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Elizabethtown, Kentucky
—  City  —
Hardin County courthouse in Elizabethtown, Kentucky
Location of Elizabethtown, Kentucky
Coordinates: 37°42′10″N 85°51′58″W / 37.70278°N 85.86611°W / 37.70278; -85.86611
Country United States
State Kentucky
County Hardin
 - Total 24.4 sq mi (63.1 km2)
 - Land 24.1 sq mi (62.3 km2)
 - Water 0.3 sq mi (0.8 km2)
Elevation 725 ft (221 m)
Population (2008)
 - Total 25,942
 - Density 936.6/sq mi (361.6/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 42701-42702
Area code(s) 270
FIPS code 21-24274
GNIS feature ID 0491640

Elizabethtown is the 14th largest city in Kentucky, United States and is Hardin County's county seat. Its population was estimated at 25,942 in 2008. It is the principal city of and is included in the Elizabethtown, Kentucky Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the LouisvilleJefferson County–Elizabethtown–Scottsburg, KY-IN Combined Statistical Area.



Elizabethtown is located at 37°42′10″N 85°51′58″W / 37.70278°N 85.86611°W / 37.70278; -85.86611 (37.702674, −85.866173)[1].

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 63.1 km2 (24.4 mi2). 62.3 km2 (24.1 mi2) of it is land and 0.8 km2 (0.3 mi2) of it (1.27%) is water.

On the list (by population) of all metropolitan statistical areas as defined by the United States Census Bureau, Elizabethtown has a population of 25,942. Population estimates are current as of 1 July 2008 (2008 -07-01). Metropolitan statistical area names are current as of December 1, 2005. Elizabethtown metropolitan area includes the unincorporated town of Rineyville, where Abraham Lincoln's school teacher lived, as well as Glendale, Hodgenville and Eastview.


Samuel Haycraft, Jr., in his History of Elizabethtown, wrote in 1869: "For who can tell what Elizabethtown will be with her delightful location, her enterprising and energetic population, her railroad facilities, her fine water, and her surroundings of intelligent and gentlemanly farmers, the best fruit country in the world, and her future manufactories that must spring up, and when it becomes a large city it will be well to look back upon her starting point."

Founded in July 1797, Elizabethtown is the Hardin County seat. In 1779, three early settlers, Capt. Thomas Helm, Col. Andrew Hynes, and Col. Samuel Haycraft, built forts with blockhouses to use as stockades for defense against Native Americans. The forts, being one mile (1.6 km) apart, formed a triangle. At the time, there were no other settlements between the Ohio River and the Green River. Soon, however, other people came and settled around these forts.

Hardin County was established in 1793 and named for Colonel John Hardin, an Indian fighter who had been killed by Native Americans while on a peace mission with tribes in Ohio. It did not take long for the settlement to become an active community. In just a few years, professional men and tradesmen came to live in the area. In 1793, Colonel Hynes had 30 acres (120,000 m2) of land surveyed and laid off into lots and streets to establish Elizabethtown. Named in honor of the wife of Andrew Hynes, Elizabethtown was legally established on July 4, 1797.

Thomas Lincoln was a resident of Hardin County and helped Samuel Haycraft build a millrace at Haycraft's mill on Valley Creek. He married Nancy Hanks in 1806 and they lived in a log cabin built in Elizabethtown. Their daughter, Sarah, was born there in 1808. Soon after, they moved to the Sinking Spring Farm where Abraham Lincoln was born. Thomas Lincoln took his family to Indiana in 1816. After his wife died in 1818, he came back to Elizabethtown and married Sarah Bush Johnston. Sarah had the privilege of rearing ten year-old Abraham.

On March 5, 1850 the Commonwealth of Kentucky granted a charter to the Louisville and Nashville Railroad Company authorizing it to raise funds and built a railroad from Louisville to the Tennessee state line in the direction of Nashville. John L. Helm, the grandson of Capt. Thomas Helm, became the president of the railroad in October 1854 and through his efforts, the main stem of the road was built through Elizabethtown. The road was completed to Elizabethtown in 1858, the first train arriving on June 15, 1858. The opening of the railroad brought growth and prosperity to Elizabethtown. The community became one of the most important stops along the railroad and a strategic point during the Civil War. Joshua Jewett (1815-1861) was a United States Representative from Kentucky who lived in Elizabethtown.

On December 27, 1862, General John Hunt Morgan and his 3,000-man cavalry attacked Elizabethtown. During the battle more than 100 cannon balls were fired into the town. Although he successfully captured Elizabethtown, his goal was to disrupt the railroad. He proceeded north along the route of the railroad burning trestles and destroying sections of the track. After the battle, one cannon ball was lodged in the side of a building on the Public Square. The building later burned in 1887 and when it was rebuilt the cannon ball was replaced in the side of the building, as close to its original impact as possible, where it remains in the present day.

