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Paintsville, Kentucky facts for kids

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City of Paintsville
Main Street decorated for Christmas
Main Street decorated for Christmas
Nickname(s): "City Between the Lakes"
Location of Paintsville, Kentucky
Location of Paintsville, Kentucky
Detailed map of Paintsville
Detailed map of Paintsville
Country United States
State Kentucky
County Johnson
Established February 24, 1834
Incorporated February 5, 1843
Named for a nearby creek
 • Total 5.3 sq mi (130.6 km2)
 • Land 5.3 sq mi (130.6 km2)
 • Water 0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
Elevation 614 ft (187 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 3,459
 • Density 652.7/sq mi (254.4/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 41240
Area code(s) 606 Exchanges: 788,789
FIPS code 21-58962
GNIS feature ID 0500128

Paintsville (local /pntsvəl/) is a home rule-class city along Paint Creek in Johnson County, Kentucky, in the United States. It is the seat of its county. The population was 3,459 during the 2010 U.S. Census.


A Paint Lick Station was referred to in military dispatches as early as 1780. tract belonging to George Lewis. The trading post was purchased by the Carolinian Rev. Dalton Ray Chandler II in 1812 and laid out as the town of Paint Lick Station in 1826. The town was formally established under that name in 1834, although the post office was probably named Paint Creek. It was incorporated as a city under its present name of Paintsville in 1843, the same year it became the seat of Johnson County.

The Civil War found Johnson County Fiscal Court passing an ordinance barring both Union and Confederate flags from being flown in its jurisdiction. This was quickly repealed when then-Col. James A. Garfield marched his brigade into the city.

During the early Twentieth Century, Paintsville began to transform into a modern American city. In 1902, the city's first bank – First National – opened for business. In 1906, the city received telephone service and, two years later, all of its streets were paved. In 1912, Paintsville received electricity and natural gas services. In 1926, Paintsville residents received public water and the city's fire department was established.

Since the 1990s, Paintsville has seen a steady loss of population (4,345 in 1990 to 3,459 in 2010), in part due to a downturn in the economy, and the loss of coal jobs. Despite this, there have been some business developments in the past few years, as well as growing tourist interest. Paintsville has been in the process of revitalizing the downtown area in order to rejuvenate its original business district. On June 9, 2009, Paintsville became a "wet" city for the first time since March 14, 1945, permitting stores located within the city limits to sell alcoholic beverages.


Levisa Fork in Paintsville
The Levisa Fork River in Paintsville

Paintsville is located at 37°48′41″N 82°48′24″W / 37.81139°N 82.80667°W / 37.81139; -82.80667 (37.811324, -82.806780) in the bottomland at the confluence of Paint Creek and the Levisa Fork of the Big Sandy River amid the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in the Cumberland Plateau. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 5.3 square miles (14 km2), all of it land.


Beginning in 1976, Paintsville's main shopping district has gradually moved from Main Street to Mayo Plaza, which is northwest of downtown. Stores such as Wal-Mart and Lowe's opened in the plaza during the early 1990s. This proved to be too much competition for the small family owned businesses in downtown causing them to close. Today, downtown mostly serves as Paintsville's financial district. But, in May 2009 Paintsville received a grant to redevelop Main Street in hopes of making it one of the city's popular shopping districts again. In recent years, Mayo Plaza has rapidly expanded. In the early 2000s, a new Wal-Mart Supercenter, a new Lowe's, and multiple restaurants have opened.


Paintsville is located in a transition area between a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Dfa) and a humid continental climate (Köppen Cfa). Summers are hot and humid with frequent severe storms. July is the warmest month, with an average high 89 °F (32 °C) and an average low of 66 °F (19 °C). Winters are cold with occasional mild periods. January is the coldest month with an average high of 44 °F (7 °C) and an average low of 24 °F (-4 °C). The highest recorded temperature was 105 °F (41 °C) in 1988 and the lowest recorded temperature was -26 °F (-13 °C) in 1994. May has the highest average rainfall (4.54 inches) and October has the lowest average rainfall (2.97 inches).

