Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Buffalo Trace Distillery Is a National Historic Landmark

The word 'landmark' is thrown around a lot, but the National Park Service only recognizes about 2,600 National Historic Landmarks in the entire United States. Kentucky has about 30. Three of them are distilleries.

The latest to join this exclusive club is Buffalo Trace, using its historic name of the George T. Stagg Distillery. The other two are the Burks Distillery (today known as Maker's Mark) and the Labrot and Graham Old Oscar Pepper Distillery (today's Woodford Reserve).

The designation describes the Frankfort distillery as a "highly intact" example of pre-Prohibition industrial architecture that also shows how distilling expanded once the federal ban was repealed. The buildings, which are still in active use, feature distinctive quarry-faced stonework and decorative brickwork in a 1930s-era factory style. Many barrel warehouses and other buildings are much older, dating to the 1790s. Officially, the distillery was established in 1857-58 and acquired in 1870 by E.H. Taylor Jr.

Buffalo Trace now offers a National Historic Landmark Tour that highlights the site's history.

To learn more about the distillery's Landmark designation, read Janet Patton's excellent article from this summer in the Lexington Herald Leader.

A lesser designation by the Park Service is inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places. Buffalo Trace received this honor in 2001. You can read the detailed application, which covers most of the same ground as the National Historic Landmarks application, here.

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