Murray, Kentucky: Wikis


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Murray, Kentucky
—  City  —
A Portion of Murray as Seen From US Hwy 641
Coordinates: 36°36′34″N 88°18′56″W / 36.60944°N 88.31556°W / 36.60944; -88.31556Coordinates: 36°36′34″N 88°18′56″W / 36.60944°N 88.31556°W / 36.60944; -88.31556
Country United States
State Kentucky
County Calloway
Settled c. 1822
Incorporated January 17, 1844[1]
 - Mayor Danny O. Hudspeth
 - Total 10.0 sq mi (25.1 km2)
 - Land 10.0 sq mi (25.1 km2)
 - Water 0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
Elevation 535 ft (163 m)
Population (2000)
 - Total 14,950
 Density 1,541/sq mi (595/km2)
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
 - Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP Code 42071
Area code(s) 270
FIPS code 21-54642
GNIS feature ID 0499118

Murray is a city in Calloway County, Kentucky, United States. The population was 14,950 at the 2000 census and has a micropolitan area population of 36,240 according to 2008 Census Bureau estimates[2]. Murray's population increased to 16,557 according to the 2008 Census Bureau estimates. It is the county seat of Calloway County[3] and is the home of Murray State University.



Murray is located at 36°36′34″N 88°18′56″W / 36.60944°N 88.31556°W / 36.60944; -88.31556 (36.609494, −88.315656)[4].

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 9.7 square miles (25.1 km²), all of it land.

Murray is situated 15 miles (24 kilometers) west of the 170,000 acre (688 km²) Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area, which offers fishing, boating, swimming, camping, and a large wildlife population.



Murray has a humid subtropical climate and four distinct seasons. The warmest month of the year is July, with an average high temperature of 90 °F (32 °C). The coldest month is January, with an average high temperature of 44 °F. There was a recent heat wave in Murray in August, 2007 for about two weeks. The heat wave broke several record highs in the month of August.

Monthly Normal and Record High and Low Temperatures
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Rec High °F 76 81 88 90 95 106 110 108 108 96 83 79
Norm High °F 44 50 60 70 78 86 90 89 82 71 58 48
Norm Low °F 27 31 39 48 57 66 69 67 60 49 39 31
Rec Low °F -16 -9 -3 23 34 44 52 49 31 21 -1 -13
Precip (in) 4.25 4.59 5.25 5.09 5.39 4.85 4.50 3.46 3.64 3.52 5.41 5.34
Source: The Weather Channel Climatology [5]

Tornadoes and Storms

Murray has had several tornadoes and storms in recent years and has been the site of two F4 tornadoes. On February 5, 2008, Kentucky and surrounding states were subject to many violent tornadoes with some of them in Western Kentucky. On June 30, 2009, a violent storm with winds of up to 90 miles per hour ravaged trees and damaged buildings. Also, on July 4, 2009 another tornado outbreak in Western Kentucky left Independence Day Celebrations spoiled throughout the region.


In the Beginning

Calloway County courthouse on Murray's court square.

The city now known as Murray began as a post office and trading center sometime in the 1820s. It was at that time called Williston in honor of James Willis, an early settler. Later, the name was changed to Pooltown after Robert Pool, a local merchant. The name was changed again to Pleasant Springs before its incorporation on January 17, 1844, when the present name was adopted to honor U.S. Congressman John L. Murray.[1]

Murray was not the original county seat of Calloway County. In 1822 Calloway County and Marshall County, Kentucky were but one single county with the county seat being Wadesboro. In 1842, the state legislature divided the area into two separate counties. Shortly thereafter it was decided that a new county seat would be developed, more centrally located than Wadesboro. A site was selected at the geographic center of the county, a village named Murray. A courthouse was quickly built along with a jail. Murray was formed on an 80-acre (320,000 m2) plot and was subdivided into 137 business and residential lots with 8 streets total in the village, thus the birth of Murray.[6][7]

The Civil War Era

Monument honoring the Confederate soldiers on the northeast corner of the Murray court square.

