The first successful gold rush in the United States occurred in 1806 in Kentucky. The gold was found in the sand and gravel of the Ohio River and its tributaries.

Madison County, located in central Kentucky, has a rich history dating back thousands of years. The area was originally inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Shawnee and Cherokee, who used the region's fertile land for hunting and farming. European settlers arrived in the late 18th century, with Colonel John Miller establishing the first permanent settlement, known as Millersburg, in 1785.

During the early 19th century, the county experienced rapid growth and development. The town of Richmond was founded in 1798 and quickly became the economic and cultural center of Madison County. The construction of the Kentucky River Turnpike in 1834 further enhanced the county's accessibility and spurred commerce and trade. Agriculture, particularly tobacco farming, became the primary industry, with Madison County earning a reputation for producing high-quality tobacco.

The Civil War had a significant impact on Madison County, as it did on much of Kentucky. Despite being a border state, the county remained largely pro-Union, with many residents enlisting in the Union Army. However, there were also Confederate sympathizers, leading to intermittent conflict and skirmishes throughout the war. Following the war, Madison County underwent a period of reconstruction, with efforts focused on rebuilding infrastructure and revitalizing the economy.

In the 20th century, Madison County continued to develop and diversify its economy. The establishment of Eastern Kentucky University in 1906 provided educational opportunities for the region, attracting students and contributing to economic growth. Industrialization also played a crucial role, with manufacturing facilities opening in the county and providing employment opportunities. Today, Madison County is a vibrant community that combines its rich history with a forward-thinking approach, offering residents and visitors a blend of cultural heritage, natural beauty, and economic opportunities.

  • 1785: Madison County, KY was established on December 17th.
  • 1787: The first courthouse was erected in the county seat, Richmond.
  • 1810: The county's population reached 3,032.
  • 1829: The Richmond and Lexington Turnpike was completed, improving transportation in the area.
  • 1862: The Civil War had a significant impact on Madison County, with the Battle of Richmond taking place on August 29-30.
  • 1874: Berea College, an interracial and coeducational institution, was founded in Madison County.
  • 1911: The Eastern Kentucky State Normal School (now Eastern Kentucky University) was established in Richmond.
  • 1920: Madison County's population surpassed 20,000.
  • 1955: The founding of Blue Grass Army Depot brought economic growth to the county.
  • 1962: Interstate 75 was opened, further improving transportation in the region.
  • 1997: The completion of the Daniel Boone Parkway provided a direct link between Madison County and Hazard.