Wayne County courthouse in Monticello
"Houseboat Manufacturing Capital of the World"
Location of Monticello in Wayne County, Kentucky.
|Named for||Pres. Thomas Jefferson's Virginia home|
|• Mayor||Tracie Sexton|
|• Total||6.1 sq mi (15.7 km2)|
|• Land||6.1 sq mi (15.7 km2)|
|• Water||0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)|
|Elevation||922 ft (281 m)|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||984.3/sq mi (380.0/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-4 (EDT)|
|GNIS feature ID||0498514|
Monticello advertises itself as "The Houseboat Capital of the World" due to the large number of houseboat manufacturers in the city. The city sits next to Lake Cumberland, and much of its economy is built on serving the recreational and tourist traffic to the lake.
Max Wise of Campbellsville, Kentucky is the current Kentucky State Senator, representing District 16 which includes Wayne, Adair, Clinton, Cumberland, McCreary, Russell, and Taylor counties. The District 52 Kentucky House of Representatives seat is held by Ken Upchurch of Monticello. District 52 includes Wayne County, McCreary County, and part of Pulaski County.
Monticello is located at  According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 6.1 square miles (16 km2), all land. Monticello is located near the center of Wayne County at the intersection of state highways 92 and 90, on Elk Creek, a tributary of Beaver Creek, which flows westward into Lake Cumberland.(36.838194, -84.850022).
Monticello became the county seat when the Wayne County was formed in 1800. The first Wayne County clerk, Micah Taul, named the town after the home of Thomas Jefferson. Joshua Jones, a surveyor and Revolutionary War veteran, laid out the town on thirteen acres owned by William Beard. By 1810, the population was twenty-seven people.
An oil boom in Wayne County created an economic boost in the late 1800s. Drilling began in these local oil fields in the 1880s and was renewed in 1921-22.
Electricity was available in 1905 and city water in 1929. Manufacturing dominated the economy from the late 1950s and 1960s until the late 20th and early 21st century. In 1973, Belden Corporation (wire and cable) employed 300 people; Gamble Brothers (wood products) employed 161 people, Waterbury Garment (clothing) employed 271 people, and Monticello Manufacturing (clothing) employed 240 people. All four of these companies no longer do business in Monticello.
|U.S. Decennial Census|
As of the census of 2000, there were 5,981 people, 2,508 households, and 1,635 families residing in the city. The population density was 984.3 people per square mile (379.8/km²). There were 2,730 housing units at an average density of 449.3 per square mile (173.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 94.63% White, 2.42% African American, 0.40% Native American, 0.28% Asian, 1.34% from other races, and 0.92% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.96% of the population.
There were 2,508 households out of which 31.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.7% were married couples living together, 14.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.8% were non-families. 31.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.33 and the average family size was 2.91.
In the city, the population was spread out with 25.0% under the age of 18, 9.7% from 18 to 24, 25.9% from 25 to 44, 21.9% from 45 to 64, and 17.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 88.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.5 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $17,423, and the median income for a family was $24,460. Males had a median income of $28,638 versus $19,259 for females. The per capita income for the city was $11,855. About 29.2% of families and 34.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 39.9% of those under age 18 and 35.4% of those age 65 or over.
The first recorded school in Wayne County was opened about 1800 by Robert Ferrill, a well-educated wheelwright who had a few good books. Monticello’s first school was opened in 1807 by Rodes Garth who taught, “Roman history, the Scriptures, orthography, and pronunciation.” In 1819, Yale graduate, John S. Frisbie, began a school with Michael Huffaker as the first teacher of record. The Monticello Academy was established in 1830 with John Lankford as the headmaster, followed by Professor Mullins, and later William Burton. In 1843, under the guidance of Commissioners Micajah Phillips, John Rousseau, Martin Beaty, and Francis Goddard, the county voted and ratified to organize into common school districts. The first Examiners for receiving a teaching certificate were physician Jonathan S. Frisbie, lawyer John Lankford, and teacher Littleton Beard. By 1842 there were 16 school houses in Wayne County, three listed within several miles of Monticello. Teachers at these schools before the Civil War include Amanda McGee, William and Thomas Simpson, Joseph Ballou, and Marcellus Baugh. In these early schools, textbooks were reportedly scarce, but included Dilworth's Spelling Book, Murray's English Reader and English Grammar, and later, Noble Butler’s Goodrich Readers and Grammar, and the McGuffey's Readers. The first school superintendent of Wayne County was Robert McBeath, a “member of a family noted for their intellectual qualities.” Robert’s son, Tom McBeath moved on to be President of Florida State University. In 1866, following the Civil War, the Kendrick Academy opened in Monticello with Milton Elliott as Principal. Teachers in Monticello in the 1860s and 70s include Marion Huffaker, Marshall Stone, and Ala Shearer. Ones in the 1880s and 90s include Lucy and Amanda Taylor, Sallie and Eula Kendrick, Emma Kelley, Fount Cooper, William Sandusky, Tobias Huffaker, and Mollie Denny, who became the Wayne county superintendent. In 1879, a girl’s school was opened by Roxie Buchanan, followed by William Bradshaw, and in 1885 W.T. Chaffin opened a Classical High School with teachers T. Leigh Thompson, T. C. Job, and Georgia Brock, and about 1890 added kindergarten and primary schools with teachers Ms. Oakley and Graves. Successive Principals at the school up until the close of the nineteenth century were, W. T. Chafin, T. Leigh Thompson, Prof. H. C. Jones, Hayden Grubbs, Professor Chafin again, and finally Mr. Ballard.
From 1900 until 2013 Monticello had its own school district independent of the surrounding Wayne County Schools. It was one of the smallest public school districts in Kentucky, averaging fewer than 600 students in grades K through 12. Monticello High School boys and girls basketball teams, nicknamed the Trojans and Lady Trojans, were notable, having participated in several Kentucky High School Athletic Association state tournaments, and produced numerous All-State players. The 1915 boys team was undefeated and claimed the state championship. The 1921 team was coached Hall of Fame Coach Edgar Diddle, who led them to the state tournament semi-finals. From 1957 until 1980, the Trojans were coached by KHSAA Hall of Fame coach Joe Harper who led them to seven district championships, six regional titles, and to the state championship game in 1960. The school district became insolvent in 2013 and was forced to consolidate with the larger Wayne County School system. The school is now an elementary school within the Wayne County School system.
- Louise Slaughter, US Congresswoman
- Martin Massengale, President of the University of Nebraska System (1989-1994)
- Kevin Denney, American country music artist
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|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Monticello (Kentucky).|