While officially Murray and Calloway County were declared neutral during the Civil War, there was a large following of the Confederate States of America late in the war. There were not a lot of large conflicts that took place in the town of Murray, but the citizens did see some guerrilla warfare. In the spring of 1862 the general of the Union forces stationed in Paducah, Kentucky made his way to the Tennessee River, taking whatever property he wanted from the Murray townspeople. On more than one occasion, the town of Murray was burned. Once, the town was burned due to raids on its citizens by guerrillas who took every valuable they could get their hands on. On another occasion, a diary by Josh Ellison states that in the winter of 1864 a squad of soldiers from Paducah, Kentucky burned the east side of the court square on Friday night, and on Monday they burned the north side of the court square.[6][7]

There have been estimates that 800 men from the area joined the Confederate States of America, while 200 joined the Union. To this day, a monument on the northeast side of the court square stands, honoring the Confederate States of America. The monument was a gift from the United Daughters of the Confederacy. An interesting fact about the monument is that it is the only Confederate monument in the south that does not face squarely north. There have been many myths as to why this is, but nothing substantial has been made official.[6][7]


Census Data

Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1860 218
1870 179 −17.9%
1880 636 255.3%
1890 518 −18.6%
1900 1,822 251.7%
1910 2,089 14.7%
1920 2,415 15.6%
1930 2,891 19.7%
1940 3,773 30.5%
1950 6,035 60.0%
1960 9,303 54.2%
1970 13,537 45.5%
1980 14,248 5.3%
1990 14,439 1.3%
2000 14,950 3.5%
Est. 2008 16,557 [8] 10.7%
U.S. Census Bureau[9]

As of the census[10] of 2000, there were 14,950 people, 6,004 households, and 2,869 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,541.5 people per square mile (595.1/km²). There were 6,622 housing units at an average density of 682.8/sq mi (263.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 88.16% White, 6.80% African American, 0.21% Native American, 2.75% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.68% from other races, and 1.38% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.73% of the population.

There were 6,004 households out of which 19.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 35.6% were married couples living together, 9.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 52.2% were non-families. 39.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.02 and the average family size was 2.70.

The age distribution, which is strongly influenced by Murray State, is: 13.6% under the age of 18, 33.7% from 18 to 24, 20.7% from 25 to 44, 16.0% from 45 to 64, and 16.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 26 years. For every 100 females there were 86.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $25,647, and the median income for a family was $41,331. Males had a median income of $30,266 versus $22,294 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,389. About 11.2% of families and 22.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.8% of those under age 18 and 9.9% of those age 65 or over.


The city of Murray is host to several religious assemblies of various faiths. There are approximately 75 religious institutions within the city of Murray and surrounding area.[11] Some of the denominations that make their home in Murray include, Baptist, Catholic, Episcopal, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Christian Science, Church of Christ, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Pentecostal, Presbyterian, Methodist, and Non-Denominational. Baptist is the most prominent religion in Murray with over 25 Baptist churches within the Murray area.[12]


Annual Festivals

First Christian Church, established in 1844.

Murray plays host to several annual festivals and events. Perhaps the most well known Murray festival is the annual Freedom Fest celebration. The dates of the festival vary from year to year, but are always near the end of June through the first week of July. During the festival, activities include a parade, a farmer's market, a 5k run, and a street fair, as well as the signature Fireworks Extravaganza which draws crowds from all over the region. In 2004 Freedom Fest added Squealin' on the Square, a Kansas City Barbeque Society competition which attracts competitors from across the south and mid-west. The largest event of Freedom Fest is the annual concert put on by local radio station Froggy 103.7, which they name "Froggy Fest". Artists who have played in the past are: Confederate Railroad, Lonestar, Travis Tritt, Sara Evans, Trace Adkins and more.

Dickens Alley, also well known in the region, is held during the first weekend in December. The festival turns historic downtown Murray into olde London from centuries ago. Activities include a street fair, home-baked goods for sale and carolers dressed from the period.

Other festivals include the West Kentucky Highland Games and Festival, the Lumberjack Challenge, and the RC Aircraft Fly-in

On October 4, 2008, a Bands of America regional competition was held at Murray State University. The competition included marching band performances from various high schools from the southeast and an exhibition performance by the Murray State Racer Band.

Museums and Galleries

The Clara M. Eagle Gallery is located in the Fine Arts Building.

For a city of its size, Murray offers tourists and citizens tastes of culture that are usually only available in larger cities. The Clara M. Eagle Gallery is a multi-level art gallery that houses around 1,200 permanent artworks. The gallery has also been home to temporary shows, featuring contemporary art, African art, woodworking, and tapestries from Spain among others. The galleries have near 8,300 square feet (770 m2) of show space.

