Frankfort, Kentucky

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KY State Capitol.jpg
The Kentucky State Capitol is one of 45 sites in Frankfort listed on the National Register of Historic Places
Franklin County Kentucky Incorporated and Unincorporated areas Frankfort Highlighted 2128900.svg
Location of Frankfort in Franklin County, Kentucky.
USA Kentucky location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Location of Frankfort in Franklin County, Kentucky.
Usa edcp location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Frankfort (the United States)
Coordinates: 38°12′N84°52′W / 38.200°N 84.867°W / 38.200; -84.867 Coordinates: 38°12′N84°52′W / 38.200°N 84.867°W / 38.200; -84.867
CountryUnited States
State Kentucky
County Franklin
Incorporated February 28, 1835
   Mayor William May
  Total14.6 sq mi (37.9 km2)
  Land14.3 sq mi (37.1 km2)
  Water0.3 sq mi (0.8 km2)
509 ft (155 m)
(2018) [1]
  Density1,746.3/sq mi (674.2/km2)
Time zone UTC− (Eastern (EST))
  Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP Code
40601-40604, 40618-40622
Area code(s) 502
FIPS code 21-28900
GNIS feature ID0517517
Website City website

Frankfort is the capital city of the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the seat of Franklin County. [2] It is a home rule-class city [3] in Kentucky; the population was 27,679 at the time of the 2018 population estimate, making it the fifteenth most populous city in the state. Located along the Kentucky River, Frankfort is the principal city of the Frankfort, Kentucky Micropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Franklin and Anderson counties. As of 2018 the micropolitan population was 74,018, making it the fourth most populous micropolitan area in the state, and the twelfth largest population center in the state when including metropolitan areas.

Capital city Primary governing city of a top-level (country) or first-level subdivision (country, state, province, etc) political entity

A capital city is the municipality exercising primary status in a country, state, province, or other administrative region, usually as its seat of government. A capital is typically a city that physically encompasses the government's offices and meeting places; the status as capital is often designated by its law or constitution. In some jurisdictions, including several countries, the different branches of government are located in different settlements. In some cases, a distinction is made between the official (constitutional) capital and the seat of government, which is in another place.

Kentucky State of the United States of America

Kentucky, officially the Commonwealth of Kentucky, is a state located in the east south-central region of the United States. Although styled as the "State of Kentucky" in the law creating it, (because in Kentucky's first constitution, the name state was used) Kentucky is one of four U.S. states constituted as a commonwealth. Originally a part of Virginia, in 1792 Kentucky split from it and became the 15th state to join the Union. Kentucky is the 37th most extensive and the 26th most populous of the 50 United States.

A county seat is an administrative center, seat of government, or capital city of a county or civil parish. The term is used in Canada, China, Romania, Taiwan and the United States. County towns have a similar function in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland, and historically in Jamaica.



Pre 1900

The town of Frankfort likely received its name from an event that took place in the 1780s. American Indians attacked a group of early European-American pioneers from Bryan Station, who were making salt at a ford in the Kentucky River. Pioneer Stephen Frank was killed, and the settlers thereafter called the crossing "Frank's Ford". This name was later elided to Frankfort. [4]

1780s decade

The 1780s decade ran from January 1, 1780, to December 31, 1789.

Lexington, Kentucky Consolidated city-county in Kentucky, United States

Lexington, consolidated with Fayette County and often denoted as Lexington-Fayette, is the second-largest city in Kentucky and the 60th-largest city in the United States. By land area, Lexington is the 28th largest city in the United States. Known as the "Horse Capital of the World," it is the heart of the state's Bluegrass region. It has a nonpartisan mayor-council form of government, with 12 council districts and three members elected at large, with the highest vote-getter designated vice mayor. In the 2018 U.S. Census Estimate, the city's population was 323,780 anchoring a metropolitan area of 516,697 people and a combined statistical area of 760,528 people.

Kentucky River river in the United States of America

The Kentucky River is a tributary of the Ohio River, 260 miles (418 km) long, in the U.S. Commonwealth of Kentucky. The river and its tributaries drain much of the central region of the state, with its upper course passing through the coal-mining regions of the Cumberland Mountains, and its lower course passing through the Bluegrass region in the north central part of the state. Its watershed encompasses about 7,000 square miles (18,000 km2). It supplies drinking water to about one-sixth of the population of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

In 1786, James Wilkinson purchased the 260-acre (110 ha) tract of land on the north side of the Kentucky River, which developed as downtown Frankfort. He was an early promoter of Frankfort as the state capital.

