Muhlenberg County, Kentucky
Muhlenberg County Courthouse in Greenville
Location within the U.S. state of Kentucky
Kentucky's location within the U.S.
|Named for||Peter Muhlenberg|
|Largest city||Central City|
|• Total||479 sq mi (1,240 km2)|
|• Land||467 sq mi (1,210 km2)|
|• Water||12 sq mi (30 km2) 2.6%%|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||67/sq mi (26/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−6 (Central)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−5 (CDT)|
- 1 History
- 2 Geography
- 3 Demographics
- 4 Economy
- 5 Education
- 6 Media
- 7 Sites of interest
- 8 Annual events
- 9 Politics
- 10 Communities
- 11 Notable people
- 12 See also
- 13 References
- 14 External links
Muhlenberg County was formed in 1798 from the areas known as Logan and Christian counties. Muhlenberg was the 34th county to be founded in Kentucky. Muhlenberg was named after General Peter Muhlenberg, who was a colonial general during the American Revolutionary War.
The two primary aquatic features of Muhlenberg County are the Green River and Lake Malone. The northern area of the county's geography includes gently rolling hills, river flatlands, and some sizeable bald cypress swamps along Cypress Creek and its tributaries. The southern portion consists of rolling hills with higher relief. The southern part of the county is dotted with deep gorges. This area is known for many sandstone formations. Several north-south-oriented faults cross the county's midpoint. Coal is found in these faults, across the county's central part. Most remaining deposits reside deep underground; previous near-surface deposits have now been exhausted. In former years, it was common to see machines such as the "Big Brother" Power Shovel (pictured on the right) throughout the county. During the 1970s and early 1980s, Muhlenberg County was the state leader in coal production and sometimes the top coal producer in the United States. This was the subject of the song "Paradise" by John Prine.
Sandstone is the county's most abundant rock type, although limestone becomes more common toward the southern area of the county. Two mines for extracting iron ore have been attempted, at Old Airdrie on the banks of the Green River, and at Buckner Furnace south of Greenville, Kentucky. Both iron ore mines were extant in the late 19th century and early 20th century; neither were successful.
The 300 miles (483 km)-long Green River is a tributary of the Ohio River. It provides a commercial outlet for goods (primarily coal) to be shipped from the county to the major trade centers along the Mississippi River.
Lake Malone (788 acres (3.19 km2)) is in southern Muhlenberg County near Dunmor. It, and a portion of the surrounding hardwood forest, form Lake Malone State Park, maintained by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife. The lake's surface extends into two neighboring counties, Todd and Logan. There are sandstone cliffs and natural sandstone formations along the lake shore including a natural bridge, although the bridge itself is not inside the park boundary.
- McLean County (north)
- Ohio County (northeast)
- Butler County (east)
- Logan County (southeast)
- Todd County (south)
- Christian County (southwest)
- Hopkins County (west)
|U.S. Decennial Census|
As of the census of 2010, there were 31,499 people, 12,979 households, and 9,057 families residing in the county. The population density was 67 per square mile (26/km2). There were 13,675 housing units at an average density of 29 per square mile (11/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 94.19% White, 4.65% Black or African American, 0.13% Native American, 0.13% Asian, 0.19% from other races, and 0.72% from two or more races. 0.73% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 12,979 households out of which 30.70% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.70% were married couples living together, 10.40% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.70% were non-families. 24.30% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.60% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.45 and the average family size was 2.90.
In the county, the population was spread out with 22.60% under the age of 18, 9.20% from 18 to 24, 28.00% from 25 to 44, 24.80% from 45 to 64, and 15.50% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 98.00 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.20 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $28,566, and the median income for a family was $33,513. Males had a median income of $29,952 versus $18,485 for females. The per capita income for the county was $14,798. About 15.50% of families and 19.70% of the population were below the poverty line, including 26.00% of those under age 18 and 17.00% of those age 65 or over.
Muhlenberg County has been a major coal-producing region for the United States for many years; during most of the 1970s, Muhlenberg County annually produced more coal than anywhere else in the world. Although coal mining in the county waned in the late 1980s and early 1990s, as the 21st century began, the coal-mining industry in Muhlenberg and surrounding counties began to expand and has once again provided a significant number of jobs in the region. One reason for this is the willingness of utility operators to install flue gas cleaning systems so that bituminous coal can be burned with fewer airborne contaminants. Another reason is that most coal from the western US has a lower BTU content.
