Danville, Kentucky
Downtown Danville
Downtown Danville
"The City of Firsts"; "Birthplace of the Bluegrass"; "Title Town"
Location of Danville in Boyle County, Kentucky.
Location of Danville in Boyle County, Kentucky.
Coordinates: 37°38′44″N 84°46′11″W / 37.64556°N 84.76972°W / 37.64556; -84.76972Coordinates: 37°38′44″N 84°46′11″W / 37.64556°N 84.76972°W / 37.64556; -84.76972
CountryUnited States
 • TypeCouncil–manager
 • MayorJames (J.H.) Atkins[1]
 • City ManagerEarl Coffey
 • CommissionersKevin Caudill
Jennie Hollon
Donna Peek
Rick Serres[2]
 • Total17.28 sq mi (44.76 km2)
 • Land17.18 sq mi (44.50 km2)
 • Water0.10 sq mi (0.26 km2)
984 ft (300 m)
 • Total17,234
 • Density1,003.1/sq mi (387.29/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
Area code859
FIPS code21-19882
GNIS feature ID0490584

Danville is a home rule-class city[4] in Boyle County, Kentucky, United States. It is the seat of its county.[5] The population was 17,236 at the 2020 Census.[6] Danville is the principal city of the Danville Micropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of the Boyle and Lincoln counties. In 2001, Danville received a Great American Main Street Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation.[7] In 2011, Money magazine placed Danville as the fourth-best place to retire in the United States.[8] Centre College in Danville was selected to host U.S. vice-presidential debates in 2000 and 2012.[9]


Within Kentucky, Danville is called the "City of Firsts":

Boyle County Courthouse in Danville

Danville was part of the Great Settlement Area around Fort Harrod (present-day Harrodsburg), which was first settled in 1774. The site was originally known as Crow's Station for settler John Crow, but the town was surveyed and platted by Walker Daniel, Kentucky's first district attorney, who bought 76 acres (31 ha) near the Wilderness Road from Crow in 1783. The city was named for Daniel.[12] The Virginia legislature officially established Danville on December 4, 1787.[11]

Between 1784 and 1792, ten conventions were held in Danville to petition for better governance and ultimately to secure independence from Virginia. In 1786 the Danville Political Club was organized. It met each Saturday night at Grayson's Tavern to discuss the political, economic, and social concerns of the day. After a state constitution was adopted and separation was confirmed in 1792, the town ceased to be of statewide importance. Its leading citizens moved elsewhere.[13]

Transylvania University was founded in Danville in 1783. It moved to Lexington in 1789. Centre College was founded in 1819. Danville Theological Seminary was founded in 1853; in 1901 it became part of the Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. The Caldwell Institute for Young Ladies was founded in 1860. It became Caldwell Female College in 1876, Caldwell College in 1904, Kentucky College for Women in 1913, and merged into Centre College in 1926.[11]

In November 1806, Meriwether Lewis, co-leader of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, visited Danville while traveling the Wilderness Road to Washington, D.C., to report on the expedition, which had returned from the Pacific Coast. In December 1806, William Clark visited his nephews in school in Danville before following Lewis to Washington.[14]

The first school in Danville for African-American children was founded around 1840 by Willis Russell, an emancipated slave of Robert Craddock, a Revolutionary War veteran. Craddock deeded a log house in Danville to Russell. He moved to the town after Craddock's death and started a school for children. The house on Walnut Street no longer stands, though what was once believed to be his house is now the Willis Russell Memorial Cabin. Russell's house stood across the street, opposite St. James African American Methodist Church.

