Bardstown, Kentucky

Bardstown, Kentucky

Infobox Settlement
official_name = Bardstown, Kentucky
settlement_type = City
nickname = Bourbon Capital of the World
website =

imagesize = 250px
image_caption = Spalding Hall, in downtown Bardstown

mapsize = 250px
map_caption = Location of Bardstown within Kentucky

mapsize1 =
map_caption1 =
subdivision_type = Country
subdivision_type1 = State
subdivision_type2 = County
subdivision_name = United States
subdivision_name1 = Kentucky
subdivision_name2 = Nelson
government_type =
leader_title = Mayor
leader_name = Chad Lawrence
established_title = Settled
established_date = Salem, 1770s [ Kentucky Atlas and Gazeteer - Bardstown] ]
established_title2 = Established
established_date2 = Bard's Town, 1780
established_title3 = Incorporated
established_date3 = Bardstown, 1790
area_magnitude =
area_total_km2 = 18.7
area_total_sq_mi = 7.2
area_land_km2 = 18.6
area_land_sq_mi = 7.2
area_water_km2 = 0.1
area_water_sq_mi = 0.1
area_water_percent = 0.69
population_as_of = 2000
population_total = 10374
population_density_km2 = 557.9
population_density_sq_mi = 1,445.3
timezone = EST
utc_offset = -5
timezone_DST = EDT
utc_offset_DST = -4
elevation_m = 197
elevation_ft = 646
latd = 37 |latm = 48 |lats = 56 |latNS = N
longd = 85 |longm = 27 |longs = 47 |longEW = W
postal_code_type = ZIP Code
postal_code = 40004
area_code = 502
blank_name = FIPS code
blank_info = 21-03628
blank1_name = GNIS feature ID
blank1_info = 0486333
footnotes =

Bardstown is a city in Nelson County, Kentucky, United States. The population was 10,374 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Nelson County.GR|6 It is named for David Bard, the man who obtained the land for the city from the governor of Virginia, and his brother William Bard, the surveyor who laid out the town.


Bardstown is the second oldest city in Kentucky. [ [ History of Bardstown steeped in bourbon] "Courier Journal" April 4, 2007] It was settled in the 1780s, and received its charter in 1790.

Bardstown was the first center of Catholicism west of the Appalachian Mountains. [Jay P. Dolan, "The American Catholic Experience: A History from Colonial Times to the Present" (Notre Dame, Indiana: Notre Dame University Press, 1992), pp. 119, 160-61.] The Diocese of Bardstown was established on February 8, 1808, and served all Catholics between the Appalachians and the Mississippi River, an area now served by 44 dioceses and archdioceses in 10 states. Its cathedral still stands as the Basilica of Saint Joseph Proto-Cathedral. The seat of the diocese was transferred to Louisville in 1841. [Dolan, "American Catholic Experience", p. 161.] Bardstown is still the home of a Catholic high school, Bethlehem High School.

The Old Talbott Tavern, built in 1779 and located just off the Courthouse Square in the center of Bardstown, is another piece of Bardstown's rich history. Several notable American icons have passed through the tavern's doors, including Abraham Lincoln and Daniel Boone. [ [ - Old Talbott Tavern] ] Several bullet holes located in an upstairs wall are reputed to have been put there by Jesse James. [ [ - History] ] It's rumored that some of the people who stayed at the tavern in years past never checked out, even after death, as some people claim to have encountered ghosts or other paranormal activity at the tavern.

Bardstown is the home of My Old Kentucky Home State Park. Here, Judge John Rowan and his wife Ann Lytle Rowan built "Federal Hill," the mansion that allegedly inspired Stephen Foster's song "My Old Kentucky Home". Federal Hill is depicted on the reverse of the Kentucky state quarter issued by the United States Mint in 2001.

Several distilleries operate in and around Bardstown including Jim Beam, Maker's Mark, and Heaven Hill. The large amount of bourbon produced in the area gave rise to the annual Kentucky Bourbon Festival and Bardstown the title "Bourbon Capital of the World". A public museum, the Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey, showcases this aspect of local history.

Bardstown's downtown area is a historic district listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Geography and maps

Bardstown is located at coor dms|37|48|56|N|85|27|47|W|city (37.815492, -85.463006).GR|1

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 7.2 square miles (18.7 km²), of which, 7.2 square miles (18.6 km²) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.1 km²) of it (0.69%) is water.


As of the censusGR|2 of 2000, there were 10,374 people, 4,195 households, and 2,701 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,445.3 people per square mile (557.9/km²). There were 4,488 housing units at an average density of 625.3/sq mi (241.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 82.11% White, 15.07% African American, 0.13% Native American, 0.94% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.67% from other races, and 1.07% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.38% of the population.

There were 4,195 households out of which 34.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.7% were married couples living together, 17.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.6% were non-families. 31.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.40 and the average family size was 3.00.

In the city the population was spread out with 27.7% under the age of 18, 9.8% from 18 to 24, 29.8% from 25 to 44, 19.7% from 45 to 64, and 12.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 87.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $31,497, and the median income for a family was $41,065. Males had a median income of $31,850 versus $20,537 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,681. About 14.6% of families and 17.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 25.6% of those under age 18 and 15.8% of those age 65 or over.

Bardstown, along with Nelson County, is part of the Louisville Metropolitan Statistical Area.


The Martha Layne Collins Blue Grass Parkway is a limited-access highway that passes just south of Bardstown. A part of the Kentucky parkway system, the highway was formerly a toll road, but tolls were removed in 1991 when enough tolls were collected to pay off its construction bonds.

Railroad freight service is provided by the R. J. Corman Railroad Company, over the former Bardstown Branch of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad. Corman operates "My Old Kentucky Dinner Train," a passenger train specializing in dinner service that travels the line from the historic Bardstown depot to Clermont and back.

Attractions and events

*The Civil War Museum in Bardstown is the fourth-largest Civil War museum in the country. []
*The Kentucky Bourbon Festival celebrates Bardstown's history in the production of bourbon. It was designated Kentucky's official bourbon festival by the Kentucky General Assembly in 2000. [ [ Kentucky State Symbols] ]
*My Old Kentucky Home State Park, site of the mansion that inspired Kentucky's state song, "My Old Kentucky Home".
*Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey celebrates Bardstown's history in the production of whiskey.
*"Stephen Foster - The Musical" an outdoor musical about Stephen Foster, composer of "My Old Kentucky Home." It was designated Kentucky's official outdoor musical by the Kentucky General Assembly in 2002. []
*The Greene County Sport Parachute Center west of Bardstown was one of the oldest continually operating drop zones in the United States, existing from 1968 through July 15, 2007, when the lease for the land was not renewed. The primary jump plane was a 1955 DHC-2 Beaver, and held 8 jumpers at a time.
*Wickland, a private residence that has been the home of three Governors of Kentucky and open to the public for tours.
*A memorial to steamboat inventor John Fitch stands in Courthouse Square, complete with a replica of his first steamboat.

External links

* [ Official city government site]
* [ Official tourism site]
* [ Kentucky Bourbon Festival]
* [ The Kentucky Standard Newspaper]

ee also

*Bardstown Historic District
*The Kentucky Standard
*Heaven Hill


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