McConnell Springs is a significant site in Lexington history successfully preserved by local citizens. It is at McConnell Springs that the naming of the city of Lexington took place in 1775. In the 1770s Kentucky began attracting numerous frontiersmen, particularly after the conclusion in 1774 of Virginia Governor Dunmore's campaign against the American Indians of the west. William McConnell and some fellow frontiersmen came from Pennsylvania to explore the "Kentucky Country." In 1775 McConnell and his group were camped at the McConnell Springs site when news of the first shots of the Revolutionary War reached them from nearby Fort Boonesborough. Lexington, Kentucky, was thereby named by these frontiersmen in honor of the city of Lexington, Massachusetts, where "the shots heard round the world" were fired and the American Revolutionary War began.
Over the next 220 years this property served as the location of a mill, distillery, gunpowder factory, and dairy farm. Sadly enough, as the city of Lexington grew, McConnell Springs was swallowed by industrial development. Fortunately, local citizens undertook efforts to reclaim the site in the late 1980s and funds were raised to turn the site into a park. Returning the site to its natural state required removing tons of trash and construction debris that had accumulated in the area over several years. Now, McConnell Springs serves as not only a historical site of interest but also a natural park. The park is interspersed with rock fences that attest to its earlier years as well as a dam from the early mill and the foundation of what might have been the home of the early proprietor William McConnell.