In 1842, Boyle County was formed from southern Mercer County and northern Lincoln County. Danville became its county seat.[11]

In 1850, Danville and Boyle County backed construction of the Lexington and Danville Railroad. Money ran out when the railroad reached Nicholasville. John A. Roebling had already built towers for a railroad suspension bridge over the Kentucky River. (Roebling lived in Danville during the construction.) Despite the railroad not being completed to Danville, the county still owed the company $150,000. It completed payment on time in 1884.[13][15]

In 1860, a fire devastated the city, destroying 64 buildings and causing more than $300,000 in damages. Boyle County's courthouse was destroyed; its replacement was completed in 1862.[11]

After the Union Army won the Battle of Perryville in the Civil War on October 8, 1862, it appropriated many Danville buildings, including the courthouse, for use as hospitals. On October 11, a Union force drove Confederate forces from the county fairgrounds through Danville.[16]

In May 1864, the group of 250 – mostly enslaved males but including some freedmen – marched from Danville to nearby Camp Nelson in Jessamine County, where Colonel Andrew Clark allowed them to enlist In the Union Army after some initial hesitation. Arriving with wounds inflicted upon them in route, this group was the first to enlist at this site, where 10,000 United States Colored Troops trained.[17]

In 1775, Archibald McNeill planted Kentucky's first recorded hemp crop at Clark's Run Creek near Danville. By 1889 Boyle County was one of the ten Kentucky counties which together produced more than 90% of the US yield. It was the state's largest cash crop until 1915, when it lost its market to imported jute.[18]

From the turn of the 20th century through the 1960s, Danville was home to a thriving African-American business sector located on and around 2nd Street on the western edge of what is now Constitution Square Historic Site. The city demolished this business sector under urban renewal in the 1970s to provide for the expansion of Constitution Square Park.[19]

On October 5, 2000, Dick Cheney and Senator Joe Lieberman, candidates for Vice President of the United States, debated at Centre College during the 2000 presidential election.[20] On October 11, 2012, Centre College again hosted the Vice-Presidential debate, this time between Vice President Joe Biden and Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan.[9]


Danville is located in eastern Boyle County at 37°38′44″N 84°46′11″W / 37.6456°N 84.7698°W / 37.6456; -84.7698.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 15.9 square miles (41.2 km2), of which 15.8 square miles (41.0 km2) is land and 0.077 square miles (0.2 km2), or 0.58%, is water.[21]

Danville, Kentucky Water Tower viewed from the north. Features the motto "Quite Simply the Nicest Town"
Danville, Kentucky Water Tower viewed from the north. Features the motto "Quite Simply the Nicest Town"



Blue Grass Community Action Partnership provides DanTran bus service inside Danville.[22][23] BGCAP also connects Danville with Lexington, Stanford, Junction City, and Lancaster.[24]


Stuart Powell Field (DVK), 3 miles (5 km) from downtown, serves as Danville's general aviation airport. Blue Grass Airport (LEX) in Lexington, 35 miles (56 km) away, provides the closest commercial service. More extensive commercial service is available from Louisville International Airport (SDF), 82 miles (132 km) away, and Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG), 127 miles (204 km) away.


Norfolk Southern Railway operates a freight rail yard in Danville. Its Louisville-Chattanooga line intersects with its Cincinnati-Chattanooga line just north of Danville.


Danville has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa), with warm summers and moderately cold winters. Precipitation is abundant and well-spread, with an average of 48.86 inches (1,240 mm).

Climate data for Danville, Kentucky
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 40
Average low °F (°C) 23
Average precipitation inches (mm) 3.66
Source: The Weather Channel[25]


Historical population
U.S. Decennial Census[26]

As of the census[27] of 2010, there were 16,218 people, 6,405 households, and 3,903 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,020.0/sq mi (393.8/km2). There were 7,180 housing units at an average density of 451.6/sq mi (174.4/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 83.2% White, 10.9% African American, 0.2% Native American, 1.0% Asian, 1.8% from other races, and 2.8% from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 3.9% of the population.

Of the 6,405 households, 25.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.1% were married couples living together, 14.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.8% were non-families. 33.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 14.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.25 and the average family size was 2.83.

20.8% of the population was under the age of 18, 61.8% from 18 to 64, and 18.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39.4 years. Females made up 54.4% and males made up 45.6% of the population aged 18 or older.

As of 2000, the median income for a household was US $32,938, and the median income for a family was $40,528. Males had a median income of $35,327 versus $24,542 for females. The per capita income was $18,906. About 9.4% of families and 12.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.6% of those under age 18 and 10.5% of those age 65 or over.


