City of Paintsville
Main Street in Paintsville decorated for Christmas 2010
Main Street in Paintsville decorated for Christmas 2010
"City Between the Lakes"
Location of Paintsville in Johnson County, Kentucky
Location of Paintsville in Johnson County, Kentucky
Detailed map of Paintsville
Detailed map of Paintsville
Paintsville is located in Kentucky
Paintsville is located in the United States
Coordinates: 37°48′41″N 82°48′24″W / 37.81139°N 82.80667°W / 37.81139; -82.80667Coordinates: 37°48′41″N 82°48′24″W / 37.81139°N 82.80667°W / 37.81139; -82.80667
Country United States
State Kentucky
EstablishedFebruary 24, 1834[1]
IncorporatedFebruary 5, 1843[1]
Named fora nearby creek[2]
 • TypeMayor-Council
 • MayorBill Mike Runyon
 • Total17.75 sq mi (17.48 km2)
 • Land17.62 sq mi (17.14 km2)
 • Water0.14 sq mi (0.35 km2)
614 ft (187 m)
 • Total8,312
 • Density651.75/sq mi (251.64/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code606
FIPS code21-58962
GNIS feature ID0500128

Paintsville (locally /ˈpntsvəl/)[2] is a home rule-class city[4] along Paint Creek in Johnson County, Kentucky, in the United States. It is the seat of its county. The population was 6,459 during the 2010 U.S. Census.[5]


A Paint Lick Station was referred to in military dispatches as early as 1780.[citation needed] The site was named for Indian art painted on the debarked trees near a local salt lick when the first white settlers arrived and was originally part of a 19,050-acre (7,710 ha) tract belonging to George Lewis.[2] The trading post was purchased by the Carolinian Rev.Henery Dixon in 1812 and laid out as the town of Paint Lick Station in 1826.[2] The town was formally established under that name in 1834,[1] although the post office was probably named Paint Creek.[2] It was incorporated as a city under its present name of Paintsville in 1843,[1] the same year it became the seat of Johnson County.

The Civil War found Johnson County Fiscal Court passing an ordinance barring both Union and Confederate flags from being flown in its jurisdiction. This was quickly repealed when then-Col. James A. Garfield marched his brigade into the city.

During the early twentieth century, Paintsville began to transform into a modern American city. In 1902, the city's first bank – First National – opened for business. In 1906, the city received telephone service and, two years later, all of its streets were paved. In 1912, Paintsville received electricity and natural gas services. In 1926, Paintsville residents received public water and the city's fire department was established.[6] Library services were originally provided through the Pack Horse Library Project.[7]

Since the 1990s, Paintsville has seen a steady loss of population (4,345 in 1990 to 3,459 in 2010[8]), in part due to a downturn in the economy, and the loss of coal jobs.[9][10] Despite this, there have been some business developments in the past few years, as well as growing tourist interest. Paintsville has been in the process of revitalizing the downtown area to rejuvenate its original business district. On June 9, 2009, Paintsville became a "wet" city for the first time since March 14, 1945, permitting stores located within the city limits to sell alcoholic beverages.[11]


The Levisa Fork River in Paintsville
The Levisa Fork River in Paintsville

Paintsville is located at 37°48′41″N 82°48′24″W / 37.81139°N 82.80667°W / 37.81139; -82.80667 (37.811324, −82.806780)[12] in the bottomland at the confluence of Paint Creek and the Levisa Fork of the Big Sandy River amid the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in the Cumberland Plateau. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 5.3 square miles (14 km2), all of it land.


This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (August 2013) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)

Beginning in 1976, Paintsville's main shopping district has gradually moved from Main Street to Mayo Plaza, which is northwest of downtown. Stores such as Wal-Mart and Lowe's opened in the plaza during the early 1990s. This proved to be too much competition for the small family-owned businesses in downtown causing them to close. Today, downtown mostly serves as Paintsville's financial district. In May 2009 Paintsville received a grant to redevelop Main Street in hopes of making it one of the city's popular shopping districts again. In recent years, Mayo Plaza has rapidly expanded. In the early 2000s, a new Wal-Mart Supercenter, a new Lowe's, and multiple restaurants opened.


