Rabbit Hash, Kentucky

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Rabbit Hash, Kentucky
Official Name: Carlton (until December 1847)
Rabbit Hash General Store
Rabbit Hash General Store
Carlton Voter Precinct, Rabbit Hash (official name since 1847)
Location within Boone County and the state of Kentucky
Location within Boone County and the state of Kentucky
Coordinates: 38°56′32″N 84°50′45″W / 38.94222°N 84.84583°W / 38.94222; -84.84583Coordinates: 38°56′32″N 84°50′45″W / 38.94222°N 84.84583°W / 38.94222; -84.84583
CountryUnited States
 • First MayorGoofy Borneman- Calhoun
 • Succeeded ByJunior Cochran
 • Succeeded ByLucy Lou
 • Current MayorBrynneth Pawltro
 • AmbassadorsBourbon & Lady Stone
 • Total6.9 sq mi (18.0 km2)
 • Land5.1 sq mi (13.2 km2)
 • Water1.9 sq mi (4.8 km2)
 • Total315
 • Density62/sq mi (23.8/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
FIPS code21-63804
GNIS feature ID0501491

Rabbit Hash is an unincorporated community and census-designated place (CDP) in Boone County, Kentucky, United States, with a population of 315 (2010 census).[1] It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The town is notable for its name, its string of canine mayors, and its historic general store (c. 1831) which was largely destroyed by fire in 2016.

Origin of name[edit]

The hamlet was originally known as Carlton,[2] but was required to change its name because mail was being mixed up with the larger community of Carrollton several miles down the Ohio River.[3] The community is still referred to as the Carlton Voter Precinct.

The name Rabbit Hash may derive from the historic use of the local rabbit population as food. During the early 19th century the town was well known for a rabbit hash meal.

It is said that, in December 1847, the townsfolk were discussing what each family would be serving for their Christmas dinner. According to folklore, a man responded that he would be serving rabbit hash dinner. His response led to the other villagers nicknaming him "Rabbit Hash" as a joke. Eventually, the nickname became the known name of the village itself, and the steamboats on the nearby Ohio River stopping to order the famous hash referred to the town by it.[4]

National Register of Historic Places[edit]

The hamlet's most notable building, the Rabbit Hash General Store (c. 1831), was regarded as "the best known and best preserved country store in Kentucky".[5] The store was added to the National Register of Historic Places on February 2, 1989. On February 13, 2016, the famous General Store was destroyed by a fire, and the latest mayoral election also acted as a fundraiser to restore it.[6][7][8][9] It was restored and reopened on April 1, 2017, using a combination of original material and donor lumber from other period correct structures around the area, thereby allowing the store to maintain its historic designation.[10][11]

The Rabbit Hash Historic District was added to the National Register of Historic Places on December 4, 2003. It includes 330 acres (1.3 km2), 12 buildings, 6 structures, and 3 objects around 10021-10410 Lower River Road.[12][13]

Canine mayors[edit]

The first elected mayor in Rabbit Hash history was an adopted dog "of unknown parentage" named Goofy Borneman-Calhoun,[14] who was inaugurated in 1998 for a four-year term, after an election covered in the documentary Rabbit Hash (The Center of the Universe). He died in office in July 2001, aged 16.

The mayoralty remained unfilled until the next election, held in 2004, at which time Junior Cochran, a black Labrador, assumed office. Junior came under the scrutiny of the Northern Kentucky Health Department and was banned from entering the town's General Store due to complaints. According to a WXIX-TV report, on March 13, 2008, the dog's owner petitioned for an exemption for the "mayor." On May 30, 2008, WXIX-TV reported that Junior had died in office at the age of 15.[15]

On August 31, 2008[16] a special election was held to fill the vacancy left by the death of mayor Junior, and was won by Lucy Lou, a border collie, becoming the town's first female mayor.[17] Mayor Lucy Lou shared a "Talking Points" walk with Bill Geist (CBS Sunday Morning), accepted a $1,000 stimulus check from Reader's Digest "We Hear You America Tour," served as grand marshall of the Covington Paw-Rade, appeared in a segment of The List, and has placed 3 years in a row in the Best Elected Official category in Cincinnati CityBeat magazine's Best Of Cincinnati issue (winning 1st place in 2013). On September 7, 2015, Mayor Lucy's office announced that she was considering running for U.S. President,[18][19] and is the only mayor not to die in office. Lucy Lou died on September 10, 2018 aged 12.[20]

On November 8, 2016 a mayoral election took place in Rabbit Hash. Brynneth "Brynn" Pawltro, a pit bull took first place having raised $3,367. Bourbon, an Australian shepherd, came in second place raising $2,336. Lady Stone, a border collie, came in third place raising $1,621. Proceeds from the election went to the Rabbit Hash historical society to help restore the Rabbit Hash General store. In an unprecedented move, the Rabbit Hash Historical Society has given official positions to the 1st and 2nd runners-up, Bourbon and Lady, as Ambassadors to Rabbit Hash. In the case that the official mayor is unavailable for an event or obligation, the ambassadors will fill in.