FBI crime statistics for 2009 list the crime rate (per 100,000 population) for Danville as follows:[28]

Crime Danville Kentucky United States
Violent crime 258 260 429
Murder 0 4 5
Forcible rape 32 35 29
Robbery 84 84 133
Aggravated assault 142 135 269
Property crime 3,587 2,513 3,061
Burglary 876 689 716
Larceny-theft 2,627 1,683 2,061
Motor vehicle theft 84 141 259


Centre College
Centre College
Public schools

Danville Schools includes most of the city limits.[29] It operates Mary G. Hogsett Primary School, Edna L. Toliver Intermediate School, John W. Bate Middle School, and Danville High School for the city of Danville. Boyle County Schools operates Woodlawn Elementary School, Junction City Elementary School, Perryville Elementary School, Boyle County Middle School, and Boyle County High School for portions of Danville and the remainder of Boyle County. Kentucky School for the Deaf provides education to Kentucky's deaf and hard-of-hearing children from elementary through high school.

A portion of Danville is in the Boyle County Schools district.[30]

Private schools

Two private schools operate in Danville:

Colleges and universities

Centre College, a nationally recognized liberal arts college, is located in Danville. Danville also hosts a campus of Bluegrass Community and Technical College

Public library

Danville has a lending library, the Boyle County Public Library.[33]


On March 2, 2010, Danville voted to go "wet" (to permit sale of packaged alcohol and sale of alcohol by the drink without restriction by size of premises).[34]

Places of interest


Five venues for theatrical productions live in Danville.

Annual events

Media and books

The Advocate-Messenger, a twice-weekly (Tuesday and Friday) newspaper, serves Danville and surrounding counties.

Local radio stations include three AM stations: WDFB-AM (1170), WHBN (1420), WHIR (1230), and three FM stations: WDFB-FM (88.1), WLAI(107.1), and WRNZ (105.1).

WDKY-TV was licensed to Danville but its facilities are located in Lexington.

Danville and Boyle County Black history is the subject of a 2022 book published by Arcadia Press, as "African Americans in Boyle County."

Martha S. Jones opens her book Vanguard: How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote, and Insisted on Equality for All, with her family story of three generations who resided in Danville. Great-great-great-grandmother Nancy Belle Graves was born enslaved in 1808. Nancy's daughter, Susan Davis, organized the Danville Domestic Economy Club for black women which encouraged voter participation and education. Susan and her husband, Sam, were both born enslaved. Fighting in the Civil War for the Union, Sam became emancipated upon his 1864 enlistment in the 114th United States Colored Troops at nearby Camp Nelson. After the passage of the Fifteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, Sam voted in the 1870 election. Their daughter, Frances Harriet Williams, organized for the NAACP, the YMCA, and served as a presidential advisor.[55]

Films shot in Danville

Sister cities

Danville has one sister city, as designated by Sister Cities International:

Danville Sister Cities won the 2019 Innovation Award for Arts and Culture from Sister Cities International.[57]

Notable people

The following are highly noted people from Danville. For a more complete list see List of people from Danville, Kentucky.

Major employers

Major employers include:[58]

