Letcher County, Kentucky facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Letcher County, Kentucky
Map
Map of Kentucky highlighting Letcher County
Location in the state of Kentucky
Map of the USA highlighting Kentucky
Kentucky's location in the U.S.
Statistics
Founded 1842
Seat Whitesburg
Largest City Jenkins
Area
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

339 sq mi (878 km²)
338 sq mi (875 km²)
1.1 sq mi (3 km²), 0.3%
Population
 - (2010)
 - Density

24,519
73/sq mi (28/km²)
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Website: http://letchercounty.ky.gov/Pages/default.aspx
Named for: Robert P. Letcher

Letcher County is a county located in the U.S. state of Kentucky. As of the 2010 census, the population was 24,519. Its county seat is Whitesburg. The county, founded in 1842, is named for Robert P. Letcher, Governor of Kentucky from 1840 to 1844.

Letcher County is a dry county, with the only exceptions being the Highland Winery, the city of Whitesburg, and the city of Jenkins.

The killing of filmmaker Hugh O'Connor by a local landowner in 1967 brought Letcher County to national attention.

Geography

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 339 square miles (880 km2), of which 338 square miles (880 km2) is land and 1.1 square miles (2.8 km2) (0.3%) is water. Letcher County's natural areas include Bad Branch Falls and the Lilley Cornett Woods.

Adjacent counties

National protected area

  • Jefferson National Forest (part)

Pioneer Horse Trail controversy

View from Pine Mountain (Kentucky)
View from Pine Mountain near Whitesburg, Kentucky.

In an effort to bring tourists to Letcher County and to revitalize the local economy, the Pioneer Horse Trail is currently under construction on Pine Mountain. The trail, part of an "adventure tourism" initiative spearheaded by Governor Steve Beshear, Beshear's wife Jane, and Lieutenant Governor Daniel Mongiardo, is scheduled for completion in the spring of 2009.

However, controversy has arisen about whether or not the environment would be harmed during construction. In the summer of 2008, the Letcher County Fiscal Court had signed an agreement with state officials stating that the county would do an environmental impact study before construction would begin. Documents obtained by the Lexington Herald-Leader under Kentucky's Open Records Act showed that construction actually began before the study was to take place. County-owned bulldozers started clearing trees in part of a wildlife management area in which heavy equipment was not permitted. Environmental groups are asking the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to determine if any species on the threatened or endangered list were harmed. Because of the environmental impact studies, construction has been halted for the time being.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 2,512
1860 3,904 55.4%
1870 4,608 18.0%
1880 6,601 43.3%
1890 6,920 4.8%
1900 9,172 32.5%
1910 10,623 15.8%
1920 24,467 130.3%
1930 35,702 45.9%
1940 40,592 13.7%
1950 39,522 −2.6%
1960 30,102 −23.8%
1970 23,165 −23.0%
1980 30,687 32.5%
1990 27,000 −12.0%
2000 25,277 −6.4%
2010 24,519 −3.0%
Est. 2015 23,123 −5.7%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790–1960 1900–1990
1990–2000 2010–2013

As of the census of 2000, there were 25,277 people, 10,085 households, and 7,462 families residing in the county. The population density was 75 per square mile (29/km2). There were 11,405 housing units at an average density of 34 per square mile (13/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 98.71% White, 0.51% Black or African American, 0.10% Native American, 0.28% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.03% from other races, and 0.35% from two or more races. 0.44% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 10,085 households out of which 32.30% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.40% were married couples living together, 11.50% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.00% were non-families. 24.10% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.10% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.48 and the average family size was 2.94.

The age distribution was 23.70% under the age of 18, 9.20% from 18 to 24, 28.70% from 25 to 44, 25.80% from 45 to 64, and 12.60% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 95.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.10 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $21,110, and the median income for a family was $24,869. Males had a median income of $30,488 versus $17,902 for females. The per capita income for the county was $11,984. About 23.70% of families and 27.10% of the population were below the poverty line, including 35.90% of those under age 18 and 21.20% of those age 65 or over.

Events

  • In Whitesburg: Riverside Days, a three-day annual festival held at Riverside Park.
  • The town of Fleming-Neon, hosts its annual Neon Area Days the second Friday and Saturday in September. Neon is home to gospel singer Martha Carson. In 1998 she returned to Neon for the festival and was honored.
  • In Jenkins, Jenkins Homecoming Days are also celebrated annually in August.

Communities

Cities

Census-designated places

Other unincorporated places


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