Bardstown, the seat of Nelson county, is located in an area that was granted to David Bard by the governor of Virginia. Settlement began in the 1770s and the original town was named Salem. In 1780 William Bard, David's brother, laid out Bard's Town on the site. It became the county seat when Nelson county was formed in 1784. The first post office opened in 1794. The population in 1990 was 6,801.
Bardstown is the home of St. Joseph Proto-Cathedral, the first Roman Catholic cathedral west of the Allegheny Mountains (construction began in 1816). It is also the site of My Old Kentucky Home State Park, with connections to the famous state song.
The Nelson county courthouse and St. Joseph Proto-Cathedral