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Harrodsburg, Kentucky

Coordinates: 37°45′56″N 84°50′51″W / 37.76556°N 84.84750°W / 37.76556; -84.84750
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Harrodsburg, Kentucky
Downtown Harrodsburg, 2007
Downtown Harrodsburg, 2007
Location of Harrodsburg in Mercer County, Kentucky.
Location of Harrodsburg in Mercer County, Kentucky.
Harrodsburg is located in Kentucky
Harrodsburg is located in the United States
Harrodsburg (the United States)
Coordinates: 37°45′56″N 84°50′51″W / 37.76556°N 84.84750°W / 37.76556; -84.84750
CountryUnited States
FoundedJune 16, 1774
IncorporatedMarch 1, 1836
Named forJames Harrod
 • MayorArt Freeman
 • Total6.94 sq mi (17.98 km2)
 • Land6.92 sq mi (17.93 km2)
 • Water0.02 sq mi (0.05 km2)
Elevation837 ft (255 m)
 • Total9,064
 • Estimate 
 • Density1,309.64/sq mi (505.63/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code859
FIPS code21-34966
GNIS feature ID2403806[2]

Harrodsburg is a home rule-class city 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 Virginia House of Burgesses after Boonesborough and was not incorporated by the Kentucky legislature until 1836,[5] it was honored by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as the oldest permanent American settlement west of the Appalachians.[6]


18th century[edit]

Harrodstown (sometimes Harrod's Town) was laid out and founded by James Harrod on June 16, 1774.[7][8] Harrod led a company of adventurers totaling 31 men, beginning in the spring of 1774 at Fort Redstone in Pennsylvania[9] down the Monongahela and Ohio Rivers in canoes and through a series of other rivers and creeks to the town's present-day location.[10]

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 61 days.[11][12] 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.[13] It remains the seat of Mercer County in Kentucky.[14]

A census taken between Dec. 16, 1777, and Oct. 16, 1778,[10] 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,[15] James Harrod, Hugh McGary, Isaac Hite and his cousins, Isaac and John Bowman,[10] and David Glenn, who later travelled further west and settled in Yellow Banks (present Daviess County).[16] David Glenn, along with his brother Thomas, and Silas Harlan, with his brother James, had accompanied Harrod on his initial expedition in 1774.[10]

The settlement was formally established by the Virginia General Assembly in 1785 as Harrodsburg.[7] 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.[17]

19th century[edit]

The Kentucky General Assembly incorporated Harrodsburg in 1836.[5]

During the Civil War, the town was pro-Confederate,[13] 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, for three years service 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.[13]

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.[18]

20th century[edit]

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".[13]

Company D of the 192nd Tank Battalion in the Battle of Bataan was from Harrodsburg.[19]


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. KY 152 also runs east–west through the area.[citation needed]


Harrodsburg is in the humid subtropical climate zone, although verging on a humid continental climate.[20] 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).[21]

Climate data for Harrodsburg, Kentucky
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Mean daily maximum °F 41 46 56 66 74 82 86 85 79 68 56 44 65
Mean daily minimum °F 24 27 34 44 54 63 67 65 57 46 36 28 45
Average 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
Mean daily maximum °C 5 8 13 19 23 28 30 29 26 20 13 7 18
Mean daily minimum °C −4 −3 1 7 12 17 19 18 14 8 2 −2 7
Average precipitation mm 85 89 109 97 119 109 116 98 78 75 88 99 1,162
Source: The Weather Channel[22]


Mercer County Courthouse, 2006
Historical population
2022 (est.)9,149[23]0.9%
U.S. Decennial Census[24][failed verification] 2020[25]

As of the 2020 United States Census, 9,064 people and 4,088 households were residing in the city. The racial makeup of the city was 87.0% White, 6.5% African American, 0.6% Native American, 1.6% Asian, and 4.2% of two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos were 3.7% of the population.[26] The population density was 1,309.6/sq mi (505.6/km2) with 4,128 housing units. had an average density of 699.1/sq mi (269.9/km2).

Of the 4,088 households, 27.1% had children under 18 living with them, 31% were married couples living together, 33.1% had a female householder with no spouse present, and 31.4% were male householders with no spouse present. About 25.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and 6.8% had someone living alone who was 65 or older. The average household size was 2.16, and the average family size was 3.16.[27]

In 2021, the city's age distribution was 20.6% under 18, 9.2% from 18 to 24, 7.7%% from 25 to 29, and 25.9% who were 60 or older. The median age was 39.5 years.[28] Female persons comprised 48.7 percent of residents in 2020.[29]

The median income for a household in the city was US $41,839 (in 2021). The per capita income for the city was $24,242. About 15.5% of the population was below the poverty line, including 20.8% of those under age 18 and 21.6% of those age 65 or over.[30]

Education and libraries[edit]

