Harrodsburg, Kentucky
—  City  —
Downtown Harrodsburg, 2007
Location of Harrodsburg in Mercer County, Kentucky.

Harrodsburg, Kentucky is located in Kentucky <div style="position: absolute; top: Expression error: Missing operand for *.%; left: 1122.5%; height: 0; width: 0; margin: 0; padding: 0;">
Country United States
State Kentucky
County Mercer
Founded June 16, 1774
Incorporated March 1, 1836
Named for James Harrod
 • Mayor Art Freeman
 • Total 6.94 sq mi (17.98 km2)
 • Land 6.92 sq mi (17.93 km2)
 • Water 0.02 sq mi (0.05 km2)
Elevation 850 ft (260 m)
Population (2020)[2]
 • Total 9,064
 • Density 1,300/sq mi (500/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 40330
Area code(s) 859
FIPS code 21-34966
GNIS feature ID 0493831

Harrodsburg is a home rule-class city[3] in Mercer County, Kentucky, United States. It is the seat of its county.[4] The population was 9,064 at the 2020 census.

Although Harrodsburg was formally established by the House of Burgesses after Boonesborough and was not incorporated by the Kentucky legislature until 1836,[5] it is usually considered the oldest city in Kentucky and has been honored as the oldest permanent American settlement west of the Appalachians.


Harrodstown (sometimes Harrod's Town) was laid out and founded by James Harrod on June 16, 1774.[6][7] Harrod led a company of adventurers totaling 31 men, beginning May 25 at Fort Redstone in Pennsylvania down the Monongahela and Ohio Rivers in canoes and through a series of other rivers and creeks to the town's present-day location.[8]

Later that same year, amid Dunmore's War, Lord Dunmore sent two men to warn the surveyors of imminent Shawnee attacks, Daniel Boone and Michael Stoner, who are said to have completed the round trip of 800 miles in 64 days.[9] Regardless, the pioneers remained for a few weeks until a man was killed by the natives, when the settlement was abandoned and resettled the following year by March. It was one of three settlements in present-day Kentucky at the time the Thirteen Colonies declared independence in 1776, along with Logan's Fort and Boonesborough. Also known as Oldtown, Harrodstown was the first seat of Virginia's Kentucky (1776), Lincoln (1780), and Mercer (1785) Counties upon their formations.[10] It remains the seat of Mercer County in Kentucky.

A census taken between Dec. 16, 1777, and Oct. 16, 1778,[8] lists 52 residents, several of whom were well-known pioneers and frontiersmen, including Daniel Boone's younger brother, Squire Boone, Silas Harlan, the Kentucky county's namesake,[11] James Harrod, Hugh McGary, Isaac Hite and his cousins, Isaac and John Bowman,[8] and David Glenn, who later travelled further west and settled in Yellow Banks (present Daviess County).[12] David Glenn, along with his brother Thomas, and Silas Harlan, with his brother James, had accompanied Harrod on his initial expedition in 1774.[8]

The settlement was formally established by the Virginia General Assembly in 1785 as Harrodsburg.[6] Four years later, it was named the location for the newly created United States District Court for the District of Kentucky by the Judiciary Act of 1789.[13] The Kentucky General Assembly incorporated Harrodsburg in 1836.[5]

During the Civil War, the town was pro-Confederate,[10] but Union control permitted the organization two Union regiments, the 19th Regiment Kentucky Volunteer Infantry and the 11th Regiment Kentucky Volunteer Cavalry. The 19th Infantry as organized at nearby Camp Harwood for a three-year enlistment commencing January 2, 1862, under the command of Colonel William J. Landram. Companies A, C, D, and F of the 11th Kentucky Cavalry were organized at Harrodsburg, Kentucky, in July 1862. The remainder of the regiment was organized in Louisville, Kentucky, and mustered in on September 26, 1862, and mustered in for three years under the command of Colonel Alexander W. Holeman. Following the Battle of Perryville, much of the city was converted into makeshift hospitals; 1600 sick and wounded Confederate soldiers were captured during a raid by the 9th Kentucky Cavalry under Lieutenant Colonel John Boyle on October 10, 1862. The city then remained under martial law for the remainder of the war.[10]

The Louisville Southern Railroad network reached the city in 1888. Its construction commenced in 1884 and ran from Louisville through Shelbyville and Lawrenceburg to Harrodsburg, which was reached in 1888. A spur was constructed to Burgin, where the Louisville Southern joined the Cincinnati Southern's Cincinnati, New Orleans and Texas Pacific Railway CNO&TP mainline. Now all run and are operated by Norfolk Southern Railway.

