Cynthiana, Kentucky
City of Cynthiana at Sunset
City of Cynthiana at Sunset
Location of Cynthiana in Harrison County, Kentucky.
Location of Cynthiana in Harrison County, Kentucky.
Coordinates: 38°23′10″N 84°17′58″W / 38.38611°N 84.29944°W / 38.38611; -84.29944
CountryUnited States
 • MayorJames Smith[citation needed]
 • Total4.44 sq mi (11.50 km2)
 • Land4.39 sq mi (11.37 km2)
 • Water0.05 sq mi (0.13 km2)
Elevation702 ft (214 m)
 • Total6,333
 • Estimate 
 • Density1,442.60/sq mi (556.99/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP Code
Area code859
FIPS code21-19432
GNIS feature ID2404172[2]
Harrison County Courthouse in Cynthiana

Cynthiana is a home rule-class city[4] in Harrison County, Kentucky, in the United States. The population was 6,402 at the 2010 census.[5] It is the seat of its county.[6]


The settlement developed on both sides of the South Fork of the Licking River. It was named after Cynthia and Anna Harrison,[7] daughters of Robert Harrison, who had donated land to establish the town center.[8] Harrison County, on the other hand, was named after Colonel Benjamin Harrison, an early settler in the area who had served as sheriff of Bourbon County.[9]

Two Civil War battles were fought in Cynthiana. The first on July 17, 1862, was part of a cavalry raid into Kentucky (which stayed in the Union) by Confederate General John Hunt Morgan; the second, on June 11 and 12, 1864, resulted in Union defeat of Confederate forces during Morgan's last raid into the state.[10][11]

On January 23, 1877, an LL chondrite meteorite fell in Cynthiana.[12]

On March 2, 1997, the South Fork of the Licking River flooded, causing extensive damage in Cynthiana and neighboring communities.

In early March 2020, near the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, Cynthiana was reported to have the first case of the disease diagnosed in Kentucky. Four more cases soon followed, and by March 12, most businesses, schools and churches closed in an effort to prevent further spread.[13]


Cynthiana is located in southern Harrison County. U.S. Routes 27 and 62 pass through the city, passing west of the downtown area. US 27 leads north 56 miles (90 km) to Cincinnati and south 14 miles (23 km) to Paris, while US 62 leads northeast 46 miles (74 km) to Maysville and southwest 21 miles (34 km) to Georgetown. Lexington is 31 miles (50 km) to the southwest via US 27 or 29 miles (47 km) via Kentucky Route 353.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.1 square miles (10.5 km2), of which 4.0 square miles (10.4 km2) are land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km2), or 1.09%, are water.[5] The South Fork of the Licking River, a tributary of the Ohio River, flows south to north through the city, passing west of the downtown area.


The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Cynthiana has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.[14]


U.S. Highways

Kentucky state highways


Cynthiana is served by the Harrison County School District with a total of seven public schools located within the county limits:

Cynthiana has one private school:

Maysville Community and Technical College has an extended campus located in Cynthiana

Cynthiana has a public library, the Cynthiana-Harrison Public Library.[15]


Historical population
2022 (est.)6,441[16]1.7%
U.S. Decennial Census[17]

As of the census[18] of 2000, there were 6,258 people, 2,692 households, and 1,639 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,873.6 inhabitants per square mile (723.4/km2). There were 2,909 housing units at an average density of 870.9 per square mile (336.3/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 92.43% White, 5.29% Black or African American, 0.16% Native American, 0.18% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 0.81% from other races, and 1.09% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.41% of the population.

There were 2,692 households, out of which 27.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.2% were married couples living together, 14.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.1% were non-families. 36.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 18.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.24 and the average family size was 2.89.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 22.7% under the age of 18, 9.0% from 18 to 24, 26.3% from 25 to 44, 21.9% from 45 to 64, and 20.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females, there were 80.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 77.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $28,519, and the median income for a family was $34,691. Males had a median income of $27,704 versus $20,659 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,227. About 13.3% of families and 16.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 23.1% of those under age 18 and 11.7% of those age 65 or over.


3M established a factory in Cynthiana in 1969. Post-it notes were developed in 1972 by Arthur Fry and Spencer Silver. Until patents expired in the late 1990s, the 3M factory in Cynthiana was the only production site of Post-it notes worldwide. Today, it still accounts for nearly all of the world's production.[19]



The Cynthiana Democrat, owned by Paxton Media Group, formerly by Landmark Community Newspapers. Subscription-based weekly newspaper, printed every Thursday with in-home delivery. Has been in print since 1868. Also is available at


Call sign Frequency Format Description / Notes
WCYN 1400 kHz Classic hits

Notable people


  1. ^ "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 18, 2022.
  2. ^ a b U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Cynthiana, Kentucky
  3. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places in Kentucky: April 1, 2020 to July 1, 2022". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 26, 2023.
  4. ^ "Summary and Reference Guide to House Bill 331 City Classification Reform" (PDF). Kentucky League of Cities. Retrieved December 30, 2014.
  5. ^ a b "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Cynthiana city, Kentucky". American Factfinder. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved June 29, 2017.[dead link]
  6. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 31, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  7. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. p. 98.
  8. ^ Rennick, Robert M. (1987). Kentucky Place Names. University Press of Kentucky. p. 77. Retrieved April 28, 2013.
  9. ^ Collins, Lewis (1877). History of Kentucky. p. 321.
  10. ^ "Civil War in Kentucky". Retrieved April 12, 2018.
  11. ^ Penn, William A. (2016). Kentucky Rebel Town: Civil War Battles of Cynthiana and Harrison County. Lexington: Univ. Press of Kentucky. pp. 105, 175, 193, 205. ISBN 9780813167718.
  12. ^ "A Chapter in the history of Meteorites by Walter Flight". Retrieved April 12, 2018.
  13. ^ "A small town takes a big hit after coronavirus is confirmed in its midst". March 12, 2020.
  14. ^ "Cynthiana, Kentucky Köppen Climate Classification (Weatherbase)". Weatherbase. Retrieved April 12, 2018.
  15. ^ "Kentucky Public Library Directory". Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives. Archived from the original on January 11, 2019. Retrieved June 5, 2019.
  16. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places in Kentucky: April 1, 2020 to July 1, 2022". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 26, 2023.
  17. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  18. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  19. ^ "KY Plant makes the most Post-It Notes in the world". WRDB News. July 13, 2014. Retrieved January 30, 2019.
  20. ^ Sloan, Scott (October 28, 2010). "Kentuckian's zombie comic strip leads to AMC series". Lexington Herald-Leader. Retrieved October 29, 2011.