Main Births etc
Danville, Kentucky
—  City  —
Downtown Danville
Nickname(s): "The City of Firsts"; "Birthplace of the Bluegrass"
Coordinates: 37°38′44″N 84°46′11″W / 37.64556, -84.76972Coordinates: 37°38′44″N 84°46′11″W / 37.64556, -84.76972
Country United States
State Kentucky
County Boyle
Settled 1783
Incorporated 1787
 • Type Council–manager
 • Mayor Bernie Hunstad
 • City Manager Ron Scott
 • Commissioners Kevin Caudill
Paige Stevens
Paul Smiley
James Atkins[1]
 • Total 15.9 sq mi (41.2 km2)
 • Land 15.8 sq mi (41.0 km2)
 • Water 0.08 sq mi (0.2 km2)
Elevation 984 ft (300 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 16,218
 • Density 1,025/sq mi (395.7/km2)
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 40422-40423
Area code(s) 859
FIPS code 21-19882
GNIS feature ID 0490584

Danville is a Class 3 city in Boyle County, Kentucky, in the United States. It is the seat of its county.[2] The population was 16,218 at the 2010 census.[3] Danville is the principal city of the Danville Micropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Boyle and Lincoln counties.

In 2001, Danville received a Great American Main Street Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation.[4] In 2011, Money magazine placed Danville as the fourth-best place to retire in the United States.[5] Danville has recently been twice chosen to host U.S. Vice-Presidential debates, in 2000 and in 2012.[6]


Within Kentucky, Danville is called the "City of Firsts":

  • It housed the first courthouse in Kentucky.[7]
  • It had the first U.S. post office west of the Allegheny Mountains.[7]
  • It hosts the first state-supported school for the deaf.[8]
  • It is the site of Ephraim McDowell's groundbreaking removal of an ovarian tumor.[7]
  • It is the home of Centre College, housing the oldest college administration building and campus west of the Allegheny Mountains.[7]

Boyle County Courthouse in Danville

Danville was part of the Great Settlement Area around Harrod's Fort (present-day Harrodsburg), which was first settled in 1774. The site was originally known as Crow's Station for settler John Crow, but the town was surveyed and platted by Walker Daniel, Kentucky's first district attorney, who bought 76 acres (30.8 ha) near the Wilderness Road from Crow in 1783. The city was named for Daniel.[9] The Virginia legislature officially established Danville on December 4, 1787.[8]

Between 1784 and 1792, ten conventions were held in Danville to petition for better governance and ultimately to secure independence from Virginia. In 1786 the Danville Political Club was organized. It met each Saturday night at Grayson's Tavern to discuss the political, economic, and social concerns of the day. After a state constitution was adopted and separation was confirmed in 1792, the town ceased to be of statewide importance, and its leading citizens moved elsewhere.[10]

Transylvania University was founded in Danville in 1783. It moved to Lexington in 1789. Centre College was founded in 1819. Danville Theological Seminary was founded in 1853; in 1901 it became part of the Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. The Caldwell Institute for Young Ladies was founded in 1860. It became Caldwell Female College in 1876, Caldwell College in 1904, Kentucky College for Women in 1913, and merged into Centre College in 1926.[8]

In November 1806, Meriwether Lewis, co-leader of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, visited Danville while traveling the Wilderness Road to Washington, D.C., to report on the expedition. In December 1806, William Clark visited his nephews in school in Danville before following Lewis to Washington.[11]

The first school in Danville for African-American children was founded around 1840 by Willis Russell, an emancipated slave of Revolutionary War veteran Robert Craddock. Craddock deeded a log house in Danville to Russell, who moved to the town after Craddock's death and started a school for children. The house still stands on Walnut Street.[12]

In 1842, Boyle County was formed from southern Mercer County and northern Lincoln County. Danville became its county seat.[8]

In 1850, Danville and Boyle County backed construction of the Lexington and Danville Railroad. Money ran out when the railroad reached Nicholasville, and John A. Roebling had built towers for a suspension bridge over the Kentucky River. (Roebling lived in Danville during the construction.) Despite the lack of a railroad to Danville, the county still owed $150,000; it completed payment on time in 1884.[10][13]

In 1860, a fire devastated the city, destroying 64 buildings and causing over $300,000 in damages. Boyle County's courthouse was among the destroyed buildings; its replacement was completed in 1862.[8] After the Battle of Perryville in the Civil War on October 8, 1862, many Danville buildings, including the courthouse, were appropriated by Union forces for use as a hospital. On October 11, a Union force drove Confederate forces from the county fairgrounds through Danville.[11]

