Bullitt County
Bullitt County Courthouse in Shepherdsville
Bullitt County Courthouse in Shepherdsville
Map of Kentucky highlighting Bullitt County
Location within the U.S. state of Kentucky
Map of the United States highlighting Kentucky
Kentucky's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 37°58′N 85°42′W / 37.97°N 85.7°W / 37.97; -85.7
Country United States
State Kentucky
Named forAlexander Scott Bullitt
Largest cityMount Washington
 • Total300 sq mi (800 km2)
 • Land297 sq mi (770 km2)
 • Water3.2 sq mi (8 km2)  1.1%%
 • Total82,217
 • Estimate 
82,918 Increase
 • Density270/sq mi (110/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district2nd

Bullitt County is a county located in the north central portion of the U.S. state of Kentucky. As of the 2020 census, the population was 82,217.[1] Its county seat is Shepherdsville.[2] The county was founded in 1796.[3] Located just south of the city of Louisville, Bullitt County is included in the Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN Metropolitan Statistical Area, commonly known as Kentuckiana. The western fifth of the county (62 sq. miles/40,000 acres (160 km2)) is part of the United States Army post of Fort Knox and is reserved for military training.[4]


The first inhabitants of the land that would become Bullitt County were the Paleo-Indians who entered North America approximately 11,500 to 10,000 years BP. These people, whose ancestors can be traced back to Eastern and Central Asia, were nomadic. They were hunters and gatherers whose remains have been discovered near the area's mineral springs or salt licks, where big game such as the mammoth, bison and ground sloth once gathered. Native Americans were their descendants, including the Shawnee people, who probably considered this region part of their homeland and certainly valued it as a hunting ground. [5] [6]

Both France and Britain had traders and colonists who encountered the Shawnee. European colonization of the Americas led to competing claims between those nations to the lands west of the Appalachians and east of the Mississippi River. After suffering defeat by Great Britain in the Seven Years' War (known as the French and Indian War in its North American front), France ceded control in 1763 of its claimed territories.

For thousands of years before the county's formation, nutrient-rich salt licks attracted large herds of bison and other game to the area. Native American tribes made it their hunting grounds, as did the 18th century longhunter. In 1773, after the French and Indian War, the Virginia governor sent Captain Thomas Bullitt (uncle to Alexander Scott Bullitt) into the area to survey for land grants. The most historic of the county's salt licks, Bullitt's Lick, is named after him. As the Revolutionary War led to widespread salt shortages, the Lick became the site of Kentucky's first industry, attracting many settlers to the area.[7][8]

Colonial veterans of the war were promised land in what was later called Kentucky. Bullitt's Lick became an important saltwork to the region; its salt was harvested and sent by pack train and flatboat as far off as Illinois to the west. The Bullitt's Lick saltwork was Kentucky's first industry and in production until around 1830. By that time, the steamboat and importing of salt brought access to less expensive sources.

The first settlement of the area was also the first station on the Wilderness Road between Harrodsburg and the Falls of the Ohio. It was a fort called Brashear's Station or the Salt River Garrison, built in 1779 at the mouth of Floyd's Fork. Most of the county was settled after the American Revolutionary War. Shepherdsville, named after Adam Shepherd, a prosperous business man who purchased the land near the Falls of Salt River in 1793, is the oldest town and became the county seat.

In December 1796[3] the county of Bullitt, named after Thomas Bullitt's nephew and Kentucky's first Lieutenant Governor Alexander Scott Bullitt,[9] was organized from land taken from Jefferson and Nelson counties through an act approved on December 13, 1796, by the Kentucky General Assembly. In 1811, the northwestern area of the county expanded to include land given by Jefferson County. In 1824, an eastern area of the county was given to help form Spencer County.[10]

BE it enacted by the General Assembly, That from and after the first day of January next, all that part of the counties of Jefferson and Nelson included in the following bounds.. shall be one distinct county and called and known by the name of Bullitt.

— Kentucky General Assembly, December 13, 1796


According to the United States Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 300 square miles (780 km2), of which 297 square miles (770 km2) is land and 3.2 square miles (8.3 km2) (1.1%) is water.[11] The county is located in the far western Bluegrass region known as the Knobs.