Paintsville has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa).[13] Summers are hot and humid with frequent severe storms. July is the warmest month, with an average high 86 °F (30 °C) and an average low of 66 °F (19 °C). Winters are cold with occasional mild periods. January is the coldest month with an average high of 44 °F (7 °C) and an average low of 24 °F (−4 °C). The highest recorded temperature was 105 °F (41 °C) in 1988 and the lowest recorded temperature was −26 °F (−32 °C) in 1994. May has the highest average rainfall (4.54 inches) and October has the lowest average rainfall (2.97 inches).[14]

Climate data for Paintsville, Kentucky
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 80
Average high °F (°C) 44
Average low °F (°C) 24
Record low °F (°C) −26
Average precipitation inches (mm) 3.06
Source: The Weather Channel.[14]


Historical population
U.S. Decennial Census[15]
Court Street
Court Street

As of the census[16] of 2010, there were 3,459 people, 1,604 households, and 856 families residing in the city. The population density[17] was 1300.1 people per square mile. There were 1,844 housing units at an average density of 693.2 per square mile. The racial makeup[18] of the city was 99.3% White, 0.3% African American, 0.8% Native American, 0.4% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, and 0.2% from other races. Hispanic or Latino people of any race were 0.4% of the population.

In the city, the population[18] was spread out, with 20.5% under 19, 6.1% from 20 to 24, 11.0% from 25 to 34, 11.9% from 35 to 44, 15.1% from 45 to 54, 14.4% from 55 to 64, and 21.1% who were 65 or older. The median age is 41.9 years. There were 1,574 males and 1,885 females.

The median income for a household in the city was $25,259, and the median income for a family was $30,575. Males had a median income of $30,478 versus $25,640 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,876. About 21.0% of families and 29.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 39.9% of those under age 18 and 22.0% of those age 65 or over.


In 2009, the following crime rate (per 100,000 population) was reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation by the city police department:[19]

Johnson County Judicial Center
Johnson County Judicial Center
Crime Paintsville Kentucky United States
Violent crime 6 260 429
Murder 4 4 5
Forcible rape 0 35 29
Robbery 2 84 133
Aggravated assault 4 135 269
Property crime 86 2,513 3,061
Burglary 12 689 716
Larceny-theft 63 1,683 2,061
Motor vehicle theft 11 141 259

2022 shooting that left Three people fatally wounded. Five people died in a 2018 shooting spree.[20]


Paintsville has a mayor–council form of government.[21] Paintsville's current mayor/city executive is Bill Mike Runyon, who was appointed in 2016.

Former mayors:[22]

The representative body of the city of Paintsville is the city council. The council members include Sara Blair, Tim Hall, Tommy Trimble, Jim Meek, David Trimble, and Shawn Thompson.[21]


The city mayor oversees the following departments:[21]

Danny Smith, Billy Ramey, Jon Holbrook, Zac Stapleton, Wallace M. Williamson, Tyler Cable, Justin Jackson, Tim Ratliff, Brian Runyon.


Paintsville High School
Paintsville High School

The Paintsville Independent School District includes Paintsville High School (7th–12th grades) and Paintsville Elementary School. Paintsville Independent has consistently had college attendance rates between 95% and 100% since 2008.[23] In 2012, the district had a composite ACT score of 22.7.[24] It was the 4th highest composite ACT score out of the 169 school districts in the state of Kentucky.[24][25]

Johnson County Schools also operates three schools within the city of Paintsville: Johnson Central High School, Johnson County Middle School (Kentucky), and Central Elementary School. Johnson County is also well known for its academics. Johnson Central High School has won five international Future Problem Solving titles while the middle school has won 10 Governor's Cup state titles along with three international FPS titles.[26][27]

Our Lady of the Mountains School is a private institution operated by the Roman Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Lexington.[28]

Big Sandy Community and Technical College operates a campus in Paintsville that offers two-year degrees in various fields of study.[29]

Paintsville has a lending library, the Johnson County Public Library.[30]


Mayo Mansion
U.S. 23 Country Music Highway Museum
Mayo Memorial United Methodist Church
Paintsville First National Bank
First United Methodist Church


