Bardstown Historic District
|Nickname(s): Bourbon Capital of the World|
Location of Bardstown within Kentucky
|Established||Bard's Town, 1780|
|• Mayor||Bill Sheckles|
|• Total||7.4 sq mi (19 km2)|
|• Land||7.3 sq mi (19 km2)|
|• Water||0.1 sq mi (0.3 km2)|
|Elevation||646 ft (197 m)|
|• Density||1,577.9/sq mi (609.2/km2)|
|Time zone||EST (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
|GNIS feature ID||0486333|
Bardstown is a 4th-class city in Nelson County, Kentucky, in the United States. The population was recorded as 11,700 by the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Nelson County. It is named for the pioneering Bard brothers – David, who obtained a 1,000 acres (400 ha) land grant in what was then Jefferson County, Virginia from Governor Patrick Henry, and William, who surveyed and platted the town – but was originally chartered as Baird's Town.
First settled in 1780, Bardstown is the second oldest city in Kentucky. Named county seat of the newly created Nelson County, Virginia (now Kentucky) in 1784, the town was formally established in 1788, and was incorporated by the state assembly in 1838.
Reflecting the westward migration of Americans after the Revolutionary War, Bardstown was the first center of Catholicism west of the Appalachian Mountains in the original territory of the United States. The Diocese of Bardstown was established on February 8, 1808, to serve all Catholics between the Appalachians and the Mississippi River, an area now served by 44 dioceses and archdioceses in 10 states. Its cathedral is the Basilica of Saint Joseph Proto-Cathedral. The seat of the diocese was transferred to Louisville in 1841. Bardstown has a Catholic high school, Bethlehem High School.
The Old Talbott Tavern, built in 1779 and located just off the Courthouse Square in the center of Bardstown, is part of the city's rich history. Several notable Americans passed through the tavern's doors, including Daniel Boone and Abraham Lincoln. Bullet holes in an upstairs wall are reputed to have been shot by Jesse James. People claim to have encountered ghosts or other paranormal activity at the tavern.
Bardstown is the site My Old Kentucky Home State Park. On their plantation, Judge John Rowan and his wife Ann Lytle Rowan built "Federal Hill," the mansion that is alleged to have inspired his cousin Stephen Foster to write the song "My Old Kentucky Home." Federal Hill is depicted on the reverse of the Kentucky state quarter issued by the United States Mint in 2002.
Several distilleries operate in and around the Bardstown area. They include Jim Beam, Heaven Hill, and Maker's Mark, which is located in nearby Loretto. The regional production of bourbon is celebrated by the annual Kentucky Bourbon Festival, whose promoters have trademarked the phrase, Bourbon Capital of the World, to apply exclusively to Bardstown. The local tourism commission promotes the use of the trademarked phrase. A public museum, the Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey, showcases this aspect of local history.
In 2012, Bardstown was voted as "The Most Beautiful Small Town in America" in the Destination Marketing Association International's "Best of the Road" competition.
Bardstown is located at (32.705033, -97.122839).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 7.4 square miles (19.2 km2), all but 0.1 square miles (0.3 km2) of which is land.
The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Bardstown has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.
|U.S Census Bureau|
Bardstown, along with the rest of Nelson County, is part of the Louisville Metropolitan Statistical Area.
As of the census of 2010, there were 11,700 people, 4,712 households, and 2,949 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,577.9 per square mile (609.2 /km2). There were 5,113 housing units at an average density of 689.5 per square mile (266.2 /km2). The racial makeup of the city was 82.31% White (80.79% non-Hispanic), 12.39% African American, 0.21% Native American, 0.75% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 1.56% from other races, and 2.78% from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 3.71% of the population.
There were 4,712 households out of which 32.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 37.3% were married couples living together, 19.5% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.9% had a male householder with no wife present, and 37.4% were non-families. 31.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.42 and the average family size was 3.01.
The age distribution was 27.7% under 18, 8.8% from 18 to 24, 27.1% from 25 to 44, 24.2% from 45 to 64, and 12.2% who were 65 or older. The median age was 34.0 years. For every 100 females there were 88.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.3 males.
As of the 2010 Census, the median income for a household in the city was $50,046, and the median income for a family was $60,609. Full-time male workers had a median income of $46,500 versus $36,551 for females. The per capita income for the city was $26,059. About 11.3% of families and 15.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.6% of those under age 18 and 9.0% of those age 65 or over.
As of the census of 2000, there were 10,374 people, 4,195 households, and 2,701 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,445.3 per square mile (558.0 /km2). There were 4,488 housing units at an average density of 625.3 per square mile (241.4 /km2). The racial makeup of the city was 82.11% White, 15.07% African American, 0.13% Native American, 0.94% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.67% from other races, and 1.07% from two or more races. Hispanic and Latino of any race were 1.38% of the population.