See also


  1. ^ "Atkins wins bid to become Danville's next mayor". The Advocate-Messenger. 2022-11-08. Retrieved 2022-11-17.
  2. ^ "Election Results announced". The Advocate Messenger. 2022-11-08. Retrieved 2022-11-17.
  3. ^ "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 18, 2022.
  4. ^ "Summary and Reference Guide to House Bill 331 City Classification Reform" (PDF). Kentucky League of Cities. Retrieved December 30, 2014.
  5. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on 2011-05-31. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  6. ^ "Quick Facts Danville city, Kentucky". Retrieved 2022-11-17.
  7. ^ "Great American Main Street Award Winners". National Trust for Historic Preservation. Retrieved 2017-09-22.
  8. ^ "Best Places to Retire". CNNMoney. September 2011. Archived from the original on 2011-09-27. Retrieved 2011-09-17.
  9. ^ a b Gerth, Joseph (2011-10-31). "Centre College in Danville chosen for 2012 vice presidential debate". Courier Journal. Retrieved 2011-11-15.
  10. ^ a b c d e f "Danville Kentucky - City of Firsts". City of Danville. Archived from the original on 2017-09-22. Retrieved 2017-09-22.
  11. ^ a b c d e Kleber, John E. (1992). The Kentucky Encyclopedia. Lexington KY: The University Press of Kentucky. ISBN 0-8131-1772-0.
  12. ^ "Danville Kentucky". Land Office, Kentucky Secretary of State. Archived from the original on 2011-06-06. Retrieved 2009-05-05.
  13. ^ a b Griffin, Richard W. (1965). Newspaper Story of a Town: A History of Danville Kentucky. Danville, Kentucky: The Advocate Messenger.
  14. ^ "Kentucky Historical Marker Database (marker 2216)". Kentucky Historical Society. Retrieved 2019-02-02.
  15. ^ Fackler, Calvin M., Early Days in Danville, Louisville: Standard Printing Co., 1941
  16. ^ "Kentucky Historical Marker Database (marker 756)". Kentucky Historical Society. Retrieved 2019-02-02.
  17. ^ Sears, Richard D., 1940-. (2002). Camp Nelson, Kentucky : a Civil War history. University Press of Kentucky. pp. 58–59. ISBN 0-8131-2246-5. OCLC 1169783078.((cite book)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  18. ^ "Kentucky Historical Marker Database (marker 1279)". Kentucky Historical Society. Retrieved 2019-02-02.
  19. ^ "index". ancestry.com.
  20. ^ McCaleb, Ian Christopher (2000-10-06). "Even-keeled Cheney-Lieberman debate takes global view". CNN. Archived from the original on 2008-12-11. Retrieved 2010-08-25.
  21. ^ "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Danville city, Kentucky". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Archived from the original on February 12, 2020. Retrieved November 21, 2013.
  22. ^ Cox, Charlie (2008-12-11). "Danville bus service revved for take-off". The Advocate Messenger. Retrieved 2009-10-07.
  23. ^ "BGCAP - DAN-TRAN". Blue Grass Community Action Partnership. Archived from the original on 2011-09-10. Retrieved 2011-04-29.
  24. ^ Cox, Charlie (2009-02-19). "Bus service offered to Lexington". The Advocate Messenger. Retrieved 2009-10-07.
  25. ^ "Monthly Averages for Danville KY". The Weather Channel. Archived from the original on 2009-09-17.
  26. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  27. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2015-07-04.
  28. ^ "Crime in the United States: Offenses Known to Law Enforcement". U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation. September 2010. Retrieved 2010-10-20.
  29. ^ "Appendix B: Maps Of Independent School Districts In Operation In FY 2014-FY 2015 Using 2005 Tax District Boundaries – Danvlle ISD" (PDF). Research Report No. 415 – Kentucky's Independent School Districts: A Primer. Frankfort, KY: Office of Education Accountability, Legislative Research Commission. September 15, 2015. p. 101 (PDF p. 115/174).
  30. ^ "2020 CENSUS - SCHOOL DISTRICT REFERENCE MAP: Boyle County, KY" (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2022-07-29. - Text list
  31. ^ "Danville Christian Academy". Retrieved 2015-06-28.
  32. ^ "Danville Montessori School". Retrieved 2015-06-28.
