Small Town Hospitality in Glasgow and Barren County

Glasgow and Barren County in South Central Kentucky is a great place to experience relaxation, fun, arts and culture, history, above-ground and underground adventures, water recreation, events and more. 

While visiting, you will experience the small town hospitality. A visitor commented that her family “took home a feeling that you can’t get anywhere else.” We want you to take that feeling home with you, too — and come back for more.

Barren County was founded in 1798 and shortly after in 1799, Glasgow was named as the county seat. History tells us that a gentleman by the name of John Matthews was born in Glasgow, Scotland. He was an early trustee of the town and is given credit for naming the town after his birthplace.

Following the end of the Revolutionary War, Scottish soldiers were given land grants in parts of Kentucky; therefore many of our early settlers were Scottish. Scots and the Presbyterian Church go hand-in-hand and in 1802, the First Presbyterian Church, the oldest church in Glasgow, was founded and had the largest body of members in town.


Mammoth Cave National Park preserves the cave system and a part of the Green River valley and hilly country of south central Kentucky. This is the world’s longest known cave system, with more than 400 miles explored. Early guide Stephen Bishop called the cave a “grand, gloomy and peculiar place,” but its vast chambers and complex labyrinths have earned its name – Mammoth.

Brigadoon State Nature Preserve is 181 acres of mature woods and old fields bordering the backwaters of Barren River Reservoir in Barren County. Named by the former owners for the mythical Scottish village that appears from the mists once every hundred years, the unique character of the preserve does bring to mind the sense of being someplace special.

The majority of the forest is intact which helps keep species diversity high. Life sustaining springs feed the creeks even in the driest summers.  The rich woodlands contain an impressive array of spring wildflowers including several species that are considered rare or uncommon. The preserve also provides habitat for many resident and migratory birds.

The preserve contains approximately one mile of hiking trail open to the public. The trail is of moderate difficulty and runs through ridge tops, mature forest and scenic ravines.  The preserve is open to the public for hiking, birding, nature photography and research from sunrise to sunset. Only foot traffic is allowed. Please be respectful of Brigadoon State Nature Preserve and follow the rules. 

The preserve was originally part of a 1,000 acre land grant given to Joseph Renfro, one of Virginia’s Revolutionary War veterans. Renfro and his descendants settled along what was then known as Skegg’s Creek and derived their livelihood from the heavily forested land. In addition to farming, the family made coffins and furniture as a means of income.

South Central Kentucky Cultural Center is located one block from downtown Glasgow. It is dedicated to telling the story of the people, places and events that make up the geographic area of Kentucky known as the “Barrens”—Metcalfe, Allen, Hart and Monroe Counties, as well as Barren County. If history is of interest to you, this is the place to visit!

Located in the former 1920’s Kentucky Pants factory, the 30,000 square foot center currently has quality exhibits spanning three floors. The first floor features a display that represents south central Kentucky from 12,000 BC to frontier days. Items include stone and bone tools, knives, and Native American exhibits from other historic periods.

Visitors can also learn about living in the 1800s. These exhibits include a sewing machine from 1854, quilts, wooden washboard, lye soap, and yoke along with a log cabin, smokehouse, farming tools and equipment.             

The second floor features an extensive military collection with items from the Civil War through Desert Storm. In addition, there is a model of Glasgow’s town square that includes businesses from the 19th century such as a post office, bank, doctor’s office, telephone switchboard, dry goods shop, undertaker’s business and other displays.

Displays at the Center undergo change and are managed by volunteers who work under the direction of Gayle Berry, the director of the Center.

Admission is free.


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