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Historical Society Asks For Help With Repairs At Old Mud Meeting House

Section Of Wall Collapses At Historic Church

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Chris and Jon Canine clean up the Old Mud Meeting House after a section of wall recently collapsed. The Harrodsburg Historical Society is asking for donations to help repair the historic church this summer.

Robert Moore
Herald Staff

The Harrodsburg Historical Society is asking for help in repairing one of Mercer County’s defining landmarks. A section of mud wall at the Old Mud Meeting House on Dry Branch Road has collapsed.

According to Nancy Hill, the president of the historical society, the section of the wall measures roughly 4 feet by 4 feet. No one was sure when the wall collapsed, but Hill said it was fine when the Dutch Cousins held their reunion at the Old Mud in September.

No one was injured, but a pew was broken. The estimate for repairs to the wall and measures to prevent another collapse is $4,300, Hill said. The good news is that the meeting house can still be used for events, including a wedding later this month.

The Old Mud is considered one of the most architecturally important buildings in Kentucky, not just Mercer County. Built in 1800, not only is it the first low Dutch Reformed Church west of the Allegheny Mountains, the meeting house is also a rare example of wattle and daub construction.

The original walls were built using a lattice of wooden strips called wattle daubed with mud from the nearby Salt River mixed with straw and other ingredients. While the technique goes back thousands of years, the Old Mud is the only example of wattle and daub construction still standing in the Bluegrass today.

In 1849, members of the low Dutch Reformed Church remodeled the meeting house, attaching clapboards to the outside and plastering the inside walls. The building was subsequently restored in the early 2000s, but not the section of wall that collapsed, which covered an old door. Hill said they have saved the mud to be used in repairs next June.

“We need a stretch of hot and dry weather,” said Hill.

She thanked volunteers Chris and Jon Canine for their work cleaning up the meeting house. Hill said Monty Kelly, who did the restoration, will also handle the repairs.

“It’s difficult to find people to do this,” Hill said. “Just finding the information on how to do it is a challenge.”

It’s also expensive. Hill said it costs an average of $378 a month for mowing, utilities and a security system. The historical society is an all-volunteer organization that survives on dues, donations and the rent they collect on apartments at Morgan Row. Even though the Dutch Cousins are helping, Hill said the repair expenses will still strain the historical society’s resources. Donations can be made to the Harrodsburg Historical Society, P.O. Box 316, Harrodsburg, KY 40330. Write “Old Mud” on the memo line.

Donations can also be made in person when the historical society hosts the 19th annual Christmas Tea Room at Morgan Row on Friday, Dec. 2, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 3, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

They will be serving soup, sandwiches, chips and dessert dine-in or carry out. The cost is $10 per person. For more information, call the Harrodsburg Historical Society at 859-325-9028 or visit online at

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