|Named for||Peter Muhlenberg|
|Largest city||Central City|
|• Total||479 sq mi (1,240 km2)|
|• Land||467 sq mi (1,210 km2)|
|• Water||12 sq mi (30 km2) 2.6%|
|Time zone||UTC−6 (Central)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−5 (CDT)|
Muhlenberg County (//) is a county in the U.S. Commonwealth of Kentucky. As of the 2010 census, the population was 31,499. Its county seat is Greenville.
Muhlenberg County was formed in 1798 from the areas known as Logan and Christian counties. Muhlenberg was the 34th county to be founded in Kentucky. Muhlenberg was named after General Peter Muhlenberg, who was a colonial general during the American Revolutionary War.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has an area of 479 square miles (1,240 km2), of which 467 square miles (1,210 km2) is land and 12 square miles (31 km2) (2.6%) is water.
The two primary aquatic features of Muhlenberg County are the Green River and Lake Malone. The northern area of the county's geography includes gently rolling hills, river flatlands, and some sizeable bald cypress swamps along Cypress Creek and its tributaries. The southern portion consists of rolling hills with higher relief. The southern part of the county is dotted with deep gorges. This area is known for many sandstone formations. Several north-south-oriented faults cross the county's midpoint. Coal is found in these faults, across the county's central part. Most remaining deposits reside deep underground; previous near-surface deposits have now been exhausted by strip mining. In former years, it was common to see machines such as the "Big Brother" Power Shovel (pictured on the right) throughout the county. During the 1970s and early 1980s, Muhlenberg County was the state leader in coal production and sometimes the top coal producer in the United States. Strip mining was criticized in the song "Paradise" by John Prine.
Sandstone is the county's most abundant rock type, although limestone becomes more common toward the southern area of the county. Two mines for extracting iron ore have been attempted, at Old Airdrie on the banks of the Green River, and at Buckner Furnace south of Greenville, Kentucky. Both iron ore mines were extant in the late 19th century and early 20th century; neither were successful.
The 300 miles (483 km)-long Green River is a tributary of the Ohio River. It provides a commercial outlet for goods (primarily coal) to be shipped from the county to the major trade centers along the Mississippi River.
Lake Malone (788 acres (3.19 km2)) is in southern Muhlenberg County near Dunmor. It, and a portion of the surrounding hardwood forest, form Lake Malone State Park, maintained by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife. The lake's surface extends into two neighboring counties, Todd and Logan. There are sandstone cliffs and natural sandstone formations along the lake shore including a natural bridge, although the bridge itself is not inside the park boundary.
|U.S. Decennial Census|
As of the census of 2010, there were 31,499 people, 12,979 households, and 9,057 families residing in the county. The population density was 67 per square mile (26/km2). There were 13,675 housing units at an average density of 29 per square mile (11/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 94.19% White, 4.65% Black or African American, 0.13% Native American, 0.13% Asian, 0.19% from other races, and 0.72% from two or more races. 0.73% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. The median income for a household in the county was $28,566. 15.50% of families and 19.70% of the population was below the poverty line, including 26.00% of those under age 18 and 17.00% of those age 65 or over.
Muhlenberg County has been a major coal-producing region for the United States for many years; during most of the 1970s, Muhlenberg County annually produced more coal than anywhere else in the country. Although coal mining in the county waned in the late 1980s and early 1990s, as the 21st century began, the coal-mining industry in Muhlenberg and surrounding counties began to expand and has once again provided a significant number of jobs in the region. One reason for this is the willingness of utility operators to install flue gas cleaning systems so that bituminous coal can be burned with fewer airborne contaminants. Another reason is that most coal from the western US has a lower BTU content.
Muhlenberg County held Kentucky's first commercial coal mine, opened in 1820 as the "McLean Drift Bank" along the Green River in the former village of Paradise. The mine and its impact on the community are referenced in the John Prine song "Paradise". Other major employers in Muhlenberg County include:
In January 2006, the chambers of commerce from Central City and Greenville merged to form the Greater Muhlenberg Chamber of Commerce representing over 155 local businesses.
Peabody Energy's proposed Thoroughbred Energy Plant, a coal-burning power generation facility expected to bring 450 permanent jobs to the area, was to be located in Central City. The plant was projected to begin electricity generation in 2007, but a dispute over Peabody's air quality permit halted construction plans. The power plant plans have now been scrapped, as was a later partnership between Peabody Energy and ConocoPhillips Oil Company called "Kentucky NewGas".
Public schools in Muhlenberg County are operated by the Muhlenberg County Board of Education. They include:
These libraries are operated as Muhlenberg County Public Libraries.
Thistle Cottage Genealogy and History Annex in Greenville also operates under the umbrella of Muhlenberg County Public Libraries as a museum and history archive.
At one time the county hosted eight secondary schools. Drakesboro Community closed after the class of 1964 graduated and in 1990, the school board consolidated the middle and high school students into two middle and two high schools. Bremen High School, Central City High School, Graham High School, and half of Muhlenberg Central High School became Muhlenberg North Middle School and Muhlenberg North High School, while the other half of Muhlenberg Central High School, Drakesboro High School, Hughes-Kirkpatrick High School, Greenville High School, and Lake Malone School (which housed some middle school students) became Muhlenberg South Middle School and Muhlenberg South High School. The eight distinct schools continued to house elementary school students.
In 2004, the school board began consolidating the elementary schools, closing Graham Elementary School and transferring students to Longest Elementary Greenville Elementary Schools; closing Lake Malone School and transferring students to Hughes-Kirkpatrick Elementary School. In 2005 Drakesboro Elementary School was closed, with students first attending Hughes-Kirkpatrick Elementary and then Muhlenberg South Elementary School (2006). Hughes-Kirkpatrick was later closed.
Muhlenberg North and Muhlenberg South High Schools were merged into a single Muhlenberg County High School in June 2009.
Central City Convention Center, Fitness Facility and Outdoor Pool & Spray Park in Central City