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Muhlenberg County, Kentucky
Muhlenberg County Courthouse.jpg
Muhlenberg County Courthouse in Greenville
Map of Kentucky highlighting Muhlenberg County
Location in the state of Kentucky
Map of the U.S. highlighting Kentucky
Kentucky's location in the U.S.
Founded 1798
Named for John Peter Muhlenberg
Seat Greenville
Largest city Central City
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

479 sq mi (1,241 km²)
467 sq mi (1,210 km²)
12 sq mi (31 km²), 2.6%
 - (2010)
 - Density

67/sq mi (26/km²)
Congressional district 1st
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5

Muhlenberg County ( /ˈmewlənbərɡ/) is a county located in the U.S. Commonwealth of Kentucky. As of the 2010 census, the population was 31,499.[1] Its county seat is Greenville.[2] The county was founded in 1798[3] and named for General Peter Muhlenberg, a colonial general during the American Revolutionary War.[4]


Muhlenberg County was established in 1798 from land given by Logan and Christian counties. Muhlenberg was the 34th Kentucky county in order of formation.[5]


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 479 square miles (1,240 km2), of which 467 square miles (1,210 km2) is land and 12 square miles (31 km2) (2.6%) is water.[6]


The two primary aquatic features of Muhlenberg County are the Green River and Lake Malone. The northern portion of the county is typically gently rolling hills, river flatlands, and some sizeable bald cypress swamps along Cypress Creek and its tributaries. The southern portion consist of rolling hills with higher relief. Many of the valleys in the southern part of the county are rather deep and in places and somewhat rugged. This area is also known for many sandstone formations and some small limestone caves, of which only two known limestone caves are thought to be in the county, both in the far southern region. A number of faults cross the county at roughly the half-way point between neighboring counties to the north and south. Coal is a large natural resource found in the central part of the county. Most deposits reside deep underground, though in the past deposits were closer to the surface. In former years, it was common to see machines such as the "Big Brother" Power Shovel (pictured on the right) throughout the county. During the 1970s and early 1980s, Muhlenberg County was the state leader in Coal Production and sometimes the top coal producer in the United States. This was the subject of the song "Paradise" by John Prine.

The Bucyrus Erie 3850-B Power Shovel named "Big Brother" went to work next door to Paradise Fossil Plant for Peabody Coal Company's Sinclair Surface Mine in 1962. When it started work it was received with grand fanfare and was the Largest Shovel in The World with a bucket size of 115 cubic yards. After it finished work in the mid-1980s, it was buried in a pit on the mine's property. It remains there still today.

Muhlenberg County's predominate rock type is sandstone. As one travels south and gets closer to the southern border, one begins to notice limestone outcroppings become more numerous and much closer to the surface. Early attempts at extracting iron ore were tried at Old Airdrie on the banks of the Green River and at Buckner Furnace south of Greenville, Kentucky. Both operations were extant in the late 19th century and early 20th century; neither enjoyed long-term success..

Green River[]

The 300 miles (483 km)-long Green River is a tributary of the Ohio River. It provides a commercial outlet for goods (primarily coal) to be shipped from the county to the major trade centers along the Mississippi River. Muhlenberg County and the Green River first entered the popular consciousness through the John Prine song "Paradise", about a now-defunct coal-mining town.

Lake Malone[]

Spanning 788 acres (3.189 km2) near the small town of Dunmor in southern Muhlenberg County, Lake Malone provides a locale for water recreation such as swimming, boating, and fishing. Lake Malone and the surrounding hardwood forest form Lake Malone State Park. Lake Malone is maintained by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife. The lakes surface extends into two neighboring counties. The lake is known for its sandstone cliffs and natural sandstone formations along the lake shore including a natural bridge. The bridge itself is not in the boundaries of the state park.

Adjacent counties[]


Historical populations
Census Pop.
1800 1,293
1810 4,181 223.4%
1820 4,979 19.1%
1830 5,340 7.3%
1840 6,964 30.4%
1850 9,809 40.9%
1860 10,725 9.3%
1870 12,638 17.8%
1880 15,098 19.5%
1890 17,955 18.9%
1900 20,741 15.5%
1910 28,598 37.9%
1920 33,353 16.6%
1930 37,784 13.3%
1940 37,554 −0.6%
1950 32,501 −13.5%
1960 27,791 −14.5%
1970 27,537 −0.9%
1980 32,238 17.1%
1990 31,318 −2.9%
2000 31,839 1.7%
2010 31,499 −1.1%
Est. 2016 31,028 [7] −2.5%
U.S. Decennial Census[8]
1790-1960[9] 1900-1990[10]
1990-2000[11] 2010-2013[1]

As of the census[12] of 2010, there were 31,499 people, 12,979 households, and 9,057 families residing in the county. The population density was 67 per square mile (26 /km2). There were 13,675 housing units at an average density of 29 per square mile (11 /km2). The racial makeup of the county was 94.19% White, 4.65% Black or African American, 0.13% Native American, 0.13% Asian, 0.19% from other races, and 0.72% from two or more races. 0.73% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 12,979 households out of which 30.70% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.70% were married couples living together, 10.40% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.70% were non-families. 24.30% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.60% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.45 and the average family size was 2.90.

