Once known as Blanton's Hill after the family that owned the property, the hill that overlooks the Kentucky River and downtown Frankfort from the north has been called Fort Hill at least since the Civil War. There may have been a small, log fortification there during the frontier era. During the Civil War two earthwork forts were built on the hill. Their purpose was to protect pro-Union Kentucky state government and the strategically important bridges across the Kentucky River at Frankfort against Confederate attack. The construction of the first of these forts began in April, 1863, too late to save the Frankfort railroad bridge burned by the Confederates during their 1862 occupation of the town. Local militiamen lined the walls of this fort, known as Fort Boone, and fought off an attack by a detachment of General John Hunt Morgan's Confederate cavalrymen in June, 1864. Federal authorities built a second, much more formidable fort atop the hill between then and the end of the war in 1865.
The forts were abandoned after the Civil War, and Fort Hill once again became farmland just as it had been before the war. Nearly a century after the Civil War, local attorney and banker Leslie Morris, who was by then the owner of the property, donated the hill to the City of Frankfort for use as a public park. Now, the Leslie Morris Park on Fort Hill preserves the Civil War forts, the site of the 1864 skirmish, and about 125 acres of forest right in the middle of Frankfort. The City of Frankforts Department of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Sites operates the park, which offers historic tours and special events as well as nature trails and a visitor center in an 1810 log house.