Frankfort, Kentucky

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Frankfort, Kentucky
—  City  —
KY State Capitol.jpg
State Capitol

USA Kentucky location map
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Frankfort, Kentucky
Location of Frankfort, Kentucky
Coordinates: 38°12′N 84°52′W / 38.2, -84.867
Country United States
State Kentucky
County Franklin
Established 1786
Incorporated February 28, 1835
 • Type Council/Manager
 • Mayor Gippy Graham
 • Total 14.6 sq mi (37.9 km2)
 • Land 14.3 sq mi (37.1 km2)
 • Water 0.3 sq mi (0.8 km2)
Elevation 509 ft (155 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 25,527
 • Density 1,746.3/sq mi (674.2/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP Code 40601-40604, 40618-40622
Area code(s) 502
FIPS code 21-28900
GNIS feature ID 0517517
Website City website

Frankfort is a city in Kentucky that serves as the capital of the Commonwealth and the county seat of Franklin County.[1] The population was 25,527 at the 2010 census; by population it is the 5th smallest state capital in the United States. Located on the Kentucky River, Frankfort is the principal city of the Frankfort, Kentucky Micropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Franklin and Anderson counties.


The town of Frankfort likely received its name from an event that took place in 1780s. American Indians attacked a group of early British-American pioneers from Bryan's Station, who were making salt at a ford in the Kentucky River. After the pioneer Stephen Frank was killed, the settlers called the crossing "Frank’s Ford." This name was later shortened to Frankfort.

In 1786 James Wilkinson purchased the 260-acre (1.05 km2) 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.

Frankfort bird eye

Bird's eye view of the city of Frankfort in 1871. 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.

After Kentucky became a state, five commissioners were appointed on June 20, 1792, to choose a location for the capital. They were John Allen and John Edwards (both from Bourbon County), Henry Lee (Mason County), Thomas Kennedy (Madison County), and Robert Todd (Fayette County). 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.[2]

Frankfort had a post office by 1794, with Daniel Weisiger as postmaster.[3]

John Brown, a Virginia lawyer and statesman, built a home, now called Liberty Hall, in Frankfort in 1796. Before 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. Once that was accomplished, he was elected a U.S. Senator for Kentucky.

The Kentucky General Assembly appropriated funds to provide a house to accommodate the governor in 1796. Construction was completed in 1798. The Old Governor's Mansion is reputed to be the oldest official executive residence still in use in the United States. In 1829 the Old Capitol, the third Capitol of Kentucky, was built in the Greek Revival style, designed by Gideon Shryock. The building served Kentucky as its Capitol from 1830 until 1910.

Downtown Frankfort Kentucky

Downtown Frankfort, with the Capital Plaza Office Tower at center.

During the American Civil War, Union forces built fortifications overlooking downtown Frankfort on what is now called Fort Hill. The Confederate Army occupied Frankfort for a short time.

On February 3, 1900 Governor-elect William Goebel was assassinated in Frankfort while walking to the capitol to be inaugurated. Former Secretary of State Caleb Powers was later found guilty in a conspiracy to kill Goebel.

The city has grown considerably since 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.

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 1968 and has become a visual landmark for the center of the city. In August 2008, capital officials announced a plan to demolish the Tower and redevelop the area over a period of years. They intended to replace the outdated Tower with a smaller, four- or five-story building for a more pedestrian-oriented scale at the complex.[4]

Frankfort is home to several major distilleries of Kentucky Bourbon whiskey, including Buffalo Trace Distillery (formerly Ancient Age).

Historic churchesEdit

  • Church of the Ascension Episcopal Church was organized in 1835. It is located at 311 Washington Street in what is now Frankfort’s historic district.
  • Good Shepherd Roman Catholic Church was built in 1850, following the immigration in the 1840s of many Irish and German Catholics to the city. Serving Catholics of all ancestries, it's old Parish is located at at 310 Wapping Street in Frankfort’s historic district, but mass is now held at their new church building at 72 Shepherd Way

Frankfort, Ky. 40601 off of US 421.

