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Kilgore Fort House

Kilgore Fort HouseThe Kilgore Fort House is the only fort still standing of the twelve structures that once extended from Castlewood to Cumberland Gap along the Wilderness Road. The buildings protected early settlers from roaming bands of Indians during the late 1700s, at which time may similarly fortified houses could be found dotting the frontier.

Around 1790, Reverend Robert “Robin” Kilgore built this fort on the shaded bank of Copper Creek to shield his wife and family from Indian attacks. He constructed the building from white oak log timbers, notched and joined at the ends, then chinked between with mud. Doors were made of heavy timbers that could be secured from the inside with a heavy bar. Although later inhabitants cut out windows, the original fort had only small gun ports in the walls.

The Kilgore Fort House was built with defense in mind, but was also a family’s home. A stone fireplace and chimney were used for cooking and heating, and the building was divided up into two stories with two rooms on each floor. If occupants were attacked, they first retreated to the back room on the first floor, then could further retreat upstairs to make their final defensive stand in the northeast room.

The Kilgore Fort House was restored in 1973 to 1974 and is privately owned. Visitors are welcome to view the historic landmark from the road, two miles west of Nickelsville, on highway 71.