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Muhlenberg County, Kentucky facts for kids

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Muhlenberg County
Muhlenberg County Courthouse in Greenville
Muhlenberg County Courthouse in Greenville
Map of Kentucky highlighting Muhlenberg 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 1798
Named for John Peter Muhlenberg
Seat Greenville
Largest city Central City
 • Total 479 sq mi (1,240 km2)
 • Land 467 sq mi (1,210 km2)
 • Water 12 sq mi (30 km2)  2.6%%
 • Total 31,839
 • Density 67/sq mi (26/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district 1st

Muhlenberg County is a county located in the U.S. Commonwealth of Kentucky. As of the 2010 census, the population was 31,499. Its county seat is Greenville. The county was founded in 1798 and named for General Peter Muhlenberg, a colonial general during the American Revolutionary War.


Muhlenberg County was established in 1798 from land given by Logan and Christian counties. Muhlenberg was the 34th Kentucky county in order of formation.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 479 square miles (1,240 km2), of which 467 square miles (1,210 km2) is land and 12 square miles (31 km2) (2.6%) is water.


The two primary aquatic features of Muhlenberg County are the Green River and Lake Malone. The northern portion of the county is typically gently rolling hills, river flatlands, and some sizeable bald cypress swamps along Cypress Creek and its tributaries. The southern portion consist of rolling hills with higher relief. Many of the valleys in the southern part of the county are rather deep and in places and somewhat rugged. This area is also known for many sandstone formations and some small limestone caves, of which only two known limestone caves are thought to be in the county, both in the far southern region. A number of faults cross the county at roughly the half-way point between neighboring counties to the north and south. Coal is a large natural resource found in the central part of the county. Most deposits reside deep underground, though in the past deposits were closer to the surface. In former years, it was common to see machines such as the "Big Brother" Power Shovel (pictured on the right) throughout the county. During the 1970s and early 1980s, Muhlenberg County was the state leader in Coal Production and sometimes the top coal producer in the United States. This was the subject of the song "Paradise".

The Bucyrus Erie 3850-B Power Shovel named "Big Brother" went to work next door to Paradise Fossil Plant for Peabody Coal Company's Sinclair Surface Mine in 1962. When it started work it was received with grand fanfare and was the Largest Shovel in The World with a bucket size of 115 cubic yards. After it finished work in the mid-1980s, it was buried in a pit on the mine's property. It remains there still today.

Muhlenberg County's predominate rock type is sandstone. As one travels south and gets closer to the southern border, one begins to notice limestone outcroppings become more numerous and much closer to the surface. Early attempts at extracting iron ore were tried at Old Airdrie on the banks of the Green River and at Buckner Furnace south of Greenville, Kentucky. Both operations were extant in the late 19th century and early 20th century; neither enjoyed long-term success..

Green River

The 300 miles (483 km)-long Green River is a tributary of the Ohio River. It provides a commercial outlet for goods (primarily coal) to be shipped from the county to the major trade centers along the Mississippi River. Muhlenberg County and the Green River first entered the popular consciousness through the John Prine song "Paradise", about a now-defunct coal-mining town.

Lake Malone

Spanning 788 acres (3.19 km2) near the small town of Dunmor in southern Muhlenberg County, Lake Malone provides a locale for water recreation such as swimming, boating, and fishing. Lake Malone and the surrounding hardwood forest form Lake Malone State Park. Lake Malone is maintained by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife. The lakes surface extends into two neighboring counties. The lake is known for its sandstone cliffs and natural sandstone formations along the lake shore including a natural bridge. The bridge itself is not in the boundaries of the state park.

