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.
Perry County is located in eastern Kentucky and has a rich history that dates back thousands of years. The area was originally inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Cherokee, Shawnee, and Creek. European settlers began to arrive in the late 18th century, and the county was officially formed in 1821.

Throughout the 19th century, Perry County, like much of eastern Kentucky, became known for its coal mining industry. The region experienced significant growth and development as thousands of miners and their families moved to the area in search of work. The coal industry brought economic prosperity to the county, but also led to challenges such as unsafe working conditions and labor disputes.

The early 20th century brought several disasters to Perry County. The worst of these was the 1939 flood, which claimed hundreds of lives and caused extensive damage to homes and infrastructure. However, the county persevered and rebuilt, with new industries such as timber and tourism emerging in the following decades.

In recent years, Perry County has faced economic struggles due to the decline of the coal industry. Efforts are underway to diversify the local economy and attract new business opportunities. Despite these challenges, the county remains proud of its heritage and culture, which is celebrated through annual events such as the Buckhorn Old West Days and the Hazard Perry County Farmers’ Market.

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

  • 1799 - Perry County is established as part of the state of Kentucky.
  • 1803 - The first permanent settlement is established in the county.
  • 1821 - The county's first courthouse is constructed in the town of Hazard.
  • 1854 - The introduction of the railroad brings economic growth and development to Perry County.
  • 1861-1865 - Perry County residents actively participate in the American Civil War.
  • 1911 - Hazard becomes the county seat of Perry County.
  • 1935 - The Great Flood devastates parts of Perry County.
  • 1963 - The Buckhorn Lake is completed, providing flood control and recreational opportunities.
  • 1991 - The East Kentucky Correctional Complex is opened in Perry County.
  • 2012 - Perry County celebrates its bicentennial.