There were 4,195 households out of which 34.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.7% were married couples living together, 17.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.6% were non-families. 31.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.40 and the average family size was 3.00.
In the city the population was spread out with 27.7% under 18, 9.8% from 18 to 24, 29.8% from 25 to 44, 19.7% from 45 to 64, and 12.9% who were 65 or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 87.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.6 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $31,497, and the median income for a family was $41,065. Males had a median income of $31,850 versus $20,537 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,681. About 14.6% of families and 17.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 25.6% of those under age 18 and 15.8% of those age 65 or over.
The Bluegrass Parkway is a limited-access highway that passes just south of Bardstown. A part of the Kentucky parkway system, the highway was formerly a toll road, but tolls were removed in 1991 after its construction bonds had been paid off.
Corman also operates My Old Kentucky Dinner Train, a short-route passenger train specializing in dinner service. It travels the line from the historic Bardstown depot to Clermont and back.
Attractions and events
- The Civil War Museum in Bardstown is the fourth-largest Civil War museum in the country.
- The Kentucky Bourbon Festival celebrates Bardstown's history in the production of bourbon. It was designated Kentucky's official bourbon festival by the Kentucky General Assembly in 2000.
- My Old Kentucky Home State Park, site of the mansion that inspired Kentucky's state song, "My Old Kentucky Home."
- Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey celebrates Bardstown's history in the production of whiskey.
- "Stephen Foster - The Musical" an outdoor musical about Stephen Foster, composer of "My Old Kentucky Home." It was designated Kentucky's official outdoor musical by the Kentucky General Assembly in 2002.
- The Greene County Sport Parachute Center west of Bardstown was one of the oldest continually operating drop zones in the United States, existing from 1968 through July 15, 2007, when the lease for the land was not renewed. The primary jump plane was a 1955 DHC-2 Beaver, which held 8 jumpers at a time.
- Wickland, a private residence that has been the home of three Governors of Kentucky and is open to the public for tours.
- A memorial to steamboat inventor John Fitch stands in Courthouse Square, which includes a replica of his first steamboat.
Almost all of the city is served by the Bardstown City Schools; the district also includes significant portions of the built-up area outside the city limits. Brent A. Holsclaw is the Superintendent of Schools.
The school district includes an Early Childhood Education Center, Primary School, Elementary School, Middle School and High School.
Some of the city is instead served by the surrounding Nelson County School District.
- Marie Mattingly Meloney, journalist
- Hal Moore, retired U.S. Army Lieutenant General. Co-author of We Were Soldiers Once… And Young
In popular culture
Bardstown provides much of the setting for the post-Apocalyptic novel First Angel by Ed Mann. Published in 1989, the novel tells of life after a large-scale nuclear attack in the United States and how a flood of refugees complicate survival in Nelson County. The Kentucky National Guard armory, school, courthouse and other buildings are mentioned throughout the book.
- Kentucky Atlas and Gazeteer - Bardstown
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
- Commonwealth of Kentucky. Office of the Secretary of State. Land Office. "Bardstown, Kentucky". Accessed 15 Jul 2013.
- "History of Bardstown steeped in bourbon", Courier Journal, 4 April 2007
- "History of Bardstown steeped in bourbon", Courier Journal, 4 April 2007
- Jay P. Dolan, The American Catholic Experience: A History from Colonial Times to the Present (Notre Dame, Indiana: Notre Dame University Press, 1992), pp. 119, 160-61.
- Dolan, American Catholic Experience, p. 161.
- Old Talbott Tavern, Discoverourtown.com
- "History", Old Talbott Tavern
- Kentucky Bourbon Festival web site.
- Bardstown Tourism Commission web site.
- Bardstown, Ky. named 'Most Beautiful Small Town' | WHAS11.com Louisville
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- Climate Summary for Bardstown, Kentucky
- U.S. Census Bureau Retrieved on May 12, 2011
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-05-14.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "Bardstown, Kentucky - Civil War Attractions". Visitbardstown.com. Archived from the original on 27 June 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-13.
- Kentucky State Symbols[dead link]
- Stephen Foster web site
- "Bardstown City Schools Boundary". Kentucky Department of Revenue. Retrieved July 19, 2012. Compare with the current city limits of Bardstown from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.
- "Bardstown City Schools". Bardstown City Schools. Retrieved 2012-06-15.
- Mann, Ed (1988). First Angel. New York, New York: The Omega Group, LTD. ISBN 0-812-51229-4.