In 1775, Archibald McNeill planted Kentucky's first recorded hemp crop at Clark's Run Creek near Danville. Boyle County became one of ten Kentucky counties which together produced over 90% of the US yield in 1889. It was the state's largest cash crop until 1915 when it lost its market to imported jute.[11]

From the turn of the 20th century through the 1960s, Danville was home to a thriving African-American business sector located on and around 2nd Street on the western edge of what is now Constitution Square Historic Site. The business sector was demolished by Urban Renewal in the 1970s to allow for the expansion of Constitution Square Park.[14]

On October 5, 2000, Dick Cheney and Senator Joe Lieberman, candidates for Vice President of the United States, debated at Centre College during the 2000 presidential election.[15] On October 11, 2012, Centre College again hosted the Vice-Presidential debate, this time between Vice President Joe Biden and Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan.[6]


Danville is located in eastern Boyle County at 37°38′44″N 84°46′11″W / 37.6456, -84.7698.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 15.9 square miles (41.2 km2), of which 15.8 square miles (41.0 km2) is land and 0.077 square miles (0.2 km2), or 0.58%, is water.[3]

Danville, Kentucky Water Tower viewed from the north. Features the motto "Quite Simply the Nicest Town"



DanTran provides bus service inside Danville.[16][17] Other bus lines connect Danville with Lexington, Stanford, Junction City, and Lancaster.[18][19][20][21]

  • US 127.svg U.S. Route 127 bisects Danville northwest (Harrodsburg) to south (Liberty).
  • US 150.svg U.S. Route 150 bisects Danville west (Perryville, Springfield) to southeast (Stanford).
  • US 127.svg U.S. Route 127 and US 150.svg U.S. Route 150 also bypass Danville on the west and south.
  • Elongated circle 33.svg Kentucky Route 33 enters Danville from north (Burgin, Versailles).
  • Elongated circle 34.svg Kentucky Route 34 connects Danville northeast to U.S. Route 27 and on to Lexington.
  • Elongated circle 52.svg Kentucky Route 52 connects Danville east to Lancaster.

Stuart Powell Field (DVK), 3 miles (5 km) from downtown, serves as Danville's general aviation airport. Blue Grass Airport (LEX) in Lexington, 35 miles (56 km) away, provides the closest commercial service. More extensive commercial service is available from Louisville International Airport (SDF), 82 miles (132 km) away, and Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG), 127 miles (204 km) away.


Norfolk Southern Railway operates a freight rail yard and crew-change station in Danville; the crew-change station is moving to Somerset, Kentucky.[22] Its Louisville-Chattanooga line intersects with its Cincinnati-Chattanooga line in Danville. A total of 135 employees were relocated in 2011 to Burnside.


Climate data for Danville, Kentucky
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F 40 45 55 65 74 82 86 85 79 68 56 45 65
Average low °F 23 26 34 43 53 62 66 64 57 45 36 28 45
Precipitation inches 3.66 3.86 4.96 3.98 4.94 4.77 4.83 3.40 3.29 3.15 3.68 4.34 48.86
Average high °C 4 7 13 18 23 28 30 29 26 20 13 7 {{{year high C}}}
Average low °C −5 −3 1 6 12 17 19 18 14 7 2 −2 {{{year low C}}}
Precipitation mm 93 98 126 101.1 125.5 121.2 122.7 86.4 83.6 80 93.5 110.2 1,241
Source: The Weather Channel[23]


Historical populations
Census Pop.
1790 150
1810 432
1820 654 51.4%
1840 1,223
1860 4,962
1870 2,542 −48.8%
1880 3,074 20.9%
1890 3,766 22.5%
1900 4,285 13.8%
1910 5,420 26.5%
1920 5,099 −5.9%
1930 6,729 32.0%
1940 6,734 0.1%
1950 8,686 29.0%
1960 9,010 3.7%
1970 11,542 28.1%
1980 12,942 12.1%
1990 12,420 −4.0%
2000 15,477 24.6%
2010 16,218 4.8%
U.S. Census Bureau[24]

As of the census[25] of 2000, there were 15,477 people, 6,223 households, and 4,013 families residing in the city. The population density was 378.4 /km2 (980.1 /sq mi). There were 6,734 housing units at an average density of 164.7 /km2 (426.6 /sq mi). The racial makeup of the city was 83.67% White, 13.02% African American, 0.25% Native American, 0.83% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.82% from other races, and 1.38% from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 1.48% of the population.

Of the 6,223 households, 29.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.4% were married couples living together, 14.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.5% were non-families. 31.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.26 and the average family size was 2.82.

22.4% of the population was under the age of 18, 13.3% from 18 to 24, 25.8% from 25 to 44, 22.2% from 45 to 64, and 16.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 86.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 81.2 males.