  • First Baptist Church also known as "First Baptist Church, Clinton Street" was organized in 1833 and is the largest African-American congregation in the city. FBC has hosted religious, civil and political leaders including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.. The Church is located at 100 Clinton Street in Frankfort's historic district.


File:Frankfort Kentucky.jpg
Frankfort kentucky

Hilltop view of modern day Frankfort. The Kentucky River is visible on the left.

Frankfort is located at 38°12′N 84°52′W / 38.2, -84.867 (38.197, -84.863)[5]. It is 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 referred to as West Frankfort and East Frankfort, respectively.

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 Bluegrass Airport in Lexington, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport near Covington or Louisville International Airport in Louisville.


Frankfort is located at the northern extreme limit of the humid subtropical climate of the Southeastern United States. It is proximal to the climatic transition zone where the subtropical Southeast blends with and then eventually changes to a humid continental climate further north (roughly just beyond Cincinnati, Ohio and Indianapolis, Indiana).

Climate data for Frankfort, Kentucky
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 77
Average high °F (°C) 40
Average low °F (°C) 21
Record low °F (°C) −27
Precipitation inches (mm) 3.15
Source: The Weather Channel.[6]


Historical populations
Census Pop.
1800 628
1810 1,099 75.0%
1820 1,679 52.8%
1830 1,682 0.2%
1840 1,917 14.0%
1850 3,308 72.6%
1860 3,702 11.9%
1870 5,396 45.8%
1880 6,958 28.9%
1890 7,892 13.4%
1900 9,487 20.2%
1910 10,465 10.3%
1920 9,805 −6.3%
1930 11,626 18.6%
1940 11,492 −1.2%
1950 11,916 3.7%
1960 18,365 54.1%
1970 21,902 19.3%
1980 25,973 18.6%
1990 25,968 0%
2000 27,741 6.8%
2010 25,527 −8.0%

As of the 2010 Census,[7] 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.


Commonwealth Gardens [1] is a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to the formation of community gardens and school gardens in the Frankfort and Franklin County area. It advocates the consumption of locally grown food because it tastes better and takes less energy to produce, and also to support local farmers and merchants.

Walk/Bike Frankfort [8] is dedicated to making the capital of Kentucky the best city in the Commonwealth for pedestrians and cyclists.

Frankfort Climate Action Network [2], Working to raise awareness about the threat of climate change and solutions for it.

Josephine Sculpture Park [3], provide, community arts education and creative experiences while conserving the beauty of the native, rural landscape. It is free and open every day from dawn until dusk

The Folkbike Re-Cyclery [4] is a non-profit, volunteer organization located at 106 E.Broadway in Frankfort. They restore and repair used bicycles, providing them to people who cannot afford new ones. Many residents donate unused bikes to the group.


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

  • Frankfort Independent Schools, whose boundaries roughly coincide with downtown, South Frankfort, and the Bellepoint and Tanglewood neighborhoods:

Private high school:

Frankfort, Franklin County and the surrounding area also have a considerable homeschooling population.

Sister citiesEdit

Frankfort has one sister city:

Notable residentsEdit



  1. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  2. ^ "Kentucky Historical weird number 1774", Kentucky Historical Society Website
  3. ^ Rennick, Robert M. (1993) Kentucky's Bluegrass: A Survey of the Post Offices, p. 91, p. 99. Lake Grove, Oregon: The Depvot, ISBN 0-943645-31-X (PO Department records were destroyed by a fire in 1836; October 1, 1794 is the date of the first quarterly account sent to Washington by Mr. Weisiger)
  4. ^ Redevelopment Plan", Kentucky
  5. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  6. ^ "MONTHLY AVERAGES for Frankfort, KY". The Weather Channel. Retrieved July 29, 2010. 
  7. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-05-14. 
  8. ^ "Walk/Bike Frankfort". Retrieved 2011-12-11. 
  9. ^ Who Was Who in America, Historical Volume, 1607-1896. Chicago: Marquis Who's Who. 1963. 

External linksEdit

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Coordinates: 38°11′49″N 84°51′47″W / 38.197, -84.863

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Frankfort, Kentucky. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.

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