The Kentucky Apple Festival has been held in Paintsville annually since 1962. Events include live music, carnival rides, a pageant, various competitions, a parade, and a car show. The festival occurs annually on the first full weekend in October.[31]

The Awaken Conference, an annual Christian concert event attracting thousands of people to the area, is held each July in the city.[32]

Paintsville also holds a Spring Fling on Main Street in May.[33]

Museums and historical sites

Main articles: U.S. 23 Country Music Highway Museum; Mayo Mansion; and Mayo Memorial United Methodist Church (Paintsville, Kentucky)

The U.S. 23 County Music Highway Museum gives information on the country music entertainers who grew up near U.S. 23 in Eastern Kentucky. Country music entertainers profiled in the museum include Loretta Lynn, Crystal Gayle, and Hylo Brown.[34]

The historic Mayo Mansion was built for John C. C. Mayo between 1905 and 1912. It now serves as Our Lady of the Mountains School.[35]

The Mayo Memorial United Methodist Church was designed by one hundred Italian masons hired by John C. C. Mayo. It has several stained glass windows and has a pipe organ donated by Andrew Carnegie. The first church service was in the fall of 1909.[36]


Main article: Paintsville Country Club

The Paintsville Country Club includes an 18-hole golf course established on September 27, 1929, making it one of the oldest golf courses in Eastern Kentucky.[37] The country club was built in 1930 by the WPA and is on the National Register of Historic Places.[38]

The Paintsville Recreation Center contains a volleyball court, a basketball court, a walking track, and a playground. There is also a small community garden on site.[39]


Main article: The Paintsville Herald

The Paintsville Herald is a semi-weekly newspaper printed on Wednesday and Friday with a circulation of about 5,200 copies. The newspaper serves Paintsville and the surrounding area.[40]

Call sign Frequency Format
WKLW 94.7 FM Hot AC
WSIP 98.9 FM Country
WSIP 1490 AM News/Talk
WKYH 600 AM News/Talk
WQHY 95.5 FM Top 40


Paintsville ARH Hospital- Formally known as Paul B. hall Regional Medical Center is a full-service hospital providing healthcare to the region. It has a full-service emergency room with a pediatric trauma room, a hyperbaric oxygen chamber, a special birthing room, and full service surgical services, including a daVinci Si robotic system providing state-of-the-art laparoscopic surgery for the greater Paintsville region.[41]



U.S. Route 23 serves as the bypass for Paintsville. The four-lane divided highway links Paintsville to Interstate 64 to the north and U.S. Route 119 and Kentucky Route 80 to the south. U.S. Route 460 links Paintsville to the Bert T. Combs Mountain Parkway in Salyersville. Kentucky Route 40 forms both Euclid Avenue and Third Street in Paintsville. It links the city to Inez and also serves as an alternative route to Salyersville. Kentucky Route 321, locally known as South Mayo Trail, serves as the city's main business route and passes through Mayo Plaza.


Located southeast of Paintsville in neighboring Martin County is Big Sandy Regional Airport. The publicly owned, private-use airport is used for general aviation. Its main runway is 5,000 ft (1,524 m) long.[42]

The nearest airport that provides commercial aviation services is Tri-State Airport, 55 miles (89 km) northeast in Ceredo, West Virginia.