From 1871 to 1873, the Seventh Cavalry and a battalion of the Fourth Infantry, led by General George Armstrong Custer, were stationed in Elizabethtown. The battalions were stationed in the community to suppress the Ku Klux Klan and Carpet Baggers and to break up illegal distilleries which began to flourish in the South after the Civil War. General Custer and his wife, Elizabeth, lived in a small cottage behind Aunt Beck Hill's boarding house, now known as the Brown-Pusey House.

Today Elizabethtown is still a large growing community. With a population of over 25,000 persons, the community has a growing industrial and commercial economy. There are also many cultural and recreational opportunities in the area, including the summer concert series at Freeman Lake Park, organized sports, and the Heartland Festival. The City Seal, with the inscription "Elizabethtown, Strong and Growing Since 1779" still rings true today.


The town is regionally referred to as "E'town". It is notable as one of two larger towns (the other being Bowling Green) along I-65 between Louisville and Nashville. The movie Elizabethtown (2005) was named after the town, even though the majority of the movie was filmed in Versailles and Louisville because Elizabethtown has lost most of its historic buildings in recent years due to development and sprawl.

Despite its being in a "dry county" (Hardin County, Kentucky), alcoholic drink sales are allowed in restaurants seating at least 100 diners and deriving at least 70% of their total sales from food. The locals refer to this as being a "damp" or "moist" county.

Charles B. Middleton, who originated the character of Ming the Merciless in the Flash Gordon movie serials, is a famous native of Elizabethtown.


The city is served by the Elizabethtown Regional Airport (EKX) and the Elizabethtown Airport Board is currently exploring options to bring commercial services to the city.


Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1970 11,748
1980 15,380 30.9%
1990 18,167 18.1%
2000 22,542 24.1%
Est. 2008 25,492 [2] 13.1%

As of the census[3] of 2000, there were 22,542 people, 9,306 households, and 6,123 families residing in the city. By 2008, that number had jumped to 25,942. The population density was 361.6/km2 (936.6/mi2). There were 10,043 housing units at an average density of 161.1/km² (417.3/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 86.04% White, 9.70% African American, 0.30% Native American, 1.89% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 0.56% from other races, and 1.46% from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 1.79% of the population.

There were 9,306 households out of which 32.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.3% were married couples living together, 13.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.2% were non-traditional or mixed families. 30.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.33 and the average family size was 2.89.

The age distribution was 24.9% under the age of 18, 9.0% from 18 to 24, 30.8% from 25 to 44, 21.3% from 45 to 64, and 14.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 91.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.5 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $35,823, and the median income for a family was $45,399. Males had a median income of $32,406 versus $23,709 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,442. About 8.5% of families and 10.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.6% of those under age 18 and 9.1% of those age 65 or over.

In 2000, Hardin County, Kentucky and Larue County, Kentucky were defined as the Elizabethtown, KY Metropolitan Statistical Area by the Bureau of the Census. It is part of the Louisville-Jefferson County-Elizabethtown-Scottsburg, KY-IN Combined Statistical Area.


Watertower near Panther Baseball Park in Elizabethtown, Kentucky

Elizabethtown Independent Schools

  • Elizabethtown High School
  • T.K. Stone Middle School
  • Morningside Elementary School
  • Helmwood Heights Elementary School
  • Valley View Educational Center

Hardin County Schools

The Hardin County Schools are another district that encompasses some of the city limits.

Here are the schools located within the City limits:

  • Bluegrass Middle School
  • G.C. Burkhead Elementary School
  • Heartland Elementary School
  • Lincoln Trail Elementary School
  • New Highland Elementary School

Although John Hardin High School has an Elizabethtown mailing address, and some Elizabethtown residents are zoned into that school, it actually lies within the city limits of neighboring Radcliff.[4]

Private schools

Post-secondary education

Elizabethtown is home to Elizabethtown Community and Technical College, a member of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System. It also has an extended campus of Western Kentucky University as well as Empire Beauty School formerly the Hair Design School on Westport Road.

Sister city

Elizabethtown has one sister city, as designated by Sister Cities International:


The first Baptist settlement west of the Alleghany Mountains was in Elizabethtown at Severns Valley Baptist Church, named after the first name of Elizabethtown. Catholics came west from Nelson County and settled at Colesburg at St. Claire Parish before coming to St. James Parish in Elizabethtown. Lucinda Helm helped bring United Methodists into Elizabethtown and they immortalized her in naming the Helm Memorial United Methodist Church, today simply called MUMC.

Other denomination also came including The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Church of Christ, Episcopalian, Pentecostalism, and in modern times, Islam. More than 12 denominations are represented by over 100 churches in Elizabethtown.

Notable natives and residents


  1. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2005-05-03. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  2. ^ [1] line 25202
  3. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  4. ^ "City of Radcliff Comprehensive Plan 2003: Element Seven, Community Facilities" (PDF). Public Works Department, City of Radcliff, Kentucky. pp. 7–5. Retrieved 2009-07-28.  

External links


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