Historical Markers in
Powell County, Kentucky

The famous African-American author and poet, Langston Hughes, spent much of his childhood in Lexington, Kentucky.

Powell County, Kentucky is located in the Eastern Coal Field region of the state. It was established in 1852 and named after Lazarus W. Powell, who served as the Governor of Kentucky from 1851 to 1855. Prior to European settlement, the area was inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Shawnee and Cherokee.

The first European settlers arrived in the area in the late 18th century, and by the 19th century, the region had become a center for agriculture and coal mining. The development of the railroad in the late 1800s further contributed to the growth of Powell County, as it facilitated transportation of goods and people.

The county experienced a boom during the early 20th century with the discovery of vast coal reserves. This led to an influx of workers and an increase in population. However, the coal industry declined in the latter half of the century, impacting the county's economy.

Today, Powell County is known for its natural beauty and outdoor recreational opportunities. The Red River Gorge, located within the county, offers hiking, climbing, and camping opportunities, attracting tourists from all over the country. The county continues to work towards diversifying its economy and promoting tourism as a means for growth and development.

  • 1799: Powell County is established as part of Clay County.
  • 1852: Powell County separates from Clay County and becomes its own county.
  • 1862: During the American Civil War, Powell County is occupied by Confederate and Union forces throughout the conflict.
  • 1869: Stanton, the county seat of Powell County, is incorporated.
  • 1915: Natural Bridge State Park is established in Powell County to protect and showcase the unique natural arch formation.
  • 1933: Cumberland Falls State Resort Park is established in Powell County, becoming a popular tourist destination.
  • 1956: The Mountain Parkway, a major highway, is completed, improving transportation connections to and from Powell County.
  • 1972: Powell County Historical Society is founded to preserve the local history and heritage.
  • 1997: Torrent Falls, a popular rock climbing site, is opened to the public in Powell County.