The famous horse race, the Kentucky Derby, has been held annually at Churchill Downs in Louisville since 1875.
Leslie County, Kentucky, is located in the southeastern part of the state and has a rich history that dates back thousands of years. The area was initially inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Cherokee, Shawnee, and Creek. They relied heavily on agriculture and hunting for their sustenance.

The arrival of European settlers in the late 18th century brought significant changes to the region. In 1807, Leslie County was officially formed and named after Governor John J. Crittenden's father-in-law, Levi Leslie. During this time, the county's economy thrived on logging and timber industries, with the abundant forests providing ample resources.

Throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, Leslie County experienced both economic growth and challenges. The construction of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway in the late 1800s connected Leslie County to larger markets and contributed to the coal mining industry's expansion. Coal soon became the county's primary economic driver, attracting more settlers and immigrants to the area.

However, this economic growth was accompanied by labor disputes and social tensions. The coal industry led to the rise of labor unions, which played a significant role in shaping the political landscape of Leslie County. The county also faced infrastructure challenges due to its rugged and mountainous terrain, making transportation difficult.

In recent years, Leslie County has faced economic decline due to the decrease in coal mining activity and the shift towards cleaner energy sources. Efforts have been made to diversify the economy through tourism and attracting small businesses. Today, Leslie County continues to embrace its heritage while seeking new opportunities for growth and development.

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

  • 1825 – Leslie County is formed from parts of Clay, Harlan, and Perry counties.
  • 1861-1865 – During the American Civil War, the region is strongly divided with both Union and Confederate sympathizers.
  • 1902 – The county seat is moved from Hyden to the newly established town of Hyden.
  • 1920s-1930s – Coal mining becomes a major industry in the area, leading to rapid growth in population and economic development.
  • 1930 – The Great Depression hits Leslie County hard, causing widespread poverty and unemployment.
  • 1960s-1970s – The War on Poverty leads to the establishment of several federal programs aimed at improving the economic conditions in the county.
  • 1990 – Flash floods devastate the county, causing extensive damage to homes, infrastructure, and the local economy.
  • 2000s – Efforts are made to diversify the local economy through tourism, outdoor recreation, and the promotion of cultural heritage.