James Wilkinson American general

James Wilkinson was an American soldier and statesman, who was associated with several scandals and controversies.

Downtown Frankfort is seen in the foreground, while South Frankfort lies across the river in the background. Fort Hill is in the lower left hand corner, 1871. Frankfort bird eye.jpg
Downtown Frankfort is seen in the foreground, while South Frankfort lies across the river in the background. Fort Hill is in the lower left hand corner, 1871.
Hilltop view of modern-day Frankfort and Kentucky River (on left). Frankfort kentucky.jpg
Hilltop view of modern-day Frankfort and Kentucky River (on left).

After Kentucky became the 15th state in early 1792, five commissioners from various counties were appointed, on 20 June 1792, to choose a location for the capital. They were John Allen and John Edwards (both from Bourbon County), Henry Lee (from Mason), Thomas Kennedy (from Madison), and Robert Todd (from Fayette). A number of communities competed for this honor, but Frankfort won. According to early histories, the offer of Andrew Holmes' log house as capitol for seven years, a number of town lots, £50 worth of locks and hinges, 10 boxes of glass, 1,500 pounds of nails, and $3,000 in gold helped the decision go to Frankfort. [5]

Bourbon County, Kentucky County in the United States

Bourbon County is a county located in the U.S. state of Kentucky. As of the 2010 census, the population was 19,985. Its county seat is Paris.

Mason County, Kentucky County in the United States

Mason County is a county located in the U.S. state of Kentucky. As of the 2010 census, the population was 17,490. Its county seat is Maysville. The county was created from Bourbon County, Virginia in 1788 and named for George Mason, a Virginia delegate to the U.S. Constitutional Convention, known as the "Father of the Bill of Rights".

Madison County, Kentucky County in the United States

Madison County is a county located in the U.S. state of Kentucky. As of the 2010 census, the population was 82,916. Its county seat is Richmond. The county is named for Virginia statesman James Madison, who later became the fourth President of the United States.

Frankfort had a United States post office by 1794, with Daniel Weisiger as postmaster. On 1 October 1794, Weisiger sent the first quarterly account to Washington. [6]

A post office is a public department that provides a customer service to the public and handles their mail needs. Post offices offer mail-related services such as acceptance of letters and parcels; provision of post office boxes; and sale of postage stamps, packaging, and stationery. In addition, many post offices offer additional services: providing and accepting government forms, processing government services and fees, and banking services. The chief administrator of a post office is called a postmaster.

John Brown, a Virginia lawyer and statesman, built a home now called Liberty Hall in Frankfort in 1796. Before Kentucky statehood, he represented Virginia in the Continental Congress (1777−78) and the U.S. Congress (1789−91). While in Congress, he introduced the bill granting statehood to Kentucky. After statehood, he was elected by the state legislature as one of the state's U.S. Senators.[ citation needed ]

John Brown (Kentucky) American lawyer and statesman

John Brown was an American lawyer and statesman who participated in the development and formation of the State of Kentucky after the American Revolutionary War.

Continental Congress convention of delegates that became the governing body of the United States

The Continental Congress was initially a convention of delegates from several British American colonies at the height of the American Revolution era, who spoke and acted collectively for the people of the Thirteen Colonies that ultimately became the United States of America. The term most specifically refers to the First Continental Congress of 1774 and the Second Continental Congress of 1775–1781. More broadly, it also refers to the Congress of the Confederation of 1781–1789, thus covering the three congressional bodies of the Thirteen Colonies and the United States that met between 1774 and the inauguration of a new government in 1789 under the United States Constitution.

