Letcher County, Kentucky
|Letcher County, Kentucky|
Letcher County courthouse in Whitesburg, Kentucky
Location in the state of Kentucky
Kentucky's location in the U.S.
|Named for||Robert P. Letcher, Governor of Kentucky (1840–1844).|
339.12 sq mi (878 km²)
339.04 sq mi (878 km²)
0.07 sq mi (0 km²), 0.02%
72/sq mi (28/km²)
|Time zone||Eastern: UTC-5/-4|
Letcher County is a county located in the U.S. state of Kentucky. As of 2010, the population was 24,519, a decrease of 3.0% from the 2000 census. Its county seat is Whitesburg, population 1,600. The county, founded in 1842, is named for Robert P. Letcher, Governor of Kentucky from 1840-1844.
The killing of filmmaker Hugh O'Connor by a local landowner in 1967 brought Letcher County to national attention.
According to the 2000 census, the county has a total area of 339.12 square miles (878.3 km2), of which 339.04 square miles (878.1 km2) (or 99.98%) is land and 0.07 square miles (0.18 km2) (or 0.02%) is water. Letcher County's natural areas include Bad Branch Falls and the Lilley Cornett Woods.
Adjacent counties 
- Knott County (northwest)
- Pike County (northeast)
- Wise County, Virginia (southeast)
- Harlan County (south)
- Perry County (southwest)
National protected area 
- Jefferson National Forest (part)
Pioneer Horse Trail controversy 
In an effort to bring tourists to Letcher County and to revitalize the local economy, the Pioneer Horse Trail is currently under construction on Pine Mountain. The trail, part of an "adventure tourism" initiative spearheaded by Governor Steve Beshear, Beshear's wife Jane, and Lieutenant Governor Daniel Mongiardo, is scheduled for completion in the spring of 2009.
However, controversy has arisen about whether or not the environment would be harmed during construction. In the summer of 2008, the Letcher County Fiscal Court had signed an agreement with state officials stating that the county would do an environmental impact study before construction would begin. Documents obtained by the Lexington Herald-Leader under Kentucky's Open Records Act showed that construction actually began before the study was to take place. County-owned bulldozers started clearing trees in part of a wildlife management area in which heavy equipment was not permitted. Environmental groups are asking the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to determine if any species on the threatened or endangered list were harmed. Because of the environmental impact studies, construction has been halted for the time being.
Two public school districts operate in the county.
Letcher County Public Schools 
||This sectionion needs additional citations for verification. (January 2011)|
Most K-12 students in the county, with the exception of those living in the far eastern part of the county surrounding Jenkins, are served by the Letcher County Public Schools. The district operates nine elementary/middle schools, one vocational school, one high school, and an alternative education center.
In 2005, the doors to the new Letcher County Central High School were opened in Ermine (the school's postal address, however, is in Whitesburg), with total costs of over $25,000,000. The school's nickname is the Cougars, and the school colors are blue, black, and silver. The school volleyball team has been to the state tournament every year since its creation and the wrestling team has had multiple regional champions. The baseball team has claimed two region tiles in 2007 and 2011, with one state tournament appearance and one semi-state appearance. The baseball team has been lead by the 14th region coach of the year, Bryan Dean, since its creation. a The boys Cross Country team has had 3 region championships and an individual region champion. The Girls basketball team made a State sweet sixteen appearance.
Jenkins Independent Schools 
Students in the Jenkins area are served by the Jenkins Independent Schools, which operates two elementary schools (located on two campuses in the communities of McRoberts and Burdine) and a combined middle and high school with grades 7-12. Jenkins Independent Schools will be entering its 100th year in 2012. The middle/high school's athletic nickname is the Cavaliers/Lady Cavaliers. The school colors are Kelly Green and White.
There are two Public-access television cable TV channels that serve Letcher County. The Letcher County Government Channel is Government-access television (GATV), operated by the Letcher County Fiscal Court and airs government meetings, local events, and emergency information. LCPS-TV is operated by the Letcher County Public Schools and airs school announcements, events, and Educational access television programs.
Letcher County Community News-Press
- Whitesburg's July 4th Celebration, is a free event held on the Fourth of July at Parkway Plaza shopping center. The event includes free music, entertainment, fireworks and fun.
