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
To discover, research and preserve the history of Big Bone Lick in Boone County, Kentucky,
through education and promotion of this world heritage.
The activities of
scientific and historical research
presentation of papers and lectures
Educating Northern Kentucky
students about Big Bone Lick through standards-based
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
establishing and maintaining a comprehensive
Attempts to establish a citizen support group for
Big Bone Lick occurred in the 1930s, 1950s, and 1990s.
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
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.
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.