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Cynthiana, Kentucky
City of Cynthiana at Sunset
City of Cynthiana at Sunset
Location of Cynthiana in Harrison County, Kentucky.
Location of Cynthiana in Harrison County, Kentucky.
Country United States
State Kentucky
County Harrison
 • Total 4.44 sq mi (11.50 km2)
 • Land 4.39 sq mi (11.37 km2)
 • Water 0.05 sq mi (0.13 km2)
735 ft (224 m)
 • Total 6,333
 • Density 1,442.60/sq mi (556.99/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP Code
Area code(s) 859
FIPS code 21-19432
GNIS feature ID 0490519
Harrison county kentucky courthouse
Harrison County Courthouse in Cynthiana

Cynthiana is a home rule-class city in Harrison County, Kentucky, in the United States. The population was 6,402 at the 2010 census. It is the seat of its county.


Cynthiana was named after Cynthia and Anna Harrison, daughters of Robert Harrison, who had donated land for its establishment, though Harrison County was named after Colonel Benjamin Harrison, who was an early settler in the area and the sheriff of Bourbon County.

Two Civil War battles were fought in Cynthiana; the first on July 17, 1862, was part of a raid into Kentucky by Confederate General John Hunt Morgan; the second on June 11 and 12, 1864, resulted in defeat of Confederate forces on Morgan's last raid into the state.

On January 23, 1877, an LL chondrite meteorite fell in Cynthiana.

March 2, 1997, the Licking River which bisects Cynthiana flooded, causing extensive damage in Cynthiana and neighboring communities.


Cynthiana is located at 38°23′18″N 84°17′49″W / 38.38833°N 84.29694°W / 38.38833; -84.29694 (38.388292, -84.296841).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.3 square miles (8.5 km2), all land.


U.S. Highways

  • US 27.svg US 27 is known otherwise as Paris Pike (going south from Cynthiana), and Falmouth Road (going north from Cynthiana).
  • US 62.svg US 62 is known otherwise as Leesburg Rd (going west from Cynthiana), and Oddville Pike (going east from Cynthiana).

Kentucky state highways

  • Elongated circle 36.svg KY 36 is also known locally as Williamstown Road (west of Cynthiana) and Millersburg Pike (east of Cynthiana).
  • Elongated circle 32.svg KY 32 is also known locally as Connersville Pike (southwest of Cynthiana) and Millersburg Pike (east of Cynthiana). KY 32 and KY 36 merge downtown and leave Cynthiana concurrently.
  • Elongated circle 356.svg KY 356 is also known as White Oak Road.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1800 78
1810 369 373.1%
1830 975
1840 798 −18.2%
1860 1,237
1870 1,771 43.2%
1880 2,101 18.6%
1890 3,016 43.6%
1900 3,257 8.0%
1910 3,603 10.6%
1920 3,857 7.0%
1930 4,386 13.7%
1940 4,840 10.4%
1950 4,847 0.1%
1960 5,641 16.4%
1970 6,356 12.7%
1980 5,881 −7.5%
1990 6,497 10.5%
2000 6,258 −3.7%
2010 6,402 2.3%
2020 6,333 −1.1%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census of 2000, there were 6,258 people, 2,692 households, and 1,639 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,873.6 people per square mile (723.4/km2). There were 2,909 housing units at an average density of 870.9 per square mile (336.3/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 92.43% White, 5.29% Black or African American, 0.16% Native American, 0.18% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 0.81% from other races, and 1.09% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.41% of the population.

There were 2,692 households, out of which 27.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.2% were married couples living together, 14.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.1% were non-families. 36.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 18.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.24 and the average family size was 2.89.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 22.7% under the age of 18, 9.0% from 18 to 24, 26.3% from 25 to 44, 21.9% from 45 to 64, and 20.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females, there were 80.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 77.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $28,519, and the median income for a family was $34,691. Males had a median income of $27,704 versus $20,659 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,227. About 13.3% of families and 16.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 23.1% of those under age 18 and 11.7% of those age 65 or over.

In popular culture

  • In the comic book series The Walking Dead, the main character, Sheriff's Deputy Rick Grimes, wakes up in a nearby abandoned hospital to discover that his hometown of Cynthiana has been overrun with zombies and nearly the entire town's population has been killed or evacuated. However, in the television adaptation Cynthiana was scrapped for the Atlanta Metropolitan Area.


The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Cynthiana has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.


3M established a factory in Cynthiana in 1969. Post-it notes were developed in 1972 by Arthur Fry and Spencer Silver. Until patents expired in the late 1990s, the 3M factory in Cynthiana was the only production site of Post-it notes worldwide. Today, it still accounts for nearly all of the world's production.


Cynthiana is served by the Harrison County School District with a total of seven public schools located within the county limits:

  • High schools:
    • Harrison County High School
  • Technical Schools
    • KY Tech Harrison Area Technology Center (ATC)
  • Middle schools:
    • Harrison County Middle School
  • Elementary schools:
    • Eastside Elementary
    • Westside Elementary
    • Northside Elementary
    • Southside Elementary

Cynthiana has one private school:

  • St. Edward School (Pre-k-5)

Maysville Community and Technical College has an extended campus located in Cynthiana

  • Maysville Community and Technical College: Licking Valley Campus

Cynthiana has a public library, the Cynthiana-Harrison Public Library.

Notable people

  • William A. Welch, civil engineer, environmentalist, and first general manager of the Palisades Interstate Park system
  • Celia Ammerman, model and star of America's Next Top Model (cycle 12)
  • William Tell Coleman, founder of the Harmony Borax Works, Death Valley, California
  • Richard Gruelle, painter and member of the Hoosier Group
  • Joe B. Hall, University of Kentucky men's basketball coach 1972–85; coached Wildcats to 1978 national championship
  • Robert Kirkman, comic book writer, co-creator of The Walking Dead
  • William McKinney, jazz drummer and bandleader
  • Tony Moore, comic book artist
  • Betty Pariso, IFBB professional bodybuilder
  • Fredrick G. Prahl, Emeritus Professor of Organic Geochemistry at Oregon State University
  • Lawrence Pressman, actor
  • Pythias Russ, baseball player in the Negro leagues
  • Walter E. Scott, namesake of Death Valley National Park's Scotty's Castle
  • Marcus A. Smith, United States Senator from Arizona
  • Chris Snopek, Major League Baseball player
  • Mac Swinford, federal judge
  • Phil Wagner, retired American professional basketball player who spent one season (1968–69) in the American Basketball Association for the Indiana Pacers
  • Justin Wells, country and roots rock musician
  • Caleb Walton West, last governor of Utah Territory
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