Adjacent counties


Graph of Bullitt County population by decade
Graph of Bullitt County population by decade
Historical population
Census Pop.
2021 (est.)82,918[12]0.9%
U.S. Decennial Census[13]
1790-1960[14] 1900-1990[15]
1990-2000[16] 2010-2020[1]

As of the census[17] of 2000, there were 61,236 people, 22,171 households, and 17,736 families residing in the county. The population density was 205 per square mile (79/km2). There were 23,160 housing units at an average density of 77 per square mile (30/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 98.07% White, 0.38% Black or African American, 0.34% Native American, 0.27% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.16% from other races, and 0.77% from two or more races. 0.63% of the population were Hispanics or Latinos of any race.

There were 22,171 households, out of which 39.00% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 65.40% were married couples living together, 10.40% had a female householder with no husband present, and 20.00% were non-families. 16.40% of all households were made up of individuals, and 5.40% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.75 and the average family size was 3.07.

In the county, the population was spread out, with 27.20% under the age of 18, 8.60% from 18 to 24, 32.70% from 25 to 44, 23.70% from 45 to 64, and 7.80% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females, there were 98.90 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.20 males. It can be noted in the chart, the population surge in the 1970s. The few years of forced school racial integration in adjoining Jefferson County, known locally as 'bussing', had many with school age children relocating to Bullitt County in order to prevent their children from being 'bussed'.

The median income for a household in the county was $50,058 (2005), and the median income for a family was $49,481. Males had a median income of $35,851 versus $24,098 for females. The per capita income for the county was $18,339. About 6.20% of families and 7.90% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.40% of those under age 18 and 7.60% of those age 65 or over.

Law and government

Political Culture

Presidential election results
United States presidential election results for Bullitt County, Kentucky[18]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 30,708 73.12% 10,552 25.13% 738 1.76%
2016 26,210 72.67% 8,255 22.89% 1,604 4.45%
2012 21,306 67.04% 9,971 31.38% 502 1.58%
2008 20,102 65.42% 10,177 33.12% 447 1.45%
2004 19,433 67.88% 9,043 31.59% 151 0.53%
2000 14,054 61.91% 8,195 36.10% 452 1.99%
1996 8,697 47.28% 7,651 41.59% 2,047 11.13%
1992 7,745 40.83% 7,830 41.28% 3,394 17.89%
1988 8,859 59.01% 6,005 40.00% 149 0.99%
1984 9,556 65.11% 5,005 34.10% 115 0.78%
1980 6,364 50.60% 5,884 46.79% 328 2.61%
1976 3,639 38.40% 5,623 59.33% 215 2.27%
1972 4,517 59.80% 2,827 37.43% 209 2.77%
1968 1,965 31.14% 2,135 33.84% 2,210 35.02%
1964 1,417 26.59% 3,900 73.17% 13 0.24%
1960 2,683 52.40% 2,437 47.60% 0 0.00%
1956 2,007 46.78% 2,279 53.12% 4 0.09%
1952 1,292 37.80% 2,121 62.05% 5 0.15%
1948 673 27.86% 1,681 69.58% 62 2.57%
1944 876 29.44% 2,092 70.30% 8 0.27%
1940 813 25.35% 2,388 74.46% 6 0.19%
1936 647 20.63% 2,474 78.89% 15 0.48%
1932 1,088 27.11% 2,918 72.70% 8 0.20%
1928 1,793 50.45% 1,758 49.47% 3 0.08%
1924 946 33.04% 1,789 62.49% 128 4.47%
1920 1,393 35.23% 2,548 64.44% 13 0.33%
1916 826 35.27% 1,508 64.39% 8 0.34%

Public safety[edit]

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There are several police agencies in Bullitt County. The primary law enforcement agency in the county is the Bullitt County Sheriff. The Sheriff's Office is an elected position and is staffed by 34 deputy sheriffs, and four office staff. There are also 9 deputies and court certified security officers who provide courthouse security. The Sheriff's Office provides patrol, crime prevention, criminal investigation; and all other police related functions in the county. The primary areas for the sheriff's patrol division are the unincorporated areas in Bullitt County they also provide backup for the various city police agencies. Since 1989 the Sheriff's Office has been contracted by the County Fiscal Court to provide the county police force to the citizens of Bullitt County after the County Police Department was folded. The County Sheriff's Office has deputies assigned to the drug task force, arson task force, accident reconstruction team, rapid response team, technical operations, ATV squad, boat patrol, hostage negotiations, and an incident command team.

