Providence, Kentucky

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Providence, Kentucky
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
Country United States
State Kentucky
County Webster
Established 1840[1]
Incorporated 1860[1]
Named for the theological concept[2]
 • Total 6.08 sq mi (15.7 km2)
 • Land 6.03 sq mi (15.6 km2)
 • Water 0.05 sq mi (0.1 km2)
Elevation 440 ft (134 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 3,193
 • Estimate (2016)[3] 3,102
 • Density 525.2/sq mi (202.9/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 42450
Area code(s) 270 & 364
FIPS code 21-63372
GNIS feature ID 0501368

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] on the eastern shore of the Tradewater River, approximately 17 miles (27 km) northwest of Madisonville.


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.

Cultural features[edit]

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.


Webster County School District operates public schools.

In 2007 the Providence Independent School System merged with the Webster County School System,[10] closing the high school and renaming Broadway Elementary, Providence Elementary. The elementary school serves students Pre-School-6. In 2014 a middle school was added onto Webster County High School where the children of Providence, as well as the other towns of Webster county, now attend.[citation needed]

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.

Paul Campbell is the President and CEO of Enviro Systems, Inc. He went to Providence Elementary and Webster County High School.


  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 Webster County. "[ Providence]".
  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. ^ Ellis, Ronnie (2007-01-15). "The ups and downs of merging school districts". Richmond Register. Retrieved 2018-05-21.