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Stanford, Kentucky
Historic Commercial District
Historic Commercial District
Location in Lincoln County, Kentucky
Location in Lincoln County, Kentucky
Country United States
State Kentucky
County Lincoln
 • Total 4.47 sq mi (11.58 km2)
 • Land 4.44 sq mi (11.49 km2)
 • Water 0.04 sq mi (0.09 km2)
942 ft (287 m)
 • Total 3,640
 • Density 820.56/sq mi (316.83/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 606
FIPS code 21-73110
GNIS feature ID 0504254

Stanford is a home rule-class city in Lincoln County, Kentucky, United States. It is one of the oldest settlements in Kentucky, having been founded in 1775. Its population was 3,487 at the 2010 census and an estimated 3,686 in 2018. It is the county seat of Lincoln County. Stanford is part of the Danville Micropolitan Statistical Area.


Lincoln County Courthouse (Stanford, Kentucky)
Lincoln County Courthouse

Stanford was founded in 1775 by Benjamin Logan as Logan's Fort, alternately known as St. Asaph, the name given it by Logan. The site of the fort is about one mile west of the courthouse at the center of town. The name "Fort Logan" is still used to this day by local businesses, including the Fort Logan Hospital and Standing Fort Collectibles. The main street was built on what was originally a buffalo trail.

The name Stanford may have come from "Standing Fort", which Fort Logan became known as because it survived multiple attacks by British-led Native Americans during the American Revolution. Alternately, it may have been named for Stamford, England. Although it was one of the smaller pioneer forts, it never fell to an attack.

In 1781, the original settlement expanded when Benjamin Logan donated part of his own land as the site for a courthouse. The county court continued to meet at Fort Harrod (now Harrodsburg) until 1785, when Mercer County was established. By 1786 Stanford had received its charter, making it one of the first towns in the former (1776–1780) Kentucky County, Virginia, with a formal charter. In 1787 the courthouse opened in a building made of logs. It has been expanded and upgraded over time, the courthouse remains on the same site. Unlike most courthouses in Kentucky, it has never suffered from a fire or other major loss of records. Lincoln County has all its original records and archives dating from November 1789, making it one of the more complete archives in Kentucky. Among its original land deeds kept on vellum are deeds granting land to both Daniel Boone and Simon Kenton,

The first recorded church in Stanford was a Presbyterian church built in 1790, reflecting the staunch Presbyterian beliefs of the Logan family. The building still stands and is now part of the Harvey Helm Memorial Historic Library and Museum on Main Street. Other denominations, including Baptist and Methodist, were not established in the area until the 1830s. The current Presbyterian Church in Stanford has stood on the same site since around 1850.

A small local library was first established in the 1830s. The library was renamed in 1970 in honor of Harvey Helm, a native son who became a Kentucky statesman and member of the United States House of Representatives between 1909 and 1917.

The first school was built sometime in the 1850s, as the Male Academy. It was established in a building that is now the Fox Funeral Home on West Main Street. The corresponding Female Academy was built in the 1870s. The Stanford School was founded in 1900, and after much expansion, still serves, now as the Lincoln County Alternative school.

Largely untouched by the American Civil War (the nearest conflict was the Battle of Perryville, 20 miles (32 km) away), Stanford grew significantly in the post-war period. In the late 1860s, the town gained own newspaper, the Stanford Banner, which is still publishing as the Interior Journal. The city continued to grow, especially after the Louisville and Nashville Railroad built a station and line into the town in late 1865. Now the railroad line has closed, and even the tracks were removed in 1988, leaving only a small spur line that connects to Mount Vernon, Kentucky. However, the railway depot has been restored, and Stanford is notable as the location of the first automobile garage in Kentucky, which opened in 1905.


Stanford is located at 37°31′55″N 84°39′37″W / 37.53194°N 84.66028°W / 37.53194; -84.66028 (37.532302, −84.660358).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.1 square miles (8.0 km2), all land.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1800 66
1830 363
1840 263 −27.5%
1860 479
1870 752 57.0%
1880 1,213 61.3%
1890 1,385 14.2%
1900 1,651 19.2%
1910 1,532 −7.2%
1920 1,397 −8.8%
1930 1,544 10.5%
1940 1,940 25.6%
1950 1,861 −4.1%
1960 2,019 8.5%
1970 2,474 22.5%
1980 2,764 11.7%
1990 2,686 −2.8%
2000 3,430 27.7%
2010 3,487 1.7%
2020 3,640 4.4%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census of 2000, there were 3,430 people, 1,417 households, and 919 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,114.5 per square mile (430.3/km2). There were 1,522 housing units at an average density of 494.6 per square mile (191.0/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 89.97% White, 8.10% African American, 0.09% Native American, 0.09% Asian, 0.20% from other races, and 1.55% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.37% of the population.

There were 1,417 households, out of which 29.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.1% were married couples living together, 15.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.1% were non-families. 31.8% of all households were made up of individuals, and 15.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.27 and the average family size was 2.85.

22.8% of the population was under the age of 18, 8.3% from 18 to 24, 28.5% from 25 to 44, 22.1% from 45 to 64, and 18.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 84.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 79.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $25,087, and the median income for a family was $32,550. Males had a median income of $28,583 versus $20,975 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,811. About 15.9% of families and 20.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 27.4% of those under age 18 and 27.8% of those age 65 or over.


Stanford has a lending library, the Lincoln County Public Library.

Notable people

  • Marv Foley, baseball player
  • Anthony Gale, commandant of the United States Marine Corps
  • Basil Hayden, All-American athlete and collegiate basketball coach
  • Harvey Helm, congressman and statesman
  • Laura Kirkpatrick, the runner-up of the thirteenth cycle of America's Next Top Model
  • California Joe Milner, miner and frontier scout
  • Richard C. Saufley, naval aviation pioneer
  • William Lewis Sublette, fur trapper, pioneer, and mountain man, who along with his five brothers after 1823 became agents of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company (and later one of its owners)
  • William Whitley, early pioneer
  • Thomas J. Wright, artist and filmmaker, known for his work on the television series Night Gallery
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