Fire protection is provided by both Kentucky Chapter 75 and 95 Districts and Departments. Zoneton Fire Protection District, Mt Washington Fire District, and the Shepherdsville Fire Department are currently staffed with a 24-hour professional firefighting staff. Nichols, Southeast Bullitt, and Lebanon Junction are all volunteer-based.

  • Mt Washington Fire District
  • Nichols Fire District
  • Southeast Bullitt Fire Department
  • Shepherdsville Fire Department
  • Lebanon Junction Fire Department

The Bullitt County Emergency Medical Service (BCEMS) provides emergency medical care and transport in Bullitt County.

Mount Washington Fire and EMS was founded in 2021 and provides EMS services to the Mount Washington Fire Protection District. They staff two ALS ambulances 24/7. They also provide mutual aid to the remainder of Bullitt County.


Bullitt County, which is bisected by I-65, the main north–south transportation corridor, has grown into a thriving distribution hub, and several of its major business parks are approximately 16 miles (26 km) from Louisville International Airport and UPS' global air-freight hub Worldport. More than 6,000,000 square feet (560,000 m2) of distribution, warehousing and other complexes have been built and absorbed in Bullitt County since 2000, and additional construction is ongoing.

Bullitt County residents have easy access to major job centers such as Elizabethtown, Fort Knox, and Louisville.


Bullitt County is served by Bullitt County Public Schools, except for parts in Fort Knox, which are served by the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA).[19]

There are six county middle schools:

  • Bernheim Middle School
  • Bullitt Lick Middle School
  • Eastside Middle School
  • Hebron Middle School
  • Mount Washington Middle School
  • Zoneton Middle School

There are four county high schools:

Fort Knox Middle High School is the high school for Fort Knox.



Census-designated place[edit]

Other unincorporated communities[edit]

Although large-scale residential development has not made its way south of Shepherdsville, the growth is apparent in and around that town and in Mount Washington, as well as points north along I-65 towards Hillview. Both Shepherdsville and Mount Washington have stretched their boundaries such that they are nearly touching each other. The 10-mile (16 km) stretch of Kentucky 44 that connects the two towns has homes through nearly the entire expanse.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 29, 2022.
  2. ^ "Bullitt County, KY". NACo County Explorer. Retrieved October 29, 2020.
  3. ^ a b "Bullitt County". The Kentucky Encyclopedia. The University of Kentucky, Morehead State University. Archived from the original on February 18, 2020. Retrieved October 29, 2020.
  4. ^ Kempf, Gary. The Land Before Fort Knox, Arcadia Publishing, 2004, p. 11
  5. ^ Tankersley, Kenneth B. (1996). "Ice Age Hunters And Gatherers". In Lewsi, R. Barry (ed.). Kentucky Archeology. The University Press of Kentucky. ISBN 0-8131-1907-3.
  6. ^ Clark, Jerry E. (1993). The Shawnee. The University Press of Kentucky. ISBN 0-8131-1839-5.
  7. ^ Pack, Tom. History of Bullitt County. Bullitt County Historical Commission, 1974, pp. 3-6.
  8. ^ Clark, Thomas D. (1954). "England Moves West". A History of Kentucky. The John Bradford Press.
  9. ^ The Register of the Kentucky State Historical Society, Volume 1. Kentucky State Historical Society. 1903. pp. 34.
  10. ^ Hartley, Charles (December 29, 2010). "The Creation of Bullitt County". The Bullitt County History Museum.
  11. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Archived from the original on August 12, 2014. Retrieved August 12, 2014.
  12. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Counties: April 1, 2020 to July 1, 2021". Retrieved June 29, 2022.
  13. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 12, 2014.
  14. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved August 12, 2014.
  15. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 12, 2014.
  16. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Archived (PDF) from the original on March 27, 2010. Retrieved August 12, 2014.
  17. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  18. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org.
  19. ^ "2020 CENSUS - SCHOOL DISTRICT REFERENCE MAP: Bullitt County, KY" (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau. Archived (PDF) from the original on July 5, 2022. Retrieved July 4, 2022. - Text list - "Fort Knox Dependant Schools" refers to DoDEA schools.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 37°58′N 85°42′W / 37.97°N 85.70°W / 37.97; -85.70