Muhlenberg County held Kentucky's first commercial coal mine, opened in 1820 as the "McLean Drift Bank" along the Green River in the former village of Paradise. The mine and its impact on the community are referenced in the John Prine song "Paradise". Other major employers in Muhlenberg County include:
- The Tennessee Valley Authority Paradise Fossil Plant in Drakesboro
- The Green River Correctional Complex in Central City
- Dyno Nobel in Graham
- EBA&D in Graham
- Muhlenberg Community Hospital in Greenville
- Muhlenberg County Board of Education in Powderly
- Kentucky National Guard Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center & Kentucky UTES
- Armstrong Coal Company in Central City
- Ken-American Resources: Paradise Underground Mine in Central City
- Kentucky Utilities Green River Generating Station in Central City
- Wal-Mart in Central City.
- Uncle Lee's / Wing Supply in Greenville, Kentucky
- Gourmet Express in Greenville
Chamber of commerce
Peabody Energy's proposed Thoroughbred Energy Plant, a coal-burning power generation facility expected to bring 450 permanent jobs to the area, was to be located in Central City. The plant was projected to begin electricity generation in 2007, but a dispute over Peabody's air quality permit halted construction plans. The power plant plans have now been scrapped, as was a later partnership between Peabody Energy and ConocoPhillips Oil Company called, "Kentucky NewGas".
Public schools in Muhlenberg County are operated by the Muhlenberg County Board of Education. They include:
- Bremen Elementary School in Bremen
- Central City Elementary School in Central City
- Greenville Elementary School in Greenville
- Longest Elementary School in Powderly
- Muhlenberg South Elementary School in Beechmont
- Muhlenberg County High School (split into two campuses)
- Muhlenberg Campus of Madisonville Community College (Central City)
- Muhlenberg Career Development Center (between Central City & Greenville)
- Drakesboro Elementary School in Drakesboro (closed in 2006)
- Graham Elementary School in Graham (closed in 2004)
- Hughes-Kirkpatrick Elementary School in Beechmont (closed in 2006)
- Lake Malone Elementary School in Dunmor (closed in 2005)
- Muhlenberg North High School (closed in 2009)
- Muhlenberg South High School (closed in 2009)
- Harbin Memorial Library in Greenville is a public library, with free access to high-speed internet
- Central City Library in Central City is a public library, with free access to high-speed internet.
These libraries are operated as Muhlenberg County Library.
History of education
At one time the county hosted eight secondary schools. Drakesboro Community closed after the class of 1964 graduated and in 1990, the school board consolidated the middle and high school students into two middle and two high schools. Bremen High School, Central City High School, Graham High School, and half of Muhlenberg Central High School became Muhlenberg North Middle School and Muhlenberg North High School, while the other half of Muhlenberg Central High School, Drakesboro High School, Hughes-Kirkpatrick High School, Greenville High School, and Lake Malone School (which housed some middle school students) became Muhlenberg South Middle School and Muhlenberg South High School. The eight distinct schools continued to house elementary school students.
In 2004, the school board began consolidating the elementary schools, closing Graham Elementary School and transferring students to Longest Elementary Greenville Elementary Schools; closing Lake Malone School and transferring students to Hughes-Kirkpatrick Elementary School. In 2005 Drakesboro Elementary School was closed, with students first attending Hughes-Kirkpatrick Elementary and then Muhlenberg South Elementary School (2006). Hughes-Kirkpatrick was later closed.
Muhlenberg North and Muhlenberg South High Schools were merged into a single Muhlenberg County High School in June 2009.
- WMTA AM 1380 Radio (1955) Central City
- WNES AM 1050 Radio (1955) Central City
- Times Argus (1909) Central City
- Leader-News established in Greenville, now located in Central City
- SurfKY News (2008). Based in Madisonville, this online news service serves Muhlenberg County and surrounding counties.
