PRESTONSBURG – The Prestonsburg Tourism Commission has been hard at work promoting events in Floyd County that would be of interest to everyone. One area of Floyd County that has been getting some attention is Middle Creek Battlefield.
Thanks to a Transportation Reclamation Grant of $44,000, improvements are being made to the interpretive portion of the trails at Middle Creek Battlefield. The area will be paved to offer better access to the area from the parking lot to the trails. A ramp has been installed that is ADA compliant and will provide access from the parking lot to the trail.
Alchemy Engineering, a local company located at Middle Creek, provided the design of the project. Alpha Reclamation, a privately owned company based in Pikeville, under the supervision of Foreman Eddie Tackett, provided the paving and work on the project. The latest funding will improve half of the Confederate Trail. However, not enough funding is available to include paving and improvements to the Union Trail.
“In order to complete the project and do everything that is needed to be done it will take another $40 to $50 thousand dollars,” said Frank Fitzpatrick. “We are not seeking additional funds at this time. We are focused on completing the project at hand.”
The Middle Creek National Battlefield Foundation, Inc., a non-profit corporation, is an organization composed of individuals who desire to preserve this nationally significant Civil War battlefield. The foundation’s purpose is to honor the memory of the gallant men, both Union and Confederate, who fought and died at Middle Creek.
The largest and most important Civil War battle fought in Eastern Kentucky, Middle Creek was a tragic example of the fratricidal, Kentuckian-against-Kentuckian combat typical of this region. A Union victory, it focused national attention on James A. Garfield of Hiram, Ohio, who decades later would become the twentieth President of the United States.
The Middle Creek Battlefield Trail is the first phase in what will be a series of interpretations of the battlefield site. In coming years, as funds become available, the foundation hope to add a visitor’s center, a research library, and a multi-media theater. The latter facility will be used to educate school children and other visitors not just about Middle Creek, but about other Civil War battles fought in Eastern Kentucky, as well as the social and economic impact of the war on the region as a whole.
The Middle Creek National Battlefield Foundation has completed several projects that include: The Confederate Loop Trail with interpretive signage, Union Loop Trial with interpretive signage, 20 cars and four bus parking area, information station (kiosk) with historical depictions of the battlefield and the Civil War in Eastern Kentucky, four-mile auto tour stopping at Graveyard Point, former site of the Garfield Place, May House, and the former site of the May House Grist Mill.
The Foundation hopes that what they are doing at Middle Creek will inspire visitors from other regions to work to preserve their own Civil War battlefields and historic sites.
Andrea Saddler is a reporter for The Floyd County Times. She can be reached at (606) 886-8506.