- In Whitesburg: Riverside Days, a three-day annual festival held at Riverside Park.
- Whitesburg Labor Day Celebration, a one-day festival held in Riverside Park on Labor Day Monday. It features food, as well as free music, entertainment and inflatables for the kids.
- The Mountain Heritage Festival is held during the last full week of September.
- In Jenkins, Jenkins Homecoming Days are also celebrated annually in August.
- The Heritage 2KX Minitruck Show, the largest Modern Customs show in the state of Kentucky, is held every weekend after Labor Day and is one of the largest three events in the county every year. Several thousand spectators travel from all across the Eastern United States to attend this national event.
As of the census of 2000, there were 25,277 people, 10,085 households, and 7,462 families residing in the county. The population density was 75 per square mile (29 /km2). There were 11,405 housing units at an average density of 34 per square mile (13 /km2). The racial makeup of the county was 98.71% White, 0.51% Black or African American, 0.10% Native American, 0.28% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.03% from other races, and 0.35% from two or more races. 0.44% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 10,085 households out of which 32.30% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.40% were married couples living together, 11.50% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.00% were non-families. 24.10% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.10% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.48 and the average family size was 2.94.
The age distribution was 23.70% under the age of 18, 9.20% from 18 to 24, 28.70% from 25 to 44, 25.80% from 45 to 64, and 12.60% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 95.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.10 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $21,110, and the median income for a family was $24,869. Males had a median income of $30,488 versus $17,902 for females. The per capita income for the county was $11,984. About 23.70% of families and 27.10% of the population were below the poverty line, including 35.90% of those under age 18 and 21.20% of those age 65 or over.
Cities and towns 
- Beefhide (partial)
- Payne Gap
Notable residents 
- Harry M. Caudill (1922–1990), author, historian, professor, lawyer, legislator, and environmentalist
- Emery L. Frazier (Mayor, state representative, Chief Clerk of the U.S. Senate, Secretary of the U.S. Senate, 1896–1973)
- Gary Stewart (Country music singer and musician, 1944–2003)
- Martha Carson (Country/gospel music singer, 1920–2004)
- Lee Sexton (Country, bluegrass, old-time musician)
- Tom Gish, died 2008, publisher of the Mountain Eagle in Whitesburg, grew up in the county
- Francis Gary Powers (August 17, 1929 – August 1, 1977) was an American pilot whose CIA U-2 spy plane was shot down while over the Soviet Union, causing the 1960 U-2 incident.
See also 
- Caudill, Harry M., Author of Night Comes to the Cumberlands (1963). ISBN 0-316-13212-8
- National Register of Historic Places listings in Letcher County, Kentucky
Notes and references 
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
- "Wet & Dry Counties in Kentucky" (PDF). Kentucky Office of Alcoholic Beverage Control. 2005-08-19. Archived from the original on 2007-03-15. Retrieved 2007-03-17.
- "Census 2000 U.S. Gazetteer Files: Counties". United States Census. Retrieved 2011-02-13.
- Mead, Andy (2008-12-26). "Horse trail in trouble from start". Lexington Herald-Leader. Retrieved 2008-12-26.
- "Environmental Group Asks For Investigation". WYMT-TV. 2008-12-26. Retrieved 2008-12-27.
- Jenkins Elementary School Retrieved on December 21, 2008.
- Conroy, Marcus (4 July 2010). "Local County Channel becoming popular". WYMT-TV. Retrieved 4 July 2010.
- "LCPS-TV Information". Letcher County Public Schools. Retrieved 4 July 2010.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "Letcher County KY Cities, Towns, Neighborhoods". KY HomeTownLocator. Retrieved 7 April 2013.
- Official Letcher County government website
- Official Letcher County Tourism site
- Letcher County Public Schools
- Jenkins Independent Schools
- Letcher County Library District
- The Kentucky Highlands Project
- Riverside Days Festival - Whitesburg, Kentucky
- Letcher County genealogy
- Heritage 2KX Minitruck Show
- National Geographic Magazine (ZipUSA article)[dead link]
- Letcher County: Head of Three Rivers Water Quality Project
- Letcher County Central High School[dead link]
- Letcher County Area Technology Center[dead link]
- Whitesburg Weather
- Whitesburg Masonic Lodge # 754
- Letcher County Chamber of Commerce