How can Town Branch benefit our community?
  Landmarks along Town Branch Trail

Download and Read our
Environmental Education Sign Brochure

1.8 megabyte Adobe PDF

Research and Assessments

Environmental Education Sign Brochure (doc) August, 2003
The Disappearance of Town Branch (doc) by Zina Merkin, November, 2001
Town Branch Greenway Report (website) from UK's Landscape Architecture program
  Initial Environmental Report (doc) from Town Branch's Environmental Committee
  What is Town Branch Trail? (doc) Read a brief description of Town Branch and download and print our information pdf.
  What is a Greenway? (website) a concise explaination of the greenway concept from Trails and Greenways Clearinghouse

Photos, Movies, and Maps

  Browse through photographs (pix) of Town Branch destinations
  View historic photographs (pix) of Town Branch Creek
  Watch 2-minute movie (mov) about Dry Stone Dykers and McConnell Springs. 5.5 megabyte Quicktime Movie
  View our trail plan map and peruse historic maps of Lexington and the Bluegrass.

What is Town Branch Trail?

The Town Branch Trail is a proposed greenway and trail, or linear park, that will begin in downtown Lexington, following the Town Branch Creek (where possible) as it flows west. The Town Branch Trail will link downtown to a variety of recreational, historic and environmental resources; provide alternate transportation routes from neighborhoods to downtown; and improve the habitat and water quality of this historic stream, along the banks of which the city of Lexington was founded. Download and print our welcome brochure (1.5m pdf) that introduces Town Branch Trail, offers a basic map of the trail, and gives a mail-in membership and charitable giving form.

The Disappearance of Town Branch

by Zina Merkin, November 2001

Many mid-western cities are laid out on a grid oriented to the four principal directions. Lexington's grid, and its designations of North Limestone and East Main Street are curiously askew from those compass directions. The city originally was oriented along the banks of the Middle Fork of the Elkhorn, also known as Town Fork or Town Branch. But this stream along which the town initially was laid out is now nowhere to be seen. This paper sets out to track the vanishing of Town Branch, the reasons for its disappearance, and its influence on the development of the city of Lexington, linking this particular history with issues in the settlement and development of the United States in general.

While the stream in the earliest years may have been a pretty little creek, it quickly took on an urban character. Water supply was derived from springs, and later, wells, while the creek supported early industry. Tracking the fortunes of Town Branch offers an interesting window on the development of various kinds of urban infrastructure, and a reflection of Lexington's growth, its changing economic base, and local effects of landscape changes occurring on a national level.

Click this link to open the "The Disappearance of Town Branch" in PDF format (100 kilobytes).

Town Branch Greenway:
Constructing the Vision....Connecting the Dots

The following report summarizes a joint proposal for the future design and development of the Town Branch Greenway in Lexington, Kentucky. Its content includes an analysis of existing conditions, opportunities and constraints identified, issues and concerns raised in public discussions, as well as design proposals and land-use recommendations.

This study was a planned collaborative effort between the Department of Landscape Architecture at the University of Kentucky and Friends of the Parks of Fayette County, Inc (the latter acted as the lead organization). Much information, support, and assistance for this project was provided by the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government. Funding for the charrette was awarded to the Friends of the Parks by the Kodak American Greenways Program. Several design professionals from the local community also volunteered their time and effort during the two-day charrette that took place in mid-February

Click this link to visit the UK Landscape Architecture's Town Branch Greenway Website

The Town Branch Environment:
An Initial Evaluation

In 2001, the Environmental Quality Committee of Town Branch Trail collected information about the condition of the environment of Town Branch. Our findings and conclusions are presented in an 18-page illustrated report: "The Town Branch Environment: An Initial Evaluation." Among the report's recommendations are trash cleanup, extensive streamside zones of native trees and other plants, public education, partnerships with other environmental organizations, and technical consultations on stream morphology and water quality issues.

Click this link to open the "The Town Branch Environment" in PDF format (2.4 megabytes).

What is a Greenway?

"Greenways are corridors of protected open space managed for conservation and recreation purposes. Greenways often follow natural land or water features, and link nature reserves, parks, cultural features and historic sites with each other and with populated areas. Greenways can be publicly or privately owned and some are the result of public/private partnerships. Trails are paths used for walking, bicycling, horseback riding or other forms of recreation or transportation. Some greenways include trails while others do not."

-from the Trails and Greenways Clearinghouse

Proposed Trail, 2008
A Zoomify Flash map of completed trail

Interactive Map
requires Flash Player


Proposed Phase III, 2007
A single-sided 8.5x11" map showing proposed trail alignment through the historic industrial corridor and McConnell houses.

Town Branch Phase III
1.5m pdf


Town Branch Trail Guide
This double-side 11" x 17" document was printed for our 2002 Annual Progress Report. It contains a narrative discussing the benefits of Town Branch Trail and descriptions of significant Landmarks along trail.

Town Branch Trail Guide
1.6m pdf


Our Trail Plan
We offer the trail plan in numerous formats for on-screen viewing and printing.

Detailed Trail Alignment Map
A fine-detail color map for print
1.2m color jpg image
1.5m pdf
m complete map pdf
Flash™ map browser

Summary of Trail Alignment
The map from our newsletter viewable without plug-ins.
250k b&w jpg image

A Photograpic Tour of the Trail
A photo gallery of destinations from complete trail plan pdf

Newtown Pike Extended
and the Civic Center: a simple proposal for development
200k color jpg image
500k large jpg image

Trail Corridor Summary
from our Winter 2002 Newsletter
900k printable pdf file

•Help us create our 3D Map
This is a draft visualization. If you would like to make this map better, then contact Boyd at

Large Graphic
( .jpg image: 450k)

Small Graphic
( .jpg image: 150k)

*Yellow is Trail, Blue is Water, Pink is Railroad, and Black is Road.

• Locate Town Branch Creek easily on this regional map of the Central Bluegrass.
(GIF 40K)

• Our first detailed map, 2000.
(JPEG: 200K, 500K)

• Town Branch flows into the South Elkhorn and then meets the Kentucky River at Frankfort. (GIF: 70K)
•Historic Maps of Lexington
• 1871 Bird's Eye View of Lexington (1.5M PDF)
• 1833 Map of Lexington (300K PDF)
• 1855 Map of Lexington (300K PDF)

• 1886 Sanborn Maps of Lexington (300k each)
Williard-Manchester-Cox Streets
Merino-Broadway-Short-High Streets

• 1771 Filson Map of Kentucky (350K PDF)
• 1775 British America (1.5M PDF)