In 1796, the Kentucky General Assembly appropriated funds to provide a house to accommodate the governor; it was completed two years later. The Old Governor's Mansion is claimed to be the oldest official executive residence still in use in the United States. In 1829, Gideon Shryock designed the Old Capitol, Kentucky's third, in Greek Revival style. It served Kentucky as its capitol from 1830 to 1910. The separate settlement known as South Frankfort was annexed by the city on 3 January 1850. [7]

During the American Civil War, the Union Army built fortifications overlooking Frankfort on what is now called Fort Hill. The Confederate Army also occupied Frankfort for a short time, starting on 3 September 1862, the only such time that Confederate forces took control of a Union capitol. [4]

1900 to present

On 3 February 1900, Governor-elect William Goebel was assassinated in Frankfort while walking to the capitol on the way to his inauguration. Former Secretary of State Caleb Powers was later found guilty of a conspiracy to murder Goebel.[ citation needed ]

Frankfort grew considerably in the 1960s. A modern addition to the State Office Building was completed in 1967. The original building was completed in the 1930s on the location of the former Kentucky State Penitentiary. Some of the stone from the old prison was used for the walls surrounding the office building.[ citation needed ]

The Capitol Plaza was established in the 1960s. It comprises the Capitol Plaza Office Tower, the tallest building in the city, the Capitol Plaza Hotel (formerly the Holiday Inn, Frankfort), and the Fountain Place Shoppes. The Capital Plaza Office Tower opened in 1972 and became a visual landmark for the center of the city. By the early 2000s, maintenance of the concrete structures had been neglected and the plaza had fallen into disrepair, with sections of the plaza closed to pedestrian activity out of concerns for safety. In August 2008, city officials recommended demolition of the Tower and redevelopment the area over a period of years. Ten years later, the demolition of the office tower was completed on Sunday, 11 March 2018, at 1:30 PM (13:30) EST, [8] and was televised by WKYT-TV on The CW Lexington as well as streamed live on Facebook. Demolition of the nearby convention center, which opened in 1971 and has hosted sporting events, concerts, and other local events, was completed in Spring 2018. [8]

City officials intend to replace the outdated office tower with a smaller, four- or five-story building in order to create a more pedestrian-oriented scale at the complex, to encourage street activity. [9]

Frankfort is home to several major distilleries of Kentucky Bourbon, including the Buffalo Trace Distillery (formerly Ancient Age).[ citation needed ]

Although there was some rapid economic and population growth in the 1960s, both tapered off in the 1980s and have remained fairly stable since that time.[ citation needed ]

In 2018, several teachers protested at the city in response to Senate Bill 151 having been passed on 29 March 2018. [10]


Astronaut Photography of Frankfort Kentucky taken from the International Space Station (ISS) Frankfort Kentucky.jpg
Astronaut Photography of Frankfort Kentucky taken from the International Space Station (ISS)

Frankfort is located in the (inner) Bluegrass region of Central Kentucky. The city is bisected by the Kentucky River, which makes an s-turn as it passes through the center of town. The river valley widens at this point, which creates four distinct parts of town. The valley within the city limits contains Downtown and South Frankfort districts, which lie opposite one another on the river. A small neighborhood with its own distinct identity, Bellepoint, is located on the west bank of the river to the north of Benson Creek, opposite the river from the "downtown" district. The suburban areas on either side of the valley are respectively referred to as the "West Side" and "East Side" (or "West Frankfort" and "East Frankfort").

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 14.6 square miles (37.8 km2), of which 14.3 square miles (37.0 km2) is land and 0.3 square miles (0.78 km2) is water.

Frankfort does not have a commercial airport and travelers fly into Blue Grass Airport in Lexington, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport near Covington or Louisville International Airport in Louisville. Capital City Airport serves general and military aviation.


Frankfort has a humid subtropical climate with four distinct seasons. Winter is generally cool with some snowfall. Spring and fall are both mild and relatively warm, with ample precipitation and thunderstorm activity. Summers are oppressively hot and humid.

Climate data for Downtown Frankfort, Kentucky
Record high °F (°C)80
Average high °F (°C)41.5
Daily mean °F (°C)31.7
Average low °F (°C)21.9
Record low °F (°C)−27
Average precipitation inches (mm)3.70
Average snowfall inches (cm)3.4
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in)1110111111109877910114
Average snowy days8.
Source: NOAA (normals 1981–2010) [11] , Southeast Regional Climate Center (precipitation, snow and extremes 1895–2002) [12] and [13]


