Versailles, Kentucky

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Versailles, Kentucky
Main Street
Main Street
"Proud to be a Kentucky Renaissance City"
Location of Versailles in Woodford County, Kentucky.
Location of Versailles in Woodford County, Kentucky.
Coordinates: 38°3′17″N 84°43′51″W / 38.05472°N 84.73083°W / 38.05472; -84.73083Coordinates: 38°3′17″N 84°43′51″W / 38.05472°N 84.73083°W / 38.05472; -84.73083
CountryUnited States
EstablishedJune 24, 1794
 • TypeMayor-Council
 • MayorBrian Traugott
 • Total6.35 sq mi (16.44 km2)
 • Land6.31 sq mi (16.33 km2)
 • Water0.04 sq mi (0.11 km2)
892 ft (272 m)
 • Total10,347
 • Density1,640.56/sq mi (633.44/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
40383, 40384, 40386
Area code859
FIPS code21-79482
GNIS feature ID0506028

Versailles (/vərˈslz/) is a home rule-class city in Woodford County, Kentucky, United States. It lies 13 miles (21 kilometers) by road west of Lexington and is part of the Lexington-Fayette Metropolitan Statistical Area. Versailles has a population of 9,316 according to 2017 census estimates.[2] It is the county seat of Woodford County.[3] The city's name is pronounced /vərˈslz/ vər-SAYLZ, an anglicization different from the French pronunciation of the royal city of the same name near Paris.


Versailles was founded on June 23, 1792, on 80 acres (32 hectares) of land owned by Hezekiah Briscoe, at the time only a child. His guardian, Marquis Calmes, named the town after Versailles, France, in honor of General Lafayette, a family friend and hero of the American Revolution. Located in what became known as the Bluegrass Region of Kentucky, where farmers also raised thoroughbred horses and other high-quality livestock, the city was officially incorporated on February 13, 1837. It was briefly occupied during the American Civil War by both Confederate and Union forces.

In 1870, black residents of Versailles took part in a demonstration against police violence after a white officer struck a black man with his pistol. Demonstrators formed armed pickets and guarded roads in and out of Versailles. Two of the leaders were subsequently lynched by a local militia company.[4][5][6]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.8 square miles (7.3 km2), all land.


Historical population
U.S. Decennial Census[7]

As of the census[8] of 2000, there were 7,511 people, 3,160 households, and 2,110 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,668.7 per square mile (1,030.4/km2). There were 3,330 housing units at an average density of 1,183.2 per square mile (456.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 96.18% White, 0.67% African American, 0.15% Native American, 0.35% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 1.34% from other races, and 1.30% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.29% of the population.

There were 3,160 households, out of which 29.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.7% were married couples living together, 14.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.2% were non-families. 28.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 11.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.37 and the average family size was 2.89.

23.2% of the population was under the age of 18, 10.1% from 18 to 24, 29.4% from 25 to 44, 23.7% from 45 to 64, and 13.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females, there were 88.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city was US $35,052, and the median income for a family was $41,567. Males had a median income of $31,056 versus $24,488 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,489. About 11.1% of families and 14.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.0% of those under age 18 and 20.9% of those age 65 or over.


In the Inner Bluegrass Region, the area is a center for horse breeding and training, and for thoroughbred and standardbred racehorses and saddlebred pleasure horses.

Thoroughbred farms include Woodburn Stud, Lane's End Farm, and WinStar Farm.

Located in Versailles is Woodford Reserve Distillery, a station on the Bourbon Trail, and the Bluegrass Railroad and Museum.

Film industry[edit]

Most of the small-town scenes in the movie Elizabethtown (2005) were filmed in Versailles. It was also the setting of the movie Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story (2005). The cemetery scene in the film Secretariat (2010), about one of Kentucky's major race and stud horses, was filmed at Pisgah Pike Church. The Flim-Flam Man (1967) was filmed at several locations near Versailles. The opening sequence was filmed at Paynes Depot, and a car chase was filmed on Clifton Road.


Versailles has a lending library, a branch of the Woodford County Public Library.[9]

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 18, 2022.
  2. ^ "World Population Review". Retrieved February 25, 2020.
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 31, 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  4. ^ Aaron Astor, Rebels on the Border: Civil War, Emancipation, and the Reconstruction (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2012), 237-238
  5. ^ Victor B. Howard, Black Liberation in Kentucky: Emancipation and Freedom, 1862-1884 (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1983), 101
  6. ^ George C. Wright, Racial Violence in Kentucky, 1865-1940: Lynchings, Mob Rule, and ‘Legal Lynchings’” (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1990), 48.
  7. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  8. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  9. ^ "Kentucky Public Library Directory". Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives. Archived from the original on 11 January 2019. Retrieved 7 June 2019.

External links[edit]