- Associated Press - Monday, August 11, 2014

MOUNT OLIVET, Ky. (AP) - Change has been good for operators of Blue Licks Battlefield State Resort Park.

Following a two-year stretch of closed doors at the Pioneer Museum, a rededication of the facility is scheduled to coincide with the 232nd commemoration of the battle that gave the park its name.

A water problem at the museum in 2011 escalated into an air quality issue that forced the closure until changes could be made, officials said.

Now, there is a newly installed French drain system to detour water runoff from the hill behind the museum and changes inside to allow easier access for anyone wanting to visit the facility, park naturalist Paul Tierney said.

“All of the displays, and more items, which had been in the downstairs area, are now on the main floor for all to see,” Tierney said on Friday.

With a week before the Battle of Blue Licks re-enactment gets underway, Tierney was putting the final touches on displays in the older section of the museum.

“We are going to have this part dedicated to the springs,” Tierney said, describing the significance of Blue Licks Spring to pioneers and future generations.

New displays have been set up, featuring information about the spring, which was an attraction for everything from mastodons to bison and Native Americans, to settlers like Daniel Boone in the 1700s, the operators of a spa in the 1800s, and bottlers of Blue Licks Spring Water into the 1900s.

The spring was located in the area where the community of Blue Licks was, near the bridge of U.S. 68 crossing the Licking River near the park.

In addition to vintage clothing of the period, the renovations for repairs revealed a secret in the wall below the museum, Tierney said.

“This is an Empire Bottle labeling machine made in 1902,” Tierney said of a centerpiece of the Blue Licks Spring Water display. “We have not gotten information it was actually used at the plant, but it is the right style and time for it to have been in use. It was the best of the best for the time and could label 45 bottles a minute.”

During re-enactment activities, the room will also have someone working the large loom, plus spinner, weaver and dye making activities in the space, which also has seating for small groups.

In the entry section of the museum, built in 1935, additional artifacts are also on display, relating to the Battle of Blue Licks in 1782 and artifacts which led to the late William J. Curtis pushing for the establishment of the park.

On Aug. 19, 1782, Daniel Boone and a band of pioneers from Fort Boonesborough encountered Native American and British troops in the ridges above the salt spring at Blue Licks; the battle that ensued was an inspiration for the park.

Boone’s son was killed in the battle.

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