Popular culture

Notable people

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Commonwealth of Kentucky. Office of the Secretary of State. Land Office. "Paintsville, Kentucky". Retrieved September 24, 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d e Rennick, Robert. Kentucky Place Names, p. 225. University Press of Kentucky (Lexington), 1987. Retrieved September 25, 2013.
  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. ^ United States of America. Census Bureau. "2010 Census Data Archived 2013-10-13 at the Wayback Machine". Retrieved November 6, 2012.
  6. ^ Johnson County, Kentucky, History. "Johnson Co. History". Retrieved November 13, 2009.
  7. ^ Blackstone, Lillian (September 25, 1938). "'Pack Horse Library' Aids Cumberland Mountain Folk". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved September 3, 2017 – via
  8. ^ Division, US Census Bureau Administration and Customer Services. "US Census Bureau Publications – Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved April 9, 2016.
  9. ^ "The Economics of Coal in Kentucky: Current Impacts and Future Prospects" (PDF). Mountain Association for Community Economic Development. June 25, 2009. Retrieved April 8, 2016.
  10. ^ "Coal industry sheds jobs, leaving Eastern Kentucky economy in tatters". mcclatchydc. Retrieved April 9, 2016.
  11. ^ Commonwealth of Kentucky. "Kentucky Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control". Retrieved June 11, 2009.
  12. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  13. ^ "Paintsville, Kentucky : Climate Classification (Weatherbase)". Retrieved November 25, 2021.
  14. ^ a b "Monthly Averages for Paintsville, KY". The Weather Channel. Retrieved May 23, 2014.
  15. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  16. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  17. ^ "Kentucky: 2010: Populations and Housing Unit Counts" (PDF). US Census. September 2012. Retrieved March 8, 2016.
  18. ^ a b Bureau, U.S. Census. "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Searching Paintsville, KY. Retrieved April 9, 2016.
  19. ^ "Crime in the United States: Offenses Known to Law Enforcement". U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation. September 2010. Retrieved October 20, 2010.
  20. ^ "'Horrific murder spree' leaves 5 dead in Kentucky: Sheriff". Retrieved November 25, 2021.
  21. ^ a b c Kentucky Secretary of State-Land Office,, Retrieved on November 21, 2009
  22. ^ List of Mayors for the City of Paintsville Retrieved on August 10, 2010
  23. ^ Modern Curriculum-Traditional Approach Archived October 16, 2012, at the Wayback Machine Paintsville Independent Schools. Retrieved August 1, 2013
  24. ^ a b Average ACT Scores by School District Archived January 23, 2011, at the Wayback Machine Kentucky Department of Education. Retrieved August 1, 2013
  25. ^ Best High Schools in Kentucky U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved August 1, 2013
  26. ^ Johnson County Middle School Awards,, Retrieved August 1, 2013
  27. ^ "Johnson County schools win big at international competition". WYMT. June 18, 2013. Archived from the original on April 2, 2015. Retrieved June 28, 2013.
  28. ^ Our Lady of the Mountains School Retrieved August 1, 2013
  29. ^ BSCTC-Mayo Campus Archived March 6, 2013, at the Wayback Machine Retrieved August 1, 2013
  30. ^ "Kentucky Public Library Directory". Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives. Archived from the original on January 11, 2019. Retrieved June 5, 2019.
  31. ^ Kentucky Apple Festival Retrieved August 18, 2013
  32. ^ Awaken Conference. Retrieved April 1, 2016
  33. ^ Event Information City of Paintsville. Retrieved August 18, 2013
  34. ^ U.S. 23 Country Music Highway Museum Retrieved August 19, 2013.
  35. ^ Our School's History Archived September 29, 2013, at the Wayback Machine Our Lady of the Mountains School. Retrieved August 19, 2013.
  36. ^ National Register of Historic Places Building Profile Retrieved August 19, 2013.
  37. ^ Johnson County History:1900–1950 Archived July 7, 2009, at the Wayback Machine Retrieved on February 26, 2010
  38. ^ Powell, Helen National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form for Paintsville Country Club January 26, 1989. Retrieved February 26, 2010
  39. ^ Recreation Information City of Paintsville. Retrieved August 19, 2013.
  40. ^ Paintsville Herald Echo Media. Retrieved August 19, 2013
  41. ^ Paintsville ARH Hospital Retrieved November 6, 2012
  42. ^ FAA Airport Form 5010 for K22 PDF Retrieved January 6, 2013
  43. ^ Kentucky Woman filming locations Retrieved on January 31, 2010
  44. ^ Passenger Pigeons filming locations Retrieved on January 31, 2010
  45. ^ McGinnis, Ray. "#1061: Harlan County by Jim Ford". Vancouver Pop Music Signature Sounds. Retrieved June 16, 2019.
  46. ^ "Welcome". Retrieved November 25, 2021.
  47. ^ "Paintsville, Ky. native Chris Stapleton performing on CMA Awards tonight". The Herald-Dispatch. November 6, 2013. Retrieved February 10, 2014.
  48. ^ Dunning, Jennifer. "Richard S. Thomas, City Ballet Soloist, and Teacher, Dies at 87," The New York Times. August 4, 2013. Retrieved May 27, 2014.