The median income for a household was US $32,938, and the median income for a family was $40,528. Males had a median income of $35,327 versus $24,542 for females. The per capita income was $18,906. About 9.4% of families and 12.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.6% of those under age 18 and 10.5% of those age 65 or over.


FBI crime statistics for 2009 list the crime rate (per 100,000 population) for Danville as follows:[26]

Crime Danville Kentucky United States
Violent crime 258 260 429
Murder 0 4 5
Forcible rape 32 35 29
Robbery 84 84 133
Aggravated assault 142 135 269
Property crime 3,587 2,513 3,061
Burglary 876 689 716
Larceny-theft 2,627 1,683 2,061
Motor vehicle theft 84 141 259


Centre College

Public schools

Danville Schools operates three elementary schools, one middle school, and Danville High School for the city of Danville. Boyle County Schools operates three elementary schools, one middle school, and Boyle County High School for portions of Danville and the remainder of Boyle County. Kentucky School for the Deaf provides education to Kentucky's deaf and hard-of-hearing children from elementary through high school.

Private schools

Two private schools operate in Danville:

Colleges and universities

Centre College, a nationally-recognized liberal arts college, is located in Danville.

Four other colleges and universities have campuses in Danville:

  • Bluegrass Community and Technical College
  • Eastern Kentucky University
  • Midway College
  • National College


On March 2, 2010, Danville voted to go "wet" (to permit sale of packaged alcohol and sale of alcohol by the drink without restriction by size of premises).[27]

Places of interest[]

  • Centre College is a top liberal arts college; it hosted the 2000 and 2012 Vice Presidential debates.
  • Central Kentucky Wildlife Refuge is a 500-acre (200 ha) nature preserve.
  • Chateau du Vieux Corbeau Winery produces wine from local grapes and fruit.
  • Community Arts Center is an historic Beaux Arts building that is a hub for local artist activity.
  • Confederate Monument is an early 20th-century statue dedicated to Kentucky's Civil War veterans.
  • Constitution Square is a park containing restored and recreated frontier buildings; the first Kentucky constitution was written and signed here.
  • Crow-Barbee House is the oldest stone structure west of the Allegheny Mountains.
  • Danville National Cemetery contains dead from the Battle of Perryville.
  • Ephraim McDowell House Museum is the house where Ephraim McDowell performed his groundbreaking ovariotomy.
  • Great American Dollhouse Museum is a 6,000-square-foot (560 m2) social history museum in miniature.
  • Jones Visual Arts Center is a gallery and primary studio for internationally known glass artist Stephen Rolfe Powell.
  • Perryville Battlefield is a park that preserves a significant Civil War battlefield.
  • Wilderness Trace Distillery produces bourbon, rye whiskey, and vodka from locally grown grains.


Four venues for theatrical productions live in Danville. The Norton Center for the Arts is a state-of-the-art host for performing and visual arts events throughout the year.

Pioneer Playhouse is the oldest outdoor theater in Kentucky, and the first theater officially designated as Kentucky's state theater. It features summer-stock productions using local and nationally-known artists.

West T. Hill Community Theatre is a community theater with an acclaimed company of actors.

Gravely Hall Performing Arts Center is located in Danville High School and is home to the performing arts in the Danville Schools system.

Annual events[]


The Advocate-Messenger, a daily (except Saturday) newspaper, serves Danville and surrounding counties.

Local radio stations include three AM stations: WDFB-AM (1170) WHBN (1420) WHIR (1230) and three FM stations: WDFB-FM (88.1) WLAI (107.1) WRNZ (105.1)

Films shot in Danville[]

  • Raintree County (1957) is a big-budget, epic film set during the Civil War. A short film, Operation Raintree, was shot to promote Raintree County.
  • Treasure of Matecumbe (1976) is a Walt Disney Productions family adventure film.
  • Child of Glass (1978) is a made-for-TV movie distributed by Walt Disney Pictures.
  • Lawn Dogs (1997) is a drama film released by Rank Organisation
  • Summerstock (2002), by Robby Henson, chronicled a year in the busy, eccentric life of Pioneer Playhouse.

Sister cities[]

Danville has one sister city, as designated by Sister Cities International:

Notable residents[]

The following are highly noted people from Danville. For a more complete list see List of people from Danville, Kentucky.

