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Lebanon, Kentucky
Downtown Lebanon
Downtown Lebanon
Location of Lebanon, Kentucky
Location of Lebanon, Kentucky
Country United States
State Kentucky
County Marion
Named for the biblical land famed for its cedars
 • Total 4.4 sq mi (7.1 km2)
 • Land 4.4 sq mi (7.1 km2)
 • Water 0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
791 ft (241 m)
 • Total 6,331
 • Density 1,438.9/sq mi (891.7/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 270 & 364
FIPS code 21-44344
GNIS feature ID 0496130

Lebanon is a home rule-class city in Marion County, Kentucky, in the United States. The population was 6,331 at the 2010 census. It is the seat of its county. Lebanon is located in central Kentucky, southeast of Louisville. A national cemetery is located nearby.

Lebanon is renowned for its Ham Days Festival and Tractor Show which is held during the last weekend of September. In the 1960s and early 1970s, it was known as an entertainment hotspot, as nationally known acts appeared at Club 68 and the Golden Horseshoe nightclubs.


Lebanon is located at 37°34′14″N 85°15′23″W / 37.57056°N 85.25639°W / 37.57056; -85.25639 (37.570623, -85.256263). It is approximately 30 miles (48 km) from Danville and 20 miles (32 km) north of Campbellsville. It is located at the junction of US 68 and Ky. 55, Ky. 52, and Ky. 49. Ky. 84 intersects Ky. 49 and 52 just west of town.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.4 square miles (11.4 km2), all land.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1830 384
1840 546 42.2%
1860 953
1870 1,925 102.0%
1880 2,054 6.7%
1890 2,816 37.1%
1900 3,043 8.1%
1910 3,077 1.1%
1920 3,239 5.3%
1930 3,248 0.3%
1940 3,786 16.6%
1950 4,640 22.6%
1960 4,813 3.7%
1970 5,528 14.9%
1980 6,590 19.2%
1990 5,695 −13.6%
2000 5,718 0.4%
2010 5,539 −3.1%
Est. 2015 5,680 2.5%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census of 2000, there were 5,718 people, 2,332 households, and 1,476 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,296.6 per square mile (500.6/km2). There were 2,555 housing units at an average density of 579.3 per square mile (223.7/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 77.88% White, 19.92% African American, 0.12% Native American, 0.73% Asian, 0.47% from other races, and 0.87% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.03% of the population.

There were 2,332 households out of which 29.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.5% were married couples living together, 20.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.7% were non-families. 33.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.31 and the average family size was 2.92.

In the city, the population was spread out with 23.7% under the age of 18, 9.5% from 18 to 24, 26.8% from 25 to 44, 21.5% from 45 to 64, and 18.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 85.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 80.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $21,860, and the median income for a family was $26,552. Males had a median income of $25,889 versus $18,680 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,311. About 26.7% of families and 30.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 42.8% of those under age 18 and 20.9% of those age 65 or over.


In historical context, it is important to note that prior to the establishment of the city now known as Lebanon, the nearby town of Georgetown was also named "Lebanon" during its first few years of establishment. It was renamed in 1790 in honor of President George Washington.

Present-day Lebanon was established in 1814 and named for the Biblical Lebanon because of its abundant cedar trees. The founding community traces back to the Hardin's Creek Meeting House, built by Presbyterians from Virginia. It was incorporated as a city on January 28, 1815, and became the county seat of Marion County in 1835. Because of its style and beauty, elegant homes, and flourishing businesses, Lebanon had the reputation of being Kentucky's Philadelphia and was considered for the site of the state capitol.

In the 19th century, Lebanon was one of the stops along the National Turnpike from Maysville to Nashville. In 1819, Henry Clay and Andrew Jackson met here after having crossed paths on their journeys. Many of its brick homes date from the antebellum period, including Hollyhill and Myrtledene Bed and Breakfast. Much of Lebanon's downtown business district was recently placed on the National Historic Register.

A branch of the Louisville & Nashville Railroad was built to Lebanon in 1857, but growth of the town was halted by the Civil War. Three battles were fought nearby, and control over the railroad branch passed between Union and Confederate hands several times. After the death of his brother Tom during a local battle, Confederate John Hunt Morgan's cavalry burned the railroad depot, a hotel, and several residences on July 5, 1863 during the Battle of Lebanon.

