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The town of Elizabethtown, Kentucky, was the birthplace of Colonel Harland Sanders, the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC).
Laurel County, located in the southeastern part of Kentucky, has a rich history dating back to the early 19th century. The county was officially established in 1825, named after either the mountain laurel shrubs that were prevalent in the area or after the fact that laurel leaves were traditionally used to crown victors in ancient Greek mythology.

In its early years, Laurel County was primarily inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Shawnee and Cherokee. However, European settlers began to arrive in the late 18th century, attracted by the fertile land and abundant natural resources. As more settlers arrived, several small communities were established, including London, the county seat.

One significant event in Laurel County's history is the Civil War. Though Kentucky was officially neutral during the war, both Union and Confederate sympathizers lived in the county. There were several clashes and skirmishes, with Union forces occupying London for a period of time. After the war, the county experienced economic growth, with the advent of railroad lines and the development of coal mining and timber industries.

Over the years, Laurel County has continued to grow and thrive. The county has been witness to numerous milestones, such as the establishment of schools, hospitals, and businesses. Today, it remains an important hub in southeastern Kentucky, with a diverse economy that includes industries like manufacturing, healthcare, and tourism. The county is also known for its beautiful natural landscapes, including the Daniel Boone National Forest, which attracts outdoor enthusiasts from far and wide.

This timeline provides a condensed summary of the historical journey of Laurel County, Kentucky.

  • 1806 - Laurel County is officially established as a county in the state of Kentucky.
  • 1861 - The American Civil War begins, and Laurel County becomes an important strategic location due to its proximity to Cumberland Gap.
  • 1862 - The Battle of Camp Wildcat takes place in Laurel County, marking a significant Union victory.
  • 1869 - The town of London is incorporated as the county seat of Laurel County.
  • 1890 - The first railroad, the Louisville & Nashville Railroad, is completed in Laurel County, encouraging economic growth and development.
  • 1926 - U.S. Route 25 is established, running through Laurel County and improving transportation in the area.
  • 1937 - Laurel River Lake is created as a result of the construction of Laurel River Dam, providing a reliable water source and recreational opportunities.
  • 1974 - A devastating tornado outbreak hits Laurel County, causing significant damage and loss of life.
  • 1992 - The Daniel Boone National Forest is expanded to include parts of Laurel County, preserving its natural beauty and promoting outdoor activities.
  • 2019 - Laurel County celebrates its 213th anniversary since its establishment.