- WKYA FM 105.5 Radio Greenville
- WQXQ FM 101.9 Radio studio in Central City, transmitter at Pleasant Ridge, Kentucky in Ohio County
Sites of interest
- Lake Malone State Park in Dunmor
- Muhlenberg County Rail to Trails, 6-mile (9.7 km) converted railroad track between Central City and Greenville
- Brewco Motorsports shop in Central City
- Thistle Cottage, a museum and art gallery in Greenville (now part of Muhlenberg County Public Libraries)
- Four Legends Fountain in Drakesboro
- Muhlenberg County Agriculture and Convention Center in Powderly
- Morgan Memorial Park in Greenville
- The Muhlenberg County Park, a sports facility adjacent to the Muhlenberg County High School west campus in Greenville
- The Brizendine Brothers Nature Park in Greenville
- Luzerne Lake City Park in Greenville
- Paradise Park in Powderly, includes:
- Coal Mines Shotgun House
- Merle Travis Birthplace
- Paradise Park Museum
- Springridge School
- Tennessee Valley Authority Paradise Fossil Plant in Drakesboro, one of the nation's largest Coal-Fired Power Plants. Site includes:
Central City Convention Center, Fitness Facility and Outdoor Pool & Spray Park in Central City
- Muhlenberg County Courthouse (1907) in Greenville
- Muhlenberg County Veterans Mall and Plaza in Greenville
- Lt. Ephraim Brank Memorial & Trail, at Greenville's Veteran's Mall
- The Pillars of Community have enhanced the beauty of downtown Greenvile by adding "Art to Restoration". The locations include:
- FAITH – United Methodist Church on North Main Street
- FAMILY – Across from the MCTI Theater on North Main Street
- ENTERPRISE – Between Edward Jones Investments & 1st KY Bank
- PATRIOTISM – At the United States Post Office on Courts Street
- EDUCATION – In front of Greenville Elementary School on East Main Cross
- ARTS – In front of Thistle Cottage on Cherry Street
- HEALTH – In front of Muhlenberg Community Hospital
- TEAMWORK – At Martin Ground along East Main Cross
- Historic Gristmill Stone, adjacent to the Veterans Mall at the Muhlenberg County Courthouse
- The Summerhouse, a gazebo in Greenville
- Rods and Ribs BBQ Festival in Central City the first Saturday in June
- Labor Day Cruise-In in Central City
- Saturdays on the Square - summers in Greenville
- Squash & Gobble arts bazaar and fall festival - Greenville
- The "Clodhopper" Vintage Tractor Show - Greenville.
Other unincorporated places
- James Best (Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane of the Dukes of Hazzard), born in Powderly
- Don Everly of The Everly Brothers singing duo, born in now-defunct Brownie, near Central City
- Harpe Brothers, Micajah and Wiley, America's first known serial-killers
- Kennedy Jones, guitarist
- Warren Oates, actor, born in Depoy near Greenville
- Merle Travis, western musician, born in Rosewood
- Roger Newman, University of Kentucky men's basketball player, born in Greenville 
- Benjamin Tod (Lost Dog Street Band), singer and songwriter
- John Prine wrote the song Paradise from his first self-titled album about growing up in Muhlenberg County in the now defunct mining down of Paradise. The song has become a folk music staple since then.
- "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on June 7, 2011. Retrieved March 6, 2014.
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 31, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
- "Welcome - Muhlenberg County, Kentucky". www.muhlenbergcounty.ky.gov. Archived from the original on February 18, 2013.
- Collins, Lewis (1882). Collins' Historical Sketches of Kentucky: History of Kentucky, Volume 2. Collins & Co. p. 26.
- The Register of the Kentucky State Historical Society, Vol. 1. Kentucky State Historical Society. 1903. p. 36.
- "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Archived from the original on August 12, 2014. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
- "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Archived from the original on May 29, 2017. Retrieved July 29, 2019.
- "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on April 26, 2015. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
- "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Archived from the original on August 11, 2012. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
- "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on October 13, 2014. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
- "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Archived (PDF) from the original on December 18, 2014. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on September 11, 2013. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
- "Major Employers in Muhlenberg County Kentucky". mafp.us. Archived from the original on May 2, 2014.
- Greater Muhlenberg Chamber of Commerce - Message from the President Archived May 24, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
- Peabody Archived July 18, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
- "News Releases". phx.corporate-ir.net.
- Bruggers, James (August 8, 2007). "Ruling delays power plant in Western Ky". The Courier-Journal. Archived from the original on July 29, 2012. Retrieved August 8, 2007.
- "Kentucky NewGas — zeroco2". www.zeroco2.no. Archived from the original on May 8, 2015.
- Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Archived from the original on March 23, 2018.
- The leading "other" candidate, Progressive Theodore Roosevelt, received 1,699 votes, while Socialist candidate Eugene Debs received 766 votes.
- Kentucky basketball roster for 1960-61, http://www.bigbluehistory.net/bb/Statistics/roster1960-61.html
- Muhlenberg County Schools
- Greater Muhlenberg Chamber of Commerce
- Photos of the damage path caused by the 2008 Super Tuesday tornado outbreak