Lebanon's Historic Homes and Landmarks Tour is also part of the Kentucky's Civil War Heritage Trail and includes twenty-four listings. On the Civil War Discovery Trail, three landmarks stand out. The Commissary Building, which is the old Sunnyside Dispensary Building, was in place during the Civil War and supplied dry goods and food stuffs to the Union Garrison here. The Shuck building, which is now Henning's Restaurant, was the office of General George H. Thomas, when he gathered an army of several thousand to go to Mill Springs to defend the Cumberland Valley. Myrtledene Bed and Breakfast was where General John Hunt Morgan rode his horse in the house and started up the stairs. General Morgan used the property as his headquarters while he was in Lebanon. On the southern limits of Lebanon is the National Cemetery, where many of the Union Soldiers who fell in the 1862 Battle of Perryville were laid to rest. The cemetery is the site of many military funerals and hosts annual Memorial Day celebrations.

The town rebounded after the war and became a trade center, but declined as railroads became less important to commerce in the 1900s. The tracks were abandoned, then eventually removed by CSX Transportation in the mid-1980s.

In the 1950s, 1960s, and early 1970s, Lebanon was known as an entertainment hotspot, as nationally known acts appeared at The Plantation, Club Cherry, Club 68, and the Golden Horseshoe nightclubs.

Historical attractions and events

Loretto Motherhouse (Nerinx, Kentucky) - Academy Building, church, and Knob Haven
The Loretto Motherhouse in Nerinx, Kentucky

Marion County is the home of Maker's Mark Distillery, a small batch bourbon whiskey distillery that is in Loretto, Marion County, Kentucky and owned by Beam Inc. It is sold in distinctively squarish bottles, which are sealed with red wax. The distillery offers tours, and is part of the American Whiskey Trail and the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. The distillery was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on December 31, 1974, and designated a National Historic Landmark on December 16, 1980, listed as "Burks' Distillery". It was the first distillery in America to be so recognized where the landmark buildings were in active use for distilling.

The Loretto Motherhouse is located in Nerinx, Marion County, Kentucky. A working farm and place of extraordinary natural beauty and historical buildings, it is the residence of active and retired members. Belgian priest Charles Nerinckx (2 October 1761, Herfelingen – 12 August 1824) and three Kentucky frontier women founded the Sisters of Loretto, the first native American order of Roman Catholic nuns, in 1812. A dozen years later the order moved its headquarters to Saint Stephen's farm, now called Nerinx, where Stephen Badin, first priest ordained in the United States, had centered the missionary activity which earned for him the nickname "Apostle of Kentucky". The Loretto Community publishes Loretto Magazine, In Brief, a newsletter of the Education Committee, Loretto Earth News, and the Justice and Peace Newsletter.

Penn's Store is the oldest country store in America being run continuously by the same family. It has been in the Penn family since 1850. Nestled near Marion County's Western border in Boyle County Ky, Penn's Store has become a popular site for visitors seeking living history in an ever-changing, modern world. The store remains today much as it has throughout its past 150+ years. It is not a restored landmark; it is an authentic landmark.

Kentucky Classic ARTS at Centre Square is a Community and Cultural Performing Arts Center located in Lebanon bringing first class in-house and travelling Broadway style musicals, concerts, plays, movies, artists and variety shows to Central Kentucky. Most shows are held in the beautifully renovated Angelic Hall, an intimate 323 seat air-conditioned theater. Kentucky Classic ARTS at Centre Square is home to Kentucky Classic Theatre, Kentucky Classic Orchestra, Centre Saxes, an active arts education program, and Friends of Live Music which hosts a Music Fest featuring local musicians on the outdoor stage each June. Angelic Hall is also home to World Renowned Elvis Tribute Artist, Eddie Miles, who performs there several times each year. Current event listings can be found at or

Lebanon hosts the Heart Of Kentucky Bluegrass Music Kickoff in January. Special guests along with local groups perform old favorites while other bluegrass musicians are invited to bring their favorite song for an opportunity to come on stage and perform.

Lebanon holds an annual Ham Days Festival featuring a county ham breakfast, craft and food booths, 2 parades, lots of games and contests, free outdoor concerts, a carnival, a Car Show and Tractor Show, plus much more. Ham Days is sponsored by the Marion County Chamber of Commerce and held during the last weekend of September.

Portrayal in media

A silent documentary, Our Day, was directed by Wallace Kelly in 1938, about a day in the life of the Kelly family in Lebanon.

Call of the Wildman, an American reality television series that airs on the Animal Planet network films near Lebanon.

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