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Russell, Kentucky
Location of Russell, Kentucky
Location of Russell, Kentucky
Country United States
State Kentucky
County Greenup
Incorporated February 23, 1874
Named for John Russell, a local landowner
 • Total 3.03 sq mi (7.84 km2)
 • Land 3.01 sq mi (7.80 km2)
 • Water 0.02 sq mi (0.04 km2)
Elevation 646 ft (197 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 3,380
 • Density 1,123/sq mi (433.4/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 41169 (part in 41101)
Area code(s) 606
FIPS code 21-67458
GNIS feature ID 0502497

Russell is a home rule-class city on the south bank of the Ohio River in Greenup County, Kentucky, in the United States. The population was 3,380 as of the 2010 census, down from 3,645 at the 2000 census. Russell is a suburb of Ashland and part of the Huntington-Ashland-Ironton metropolitan area. It has close economic affiliations with its neighbors, Ashland and Flatwoods in Kentucky and Ironton in Ohio.


The hilly site near the confluence of White Oak Creek and the Ohio was chosen by pioneer Jeff Moore in 1823 in order to provide protection for his camp against attacks by local American Indian tribes. In 1829, James E. McDowell, William Lindsay Poage, and his brother erected an iron furnace; they named the foundry and the community that grew up around it "Amanda Furnace" after William's infant daughter. The furnace ceased operation in 1861.

John Russell and his Means and Russell Iron Company purchased the land of the present city beside Amanda Hill from the Poage brothers. They laid out and established the town of Riverview in 1869 in expectation of an expansion of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad westward from Huntington, West Virginia, to Cincinnati, Ohio. Ferry service to Ohio began in 1870, local landowners agreed to rename the community after its founder in 1873, and the city was formally incorporated under the name "Russell" in 1874. The expected C&O spur did not arrive until 1889 but, when it did, it constructed a railyard, roundhouse, and shops and the city grew quickly. The city celebrates this influence with the annual "Russell Railroad Days" each August.

Numerous disasters limited the city's growth. The Ohio River flooded the city in 1884, smallpox struck in 1901, and a fire consumed downtown and the city hall in 1903. In 1905, it was still the largest city in Greenup County, but the Ohio flooded again in 1913 and 1937. The 1937 flood affected all but 30 homes, and over 500 people were forced to shelter in C&O boxcars and cabooses until the waters receded. Despite the completion of a bridge to Ironton in 1922 and a floodwall in 1950, Russell was no longer the county's largest municipality by the mid-1950s.

The Fortune 500 company Ashland Oil relocated its headquarters to Russell in 1974, but moved to the Cincinnati suburb of Covington in 1999.


Russell is located in the eastern corner of Greenup County at 38°31′5″N 82°41′52″W / 38.51806°N 82.69778°W / 38.51806; -82.69778 (38.518176, -82.697680), directly across the Ohio River from Ironton, Ohio. It is bordered to the northwest by the city of Worthington, to the west by the city of Flatwoods, and to the south by the city of Bellefonte. The southeast border of Russell is the Boyd County line, separating Russell from the unincorporated community of Westwood. Downtown Ashland is 3 miles (5 km) southeast of Russell via U.S. Route 23.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city of Russell has a total area of 3.0 square miles (7.8 km2), of which 0.02 square miles (0.04 km2), or 0.48%, is water.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 175
1890 323 84.6%
1900 743 130.0%
1910 1,038 39.7%
1920 1,756 69.2%
1930 2,084 18.7%
1940 1,844 −11.5%
1950 1,681 −8.8%
1960 1,458 −13.3%
1970 2,925 100.6%
1980 3,824 30.7%
1990 4,014 5.0%
2000 3,645 −9.2%
2010 3,380 −7.3%
Est. 2015 3,260 −3.6%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census of 2000, there were 3,645 people, 1,428 households, and 1,106 families residing in the city. The population density was 910.5 people per square mile (351.8/km²). There were 1,584 housing units at an average density of 395.7 per square mile (152.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 96.49% White, 0.71% African American, 0.03% Native American, 2.14% Asian, 0.22% from other races, and 0.41% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.82% of the population.

There were 1,428 households out of which 30.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 67.6% were married couples living together, 7.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 22.5% were non-families. 20.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.50 and the average family size was 2.88.

In the city the population was spread out with 21.7% under the age of 18, 7.1% from 18 to 24, 25.1% from 25 to 44, 29.7% from 45 to 64, and 16.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43 years. For every 100 females there were 94.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.5 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $53,869, and the median income for a family was $62,018. Males had a median income of $50,306 versus $30,494 for females. The per capita income for the city was $29,453. About 4.1% of families and 6.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.1% of those under age 18 and 2.1% of those age 65 or over.

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