Adjacent counties


Historical population
Census Pop.
1800 1,293
1810 4,181 223.4%
1820 4,979 19.1%
1830 5,340 7.3%
1840 6,964 30.4%
1850 9,809 40.9%
1860 10,725 9.3%
1870 12,638 17.8%
1880 15,098 19.5%
1890 17,955 18.9%
1900 20,741 15.5%
1910 28,598 37.9%
1920 33,353 16.6%
1930 37,784 13.3%
1940 37,554 −0.6%
1950 32,501 −13.5%
1960 27,791 −14.5%
1970 27,537 −0.9%
1980 32,238 17.1%
1990 31,318 −2.9%
2000 31,839 1.7%
2010 31,499 −1.1%
Est. 2015 31,183 −1.0%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2013

As of the census of 2010, there were 31,499 people, 12,979 households, and 9,057 families residing in the county. The population density was 67 per square mile (26/km2). There were 13,675 housing units at an average density of 29 per square mile (11/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 94.19% White, 4.65% Black or African American, 0.13% Native American, 0.13% Asian, 0.19% from other races, and 0.72% from two or more races. 0.73% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 12,979 households out of which 30.70% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.70% were married couples living together, 10.40% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.70% were non-families. 24.30% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.60% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.45 and the average family size was 2.90.

In the county, the population was spread out with 22.60% under the age of 18, 9.20% from 18 to 24, 28.00% from 25 to 44, 24.80% from 45 to 64, and 15.50% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 98.00 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.20 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $28,566, and the median income for a family was $33,513. Males had a median income of $29,952 versus $18,485 for females. The per capita income for the county was $14,798. About 15.50% of families and 19.70% of the population were below the poverty line, including 26.00% of those under age 18 and 17.00% of those age 65 or over.

Sites of interest

  • Lake Malone State Park in Dunmor
  • Muhlenberg County Rail to Trails, 6-mile (9.7 km) converted railroad track running between Central City and Greenville
  • Brewco Motorsports shop in Central City
  • Thistle Cottage, a museum and art gallery, in Greenville (now part of Muhlenberg County Public Libraries)
  • Four Legends Fountain in Drakesboro
  • Muhlenberg County Agriculture and Convention Center in Powderly
  • Morgan Memorial Park in Greenville
  • The Muhlenberg County Park, a state-of-the-art sports facility adjacent to the Muhlenberg County High School west campus in Greenville
  • The Brizendine Brothers Nature Park located in Greenville
  • Luzerne Lake City Park in Greenville
  • Paradise Park in Powderly, includes:
    • Coal Mines Shotgun House
    • Merle Travis Birthplace
    • Paradise Park Museum
    • Springridge School
  • Tennessee Valley Authority Paradise Fossil Plant in Drakesboro, one of the largest Coal-Fired Power Plants in the United States. Site includes:
    • Public Boat Launch Ramp along the Green River
    • Public Fishing Lakes
    • Historic Village of Paradise Cemetery, the only remnant of the village along the Green River.

Central City Convention Center, Fitness Facility and Outdoor Pool & Spray Park located in Central City, Kentucky

  • Muhlenberg County Courthouse, built in 1907 located in downtown Greenville
  • The Muhlenberg County Veterans Mall and Plaza in downtown Greenville
  • Lt. Ephraim Brank Memorial & Trail located in located at the entrance to Greenville's Veteran's Mall
  • The Pillars of Community have enhanced the beauty of downtown Greenvile by adding "Art to Restoration". The locations include:
    • FAITH - United Methodist Church on North Main Street
    • FAMILY - Across from the MCTI Theater on North Main Street
    • ENTERPRISE - Between Edward Jones Investments & 1st KY Bank
    • PATRIOTISM - At the United States Post Office on Courts Street
    • EDUCATION - In front of Greenville Elementary School on East Main Cross
    • ARTS - In front of Thistle Cottage on Cherry Street
    • HEALTH - In front of Muhlenberg Community Hospital
    • TEAMWORK - At Martin Ground along East Main Cross
  • Historic Gristmill Stone, Adjacent to the Veterans Mall and at the foundation of the Muhlenberg County Courthouse
  • The Summerhouse, a gazebo located in Greenville

Annual events

  • Rods and Ribs BBQ Festival in Central City the first Saturday in June.
  • Labor Day Cruise-In in Central City.
  • Saturday's on the Square every summer in downtown Greenville.
  • Squash & Gobble an arts bazaar and fall festival in downtown Greenville.
  • The "Clodhopper" Vintage Tractor Show in downtown Greenville.



Census-designated places

Other unincorporated places

Images for kids

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