Wrather West Kentucky Museum.

The Wrather West Kentucky Museum is located in the first building constructed on the campus of Murray State University and has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The museum, which is free to the public, highlights the social development, economic and cultural development of the people of the Jackson Purchase region of Kentucky through permanent and changing exhibits.


Murray has two city parks that cover over 200 acres (0.8 km2) of land. A three-pool swimming complex is housed in Murray's Central Park. The parks also features 15 soccer fields, 7 basketball courts, 15 playgrounds, 9 baseball and softball fields, and a three-mile (5 km) nature walking trail. The parks also have 10 covered picnic pavilions for family gatherings and an amphitheater. The park features a 5,200-foot (1,580 m) disc golf course that was the first one of its kind in the area.[13]

Playhouse in the Park

Playhouse in the Park Community Theatre

Playhouse in the Park is one of the oldest community theatres in the state of Kentucky. The theatre is located in Murray's Central Park and is housed in a 1907 train and freight depot. The playhouse is open year-round and produces everything including original works, comedies, dramas, children's theatre, and musicals. On May 16, 2008, former President Bill Clinton made an appearance at Playhouse in the Park to speak about his wife's (Hillary Clinton) presidency campaign.


The only daily newspaper in the city of Murray is the Murray Ledger & Times. The Ledger is in its 128th year and has remained locally operated. The Ledger is printed six days per week and has a city/county circulation of around 7,200 papers per day.[14] The Ledger also has many out of city readers who receive their paper via mail. The Murray State News is a weekly, award-winning student produced newspaper that has become popular, not only with students, but with regular citizens of Murray. The paper features everything from campus news, sports, activities, and opinions.

The city of Murray has four radio stations that reach audiences well beyond the city of Murray. The stations are:

The city of Murray has two television stations: WKMU TV 21, the local transmitter for the statewide KET public television network; and WQTV, a CW affiliate associated with KFVS in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.


Murray's Regional Special Events Center, home of the Murray State University men's and women's basketball programs

College athletics are the sporting events of choice in the Murray area. Murray State University participates in NCAA Division I athletics which is the highest level of collegiate athletics. The university has 16 athletic programs that compete in the Ohio Valley Conference and have provided 117 conference titles since 1948.[15] The most popular sport at Murray State is the men's basketball program. The basketball program is one of the winningest programs in NCAA history with over 1,300 wins and an all-time winning percentage of .637, which places Murray State 20th best in NCAA history.[16] Murray State has won 20 regular season Ohio Valley Conference titles and 13 OVC Tournament titles, which is the best in the OVC.[17] The men's basketball program has produced a number of NBA players, most notably Jeff Martin, Popeye Jones, and Joe Fulks, who is a Basketball Hall of Fame inductee and has been credited with being one of the pioneers of the jump shot.[18]

Roy Stewart Stadium, home of the Murray State football program

Murray State football, although not as popular as basketball, is also rich in winning tradition and is well followed. The football program has won 8 Ohio Valley Conference titles and has produced 17 NFL players. Even more well-known are the coaches the football program has produced. Ralph Friedgen, Frank Beamer, Mike Gottfried, Houston Nutt, and Ron Zook have all had their coaching careers run through the Murray State football program. There have been 10 players that have been selected as first team All-American's and 21 second, third, and honorable mention All-American's. The Murray State football program has won over 400 games, the most decisive win coming in 1932 when Murray State beat the University of Louisville 105–0.[19]


Murray has two movie theaters, the first of which is the Cheri Theatre. The Cheri theater has seven screens and shows nothing but first-run films. The Cheri was started in 1967 as a single-screen theater with seating for 600. There have been many additions and renovations throughout the years and in 1997, two 290 stadium seating auditoriums were added. In 2008, the theater upgraded it's projectors to take advantage of Dolby 3D Technology.

The second theater is the Curris Center Theater, which hosts Cinema International. Cinema International is run through the department of modern languages at Murray State University and is open to the students and public. Cinema International opens each weekend and runs around 18 films per year of every film genre from directors around the world.



