Nicholasville, Kentucky
Main Street in Nicholasville, Kentucky
Main Street in Nicholasville, Kentucky
Location of Nicholasville in Jessamine County, Kentucky
Location of Nicholasville in Jessamine County, Kentucky
Coordinates: 37°53′26″N 84°34′02″W / 37.89056°N 84.56722°W / 37.89056; -84.56722
CountryUnited States
IncorporatedFebruary 13, 1837[1]
 • TypeCity commission
 • MayorAlex Carter[2]
 • CommissionersDoug Blackford
Betty Black
Alex Carter, Mayor Pro Tempore
Patty Teater
 • Total14.85 sq mi (38.45 km2)
 • Land14.78 sq mi (38.27 km2)
 • Water0.07 sq mi (0.18 km2)
Elevation994 ft (303 m)
 • Total31,093
 • Estimate 
 • Density2,104.29/sq mi (812.47/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP Codes
40340, 40356
Area code859
FIPS code21-56136
GNIS feature ID2404379[5]

Nicholasville is a home rule city[7] in and the county seat of Jessamine County, Kentucky.[8] The population was 31,490 during the 2020 U.S. census, making Nicholasville the 10th-largest settlement in the state.

Since the late 20th century, Nicholasville has undergone rapid growth; the population increased 440.23% between 1970 and 2020. The city serves as both a residential area for Lexington-area commuters and as an employment and shopping center for central Kentucky.[9]


Nicholasville was founded by European Americans in 1798, after the American Revolutionary War, and incorporated in 1837.[10][1] The town was named in honor of Colonel George Nicholas, a father of the Kentucky Constitution in 1792.[11] The Young House in Nicholasville is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The city has grown rapidly since the late 20th century and is working to accommodate new highways and transportation needs. Many residents commute to Lexington for work. Others are part of building Nicholasville as a center of retail services for the county.


Downtown Nicholasville is approximately 6 miles (9.7 km) south of Fayette County. The city serves as a logistics and commuter hub between Lexington and Nicholasville's neighboring counties, especially Garrard County. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 13.08 square miles (33.9 km2), of which 13.01 square miles (33.7 km2) is land and 0.07 square miles (0.18 km2), or 0.52%, is water. Some artificial ponds, including Lake Mingo (named after the Native American Mingo people), are present in the city.[12] Town Fork, a partially channelized stream, runs south and passes underneath downtown, eventually draining into Jessamine Creek.[13]


Nicholasville is in the northern periphery of the humid subtropical climate zone,[14] with hot and humid summers, cool winters, and occasional mild periods, especially in autumn. The city and the surrounding Bluegrass region have four distinct seasons that include cool plateau breezes, moderate nights in the summer, and no prolonged periods of rain, snow, or other severe weather.


Historical population
2022 (est.)31,955[15]2.8%
U.S. Decennial Census[16]

As of the 2020 census,[17] there were 31,490 people, 11,244 households, and 7,503 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,141.9 per square mile (827.0/km2). There were 11,405 housing units at an average density of 872.0 per square mile (336.7/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 90% White (87.5% non-Hispanic), 5.2% African American, 0.1% Native American, 1.4% Asian, 0.0% Pacific Islander, 1.2% from other races, and 2.6% from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 3.5% of the population.

There were 11,244 households, out of which 25.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.2% were married couples living together, 16.7% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.6% had a male householder with no wife present, and 26.5% were non-families. 22.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.64 and the average family size was 3.07.

The age distribution was 27.9% under the age of 18, 8.8% from 18 to 24, 30.7% from 25 to 44, 22.8% from 45 to 64, and 9.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33.1 years. For every 100 females, there were 91.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.9 males.

According to Census Bureau data for 2011 from the American Community Survey's five-year estimates, the median income for a household in the city was $43,453, and the median income for a family was $52,419. Full-time male workers had a median income of $37,954 versus $33,330 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,526. About 14.5% of families and 17.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.7% of those under age 18 and 6.5% of those age 65 or over.

Arts and culture

The city is home to the Kentucky Wine and Vine Fest.[18] The annual festival showcases wines from commercial vineyards and amateur winemakers from across Kentucky and the surrounding region. In 2014, it was named as the "Official Wine Festival of Kentucky" by the Kentucky General Assembly.[19][20] Nicholasville is near Camp Nelson Heritage National Monument and Camp Nelson National Cemetery.


