A History of Boone County's Gunpowder Area
By Thomas Schiffer
Sugartit is one of many local communities in Boone County with a picturesque name. Between Florence and Union, Sugartit is located on Route 42 where it crosses Gunpowder Creek at the crossroads of Gunpowder Road and Pleasant Valley Road (the last two together form Route 237).
Historically, it had the name of Pleasant Ridge as shown on “Lake's 1883 Atlas.” It was later called Gunpowder and the area is so designated in John Uri Lloyd's book, “Felix Moses, Beloved Jew.”
A sugartit is an old-time pacifier for babies made by tying up a bit of sugar in a piece of appropriate cloth or handkerchief. Sugartit is clearly shown on the contour map provided by the United States Coastal and Geodetic Survey. In 1883 it had a steam saw and grist mill on the Union side of Gunpowder Creek and blacksmith, loom, paint and general store strung up the pike toward Florence as was Pleasant Ridge School No. 9. Tanner, Aylor and Crigler were prominent landowner names in 1883. In fact they were the only three for some distance in any direction.
In the 1920s and later, when it was known as Gunpowder, Kentucky, there was a general store and post office run by Shelly Aylor. Mr. Busby, also game warden, ran a blacksmith shop up the hill toward Florence. Both disappeared sometime after the mid-20th century.
Earlier in the last century, Route 42 was rebuilt and partially relocated into Sugartit. The Old Toll Road segment still exists and is called just that. It runs up the hill parallel and converging with the present road above AutoZone.
When I moved to Boone County in 1966, Sugartit hosted Haines Oil Company, the Sugartit Asphalt Company, the deserted general store and little else. Nearly all commerce had died out.
Now Sugartit is located on the fringes of the Florence metropolitan area and businesses line both sides of Route 42 to attract the thousands of commuters passing each day. Now, within a short distance you will find a pub, church, apartments, hardware, auto supply, body shop, pet grooming, spas, liquor, tobacco, religious books, gasoline, fast food, asphalt, radiator service, insurance, banks, lawn implements, ice cream, car wash, toddler care and more. It would take more space than I have just to list them all.
My friend, Judge Bruce Ferguson, reported that a local doctor's wife for years claimed to be mayor of Sugartit, a never-incorporated town. Any pretension toward her claim on that office are (fortunately or unfortunately) not available for public scrutiny.