In the county, the population was spread out with 22.60% under the age of 18, 9.20% from 18 to 24, 28.00% from 25 to 44, 24.80% from 45 to 64, and 15.50% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 98.00 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.20 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $28,566, and the median income for a family was $33,513. Males had a median income of $29,952 versus $18,485 for females. The per capita income for the county was $14,798. About 15.50% of families and 19.70% of the population were below the poverty line, including 26.00% of those under age 18 and 17.00% of those age 65 or over.


Muhlenberg County has been a major coal-producing region for the United States for many years; during most of the 1970s, Muhlenberg County annually produced more coal than anywhere else in the world. Although coal mining in the county waned in the late 1980s and early 1990s, as the 21st century began, the coal-mining industry in Muhlenberg and surrounding counties began to expand again and has once again provided a significant number of jobs in the region. One reason for this is the willingness of utility operators to install flue gas cleaning systems so that bituminous coal can be burned much cleaner than in decades past. Another reason is that most coal from the western US has a lower BTU content.

Muhlenberg County is the home of Kentucky's first commercial coal mine. That mine opened in 1820 as the "McLean Drift Bank". It was located along the Green River in the former village of Paradise. The mine and its impact on the community are referenced in the John Prine song Paradise. Other major employers in Muhlenberg County have supplemented the coal industry or expanded in other areas of expertise. Major employers include:

Paradise Fossil Plant sits close to the original site of the village of Paradise, Kentucky. The power plant is the second largest plant in the TVA Fossil Fuels Plant Inventory with a rated output of 2,630 megawatts. It is composed of three units. Units 1&2 are twin 740 MW units while Unit 3 is the largest Cyclonic Boiler Unit in the World rated at 1,150 MW.

  • The Tennessee Valley Authority Paradise Fossil Plant in Drakesboro
  • The Green River Correctional Complex in Central City
  • Dyno Nobel in Graham
  • EBA&D in Graham
  • Muhlenberg Community Hospital in Greenville
  • Muhlenberg County Board of Education in Powderly
  • The Department of the Army, Kentucky National Guard Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center & Kentucky UTES
  • Armstrong Coal Company in Central City
  • Ken-American Resources: Paradise Underground Mine in Central City
  • Kentucky Utilities Customer Service Center in Greenville
  • Kentucky Utilities Green River Generating Station in Central City
  • Wal-Mart in Central City. Wal-Mart operates a 136,000 sq ft (12,600 m2). full service Supercenter along US 62.
  • Uncle Lee's / Wing Supply in Greenville, Kentucky
  • Gourmet Express in Greenville[13]

Chamber of commerce[]

In January 2006, the chambers of commerce from Central City and Greenville merged to form the Greater Muhlenberg Chamber of Commerce. The new, unified chamber consists of over 155 local businesses.[14]

Incoming industries[]

Peabody Energy's new Thoroughbred Energy Plant, a coal-burning power generation facility expected to bring 450 permanent jobs to the area, is to be located in Central City.[15] The plant was projected to begin electricity generation sometime in 2007,[16] but a dispute over Peabody's air quality permit has halted construction plans.[17] The power plant plans have now been scrapped, as was a later partnership between Peabody Energy and ConocoPhillips Oil Company called, "Kentucky NewGas".[18]



Public schools in Muhlenberg County are under the purview of the Muhlenberg County Board of Education. They include:

Elementary (K-5)[]

  • Bremen Elementary School in Bremen
  • Central City Elementary School in Central City
  • Greenville Elementary School in Greenville
  • Longest Elementary School in Powderly
  • Muhlenberg South Elementary School in Beechmont

Middle (6-8)[]

  • Muhlenberg North Middle School in Powderly
  • Muhlenberg South Middle School in Greenville

High (9-12)[]

  • Muhlenberg County High School


The Muhlenberg Campus of Madisonville Community College is located in Central City. The Muhlenberg Career Development Center is located between Central City & Greenville.

Former schools[]

  • Drakesboro Elementary School in Drakesboro (closed in 2006)
  • Graham Elementary School in Graham (closed in 2004)
  • Hughes-Kirkpatrick Elementary School in Beechmont (closed in 2006)
  • Lake Malone Elementary School in Dunmor (closed in 2005)
  • Muhlenberg North High School (closed in 2009)
  • Muhlenberg South High School (closed in 2009)


There are two public libraries in Muhlenberg County: Harbin Memorial Library in Greenville and Central City Library in Central City. Both locations provide residents with free access to high speed Internet service. These libraries have been joined together as Muhlenberg County Library, although both locations remain open.

