has Wisdom & Will Always Return to Somerset.” Witnessing the spring (as pictured below) makes me leery of drinking this water, despite any promise of Wisdom.

2 thoughts on “NoDestination: Somerset”

  1. Hello! I have read your two latest blog entries about Pulaski County with interest, but I must say that I think you haven't had the opportunity to see the finer sides of the area! You have mentioned that we here are sympathetic toward the Confederacy and that we don't place much importance on history, and I disagree with both statements. It's also a shame that the most significant historical monument you found was located in an area that most of us view as one of the "seedier" parts of town! Our county is also not a ghost-town in the winter, although I got the impression that your visit was on a weekend in the downtown area – which would explain where you might have gotten that impression. I do hope you'll return to Pulaski County someday and allow someone to direct you toward some of our better assets, such as Lake Cumberland, the Mill Springs Battlefield and National Cemetery, Haney's Appledale Farm, Lee's Ford Marina, SomerSplash water park, The Center for Rural Development, our world-class golf courses, our beautiful and scenic roadways – or events such as Somernites Cruise or the 15 Mile Plus Yard Sale. Come give us another try!

  2. Anonymous: I did visit on a winter Monday (albeit Martin Luther King, Jr. day; a holiday) causing downtown to be quiet.

    The memorial is disappointing because of its location and condition; it is the site of Somerset's origin and should have a more honored status. Historically, Pulaski County (along with Lexington and much of southern and central Kentucky) leaned in favor of the Confederacy – our memorials reflect this.

    But don't worry, I have several posts on Somerset in the coming days that highlight some impressive features: Gov. Morrow's home, Senator Cooper and the Mill Springs National Cemetery and Battlefield.

    I do hope to return in the summer months to see the Lake and other highlights, but for now it is only Somerset by January's light.

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