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Adair County, Kentucky facts for kids

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Adair County
Adair County Courthouse in Columbia
Adair County Courthouse in Columbia
Map of Kentucky highlighting Adair County
Location within the U.S. state of Kentucky
Map of the United States highlighting Kentucky
Kentucky's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  Kentucky
Founded 1801
Named for John Adair
Seat Columbia
Largest city Columbia
 • Total 412 sq mi (1,070 km2)
 • Land 405 sq mi (1,050 km2)
 • Water 7.1 sq mi (18 km2)  1.7%
 • Total 18,903 Increase
Time zone UTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district 1st

Adair County is a county located in the U.S. state of Kentucky. Its county seat is Columbia. The county was founded in 1801 and named for John Adair, then Speaker of the House in Kentucky and later Governor of Kentucky (1820 – 1824). Adair County has some of the few surviving American Chestnut trees in the United States.


Adair County was formed on December 11, 1801 from sections of Green County. Columbia was chosen as the county seat the following year and the first courthouse was built in 1806.

The county was named in honor of John Adair, a veteran of the Revolutionary War and Northwest Indian War. Later he commanded Kentucky troops in the Battle of New Orleans. He served as the eighth Governor of Kentucky. This was the 44th of Kentucky's 120 counties to be organized.

After the American Civil War, a gang of five men, believed to include Frank and Jesse James from Missouri, robbed the Bank of Columbia of $600 on April 29, 1872. They killed the cashier, R.A.C. Martin, in the course of the robbery.

The courthouse on the Columbia town square, completed in 1884, replaced the original 1806 courthouse.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 412 square miles (1,070 km2), of which 405 square miles (1,050 km2) is land and 7.1 square miles (18 km2) (1.7%) is water. It is part of the Pennyroyal Plateau region of Kentucky and is part of western Appalachia. Over 40% of the county's land is covered with timber.

The Green River is the county's major waterway. The river was impounded to form Green River Lake, the major feature of Green River Lake State Park, which lies in Adair and Taylor counties.

Adjacent counties


Historical population
Census Pop.
1810 6,011
1820 8,765 45.8%
1830 8,217 −6.3%
1840 8,466 3.0%
1850 9,898 16.9%
1860 9,509 −3.9%
1870 11,065 16.4%
1880 13,078 18.2%
1890 13,721 4.9%
1900 14,888 8.5%
1910 16,503 10.8%
1920 17,289 4.8%
1930 16,401 −5.1%
1940 18,566 13.2%
1950 17,603 −5.2%
1960 14,699 −16.5%
1970 13,037 −11.3%
1980 15,233 16.8%
1990 15,360 0.8%
2000 17,244 12.3%
2010 18,656 8.2%
2020 18,903 1.3%
2021 (est.) 18,932 1.5%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2021

As of the census of 2000, there were 17,244 people, 6,747 households, and 4,803 families residing in the county. The population density was 42 per square mile (16/km2). There were 7,792 housing units at an average density of 19 per square mile (7.3/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 96.00% White, 2.55% Black or African American, 0.22% Native American, 0.26% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.19% from other races, and 0.76% from two or more races. 0.77% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 6,747 households, out of which 31.50% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.60% were married couples living together, 10.20% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.80% were non-families. 26.20% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.00% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.44 and the average family size was 2.93.

In the county, the population was spread out, with 23.50% under the age of 18, 10.70% from 18 to 24, 27.70% from 25 to 44, 23.40% from 45 to 64, and 14.60% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 94.00 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.60 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $24,055, and the median income for a family was $29,779. Males had a median income of $23,183 versus $17,009 for females. The per capita income for the county was $14,931. About 18.20% of families and 24.00% of the population were below the poverty line, including 29.60% of those under age 18 and 21.70% of those age 65 or over.



Unincorporated communities

Below is partial listing of known unincorporated communities within Adair County. A complete listing is available here


Adair County's agrarian economy produces livestock, dairy products, corn, and tobacco. The county experienced a minor oil boom in the 1960s.

Lack of adequate transportation infrastructure hindered the county's prosperity well into the 20th century. The completion of the Cumberland Parkway in 1973 significantly ameliorated this problem.


The county is served by Adair County Schools.

Its schools are:

  • Adair County High School (Principal: Troy Young; Assistant Principal: Doug Holmes).

Notable residents

  • Thomas E. Bramlette, Governor of Kentucky
  • Robert Porter Caldwell (1821–1885), United States Congressman, was born in Adair County.
  • E. A. Diddle, men's basketball coach for Western Kentucky University
  • Janice Holt Giles (1909–1979), a writer noted particularly for her regional novels and nonfiction, lived in Adair County from 1949 until her death in 1979.
  • James R. Hindman, Lieutenant Governor of Kentucky
  • Sergeant Dakota Meyer (b. 1988), born and initially educated in Adair County, received the Medal of Honor in 2011 for his actions in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan in 2009
  • Pinkney H. Walker, Chief Justice of the Illinois Supreme Court, was born in Adair County.
  • Evelyn West, burlesque actress
  • Frank Lane Wolford, U.S. Representative from Kentucky

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Condado de Adair (Kentucky) para niños

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