History of education[]

There were once eight high schools in Muhlenberg County, Drakesboro Community closed after the class of 1964 graduated and in 1990, the school board consolidated the middle and high school students into two middle and two high schools. Bremen High School, Central City High School, Graham High School, and half of Muhlenberg Central High School became Muhlenberg North Middle School and Muhlenberg North High School, while the other half of Muhlenberg Central High School, Drakesboro High School, Hughes-Kirkpatrick High School, Greenville High School, and Lake Malone School (which housed some middle school students) became Muhlenberg South Middle School and Muhlenberg South High School. The eight distinct schools continued to house elementary school students.

In 2004, the school board began consolidating the badly deteriorating elementary schools, closing Graham Elementary School and transferring students to Longest Elementary School and the expanded Greenville Elementary School, and closing Lake Malone School transferring those students to Hughes-Kirkpatrick Elementary School. Consolidation continued in 2005 with the closure of Drakesboro Elementary School. Students from Drakesboro spent a year at Hughes-Kirkpatrick Elementary School until the opening of the newly constructed Muhlenberg South Elementary School in 2006 (and subsequent closing of Hughes-Kirkpatrick.)

On February 5, 2008, three communities in Muhlenberg County received major damage during the 2008 Super Tuesday tornado outbreak. These communities were Greenville, Powderly, and Central City. Three residents were killed outside Greenville when the EF-3 tornado struck.

In November 2008 the Muhlenberg County school board announced that both Muhlenberg South High School and Muhlenberg North High School will combine and no longer be the Suns and Stars but will be Muhlenberg County High School home of the Mustangs. The change took effect in June 2009.


  • WMTA AM 1380 Radio established in 1955, Central City
  • WNES AM 1050 Radio established in 1955, Central City
  • Times Argus established in 1909, Central City
  • Leader-News established in Greenville now located in Central City
  • SurfKY News established in 2008, this online news service serves Muhlenberg County and surrounding counties. Company is based in Madisonville.
  • WKYA FM 105.5 radio station in Greenville
  • WQXQ FM 101.9 100,000 watts studios in Central City with tower and transmitter at Pleasant Ridge, Kentucky in Ohio County

Sites of interest[]

  • Lake Malone State Park in Dunmor
  • Muhlenberg County Rail to Trails, 6-mile (9.7 km) converted railroad track running between Central City and Greenville
  • Brewco Motorsports shop in Central City
  • Thistle Cottage, a museum and art gallery, in Greenville (now part of Muhlenberg County Public Libraries)
  • Four Legends Fountain in Drakesboro
  • Muhlenberg County Agriculture and Convention Center in Powderly
  • Morgan Memorial Park in Greenville
  • The Muhlenberg County Park, a state-of-the-art sports facility adjacent to the Muhlenberg County High School west campus in Greenville
  • The Brizendine Brothers Nature Park located in Greenville
  • Luzerne Lake City Park in Greenville
  • Paradise Park in Powderly, includes:
    • Coal Mines Shotgun House
    • Merle Travis Birthplace
    • Paradise Park Museum
    • Springridge School
  • Tennessee Valley Authority Paradise Fossil Plant in Drakesboro, one of the largest Coal-Fired Power Plants in the United States. Site includes:
    • Public Boat Launch Ramp along the Green River
    • Public Fishing Lakes
    • Historic Village of Paradise Cemetery, the only remnant of the village along the Green River.

Central City Convention Center, Fitness Facility and Outdoor Pool & Spray Park located in Central City, Kentucky

  • Muhlenberg County Courthouse, built in 1907 located in downtown Greenville
  • The Muhlenberg County Veterans Mall and Plaza in downtown Greenville
  • Lt. Ephraim Brank Memorial & Trail located in located at the entrance to Greenville's Veteran's Mall
  • The Pillars of Community have enhanced the beauty of downtown Greenvile by adding "Art to Restoration". The locations include:
    • FAITH - United Methodist Church on North Main Street
    • FAMILY - Across from the MCTI Theater on North Main Street
    • ENTERPRISE - Between Edward Jones Investments & 1st KY Bank
    • PATRIOTISM - At the United States Post Office on Courts Street
    • EDUCATION - In front of Greenville Elementary School on East Main Cross
    • ARTS - In front of Thistle Cottage on Cherry Street
    • HEALTH - In front of Muhlenberg Community Hospital
    • TEAMWORK - At Martin Ground along East Main Cross
  • Historic Gristmill Stone, Adjacent to the Veterans Mall and at the foundation of the Muhlenberg County Courthouse
  • The Summerhouse, a gazebo located in Greenville

Annual events[]

  • Rods and Ribs BBQ Festival in Central City the first Saturday in June.
  • Labor Day Cruise-In in Central City.
  • Saturday's on the Square every summer in downtown Greenville.
  • Squash & Gobble an arts bazaar and fall festival in downtown Greenville.
  • The "Clodhopper" Vintage Tractor Show in downtown Greenville.