Historical population
1800 628
1810 1,09975.0%
1820 1,67952.8%
1830 1,6820.2%
1840 1,91714.0%
1850 3,30872.6%
1860 3,70211.9%
1870 5,39645.8%
1880 6,95828.9%
1890 7,89213.4%
1900 9,48720.2%
1910 10,46510.3%
1920 9,805−6.3%
1930 11,62618.6%
1940 11,492−1.2%
1950 11,9163.7%
1960 18,36554.1%
1970 21,90219.3%
1980 25,97318.6%
1990 25,9680.0%
2000 27,7416.8%
2010 25,527−8.0%
Est. 201827,679 [1] 8.4%
U.S. Decennial Census [14]

As of the 2010 Census, [15] there were 25,527 people, 11,140 households, and 6,053 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,746.3 per square mile (674.3/km2). There were 12,938 housing units at an average density of 885.1 per square mile (341.7/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 77.1% White or European American (75.6% non-Hispanic), 16.5% Black or African American, 0.3% Native American, 1.4% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 1,8% from other races, and 2.9% from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 1.48% of the population.

There were 11,140 households out of which 27.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 32,6% were married couples living together, 16.7% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.1% had a male householder with no wife present, and 45.7% were non-families. 38.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.14 and the average family size was 2.83.

The age distribution was 20.8% under 18, 13.1% from 18 to 24, 26.6% from 25 to 44, 25.5% from 45 to 64, and 14.0% who were 65 or older. The median age was 36.7 years. For every 100 females, there were 92.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.4 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $40,009, and the median income for a family was $43,949. Full-time male workers had a median income of $37,445 versus $34,613 for females. The per capita income was $22,299. About 19.8% of families and 22.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 38.7% of those under age 18 and 7.5% of those age 65 or over.

Frankfort is the focal point of a micropolitan statistical area consisting of Frankfort and Franklin County as well as adjacent Lawrenceburg and Anderson County. The city is also classified in a combined statistical area with Lexington and Richmond to the east.

Frankfort's municipal population makes it the fourth smallest capital city in the United States.

Parks and recreation


Frankfort is the home of Kentucky State University, a public historically black university situated near the downtown area. Two school districts serve the city, with three public high schools within the city limits:

Private high school:

Frankfort has a lending library, the Franklin County Public Library. [22]

Notable people

Sister cities

Related Research Articles

Franklin County, Kentucky County in the United States

Franklin County is a county located in the U.S. state of Kentucky. As of the 2010 census, the population was 49,285. Its county seat is Frankfort, the state capital. The county was formed in 1795 from parts of Woodford, Mercer and Shelby counties, and was named after the American inventor and statesman Benjamin Franklin.

Anderson County, Kentucky County in the United States

Anderson County is a county located in the U.S. state of Kentucky. As of the 2010 census, the population was 21,421. Its county seat is Lawrenceburg. The county was formed in 1827 and named for Richard Clough Anderson, Jr., a Kentucky legislator, U.S. Congressman and Minister to Colombia.

Owensboro, Kentucky City in Kentucky, United States

Owensboro is a home rule-class city in and the county seat of Daviess County, Kentucky, United States. It is the fourth-largest city in the state by population. Owensboro is located on U.S. Route 60 and about 107 miles (172 km) southwest of Louisville, and is the principal city of the Owensboro metropolitan area. The 2018 population was 59,809. The metropolitan population was estimated at 120,702. The metropolitan area is the sixth largest in the state as of 2018, and the seventh largest population center in the state when including micropolitan areas.

Lawrenceburg, Kentucky City in Kentucky, United States

Lawrenceburg is a home rule-class city in Anderson County, Kentucky, United States. The population was 10,505 at the 2010 census. It is the seat of its county. Lawrenceburg is part of the Frankfort, Kentucky, micropolitan statistical area.

Crescent Hill, Louisville human settlement in Louisville, Kentucky, United States of America

Crescent Hill is a neighborhood four miles (6 km) east of downtown Louisville, Kentucky USA. This area was originally called "Beargrass" because it sits on a ridge between two forks of Beargrass Creek. The boundaries of Crescent Hill are N Ewing Ave to the St. Matthews city limit by Brownsboro Road to Lexington Road. Frankfort Avenue generally bisects the neighborhood.

