National Register Listings in
Cumberland County, Kentucky

The town of Elizabethtown, Kentucky, was the birthplace of Colonel Harland Sanders, the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC).
Cumberland County, Kentucky, located in the south-central part of the state, has a rich and diverse history that spans several centuries. The area was initially inhabited by Native American tribes such as the Cherokee, Shawnee, and Chickasaw, who relied on the land's resources for sustenance and trade. European exploration in the late 18th century brought about significant changes as settlers began to establish permanent settlements.

The county's official formation took place in 1798 when the state legislature divided the land from neighboring Green County. The county was named after the Cumberland River, which runs through the area, and whose name was inspired by the Duke of Cumberland, brother of King George III of England. In the early years, the region was primarily agricultural, relying on crops such as tobacco and corn, as well as livestock farming.

During the Civil War, Cumberland County found itself experiencing the consequences of the conflict. While officially remaining loyal to the Union, the county was geographically located near the Confederate stronghold of Tennessee. Both armies traversed the area, resulting in looting, destruction of property, and disruption of daily life for its residents.

In the 20th century, Cumberland County saw increased industrialization and infrastructure development. The construction of Dale Hollow Dam on the Cumberland River in the 1940s brought economic growth and provided a source of hydroelectric power to the region. The lake created by the dam also became a popular tourist destination, attracting visitors for boating, fishing, and camping.

Today, Cumberland County continues to be a predominantly rural community. Agriculture still plays a significant role in the local economy, alongside small-scale industries and tourism. The county's history and natural beauty contribute to its charm, with landmarks such as the historic courthouse and the scenic Cumberland River serving as reminders of its vibrant past.

This timeline provides a glimpse into the major events and milestones that have shaped the history of Cumberland County, Kentucky.

  • 1838 - Cumberland County is established as a county in Kentucky.
  • Early 1800s - Native American tribes, including the Cherokee and Shawnee, inhabit the area.
  • Late 1700s - European settlers begin to arrive, primarily of Scots-Irish and English descent.
  • 1769 - Daniel Boone explores the region, opening up the Cumberland Gap as a route for westward expansion.
  • 1798 - The first land grants are issued in what is now Cumberland County.
  • 1825 - Burkesville is officially incorporated as the county seat.
  • 1861-1865 - Cumberland County, like much of the nation, is affected by the American Civil War. Many local men serve in the Confederate Army.
  • Late 1800s - Agriculture, primarily tobacco and corn farming, becomes the mainstay of the county's economy.
  • Early 1900s - Lumber and coal mining industries begin to flourish, providing new job opportunities in the area.
  • 1997 - Cumberland County celebrates its 150th anniversary.
  • Present - Cumberland County continues to be primarily rural, with a focus on agriculture, tourism, and small businesses.