Midway, Kentucky
East Main Street in Midway
East Main Street in Midway
Flag of Midway, Kentucky
Location of Midway in Woodford County, Kentucky.
Location of Midway in Woodford County, Kentucky.
Coordinates: 38°08′52″N 84°41′11″W / 38.14778°N 84.68639°W / 38.14778; -84.68639
CountryUnited States
EstablishedJanuary 31, 1835
IncorporatedFebruary 7, 1846[1]
Named forits location relative to Frankfort and Lexington
 • MayorGrayson Vandegrift
 • Total1.37 sq mi (3.55 km2)
 • Land1.37 sq mi (3.54 km2)
 • Water0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
Elevation833 ft (254 m)
 • Total1,718
 • Estimate 
 • Density1,255.85/sq mi (484.79/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code859
FIPS code21-52140
GNIS feature ID2404256[3]
View looking west from intersection of Highway 62 and Main Street

Midway is a home rule-class city[5] in Woodford County, Kentucky, in the United States. Its population was 1,741 at the time of the year 2020 U.S. census. It is part of the Lexington-Fayette Metropolitan Statistical Area.

The town sits just off Interstate 64 and among several major thoroughbred breeding operations, such as Three Chimneys Farm and former Gov. Brereton Jones’ Airdrie Stud. In 2003, faced with a declining downtown, the city began major streetscape renovation project as part of Main Street Kentucky.[clarification needed] New period structures and lighting brought new life to the town. It is known for its distinctive shops and restaurants. An active business association holds events every month of the year, and the city is a starting point or waypoint for several road races that wind through the surrounding countryside.


Before its European exploration, the area around Midway was inhabited by the Mound Builders.[which?] Two large and several smaller American Indian mounds have been identified on nearby farms.[6]

The present city began as a small settlement known as Stevenson's at the time of its first post office in 1832.[7] On January 31, 1835, the local farmer John Francisco sold his 216.375-acre (87.564 ha) farm to the Lexington and Ohio Railroad for $6,491.25. The railroad then used the land to establish Kentucky's first railroad town, naming it Middleway for its location relative to Lexington and Frankfort, Kentucky.[7] (The town is also equidistant between Versailles and Georgetown.) The major streets of Midway were named in honor of the railroad's original officials.[6] It was renamed Midway in 1837.[7]

Midway Historic District comprises much of downtown Midway, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Distilling Bourbon in Midway

Midway has a very rich history of distilling Bourbon for nearly a 100-year period from 1865 to 1959. The Distillery was located at the corner of Gratz Street and Dudley Street, nestled in the bend of the Lee's Branch of the North Elkhorn Creek. There were several owners over the years, with the Distillery operating under various business names. Buford, Guthrie & Co. 1865–67, A. Buford Distillery 1867–68, Keller Distillery 1868–77, 1878–89, S.J. Greenbaum Distillery 1890–1911, Belle of Anderson Distillery 1912–14, Midway Distilling Co. 1915–24, Destroyed by fire in 1924 and closed from then till 1933, rebuilt and operated as the Woodford County Distilling Company 1933–40, Park & Tilford Distillery 1941–53, Schenley Products Distillery 1954–59. Early in the 1960s, Schenley Products donated the property, building and equipment to the Midway Woman's College. Notable national brand names produced include, Belle of Bourbon, Belle of Lexington, Belle of Anderson, Glenarme, Arlington, Jessamine, and Woodford. Two buildings still remain, currently known as Kentucky Cannabis Company, previously a distilling building and The Midway Loft Apartments, previously an aging warehouse. A large Distillery warehouse fire occurred on August 4, 1908, where over 47,000 barrels of bourbon where destroyed. The Lee's Branch was on fire for over one mile, and several Midway residents were scorched dipping tin cups into the Lee's Branch for Bourbon and Water. Martin Street next to the Lee's Branch was nicknamed “Tin Cup Alley”. The Midway Fire Department was recognized for saving the City and the Female Orphan's School.