  • John Boyle (1774–1834), U.S. federal judge and U.S. Representative. Boyle County, Kentucky, was named after him.
  • John C. Breckinridge (1821–1875), U.S. Representative and U.S. Senator from Kentucky, Vice President of the United States, U.S. presidential candidate, Confederate States Secretary of War
  • John Marshall Harlan (1833–1911), U.S. Supreme Court Justice; "The Great Dissenter"
  • Ephraim McDowell (1771–1830), American physician, first to successfully remove an ovarian tumor
  • Theodore O'Hara (1820–1867), poet and soldier
  • Hugh L. Scott (1853–1934), Superintendent of West Point, Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army in World War I
  • Isaac Shelby (1750-1826), first and fifth governor of Kentucky, soldier in Lord Dunmore's War, the American Revolutionary War, and the War of 1812
  • Frank X Walker (1961-), Kentucky's first African-American Poet Laureate

Major employers[]

Major employers include:[29]

See also[]

  • Best places in the US to retire
  • Junction City, Kentucky, a nearby city originally known as Danville Junction and South Danville


  1. ^ Brock, David (2010-12-17). "New Danville mayor, commission sworn in". The Advocate Messenger.,0,2273200.story. Retrieved 2011-01-14. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ a b "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Danville city, Kentucky". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved November 21, 2013. 
  4. ^ "Past Great American Main Street Award Winners". National Trust for Historic Preservation. Retrieved 2009-05-05. 
  5. ^ "Best Places to Retire". CNNMoney. September 2011. Retrieved 2011-09-17. 
  6. ^ a b Gerth, Joseph (2011-10-31). "Centre College in Danville chosen for 2012 vice presidential debate". Courier Journal. Retrieved 2011-11-15. 
  7. ^ a b c d "Danville Kentucky: History". City of Danville. Retrieved 2010-08-25. 
  8. ^ a b c d e Kleber, John E. (1992). The Kentucky Encyclopedia. Lexington KY: The University Press of Kentucky. ISBN 0-8131-1772-0. 
  9. ^ "Danville Kentucky". Land Office, Kentucky Secretary of State. Retrieved 2009-05-05. 
  10. ^ a b Griffin, Richard W. (1965). Newspaper Story of a Town: A History of Danville Kentucky. Danville, Kentucky: The Advocate Messenger. 
  11. ^ a b c "Kentucky Historical Marker Database". Kentucky Historical Society. Retrieved 2009-05-05. 
  12. ^ "Boyle Landmark Trust, Willis Russell House"
  13. ^ Fackler, Calvin M., Early Days in Danville, Standard Printing Co., Louisville, 1941.
  14. ^ "Danville-Boyle County African American Historical Society"
  15. ^ McCaleb, Ian Christopher (2000-10-06). "Even-keeled Cheney-Lieberman debate takes global view". CNN. Retrieved 2010-08-25. 
  16. ^ Cox, Charlie (2008-12-11). "Danville bus service revved for take-off". The Advocate Messenger. Retrieved 2009-10-07. 
  17. ^ "BGCAP - DAN-TRAN". Blue Grass Community Action Partnership. Retrieved 2011-04-29. 
  18. ^ Cox, Charlie (2009-02-19). "Bus service offered to Lexington". The Advocate Messenger. Retrieved 2009-10-07. 
  19. ^ "BGCAP - Wilderness Trace Connector Route". Blue Grass Community Action Partnership. Retrieved 2011-04-29. 
  20. ^ "BGCAP - Inter-City Route - Danville/Lexington". Blue Grass Community Action Partnership. Retrieved 2011-04-29. 
  21. ^ "BGCAP - Inter-City Route-Stanford/Junction City/Danville". Blue Grass Community Action Partnership. Retrieved 2011-04-29. 
  22. ^ Brock, David (2010-07-23). "Railroad moving jobs from Danville to Pulaski". The Advocate Messenger. Retrieved 2010-08-25. 
  23. ^ "Monthly Averages for Danville KY". The Weather Channel. 
  24. ^ U.S. Census Bureau Retrieved on 2010-03-27
  25. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  26. ^ "Crime in the United States: Offenses Known to Law Enforcement". U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation. September 2010. Retrieved 2010-10-20. 
  27. ^ Brock, David (2010-03-02). "Danville goes wet". The Advocate Messenger. Retrieved 2010-05-17. 
  28. ^ "Danville, Carrickfergus seal bond as 'twin' cities". The Advocate Messenger. 2009-08-01. Retrieved 2009-09-24. 
  29. ^ "Danville Boyle County Business and Industry". Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development. Retrieved 2011-07-18. 
  30. ^ Wersich, Carol (2009-12-04). "Berry completes Pliant buy". Evansville Courier & Press. Retrieved 2010-08-26. 
  31. ^ Brock, David (2011-05-22). "It's official: Gov. announces second Meggitt plant for Danville". The Advocate Messenger.,0,677357.story. Retrieved 2011-05-22. 

Further reading[]

External links[]

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