Jessamine County Courthouse

The Nicholasville government operates under a non-partisan city commission, which exercises both executive and legislative powers. The commission is composed of a mayor and four commissioners; all are elected at-large, requiring each candidate to gain the support of the majority of the electorate. In addition, the four commissioners are elected to manage particular city departments. They serve two-year terms; the mayor is elected to a four-year term.[3] The commission wields all executive, legislative, and administrative powers.

In 2012, there was a proposal on the ballot to change the form of city government to that of a mayor–council government, in order to separate the legislative and executive functions, but the proposal was defeated.[21][22]

Commissioners draft and pass laws and, by managing their respective departments, ensure the laws are carried out efficiently. The mayor administers oaths, signs documents on the city's behalf, and conducts commission meetings. As a member of the commission, the mayor has legislative powers equal to that of the commissioners. Commission meetings take place twice monthly.[3]


Jessamine County Schools provides public education.[23] Nicholasville Elementary School is located in the city.[24] Students go to schools in the county for middle and high school grades.

The Hattie C. Warner Elementary School on Wilmore Road is named after local teacher Hattie Catherine Warner (1886–1963) who taught for 46 years in Jessamine County. She graduated from Eastern Kentucky University in 1913 and is buried in the Maple Grove cemetery.[25]

Nicholasville has a lending library, the Jessamine County Public Library.[26]



U.S. highways

State routes

Notable people


  1. ^ a b Commonwealth of Kentucky. Office of the Secretary of State. Land Office. "Nicholasville, Kentucky". Accessed 15 September 2013.
  2. ^ "Government". Retrieved March 10, 2024.
  3. ^ a b c "Government: City Commission". Retrieved October 12, 2014.
  4. ^ "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 18, 2022.
  5. ^ a b U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Nicholasville, Kentucky
  6. ^ "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.
  7. ^ "Summary and Reference Guide to House Bill 331 City Classification Reform" (PDF). Kentucky League of Cities. Retrieved December 30, 2014.
  8. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  9. ^ "2009 Report to the community" (PDF) (Press release). City of Nicholasville. 2009. p. 5. Retrieved October 3, 2014.
  10. ^ Columbia-Lippincott Gazetteer, p. 1320. (New York: Columbia University Press, 1952).
  11. ^ Federal Writers' Project (1996). The WPA Guide to Kentucky. University Press of Kentucky. p. 254. ISBN 0813108659. Retrieved November 24, 2013.
  12. ^ "NJCPR: Parks & Pictures". Nicholasville/Jessamine County Parks & Recreation. Archived from the original on August 15, 2014. Retrieved October 13, 2014.
  13. ^ "Kentucky River Basin Assessment Report: Jessamine Creek". Kentucky Water Research Institute - University of Kentucky. August 2000. Retrieved October 13, 2014.
  14. ^ "Map of American climate zones". Archived from the original on December 10, 2007. Retrieved October 13, 2014.
  15. ^ "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.
  16. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  17. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 14, 2011.
  18. ^ "Kentucky Wine and Vine homepage". Archived from the original on October 6, 2014. Retrieved October 3, 2014.
  19. ^ "2014 Press Release" (PDF) (Press release). April 23, 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 13, 2016. Retrieved October 3, 2014.
  20. ^ "Nicholasville NOW!: Kentucky Wine & Vine Fest named a Top 10 Festival". Archived from the original on October 6, 2014. Retrieved October 3, 2014.
  21. ^ "Form of Government Change Campaigns, 2003–2012", International City/County Management Association; accessed 18 August 2016
  22. ^ "Nicholasville City Commission: Betty Black"[permanent dead link], Jessamine Journal, 26 March 2014; accessed 18 August 2016
  23. ^ "Jessamine County Schools". Retrieved February 28, 2016.
  24. ^ "Nicholasville Elementary School". Jessamine County Schools. Retrieved September 30, 2017.
  25. ^ "School history". Warner Elementary School. Retrieved July 8, 2020.
  26. ^ "Kentucky Public Library Directory". Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives. Archived from the original on January 11, 2019. Retrieved June 5, 2019.
  27. ^ "Cheryl Avioli: Ky. can gain from growing biomass energy market". kentucky. Retrieved March 7, 2017.
  28. ^ "The ballad of Richard Jay Corman".