In 1920, during a robbery of the distillery, Benjamin Rodgers and Homer Nave were killed. Richard W. James, was arrested for the killings. He admitted to the robbery but denied shooting the men, and claimed that the facility's superintendent of bottling, Samuel Seay, had a deal with James and others to share the proceeds of the stolen liquor. James was convicted of murder, but one member of the jury refused to vote for his execution on religious grounds. On March 13, 1921, a mob took James from the county jail in Versailles, Kentucky and lynched him from a tree near Margaret College, about a half-mile from Versailles. No one from the mob was indicted and, when Gov. Edwin P. Morrow removed the sheriff from his post, local voters elected his wife to replace him.[8][9][10][11]


Midway is located in the northern section of Woodford County in the Bluegrass region of Kentucky, an area with farms that produce tobacco, corn, soybeans, cattle, and horses.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.1 square miles (2.8 km2), all land.


Historical population
2022 (est.)1,744[12]1.5%
U.S. Decennial Census[13]

As of the census[14] of 2000, there were 1,620 people, 623 households, and 409 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,484.3 per square mile (573.1/km2). There were 672 housing units at an average density of 615.7 per square mile (237.7/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 89.81% White, 7.72% African American, 0.31% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 1.17% from other races, and 0.93% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.42% of the population.

There were 623 households, out of which 28.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.1% were married couples living together, 8.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.2% were non-families. 28.9% of all households were made up of individuals, and 11.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.38 and the average family size was 2.96.

21.0% of the population was under the age of 18, 14.1% from 18 to 24, 29.9% from 25 to 44, 21.6% from 45 to 64, and 13.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females, there were 75.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 73.0 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $50,909, and the median income for a family was $60,326. Males had a median income of $35,795 versus $32,500 for females. The per capita income for the city was $24,528. About 2.0% of families and 3.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 0.6% of those under age 18 and 14.2% of those age 65 or over.

Arts and culture


Current schools

Defunct schools

Public library

Midway has a lending library, a branch of the Woodford County Public Library.[18]


The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Midway has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.[19]

Notable people


  1. ^ Commonwealth of Kentucky. Office of the Secretary of State. Land Office "Midway, Kentucky". Accessed 23 August 2013.
  2. ^ "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 18, 2022.
  3. ^ a b U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Midway, Kentucky
  4. ^ "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.
  5. ^ "Summary and Reference Guide to House Bill 331 City Classification Reform" (PDF). Kentucky League of Cities. Retrieved December 30, 2014.
  6. ^ a b "Midway Kentucky: History". City of Midway. Archived from the original on January 31, 2011. Retrieved May 22, 2011.
  7. ^ a b c Rennick, Robert. Kentucky Place Names, p. 197. University Press of Kentucky (Lexington), 1987. Accessed 1 August 2013.
  8. ^ Officials Make Wide Search For Negro Killer Lexington Herald, October 9, 1920. Retrieved November 10, 2013.
  9. ^ Second Victim of Distillery Battle Dies In Hospital Lexington Herald, October 10, 1920. Retrieved November 10, 2013.
  10. ^ Woodford Sun: "Lynching Follows Hung Jury in Murder Trial". 17 March 1921. Accessed 11 August 2013.
  11. ^ Alleged Slayer Taken From Jail Sunday Morning Lexington Herald, March 13, 1921. Retrieved November 10, 2013.
  12. ^ "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.
  13. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  14. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  15. ^ "Francisco's Farm Arts Festival". Francisco's Farm. Retrieved March 8, 2009.
  16. ^ "37th Annual Midway Fall Festival". Midway Fall Festival. Retrieved March 8, 2009.
  17. ^ Cross, Al (May 31, 2018). "Midway Messenger: Admitting men boosted Midway Univ., and changed its culture; some women weren't happy, but have adjusted". Midway Messenger. Retrieved May 12, 2019.
  18. ^ "Kentucky Public Library Directory". Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives. Archived from the original on January 11, 2019. Retrieved June 7, 2019.
  19. ^ "Midway, Kentucky Köppen Climate Classification (Weatherbase)". Weatherbase.
  20. ^ Justin, Neal (March 30, 2018). "TV star Steve Zahn may save the world – but saving his Minnesota cabin comes first". Star Tribune. Retrieved May 12, 2019.