  33. ^ "Kentucky Public Library Directory". Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives. Archived from the original on 11 January 2019. Retrieved 5 June 2019.
  34. ^ Brock, David (2010-03-02). "Danville goes wet". The Advocate Messenger. Retrieved 2010-05-17.
  35. ^ "Art Cente of the Bluegrass". Retrieved 2022-07-07.
  36. ^ "Central Kentucky Wildlife Refuge". Retrieved 2015-06-29.
  37. ^ Kocher, Greg (2011-11-19). "The beauty of Central Ky. Wildlife Refuge through the seasons". Lexington Herald Leader. Retrieved 2015-06-29.
  38. ^ "Kentucky Historical Society Marker Database Search". Kentucky Historical Society. Retrieved August 1, 2020.
  39. ^ "Old Crow Inn and Chateau du Vieux Corbeau Winery". Retrieved 2015-07-01.
  40. ^ Neighbors, Joy (2012-03-06). "A Grave Interest: Bellevue Cemetery, Danville, Kentucky". Retrieved 2017-11-16.
  41. ^ "The Great American Dollhouse Museum". Retrieved 2015-07-01.
  42. ^ "Danville-Boyle County Parks and Recreation Department". Retrieved 2017-11-28.
  43. ^ "West T. Hill Community Theatre". Retrieved 2015-07-05.
  44. ^ "Danville High School: Gravely Hall". Archived from the original on 2015-07-06. Retrieved 2015-07-05.
  45. ^ "Boyle County Performing Arts Center". Retrieved 2022-08-27.
  46. ^ "The Great American Balloon Race". Archived from the original on 2015-06-11. Retrieved 2015-07-05.
  47. ^ "Boyle Co. Fair". Boyle County Fair LLC. Retrieved 2015-07-05.
  48. ^ Copley, Rich (2016-07-15). "Governor's School for the Arts ignites a creative flame". Lexington Herald Leader. Retrieved 2016-07-17.
  49. ^ "Kentucky State BBQ Festival". Retrieved 2015-07-05.
  50. ^ "Harvest Fest Street Concert". Heart of Danville. Retrieved 2018-08-31.
  51. ^ "Forkland Heritage Festival and Revue". Forkland Community Center. Retrieved 2015-07-05.
  52. ^ "Perryville Battlefield". Perryville Historic Battlefield. Retrieved 2015-07-05.
  53. ^ "The Bourbon Chase: A 200-mile relay race along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail". Retrieved 2016-10-20.
  54. ^ Steinhofer, Kerry (2016-10-20). "Danville wins 'Most Spirited' award for Bourbon Chase participation". The Advocate-Messenger. Retrieved 2016-10-20.
  55. ^ Jones, Martha S. (2020). Vanguard : how Black women broke barriers, won the vote, and insisted on equality for all. New York, NY: Basic Books Hatchette Book Group. pp. 1–15. ISBN 978-1-5416-1861-9. OCLC 1135569243.
  56. ^ "Danville, Carrickfergus seal bond as 'twin' cities". The Advocate Messenger. 2009-08-01. Retrieved 2009-09-24.
  57. ^ Curd, Bobbie (2019-07-11). "Danville Sister Cities wins international accolades for its innovation". The Advocate-Messenger. Danville, Kentucky. Retrieved 2019-07-13.
  58. ^ "Danville Boyle County Community Profile: Business and Industry". Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development. Retrieved 2015-07-05.
  59. ^ "Admart Custom Signage". Retrieved 2015-07-05.
  60. ^ "The Allen Company". Retrieved 2015-07-05.
  61. ^ Wersich, Carol (2009-12-04). "Berry completes Pliant buy". Evansville Courier & Press. Retrieved 2010-08-26.
  62. ^ "Burkmann Nutrition". Burkmann Industries, Inc. Retrieved 2015-07-05.
  63. ^ "Denyo". Denyo Co., Ltd. Retrieved 2015-07-05.
  64. ^ "Elmwood Inn Fine Teas". Retrieved 2019-07-24.
  65. ^ "Ephraim McDowell Health". Retrieved 2015-07-05.
  66. ^ "Farmers National Bank: Your Lifetime Bank". Retrieved 2015-07-05.
  67. ^ Brock, David (2011-05-22). "It's official: Gov. announces second Meggitt plant for Danville". The Advocate Messenger. Retrieved 2011-05-22.
  68. ^ "Pioneer Vocational Industrial Services". Retrieved 2015-07-05.
  69. ^ "Pitman Creek Wholesale". Retrieved 2015-10-17.
  70. ^ "self refined: Premier Treatment for Substance Use Disorder". Archived from the original on 2015-07-09. Retrieved 2015-07-05.
  71. ^ "Sellers Manufacturing Co". Retrieved 2015-07-05.
  72. ^ "TransNav - A Global Trading and Manufacturing Company". Retrieved 2015-07-05.

Further reading