Pioneer Memorial Park (now Old Fort Harrod State Park) was opened on June 16, 1927. In 1936, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt honored the city with a monument honoring the "first permanent settlement west of the Appalachians".[10]

Company D of the 192nd Tank Battalion in the Battle of Bataan was from Harrodsburg.[14]


Harrodsburg is located at 37°45′50″N 84°50′46″W / 37.76389, -84.84611 (37.764019, -84.845974).[15] According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 5.3 sq mi (13.7 km2), all land.


U.S. 127 runs north–south through Harrodsburg. U.S. 127 Bypass goes around Harrodsburg. U.S. 68 runs east–west through the city, but U.S. 68 turns onto U.S. 127 some of the time in Harrodsburg. SR 152 also runs east–west through the area.


Harrodsburg is in the humid subtropical climate zone, although verging on a humid continental climate.[16] Summers are hot and humid, and winters are cool with mild periods.

Average high is 87 °F in July and August, the warmest months, with the average lows of 26 °F in January, the coolest month. The highest recorded temperature was 105 °F in September 1954. The lowest recorded temperature was −18 °F in January 1985. Average annual precipitation is 45.73 inches (1,162 mm), with the wettest month being May, averaging 4.68 inches (119 mm).[17]

Climate data for Harrodsburg, Kentucky
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F 41 46 56 66 74 82 86 85 79 68 56 44 65.3
Average low °F 24 27 34 44 54 63 67 65 57 46 36 28 45.4
Precipitation inches 3.36 3.52 4.28 3.81 4.68 4.29 4.56 3.85 3.09 2.95 3.45 3.89 45.73
Average high °C 5 8 13 19 23 28 30 29 26 20 13 7 18.5
Average low °C −4 −3 1 7 12 17 19 18 14 8 2 −2 7.5
Precipitation mm 85.3 89.4 108.7 96.8 118.9 109 115.8 97.8 78.5 74.9 87.6 98.8 1,161.5
Source: The Weather Channel[18]


Mercer County Courthouse, 2006

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1800 122
1810 313 156.6%
1830 1,051
1840 1,254 19.3%
1850 1,481 18.1%
1860 1,668 12.6%
1870 2,205 32.2%
1880 2,202 −0.1%
1890 3,230 46.7%
1900 2,876 −11.0%
1910 3,147 9.4%
1920 3,765 19.6%
1930 4,029 7.0%
1940 4,673 16.0%
1950 5,262 12.6%
1960 6,061 15.2%
1970 6,741 11.2%
1980 7,265 7.8%
1990 7,335 1.0%
2000 8,014 9.3%
2010 8,340 4.1%
U.S. Decennial Census[19]Template:Fv 2020[2]

As of the census[20] of 2000, 8,014 people, 3,449 households, and 2,234 families were residing in the city. The population density was 1,510.5 /sq mi (583.2 /km2). The 3,709 housing units had an average density of 699.1 /sq mi (269.9 /km2). The racial makeup of the city was 88.92% White, 7.52% African American, 0.14% Native American, 0.76% Asian, 1.16% from other races, and 1.50% from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 2.15% of the population.

Of the 3,449 households, 31.3% had children under 18 living with them, 45.4% were married couples living together, 15.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.2% were not families. About 32.1% of all households were made up of individuals, and 16.6% had someone living alone who was 65 or older. The average household size was 2.32, and the average family size was 2.91.

The city's age distribution was 25.1% under 18, 9.0% from 18 to 24, 28.2% from 25 to 44, 20.9% from 45 to 64, and 16.8% who were 65 or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 85.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 79.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city was US $27,500, and for a family was $34,503. Males had a median income of $31,214 versus $21,216 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,327. About 14.2% of families and 17.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.1% of those under age 18 and 13.2% of those age 65 or over.


