“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Kentucky Facts and Figures

Gleaned from the Historical Marker Database


on January 22, 2021

1876 artwork by Henry Mitchell, via Wikipedia Commons

 Kentucky ranks 17th among states and provinces with markers in this database. The Commonwealth of Kentucky is a state in the United States of America located in the American South. It is also in the East South Central region. Kentucky is some 40 thousand square miles in size with a population of around 4.5 million people. The state is divided into 120 counties and all of them have entries in this database. In Kentucky we have discovered historical markers in 380 cities and towns lying in 339 different ZIP Codes.

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There are at least 3,292 historical markers in Kentucky, by our count. We have cataloged 2,668 historical markers and 152 war memorials—each individually presented on 2,784 illustrated, annotated, and searchable pages of the Historical Marker Database. Pages for historical markers from this state make up 1.9% of our total. In addition, we are reasonably certain of another 624 historical markers in Kentucky that we don’t yet have, and instead show on our Want List. Our correspondents have been finding and adding hundreds of markers a month to the database from all over the world, so next time you visit this page you will probably find that the numbers here have changed.

The first Kentucky marker in the database, Renowned Congressman, was added April 29, 2006. It was photographed near Lawrenceburg in Anderson County and was erected in 1965. The last one added was submitted on January 19, 2021, and titled The Smith Monument. It is in Munfordville in Hart County. Keeping in mind that the erection date of many markers in the database is not known, the earliest historical marker we know of in Kentucky was erected in 1875. It was this one: Battle of Dutton's Hill Monument, and one of our correspondents found it in Somerset in Pulaski County on January 17, 2021.

Kentucky Historical Topics
731 • Civil War
515 • Settlements and Settlers
330 • Industry and Commerce
255 • Churches and Religion
242 • Education
214 • Government and Politics
185 • African Americans
164 • Cemeteries and Burial Sites
164 • Architecture
141 • Revolutionary War
    ... and others ...

Kentuckians don’t want to forget their Civil War history. How do we know? Because there are more historical markers in the database from Kentucky about the Civil War—731 of them—than about any other historical topic. It is followed by Settlements and Settlers with 515 markers.

The first marker added to the database with the Civil War topic was Cave City Raid, added April 30, 2006. It had been erected in 1974 in Cave City in Barren County. The last one submitted also was submitted on January 19, 2021, and titled The Smith Monument. It had been erected in Munfordville in Hart County. The earliest marker erected with the Civil War topic that we have listed was erected in 1875. It is Battle of Dutton's Hill Monument, found in Somerset in Pulaski County on January 17, 2021.

What is the most interesting historical marker in Kentucky? What we know is that The Masterson House is the most viewed entry in the database from Kentucky since it was added in 2009. It is located near Carrollton in Carroll County. This year so far, the most viewed Kentuckian entry is located in Bardstown in Nelson County. It is “A Pretty Close Call”.

Counties, Cities and Towns

The Kentucky county with the most historical markers listed in this database is Jefferson County, with 260 of them. It is followed by Fayette County with 141 markers. The Louisville area of Jefferson County has the highest number of markers within its limits, 227. In Fayette County the area with the most markers, 141, is Lexington.

Historical Markers in These
Kentucky Counties
260 • Jefferson County
141 • Fayette County
138 • McCracken County
115 • Boyle County
96 • Franklin County
94 • Warren County
90 • Mercer County
75 • Madison County
54 • Pulaski County
50 • Hardin County
    ... and others ...

Checking the database for the city or town in Kentucky with the most markers we again find Louisville at the top of the list with 227 markers in or near it. And Lexington also shows up again in next place, with 141 markers. For the ZIP Code with the most markers it’s 42001 at the top of the list with 105 markers in its delivery area. (ZIP Code 42001 is assigned to Paducah KY including the Avondale, Barkley Regional Airport, Fremont, Hendron, Kentucky Oaks Mall, Lone Oak, Massac, Oakdale, Paducah Mall, Reidland, and Saint Johns delivery areas.) It is followed closely by ZIP Code 40601 with 96 markers. (40601 is assigned to Frankfort KY including the Hatton delivery area.)

Historical Markers Near These
Kentucky Cities and Towns
227 • Louisville
141 • Lexington
137 • Paducah
95 • Frankfort
92 • Bowling Green
85 • Harrodsburg
68 • Perryville
59 • Richmond
45 • Danville
44 • Nancy
    ... and others ...

Getting back to Jefferson County, the first marker added to the database from there, Zachary Taylor National Cemetery, was added August 5, 2009. in Louisville. The last one submitted was uploaded on January 17, 2021, and is titled This monument to the memory of James Guthrie, in Louisville. The earliest marker erected in Jefferson County that we have listed was erected in 1900. It was Thomas Jefferson Memorial, found in Louisville on June 21, 2017.

Latest entry from Kentucky. Click to go there
By Bradley Owen, October 13, 2019
Latest Entry from Kentucky
“The Smith Monument”

And finally the first, last, and oldest markers from Lexington. The first: Man o' War, was added January 15, 2008. It had been erected in 1968. The last: 1787-1987 Bicentennial Tree added on July 4, 2020. It had been erected in 1987. The earliest marker erected was erected in 1887: John Cabell Breckinridge, added on June 22, 2018.

Who Puts Up Historical Markers?

The Kentucky Historical Society is currently in charge of the familiar dull green official historical markers found all over the state and the Kentucky Department of Highways typically installs and maintains those that are roadside. We have 1,592 of their markers in the database. Also, a number of counties have erected historical markers on their streets and roads and within their public areas, as have some cities and towns.

Latest entry from Kentucky. Click to go there
By Don Morfe, October 9, 1994
A Kentucky Historical Society Historical Marker

Then there are federal government agencies that put up historical markers, especially in national parks and other areas under their jurisdiction. And finally, there are the numerous public and private organizations and individuals that erect markers. Some do this as a continual endeavor, and others once in a while, to mark something, someone, or someplace they find important or interesting. When one of our correspondents comes across one that satisfies our criteria, we add it to the database.

Off the Beaten Path

You’ll find that even the smallest, least populated, or most rural areas of Kentucky have been marked with history. Check out Grant County, Lewis County and Carlisle County. We've only found two historical markers in the first and one in each of the other two. Visiting one or more of these parts of Kentucky might make for a pleasant road trip, and maybe you’ll discover more historical markers while you’re there. If you do, perhaps you’ll take the time to photograph them and, when you get home, become an HMdb correspondent by adding them to the database. Happy Hunting!

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Jan. 22, 2021