West Virginia State Capitol

The West Virginia State Capitol is the seat of government for the U.S. state of West Virginia, and houses the West Virginia Legislature and the office of the Governor of West Virginia. Located in Charleston, West Virginia, the building was dedicated in 1932. Along with the West Virginia Executive Mansion it is part of the West Virginia Capitol Complex, a historic district listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

<i>The Flim-Flam Man</i> 1967 film by Irvin Kershner

The Flim-Flam Man is a 1967 American comedy film directed by Irvin Kershner, featuring George C. Scott, Michael Sarrazin, and Sue Lyon, based on the 1965 novel The Ballad of the Flim-Flam Man by Guy Owen. The movie has well-known character actors in supporting roles, including Jack Albertson, Slim Pickens, Strother Martin, Harry Morgan, and Albert Salmi.

Kentucky Route 676 is a Kentucky State Highway located almost entirely within the city limits of Frankfort. The four-lane divided highway is locally known as the East–West Connector.

Lexington–Fayette metropolitan area Metropolitan area in Kentucky, United States

The Lexington–Fayette metropolitan area is the 106th-largest metropolitan statistical area (MSA) in the United States. It was originally formed by the United States Census Bureau in 1950 and consisted solely of Fayette County until 1980 when surrounding counties saw increases in their population densities and the number of their residents employed within Lexington–Fayette, which led to them meeting Census criteria to be added to the MSA.

Fort Hill (Frankfort, Kentucky) place in Kentucky listed on National Register of Historic Places

Fort Hill is a hill overlooking downtown Frankfort, Kentucky, where military fortifications were built by the 103rd Ohio Infantry during the American Civil War to protect the city and its pro-Union state government. In September 1862 the Confederate States of America took control of Frankfort, becoming the only Union capital to be conquered during the Civil War.

Index of Kentucky-related articles Wikimedia list article

The following is an alphabetical list of articles related to the United States Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Frankfort, Kentucky micropolitan area

The Frankfort Micropolitan Statistical Area, as defined by the United States Census Bureau, is an area consisting of two counties in central Kentucky, anchored by the city of Frankfort. As of the 2000 census, the Micropolitan Statistical Area (μSA) had a population of 66,798.

U.S. Route 62 (US 62) in Kentucky runs for a total of 391.207 miles (629.587 km) across 20 counties in western, north-central, and northeastern Kentucky. It enters the state by crossing the Ohio River near Wickliffe, then begins heading eastward at Bardwell, and traversing several cities and towns across the state up to Maysville, where it crosses the Ohio River a second time to enter the state of Ohio.

U.S. Route 127 (US 127) in Kentucky runs 207.7 miles (334.3 km) from the Tennessee state line in rural Clinton County to the Ohio state line in Cincinnati. The southern portion of the route is mostly rural, winding through various small towns along the way. It later runs through the state capital of Frankfort before continuing north, eventually passing through several Cincinnati suburbs in Northern Kentucky, joining US 42 near Warsaw and US 25 in Florence before crossing the Ohio River via the Clay Wade Bailey Bridge.

Cincinnati metropolitan area Metropolitan area in the United States

The Cincinnati metropolitan area, informally known as Greater Cincinnati or the Greater Cincinnati Tri-State Area, is a metropolitan area that includes counties in the U.S. states of Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana around the Ohio city of Cincinnati. The United States Census Bureau's formal name for the area is the Cincinnati–Middletown, OH–KY–IN Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of the 2010 U.S. Census, this MSA had a population of 2,114,580, making Greater Cincinnati the 29th most populous metropolitan area in the United States, the first largest metro area entirely in Ohio, followed by Cleveland (2nd) and Columbus (3rd).

Kentucky Route 1681 is a 21.448-mile (34.517 km) state highway in Kentucky that runs from Kentucky Route 1659 immediately north of Millville to U.S. Route 60, Kentucky Route 922, and Manchester Street on the northwestern side of downtown Lexington.

Kentucky Route 420 (KY 420) is a 5.1-mile-long (8.2 km) state highway in the U.S. state of Kentucky. The highway connects southern parts of Franklin County with Frankfort.


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  9. Redevelopment Plan", Kentucky
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  12. "General Climate Summary tables". Southeast Regional Climate Center. Retrieved May 18, 2013.
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  15. "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on September 11, 2013. Retrieved May 14, 2011.
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  17. "Josephine Sculpture Park". Josephine Sculpture Park.
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