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Excavation at Big Bone Lick

Courtesy of the Fitzgerald Collection of the Boone County Library

 

 

 

 

Excavation at Big Bone Lick

Courtesy of the Fitzgerald Collection of the Boone County Library

 

 

 

 

Excavation at Big Bone Lick

Courtesy of the Fitzgerald Collection of the Boone County Library

 
 

 

About Us

Friends of Big Bone (FOBB) is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to promote, preserve, research, and memorialize the history and prehistory of the Big Bone Lick Valley, located in Boone County, Kentucky. The primary focus of the group is public and private education.

Big Bone Lick Valley is the undisputed home of American Vertebrate Paleontology, a science founded by Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States.

MISSION STATEMENT

To discover, research and preserve the history of Big Bone Lick in Boone County, Kentucky, through education and promotion of this world heritage.

Mastodon Skull

Mastodon skull

The activities of FOBB include:

  • scientific and historical research

  • presentation of papers and lectures

  • Educating Northern Kentucky students about Big Bone Lick through standards-based curriculum

  • fundraising for a state-of-the-art museum and research center at Big Bone Lick State Park

  • archaeological and paleontological projects

  • assisting in the planning and implementation of interpretive displays in museums

  • educating and training museum docents

  • promoting the designation of national and international Heritage Site Status for the Big Bone Lick State Park

  • establishing and maintaining a comprehensive research library

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Friends of Big Bone History

Attempts to establish a citizen support group for Big Bone Lick occurred in the 1930s, 1950s, and 1990s.

1930s
On June 10, 1935, the Big Bone Lick Association was formed. The Articles of Incorporation were signed by a group of distinguished Kentuckians. Three of these men are known for their literary contributions in Boone County: Willard Rouse Jillson, W.D. Funkhouser, and John Uri Lloyd.

  • Willard Rouse Jillson authored Big Bone Lick in 1936. This book is still considered the authoritative and standard bibliography of Big Bone Lick State Park. Jillson was the Kentucky State Geologist for many years. He was also a prolific writer of Kentucky history.

  • W.D. Funkhouser was co-author of Ancient Life in Kentucky (with William S. Webb, the father of Kentucky archaeology), in 1928. Funkhouser was a professor of Zoology and Webb a professor of Physics at the University of Kentucky. Together they were the founding fathers of the Department of Anthropology and Archaeology at UK. During the WPA era, they did intensive archaeological work and research in Boone County.

  • John Uri Lloyd’s series of Stringtown on the Pike novels made him one of the most famous 20th century historical novel authors in the Midwest.

1950s

In the early 1950’s, a renewed interest in Big Bone Lick was fostered by the members of the newly-formed Boone County Historical Society. The Boone County Historical Society ultimately formed the Big Bone Lick Historical Association to promote the establishment of Big Bone Lick as a state park. After many years of tireless efforts in promotion, education, and fundraising, these determined members purchased 16 2/3 acres in December 1959. They presented the land to the Commonwealth of Kentucky to establish a state park. In December 1960 the Department of Parks announced plans to develop picnic areas and a shelter house. Thus, Big Bone Lick State Park was born.


1990s

The Friends of Big Bone (FOBB) was incorporated on July 8, 1999. On February 22, 2000, a group of interested citizens decided to proceed with the concept of FOBB and its mission. FOBB applied for 501c-3 non-profit status, and received it in January 2002.

FOBB’s purpose is to work cooperatively with and ancillary to the Kentucky Department of Parks to further the academic and scientific importance of Big Bone Lick. FOBB also promotes the park’s proper interpretation and utilization as one of Kentucky’s premier historic and prehistoric state parks.

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