Public education is provided by the Mercer County School District. These schools located are within the district:[21]

Conover Education Center (Campbellsville University Branch) of Harrodsburg

The Harrodsburg Independent Schools, which operated Harrodsburg High School, merged into the Mercer County Schools in 2006.[22]

Harrodsburg has a lending library, the Mercer County Public Library.[23]

Harrodsburg's Beaumont Inn (1917–present) was known as the Christian Baptist School (1830–1833), Greeneville Institute (1841–1856), Daughters' College (1856–1893),[7] Young Ladies College (1893–1894), Beaumont College (1895–1915), and Daughters' College (1916), prior to becoming Beaumont Inn.[24]


  • Hitachi Automotive Products is based in Harrodsburg.
  • Corning Incorporated has a plant located in Harrodsburg that makes Gorilla Glass.

Sister city[]

Notable people[]

  • Ralph G. Anderson, founder Belcan Corporation, philanthropist
  • Jane T. H. Cross (1817–1870), author
  • Maria T. Daviess (1814–1896), author; grandmother of Maria Thompson Daviess
  • Maria Thompson Daviess (1872–1924), author
  • Jason Dunn, National Football League player
  • David Winfield Huddleston, Christian author and minister
  • Rachel Jackson, wife of President Andrew Jackson
  • Frances Wisebart Jacobs, philanthropist
  • Dennis Johnson, National Football League player
  • William Logan, politician
  • Beriah Magoffin, Governor of Kentucky (1859 − 1862) and namesake of Magoffin County, Kentucky
  • William Sullivan, politician and lawyer
  • John Burton Thompson, politician
  • Al Wilson, actor and stunt pilot
  • Craig Yeast, National Football League player

See also[]

  • Low Dutch Station
  • Rocky Point Manor


  1. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. 
  2. ^ a b "U.S Census Bureau". United States Census Bureau. April 1, 2020. 
  3. ^ "Summary and Reference Guide to House Bill 331 City Classification Reform". Kentucky League of Cities. 
  4. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. 
  5. ^ a b Commonwealth of Kentucky. Office of the Secretary of State. Land Office. "Harrodsburg, Kentucky". Accessed 30 July 2013.
  6. ^ a b Rennick, Robert M. (1987). Kentucky Place Names. University Press of Kentucky. pp. 132. ISBN 0813126312. 
  7. ^ a b  Chisholm, Hugh, ed (1911). "Harrodsburg". Encyclopædia Britannica. 13 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 27. 
  8. ^ a b c d Collins, Lewis (1877). Collins' Historical Sketches of Kentucky. Richard H. Collins. pp. 517, 624. 
  9. ^ Charleston, Max. "The Oldest Town in Kentucky". 
  10. ^ a b c d Kleber, John E. (1992). The Kentucky Encyclopedia. Lexington KY: The University Press of Kentucky. ISBN 0-8131-1772-0. 
  11. ^ Rennick, Robert (1984). Kentucky Place Names. University Press of Kentucky. p. 131. ISBN 0813126312. 
  12. ^ History of Daviess County, Kentucky. Together with Sketches of Its Cities, Villages and Townships, Educational, Religious, Civil, Military, and Political History; Portraits of Prominent Persons, Biographies of Representative Citizens. And an Outline History of Kentucky. Chicago Inter-State Publishing Co.. 1883. pp. 54, 556. 
  13. ^ "Statutes at Large, 1st Congress, 1st Session". A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation: U.S. Congressional Documents and Debates, 1774–1875. Library of Congress. 
  14. ^ Life Magazine 1942
  15. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. 
  16. ^ How Stuff Works Script error: No such module "webarchive". Map of American climate zones. Retrieved on 2010-04-03
  17. ^ Monthly Averages for Harrodsburg, Kentucky Retrieved on 2010-04-03
  18. ^ "Monthly Averages for Harrodsburg KY". The Weather Channel. 
  19. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". 
  20. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. 
  21. ^ Mercer County School District Script error: No such module "webarchive". Retrieved on 2010-05-04
  22. ^ Ellis, Ronnie (2007-01-15). "The ups and downs of merging school districts". Richmond Register. 
  23. ^ "Kentucky Public Library Directory". Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives. 
  24. ^ {{cite web|url= |title=History of Beaumont Inn |accessdate=2022-01-27 |}

External links[]

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