The Murray Independent School system has been a part of the Murray community since 1872 when the first school was built in the middle of town. The school system has an enrollment of over 1,800 students. The Murray school system has been known for offering an excellent public education. There have been 35 National Merit Finalists since 1974. In 2006, the Murray High School test scores were ranked as being 9th in the state of Kentucky. Standard & Poor's recognized the Murray Independent school district as being one of only 18 Kentucky school districts as an outperforming school district. The athletic program competes in KHSAA Class AA in most sports. The school system also covers numerous extra curricular activities, from band, arts, social clubs, and an academic team.[20][21]

Higher Education

Murray is also home to Murray State University, a four-year public university. The university was founded in 1922 and started out as the Murray Normal School. Today, the university offers 11 associate, 64 bachelor, and 42 master's programs and has an enrollment of over 10,000.[22]



Other road projects in Murray are to include the widening of Kentucky 121 through the city of Murray. Over 12,000 cars travel that stretch of road per day.[23] There is also a downtown loop and four lane bypass in the works to help relieve traffic congestion within the city.[24]


The airport in Murray is the Murray-Calloway County Airport. The airport, known as Kyle-Oakley Field, is a general aviation airport that features a 24-hour terminal and has a runway dimension of 6,200'x 100' and can handle up to a 60,000 lb (27,000 kg) dual-wheel aircraft. The call-sign for Kyle-Oakley Field is CEY.


The Murray Calloway Transit Authority recently started the "Racer Routes" service that provides four public bus routes throughout Murray. The also have services for those who do not have a vehicle.


The KWT Railway starts at one mile (1.6 km) north of Murray and travels south to Bruceton, Tennessee where it connects with CSX railway that travels to Memphis, Tennessee and beyond.


Electric service in the city of Murray is provided by the Murray Electric System. The electric system is locally owned and governed and gets all of its energy from the Tennessee Valley Authority. In turn, electric customers in Murray enjoy one of the lowest electric rates in the United States. The cost is around 7.2 cents per kilowatt hour.[25] In recent years, MES has branched out into telecommunications. It offers internet service with speeds of up to 4 Mbit/s, home telephone service, and digital cable television service.

Natural gas and water service falls under the city of Murrays' Public Works department. The natural gas service has roughly 5,500 customers, in which 1.3 million cubic feet is used per year.[26] The water system treats 1.3 billion gallons of water per year going through 105 miles (169 km) of water main piping. The current treatment plant was built in 1992 with a capacity of 7 million gallons per day. At current, the plant treats 3.6 million gallons per day. The Murray sewer treatment plant treats 4 million gallons of sewage per day and is connected with 122 miles (196 km) of sanitary sewer piping.[27][28]


Murray boasts one of the lowest crime rates in Kentucky. The total crime risk index score for Murray is 54, which is 46 points below the national crime risk score of 100. "Homefair City Profile". 

Notable residents


  1. ^ a b Kleber, John E., ed (1992). "Murray". The Kentucky Encyclopedia. Associate editors: Thomas D. Clark, Lowell H. Harrison, and James C. Klotter. Lexington, Kentucky: The University Press of Kentucky. ISBN 0813117720. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  4. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2005-05-03. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  5. ^ "Murray Weather". The Weather Channel. Retrieved 2007-07-01. 
  6. ^ a b c Dorothy and Kirby Jennings (1978). The Story of Calloway County 1822–1976. Murray, Kentucky: Murray Democrat Publishing Co.. 
  7. ^ a b c Collins, Lewis (1924). History of Kentucky. John P. Morton and Company. 
  8. ^ KSDC 2008 City Population Estimates Retrieved on 2010-2-12
  9. ^ Census Bureau Retrieved on 2010-2-12
  10. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  11. ^ "Church Directory". Murray-Calloway County Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved 2007-07-26. 
  12. ^ "Church Directory". Murray-Calloway County Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved 2007-07-26. 
  13. ^ Murray-Calloway County Parks and Recreation
  14. ^ Murray Ledger & Times City/County Circulation Numbers
  15. ^ 2007 Murray State Football Media Guide
  16. ^ NCAA All-Time Winningest Teams
  17. ^ Murray State Championships
  18. ^ Joe Fulks Bio at
  19. ^ Murray State University Football Records Book
  20. ^ Murray Independent Schools Overview
  21. ^ Standard & Poor's Outperforming School Districts
  22. ^ Murray State University Quick Facts
  23. ^ KY 121 Road-Widening Project
  24. ^ List of Road Projects in Murray
  25. ^ Murray Electric Residential Rates
  26. ^ Murray Natural Gas Facts
  27. ^ Murray Water Quick Facts
  28. ^ Murray Sanitary Sewer System

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