Primary and secondary education[edit]

Public education is provided by the Mercer County School District. The Harrodsburg Independent Schools, which operated Harrodsburg High School, merged into the Mercer County Schools in 2006. These schools located are within the Mercer County district:[31]

  • Harrodsburg Area Technology Center
  • Mercer County Senior High School
  • Kenneth D. King Middle School
  • Mercer County Intermediate School
  • Mercer County Elementary School
  • Harlow Early Learning Center

Higher education[edit]

Harrodsburg's Beaumont Inn (1917–present) was known as the Christian Baptist School (1830–1833), Greeneville Institute (1841–1856), Daughters' College (1856–1893),[8] Young Ladies College (1893–1894), Beaumont College (1895–1915), and Daughters' College (1916), prior to becoming Beaumont Inn.[32]

Campbellsville University established a branch campus at the Conover Education Center in 2016.[33]


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


Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 18, 2022.
  2. ^ a b U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Harrodsburg, Kentucky
  3. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places in Kentucky: April 1, 2020 to July 1, 2022". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 26, 2023.
  4. ^ "Mercer County". National Association of Counties. NACO. 2023. Archived from the original on May 3, 2023. Retrieved May 3, 2023.
  5. ^ a b Commonwealth of Kentucky. Office of the Secretary of State. Land Office. "Harrodsburg, Kentucky". Accessed 30 July 2013.
  6. ^ The Kentucky encyclopedia. Lexington, Ky.: University Press of Kentucky. 1992. p. 414. ISBN 978-0-8131-1772-0.
  7. ^ a b Rennick, Robert M. (1987). Kentucky Place Names. University Press of Kentucky. p. 132. ISBN 0813126312. Retrieved April 28, 2013.
  8. ^ a b Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Harrodsburg" . Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 13 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 27.
  9. ^ Harrison, Lowell H.; Klotter, James C. (March 27, 1997). A New History of Kentucky. University Press of Kentucky. ISBN 978-0-8131-2621-0.
  10. ^ a b c d Collins, Lewis (1877). Collins' Historical Sketches of Kentucky. Richard H. Collins. pp. 517, 624.
  11. ^ Charleston, Max (September 1929). "The Oldest Town in Kentucky". Mercer Online. Archived from the original on March 22, 2016. Retrieved May 3, 2023.
  12. ^ Collins, Robert F. (1975). A History of the Daniel Boone National Forest, 1770-1970. Lexington, KY: U.S.D.A. Forest Service, [Southern Region]. p. 38.
  13. ^ a b c d Kleber, John E. (1992). The Kentucky Encyclopedia. Lexington KY: The University Press of Kentucky. ISBN 0-8131-1772-0.
  14. ^ "Mercer County". March 25, 2023.
  15. ^ Rennick, Robert (1984). Kentucky Place Names. University Press of Kentucky. p. 131. ISBN 0813126312.
  16. ^ 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.
  17. ^ "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. Retrieved November 13, 2010.
  18. ^ Museum, La Grange Railroad. "LA GRANGE RAILROAD MUSEUM". LA GRANGE RAILROAD MUSEUM. Retrieved March 25, 2023.
  19. ^ Life Magazine 1942
  20. ^ How Stuff Works Archived 2014-10-19 at the Wayback Machine Map of American climate zones. Retrieved on 2010-04-03
  21. ^ Monthly Averages for Harrodsburg, Kentucky Retrieved on 2010-04-03
  22. ^ "Monthly Averages for Harrodsburg KY". The Weather Channel. Archived from the original on May 22, 2011.
  23. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places in Kentucky: April 1, 2020 to July 1, 2022". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 26, 2023.
  24. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  25. ^ "U.S Census Bureau". United States Census Bureau. April 1, 2020. Retrieved January 23, 2022.
  26. ^ "U.S. Census website". Retrieved November 20, 2022.
  27. ^ "Explore Census Data". data.census.gov. Retrieved March 25, 2023.
  28. ^ "Explore Census Data". data.census.gov. Retrieved March 25, 2023.
  29. ^ "U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts: Harrodsburg city, Kentucky". www.census.gov. Retrieved March 25, 2023.
  30. ^ "Explore Census Data". data.census.gov. Retrieved March 25, 2023.
  31. ^ Mercer County School District Archived 2010-04-13 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved on 2010-05-04
  32. ^ "History of Beaumont Inn". beaumontinn.com. Retrieved January 27, 2022.
  33. ^ Peek, Kendra (July 29, 2017). "Campbellsville University holds groundbreaking for expansion of Harrodsburg campus". The Advocate-Messenger. Retrieved March 25, 2023.
  34. ^ Merchant, Brian (June 22, 2017). The One Device: The Secret History of the IPhone. Penguin Random House. p. 67. ISBN 9781473542549.

External links[edit]