Laurel County, Kentucky
|Laurel County, Kentucky|
Laurel County courthouse in London, Kentucky
Location in the state of Kentucky
Kentucky's location in the U.S.
|Named for||Mountain laurel trees that are prominent in the area|
|• Total||443.74 sq mi (1,149 km2)|
|• Land||435.67 sq mi (1,128 km2)|
|• Water||8.07 sq mi (21 km2), 1.82%|
|• Density||135/sq mi (52/km²)|
|Time zone||Eastern: UTC-5/-4|
The London Micropolitan Statistical Area includes all of Laurel County.
Laurel County is a limited dry county, meaning that sale of alcohol in the county is prohibited except in certain areas as voted on by the residents of the area. In the case of Laurel County, by-the-drink alcohol sales is permitted only in restaurants in the city of London seating at least 100 diners and derive at least 70% of their total sales from food.
According to the 2000 census, the county has a total area of 443.74 square miles (1,149.3 km2), of which 435.67 square miles (1,128.4 km2) (or 98.18%) is land and 8.07 square miles (20.9 km2) (or 1.82%) is water. Part of Laurel River Lake is in Laurel County.
- Jackson County (northeast)
- Clay County (east)
- Knox County (southeast)
- Whitley County (south)
- McCreary County (southwest)
- Pulaski County (west)
- Rockcastle County (northwest)
National protected area
- Daniel Boone National Forest (part)
Laurel County, the 80th county to be organized in Kentucky, was established by an act of the general assembly, December 12, 1825, from parts of Rockcastle, Clay, Knox and Whitley Counties. Laurel County was named for the dense laurel thickets prevalent in the area.
Laurel County is home to the Battle of Wildcat Mountain, a pivotal yet little known battle during the American Civil War that kept Confederate armies from advancing on Big Hill, a major stronghold during the war.
After a fire damaged the courthouse in 1958, a new structure was completed in 1961.
The first Kentucky Fried Chicken was started in Laurel County in Colonel Harland Sanders hometown of North Corbin. Due to the history of chicken in the county, The World Chicken Festival is celebrated every year in Laurel County, drawing crowds of up to 250,000 people over the four-day festival.
As of the census of 2000, there were 52,715 people, 20,353 households, and 15,366 families residing in the county. The population density was 121 per square mile (47 /km2). There were 22,317 housing units at an average density of 51 per square mile (20 /km2). The racial makeup of the county was 95.66% White, 1.63% Black or African American, 0.37% Native American, 0.35% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.08% from other races, and 0.90% from two or more races. 0.55% of the population were Hispanics or Latinos of any race.
There were 20,353 households out of which 35.20% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.60% were married couples living together, 11.40% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.50% were non-families. 21.70% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.20% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.56 and the average family size was 2.97.
The age distribution was 25.40% under 18, 9.20% from 18 to 24, 30.40% from 25 to 44, 23.50% from 45 to 64, and 11.50% who were 65 or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 95.60 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.80 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $27,015, and the median income for a family was $31,318. Males had a median income of $27,965 versus $19,757 for females. The per capita income for the county was $14,165. About 17.80% of families and 21.30% of the population were below the poverty line, including 28.80% of those under age 18 and 20.10% of those age 65 or over.
Cities and towns
Two public school districts serve K-12 students in the county:
- Laurel County School District — Operates one preschool, 11 elementary schools, two middle schools, and two high schools.
- East Bernstadt Independent School District — Operates a single K-8 school. High school students in the district may attend either high school in the Laurel County district.
Nationally bestselling author Silas House was raised in Laurel County and currently lives in Madison County,in the city of Berea. Former University of Kentucky basketball star Jeff Sheppard, the Most Outstanding Player of the 1998 NCAA Tournament who briefly played in the NBA, now lives in London.
Laurel County is home to Chera-Lyn Cook, the first young woman from Southeast Kentucky to win the title of Miss Kentucky. Cook was talent winner and 4th runner-up to Miss America 1999. Cook was recognized by the Joint Sessions of the Kentucky Legislature for volunteer work with at-risk youth and was the Kentucky School Psychologist of the Year in 2004. Her platform issue at Miss America, Children's Miracle Network, was later adopted by the Miss America Scholarship Organization as a national platform. She was also commissioned a Goodwill Ambassador for the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
- "Census 2000 U.S. Gazetteer Files: Counties". United States Census. Retrieved 2011-02-13.
- The Register of the Kentucky State Historical Society, Volume 1. Kentucky State Historical Society. 1903. p. 35.
- Hogan, Roseann Reinemuth (1992). "Kentucky Ancestry: A Guide to Genealogical and Historical Research". Ancestry Publishing. p. 266. Retrieved 26 July 2013.
- "U.S. Decennial Census". Census.gov. Retrieved August 5, 2013.
- "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012". Census.gov. Retrieved August 5, 2013.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Laurel County, Kentucky.|
- Laurel County Event Calendar
- Laurel County History Museum & Genealogy Center
- World Chicken Festival
- Laurel County Tourism
- Levi Jackson Wilderness Road State Park
- The Kentucky Highlands Project