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Barbourville, Kentucky

Barbourville is a home rule-class city in Knox County, Kentucky, in the United States. The population was 3,159 at the 2010 census.[3] It is the county seat of Knox County.[4] The city was formally established by the state assembly in 1812.[5] It was incorporated in 1854 and then reïncorporated in 1856.[6]

Barbourville, Kentucky
Knox County Courthouse in Barbourville
Knox County Courthouse in Barbourville
Location of Barbourville in Knox County, Kentucky.
Location of Barbourville in Knox County, Kentucky.
Coordinates: 36°51′40″N 83°52′46″W / 36.86111°N 83.87944°W / 36.86111; -83.87944Coordinates: 36°51′40″N 83°52′46″W / 36.86111°N 83.87944°W / 36.86111; -83.87944
CountryUnited States
 • MayorDavid Thompson[1]
 • Total3.5 sq mi (9.0 km2)
 • Land3.5 sq mi (9.0 km2)
 • Water0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
981 ft (299 m)
 • Total3,165
 • Estimate 
 • Density1,027/sq mi (396.7/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s)606
FIPS code21-03574
GNIS feature ID0486329
WebsiteOfficial website

Union College and the Appalachian Children's Home are located in Barbourville.



According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.5 square miles (9.1 km2), all land.


Census Pop.
Est. 20163,170[2]0.2%
U.S. Decennial Census[7]
Abner Mine near Barbourville, 1940. Photo by Marion Post Wolcott.

As of the census[8] of 2000, there were 3,165 people, 1,211 households, and 662 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,027.4 people per square mile (397.1/km²). There were 1,646 housing units at an average density of 471.2 per square mile (182.1/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 94.40% White, 3.23% African American, 0.56% Native American, 0.25% Asian, 0.17% from other races, and 1.39% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.59% of the population.

There were 1,211 households out of which 24.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.9% were married couples living together, 19.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.9% were non-families. 37.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.18 and the average family size was 2.88.

In the city, the population was spread out with 22.1% under the age of 18, 15.7% from 18 to 24, 24.7% from 25 to 44, 20.5% from 45 to 64, and 17.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females, there were 82.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 78.4 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $13,297, and the median income for a family was $20,762. Males had a median income of $31,775 versus $18,102 for females. The per capita income for the city was $11,485. About 32.6% of families and 38.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 43.4% of those under age 18 and 30.5% of those age 65 or over.

Arts and cultureEdit

Each year in early October, Barbourville hosts the Daniel Boone Festival commemorating the American pioneer Daniel Boone who explored the area in 1775. The festival features open-air concerts, carnival attractions, a beauty pageant, a parade, and other events.[9]

Starting in 2005, the Southern and Eastern Kentucky Tourism Development Association began sponsoring the Springtime Redbud Festival. The first celebration was at Pine Mountain State Resort Park, near Barbourville, but the celebration is now held on the campus of Union College. The Redbud Festival, in April, began as a quilting workshop and now includes other crafts including storytelling, art shows, dulcimer workshops, and a cooking school.[10]

Voters in Barbourville have approved alcohol sales in the city. The measure won in a special election on Tuesday, December 29, 2015, by a little more than 60 votes after 82 years of prohibition since 1933. The approval comes three and a half years after voters rejected alcohol sales in another special election. The measure will allow alcohol sales in both stores and restaurants.[11]


Public schoolsEdit

Public schools are administered by Knox County Public Schools.[12] Schools in Barbourville include:

  • Central Elementary School
  • G. R. Hampton Elementary School
  • Jesse D. Lay Elementary School
  • Knox County Middle School
  • Knox Central High School
  • Dewit Elementary
  • Girdler Elementary
  • Flat Lick Elementary
  • Lynn Camp Schools

Independent schoolsEdit

The Barbourville Independent School District administers Barbourville Elementary School and Barbourville High School.[13]

Knox Appalachian SchoolEdit

The Knox Appalachian School is a public school serving the needs of the children committed to the Appalachian Children's Home.[14]

Notable peopleEdit


  1. ^ "Mayor & City Council". City of Barbourville. Retrieved June 15, 2014.
  2. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 9, 2017.
  3. ^ Historical Census Data Retrieved on 2010-06-21
  4. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 31, 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  5. ^ Collins, Lewis (1877). History of Kentucky. p. 455.
  6. ^ Commonwealth of Kentucky. Office of the Secretary of State. Land Office. "Barbourville, Kentucky". Accessed 15 July 2013.
  7. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Archived from the original on May 12, 2015. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  8. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on September 11, 2013. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  9. ^ "Daniel Boone Festival". Daniel Boone Festival. Retrieved June 15, 2014.
  10. ^ "Union College Redbud Festival of Appalacian Culture". Union College. Retrieved June 15, 2014.
  11. ^ "Voters Approve Alcohol Sales". WKYT. Retrieved December 18, 2015.
  12. ^ "Our Schools". Knox County Public Schools. Archived from the original on 2014-06-06. Retrieved June 15, 2014.
  13. ^ "Barbourville Indenpendent Schools". Barbourville Indenpendent Schools. Retrieved June 15, 2014.
  14. ^ "Knox Appalachian School". Knox Appalachian School. Archived from the original on 2014-06-06. Retrieved June 15, 2014.
  15. ^ Who Was Who in America, Historical Volume, 1607-1896. Chicago: Marquis Who's Who. 1963.

Further readingEdit

For a depiction of early Barbourville see: Michael A. Ross, "Hill Country Doctor: The Early Life and Career of Supreme Court Justice Samuel F. Miller in Kentucky, 1816–1849," The Filson History Quarterly, Vol. 71 (October 1997): 430-462.

External linksEdit