Providence, Kentucky

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Providence, Kentucky
Main Street Park
Main Street Park
Location of Providence in Webster County, Kentucky.
Location of Providence in Webster County, Kentucky.
Coordinates: 37°23′54″N 87°45′25″W / 37.39833°N 87.75694°W / 37.39833; -87.75694Coordinates: 37°23′54″N 87°45′25″W / 37.39833°N 87.75694°W / 37.39833; -87.75694
CountryUnited States
Named forthe theological concept[2]
 • Total6.08 sq mi (15.7 km2)
 • Land6.03 sq mi (15.6 km2)
 • Water0.05 sq mi (0.1 km2)
440 ft (134 m)
 • Total3,193
 • Estimate 
 • Density525.2/sq mi (202.9/km2)
Time zoneUTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s)270 & 364
FIPS code21-63372
GNIS feature ID0501368

Providence is a home rule-class city[4] in Webster County, Kentucky, in the United States. The population was 3,193 at the time of the 2010 United States Census.


In 1820, Richard B. Savage arrived from Virginia with his wife and his elder sister Mary Savage Settler and opened a general store on the site of the present city. The community that grew up was known as Savageville, until the post office was established in 1828, when it was renamed "Providence". Though sometimes said to honor the Rhode Island city of that name,[5] local history records that an old trader who had been helped by nearby farmers suggested the name to honor divine Providence.[2] On February 18, 1840,[1] the town had a population of 150; there were three physicians, five stores, two hotels, a school, a Baptist church, a Masonic lodge, and three tobacco stemmeries. Located in the heart of the state's Black Patch tobacco-growing region, Providence eventually became the 3rd-largest stemming market in all of America.[6]

Providence was incorporated in 1860, when Webster County was formed.[1] The onset of the Civil War slowed the economic growth, though no major battles took place in the largely pro-Confederate region. A Confederate reconnaissance and foraging party led by then Lieutenant Colonel Nathan Bedford Forrest passed through Webster County between November and December 1861, and Forrest reported that he had been welcomed by the inhabitants.[6] Limited guerrilla warfare also took place near the city in 1862.

Commercial coal mining began in 1888, and by 1930 Providence residents numbered 4,742. In the 1930s, depressed conditions in the coal fields resulted in a loss of population that continued through the 1960s. Providence' economy remains tied to coal and agriculture.[6]


Providence is located at 37°23′54″N 87°45′25″W / 37.39833°N 87.75694°W / 37.39833; -87.75694 (37.398389, -87.757077)[7] The city is concentrated around the intersection of Kentucky Route 109 and Kentucky Route 120, approximately 17 miles (27 km) northwest of Madisonville. The Tradewater River flows just west of the city, and the Webster-Hopkins county line lies just to the southeast. U.S. Route 41A passes through the eastern part of Providence.


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 20163,102[3]−2.8%
U.S. Decennial Census[8]

As of the 2000 census,[9] there were 3,611 people, 1,487 households, and 1,029 families residing in the city. The population density was 587.2 people per square mile (226.7/km²). There were 1,754 housing units at an average density of 285.2 per square mile (110.1/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 81.92% White, 16.53% African American, 0.11% Native American, 0.08% Asian, 0.08% Pacific Islander, 0.28% from other races, and 1.00% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.86% of the population.

There were 1,487 households out of which 30.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.1% were married couples living together, 17.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.8% were non-families. 28.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.38 and the average family size was 2.90.

The age distribution was 24.4% under the age of 18, 9.0% from 18 to 24, 25.6% from 25 to 44, 24.0% from 45 to 64, and 16.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 85.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 79.0 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $27,400, and the median income for a family was $31,125. Males had a median income of $28,716 versus $23,438 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,209. About 19.4% of families and 22.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 30.7% of those under age 18 and 22.1% of those age 65 or over.


Providence is located in Webster County, Kentucky, part of the Illinois Coal Basin. Coal mining is a major source of income for Webster County and the surrounding counties.


Every year in June Providence hosts the annual Coal Festival in celebration of the coal mines and miners that have long been a part of the city's history. It features games, rides, beauty contests and live entertainment.[10]


The Webster County School District operates the public schools that serve Providence.

In 2007 the Providence Independent School System merged with the Webster County School System,[11] closing the high school and renaming Broadway Elementary, Providence Elementary. The elementary school serves students Pre-School-6. In 2014, a middle school was built adjacent to Webster County High School.[12]

Notable person[edit]

Roger Campbell, member of the 1960 US Figure Skating World Team, a casualty of Sabena Flight 548 that crashed en route to the World Championships in Prague. He is buried in Providence's Big Hill Cemetery.


  1. ^ a b c d Commonwealth of Kentucky. Office of the Secretary of State. Land Office. "Providence, Kentucky". Accessed 27 September 2013.
  2. ^ a b Rennick, Robert. Kentucky Place Names, p. 244. University Press of Kentucky (Lexington), 1987. Accessed 27 September 2013.
  3. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 9, 2017.
  4. ^ "Summary and Reference Guide to House Bill 331 City Classification Reform" (PDF). Kentucky League of Cities. Retrieved December 30, 2014.
  5. ^ "Dictionary of Places: Providence". Encyclopedia of Kentucky. New York: Somerset Publishers. 1987. ISBN 0-403-09981-1.
  6. ^ a b c "Providence," Webster County website. Accessed: 1 November 2018.
  7. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  8. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  9. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  10. ^ "Festivals and Events," Webster County website. Accessed: 1 November 2018.
  11. ^ Ellis, Ronnie (2007-01-15). "The ups and downs of merging school districts". Richmond Register. Retrieved 2018-05-21.
  12. ^ Angela Hatton, "Webster County Plans New Junior High,", 12 September 2012.

External links[edit]