Presidential Elections Results[19]
Year Republican Democratic Third Parties
2016 71.9% 9,393 25.1% 3,272 3.0% 395
2012 60.9% 7,762 37.5% 4,771 1.6% 206
2008 50.0% 6,447 48.3% 6,221 1.7% 221
2004 50.1% 6,749 49.2% 6,636 0.7% 94
2000 46.2% 5,518 52.7% 6,295 1.2% 143
1996 31.4% 3,569 57.7% 6,564 11.0% 1,253
1992 27.1% 3,551 60.3% 7,901 12.7% 1,662
1988 43.6% 5,369 56.1% 6,912 0.3% 41
1984 49.6% 6,094 50.2% 6,157 0.2% 26
1980 41.8% 4,893 56.5% 6,616 1.7% 197
1976 37.5% 4,292 61.7% 7,058 0.9% 99
1972 62.3% 5,596 36.2% 3,246 1.5% 136
1968 39.5% 3,853 37.8% 3,688 22.7% 2,209
1964 33.9% 6,421 65.9% 3,300 0.2% 20
1960 57.4% 5,968 42.6% 4,427 0.0% 0
1956 52.6% 5,323 47.0% 4,752 0.4% 38
1952 48.5% 4,761 51.3% 5,037 0.1% 14
1948 42.6% 3,478 54.3% 4,426 3.1% 254
1944 55.6% 4,618 44.0% 3,657 0.4% 29
1940 50.8% 5,332 49.0% 5,140 0.3% 28
1936 39.2% 4,168 60.1% 6,385 0.7% 75
1932 37.4% 4,349 61.6% 7,162 1.0% 119
1928 56.2% 6,651 43.4% 5,130 0.4% 49
1924 49.8% 5,210 41.8% 4,379 8.4% 882
1920 56.7% 6,667 41.0% 4,824 2.2% 262
1916 53.5% 3,533 43.9% 2,900 2.6% 168
1912 18.6% 1,038 37.4% 2,093 44.1% 2,465[20]



  • Bremen
  • Central City
  • Drakesboro
  • Greenville (county seat)
  • Powderly
  • South Carrollton

Census-designated places[]

  • Beechmont
  • Cleaton
  • Dunmor

Other unincorporated places[]

  • Beech Creek
  • Belton
  • Bevier
  • Browder
  • Depoy
  • Ennis
  • Frogtown
  • Gishton
  • Graham
  • Gus
  • Luzerne
  • Moorman
  • Nelson
  • Nonell
  • Penrod
  • Weir

Notable people[]

  • James Best (Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane of the Dukes of Hazzard) was born in Powderly.
  • Don Everly of The Everly Brothers was born in the now-defunct community of Brownie, near Central City.
  • Micajah Harpe, he and his brother, Wiley were the first, known serial-killers in America.
  • Kennedy Jones, guitarist
  • Warren Oates, actor, was born in Depoy near Greenville
  • Merle Travis, legendary country and western musician was born in Rosewood, Kentucky

See also[]

  • National Register of Historic Places listings in Muhlenberg County, Kentucky


  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 6, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on 2011-05-31. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ The Register of the Kentucky State Historical Society, Volume 1. Kentucky State Historical Society. 1903. pp. 36. 
  5. ^ Collins, Lewis (1882). Collins' Historical Sketches of Kentucky: History of Kentucky, Volume 2. Collins & Company. pp. 26. 
  6. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved August 18, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 9, 2017. 
  8. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on May 12, 2015. Retrieved August 18, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved August 18, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 18, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 18, 2014. 
  12. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2013-09-11. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  13. ^ Major Employers in Muhlenberg County Kentucky
  14. ^ Greater Muhlenberg Chamber of Commerce - Message from the President
  15. ^
  16. ^ Kentucky Issues Air Permit for Peabody's Thoroughbred Energy Campus
  17. ^ Bruggers, James (2007-08-08). "Ruling delays power plant in Western Ky.". The Courier-Journal. Retrieved 2007-08-08. 
  18. ^ [1]
  19. ^
  20. ^ The leading "other" candidate, Progressive Theodore Roosevelt, received 1,699 votes, while Socialist candidate Eugene Debs received 766 votes.

External links[]

Coordinates: 37°13′N 87°09′W / 37.21, -87.15

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Muhlenberg County, Kentucky. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.