Jefferson Davis State Historic Site is a memorial to the famous Kentuckian born on this site on June 3, 1808. A 351-foot obelisk constructed on a foundation of solid Kentucky Limestone, marks the site, and an elevator to the top gives visitors a bird's eye view of the countryside.
Although Davis is most well-known for his service as President of the Confederacy during the Civil War, he was actually a reluctant secessionist. Davis distinguished himself as a military and political leader not only during the Civil War, but also as a West Point graduate, Mexican War hero, Mississippi congressman and senator, and Secretary of War during the Franklin Pierce administration.
Simon Bolivar Buckner, Sr., a Confederate general, first proposed the idea of a monument for Davis during a reunion of the Orphan Brigade of the Confederate Army in 1907. Construction began in 1917 but stopped in 1918 at a height of 175 feet (53 m) due to building material rationing during World War I. Construction resumed in January 1922 and was finished in 1924 at a cost of $200,000. The base was constructed of limestone quarried from the site. The concrete walls are 8.5 feet (2.6 m) thick at the base and taper to 2.5 feet (0.76 m) thick at the top. The monument was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1973 as structure #73000849. The obelisk was closed to the public from 1999 until May 2004 for renovations and construction of a new visitor center. At the top of the monument is an observation room with a window in each of the four walls. Originally, this room could only be reached by climbing stairs which went around the interior of the monument; an elevator, installed in 1929, now takes visitors to and from the observation room.