Kentucky is known as the "Bluegrass State" because of the bluegrass that grows in many of its pastures.
Mercer County, Kentucky, located in the central part of the state, has a rich history that dates back to the late 18th century. The county was founded in 1785 and named after General Hugh Mercer, a Revolutionary War hero. It was one of the first counties established in Kentucky, and its early settlers thrived due to the fertile land and strategic location along the Kentucky River.

In the early years, Mercer County was a bustling center of agriculture and industry. The area quickly became known for its productive farmland, leading to a flourishing agricultural economy. Tobacco and hemp were among the major crops grown, and the county was an important shipping hub for these products. As the 19th century progressed, Mercer County's agricultural prosperity continued to grow, attracting more settlers to the area.

The county also played a significant role during the Civil War. Being located on a major transportation route, Mercer County saw its fair share of military activity. Both Union and Confederate forces traversed the area, leading to skirmishes and battles. Despite the turmoil, Mercer County managed to rebuild and thrive after the war, with agriculture remaining the backbone of its economy.

In the 20th century, Mercer County underwent various changes and developments. The advent of modern transportation, such as railroads and highways, brought new opportunities for economic growth. Agriculture remained an important industry, but the county also began to diversify its economy with manufacturing and other ventures. Today, Mercer County is a vibrant community that combines its rich history with a modern outlook, offering a blend of rural charm and urban conveniences.

This timeline provides a concise overview of the key events in the history of Mercer County, Kentucky.

  • 1776: Mercer County is established as one of the first counties in Kentucky.
  • 1785: Harrodsburg, the county seat, becomes the first permanent English settlement in Kentucky.
  • 1792: Kentucky is admitted as the 15th state in the United States.
  • 1801: Centre College, the oldest college in Kentucky, is founded in Danville, within Mercer County.
  • 1813: The Old Mud Meetinghouse, one of the oldest extant churches in Kentucky, is built in Harrodsburg.
  • 1835: The Harrodsburg, Danville, and Stanford Railroad, the first railroad west of the Allegheny Mountains, is established.
  • 1850: The population of Mercer County reaches over 15,000, including a diverse mix of settlers, including African-Americans and European immigrants.
  • 1924: The Blue Grass Ordnance Depot, a major military installation, is established in Mercer County during World War I and continues to operate through World War II.
  • 1957: The Mercer County Fair and Horse Show, a beloved tradition, begins and remains a popular annual event to this day.