List of Mayors [21]

# Name Term start Term end
1 Goofy Borneman 1998 2001
2 Junior Cochran 2004 2008
3 Lucy Lou 2008 2016
4 Brynneth Pawltro 2016


The Duke Energy East Bend Generating Station coal-fired power plant is located in the southeastern part of the CDP.[22]

Notable people[edit]

Emma Bell Miles, a writer, poet, and artist, lived in Rabbit Hash in her early childhood.[23]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Rabbit Hash CDP, Kentucky". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Archived from the original on February 12, 2020. Retrieved November 20, 2013.
  2. ^ Tenkotte, P.A.; Claypool, J.C. (2015). The Encyclopedia of Northern Kentucky. EBSCO ebook academic collection. University Press of Kentucky. p. 742. ISBN 978-0-8131-5996-6. Retrieved September 22, 2018.
  3. ^ "Rabbit Hash in November". Rabbit Hash Historical Society. 22 November 2013. Retrieved 18 September 2020.
  4. ^ "History | Rabbit Hash Historical Society". Rabbithashhistsoc.org. 2002-12-13. Retrieved 2017-03-21.
  5. ^ Boone County Planning Commission map (has map of Rabbit Hash and significant historic structures)
  6. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  7. ^ Benter, Sydney (2017-03-16). "Rabbit Hash elects "Brynn" the pit bull in Pets Mayor Election 2016 | WKRC". Local12.com. Retrieved 2017-03-21.
  8. ^ "Rebuilding planned for Rabbit Hash General Store". Louisville Courior-Journal. Retrieved 15 February 2016.
  9. ^ "Warner Allen: Rabbit Hash means stories and memories — and a faith that it will be rebuilt". www.nkytribune.com. Retrieved 2018-08-21.
  10. ^ Aragon, WCPO Staff, Rose-Ann (2017-04-02). "One year later: Rabbit Hash General Store reopens after fire". WCPO. Retrieved 2018-08-21.
  11. ^ "After the fire: The Rabbit Hash General Store rises again". Cincinnati.com. Retrieved 2018-08-21.
  12. ^ "National Register of Historic Places Listings December 12, 2003". National Park Service. Retrieved 2008-08-24.
  13. ^ "KENTUCKY – Boone County – Historic Districts". Retrieved 2008-08-24.
  14. ^ "First Mayor – Goofy". Rabbit Hash Historical Society. Retrieved 13 May 2019.
  15. ^ "Small community remembers fallen canine mayor". WXIX-TV (Fox 19, Kentucky). Retrieved 2011-02-21.
  16. ^ "Border collie on ballot in northern Ky. town". WorldNow and WAVE. Retrieved 2008-08-24.
  17. ^ "Vote For The Next Mayor of Rabbit Hash – Final Election Results – 5 Nov. 2008". Rabbit Hash Historical Society. Retrieved 2011-02-21.
  18. ^ DeMio, Terry (September 7, 2015). "Rabbit Hash dog mayor to announce something big". cincinnati.com. Retrieved November 5, 2015.
  19. ^ Hughey, Tracy (September 7, 2015). "Lucy Lou For President: The Border Collie Mayor Of Rabbit Hash, Ky., May Run For Office". hngn.com. Retrieved November 5, 2015.
  20. ^ Former Rabbit Hash dog mayor Lucy Lou dies, legacy will live on
  21. ^ Last updated November 8, 2016
  22. ^ White, Bob (2008-02-01). "Clean Coal Research In Boone County". Kentucky Post. The E.W. Scripps Co. Retrieved 2008-08-24.
  23. ^ McCauley, D.V. (1995). Appalachian Mountain Religion: A History. University of Illinois Press. p. 80. ISBN 978-0-252-06414-2. Retrieved September 22, 2018.

External links[edit]