Climate data for Paintsville, Kentucky
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 80
Average high °F (°C) 44
Average low °F (°C) 24
Record low °F (°C) −26
Precipitation inches (mm) 3.06
Source: The Weather Channel.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1870 247
1880 310 25.5%
1890 506 63.2%
1900 541 6.9%
1910 942 74.1%
1920 1,383 46.8%
1930 2,411 74.3%
1940 2,324 −3.6%
1950 4,309 85.4%
1960 4,025 −6.6%
1970 3,868 −3.9%
1980 3,815 −1.4%
1990 4,354 14.1%
2000 4,132 −5.1%
2010 3,459 −16.3%
Est. 2015 4,249 22.8%
U.S. Decennial Census
Court Street, Paintsville, KY
Portion of Court Street

As of the census of 2010, there were 3,459 people, 1,604 households, and 856 families residing in the city. The population density was 1300.1 people per square mile. There were 1,844 housing units at an average density of 693.2 per square mile. The racial makeup of the city was 99.3% White, 0.3% African American, 0.8% Native American, 0.4% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, and 0.2% from other races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.4% of the population.

In the city, the population was spread out with 20.5% under 19, 6.1% from 20 to 24, 11.0% from 25 to 34, 11.9% from 35 to 44, 15.1% from 45 to 54, 14.4% from 55 to 64, and 21.1% who were 65 or older. The median age is 41.9 years. There were 1,574 males and 1,885 females.

The median income for a household in the city was $25,259, and the median income for a family was $30,575. Males had a median income of $30,478 versus $25,640 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,876. About 21.0% of families and 29.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 39.9% of those under age 18 and 22.0% of those age 65 or over.


Mayo Mansion (distant)
Mayo Mansion
U.S. 23 Country Music Highway Museum
U.S. 23 Country Music Highway Museum
Mayo Memorial United Methodist Church
Mayo Memorial United Methodist Church
First National Bank (Paintsville)
Paintsville First National Bank
First United Methodist Church (Paintsville)
First United Methodist Church


The Kentucky Apple Festival has been held in Paintsville annually since 1962. Events include live music, carnival rides, a pageant, various competitions, a parade, and a car show. The festival occurs annually on the first full weekend in October.

The Awaken Conference, an annual Christian concert event, attracting thousands of people to the area every year is held each July in the city.

Paintsville also holds a Spring Fling on Main Street in May.

Museums and historical sites

The U.S. 23 County Music Highway Museum gives information on the country music entertainers who grew up near U.S. 23 in Eastern Kentucky. Country music entertainers profiled in the museum such as Loretta Lynn, Crystal Gayle, and Hylo Brown.

The historic Mayo Mansion was built for John C. C. Mayo between 1905 and 1912. It now serves as Our Lady of the Mountains School.

The Mayo Memorial United Methodist Church was designed by one hundred Italian masons hired by John C. C. Mayo. It has several stain glass windows and has a pipe organ donated by Andrew Carnegie. The first church service was in the fall of 1909.


The Paintsville Country Club includes an 18-hole golf course established on September 27, 1929, making it one of the oldest golf courses in Eastern Kentucky. The country club was built in 1930 by the WPA and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Paintsville Recreation Center contains a volleyball court, a basketball court, a walking track, and a playground.


The Paintsville Herald is a bi-weekly newspaper printed on Wednesday and Friday with a circulation of about 5,200 copies. The newspaper serves Paintsville and the surrounding area.

Call Sign Frequency Format
WKLW 94.7 FM Hot AC
WSIP 98.9 FM Country
WSIP 1490 AM News/Talk
WKYH 600 AM News/Talk
WQHY 95.5 FM Top 40



U.S. Route 23 serves as the bypass for Paintsville. The four-lane divided highway links Paintsville to Interstate 64 to the north and U.S. Route 119 and Kentucky Route 80 to the south. U.S. Route 460 links Paintsville to the Bert T. Combs Mountain Parkway in Salyersville. Kentucky Route 40 forms both Euclid Avenue and Third Street in Paintsville. It links the city to Inez and also serves as an alternative route to Salyersville. Kentucky Route 321, locally known as South Mayo Trail, serves as the city's main business route and passes through Mayo Plaza.


Located southeast of Paintsville in neighboring Martin County is Big Sandy Regional Airport. The publicly owned, private-use airport is used for general aviation. Its main runway is 5,000 ft (1,524 m) long.

The nearest airport that provides commercial aviation services is Tri-State Airport, which is located 55 miles (89 km) northeast in Ceredo, West Virginia.

Popular culture

  • The majority of the 1983 film Kentucky Woman was filmed in Paintsville.
  • Paintsville was one of the three filming locations for the 2010 drama film, Passenger Pigeons.
  • ESPN's "The Season: Bluegrass Basketball" featured Paintsville and Johnson Central as one of the states most heated rivalries where a basketball game is filmed at Paintsville when the two met in regular season match-up.

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