Pikeville, Kentucky
Main Street in Pikeville
Main Street in Pikeville
Official seal of Pikeville, Kentucky
For Progress
Location in Pike County and the commonwealth of Kentucky
Location in Pike County and the commonwealth of Kentucky
Coordinates: 37°28′37″N 82°31′27″W / 37.47694°N 82.52417°W / 37.47694; -82.52417
CountryUnited States
Named forPike County, Kentucky
 • TypeCouncil/Manager
 • MayorJames A. Carter (D)
 • City ManagerBrad Slone (Interim)
 • Total20.99 sq mi (54.36 km2)
 • Land20.99 sq mi (54.36 km2)
 • Water0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
Elevation791 ft (241 m)
 • Total7,754
 • Estimate 
 • Density369.41/sq mi (142.63/km2)
 U.S. Census Bureau, 2020
Time zoneUTC−5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
Area code606
FIPS code21-60852
GNIS feature ID2404518[3]



Pikeville (/ˈpkvəl/) is a home rule-class city in and the county seat of Pike County, Kentucky, United States.[5] The population of Pikeville was 7,754 as of the 2020 U.S. Census. Pikeville serves as a regional economic, educational and entertainment hub for the surrounding areas of eastern Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia. It is home to the University of Pikeville and the Pikeville Cut-Through, the second-largest earthmoving project in the western hemisphere.


The historic York House, built 1864

On March 25, 1822, state officials decided to build a new county seat named "Liberty", 1.5 miles (2.4 km) below the mouth of the Russell Fork. Public disapproval of the site[why?] led a new decision on December 24, 1823, to establish the county seat on land donated by local farmer Elijah Adkins.[6] This settlement was established as the town of Pike after the county in 1824.[1] This was changed in 1829 to Piketon[6] and the town was incorporated under that name in 1848.[1] In 1850, this was changed to the present Pikeville. Pikeville was host to a part of the Hatfield-McCoy feud, and patriarch Randall McCoy as well as his wife and daughter are buried on a hillside overlooking the town.[6][7][8]

The National Civic League designated Pikeville as an All-American City in 1965.[9]

From 1973 to 1987, the Pikeville Cut-Through was constructed immediately west of downtown. The massive rock cut is one of the largest civil engineering projects in the western hemisphere, moving nearly 18,000,000 cubic yards (14,000,000 m3) of soil and rock.[10] The project alleviated traffic congestion in downtown and eliminated flooding by rerouting the Levisa Fork River.

From 1982 to 1984, Pikeville was home to the Pikeville Cubs and Pikeville Brewers. Pikeville played as a member of the Rookie level Appalachian League. Pikeville was an affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers (1982) and Chicago Cubs (1983–1984). Baseball Hall of Fame member Greg Maddux played for the 1984 Pikeville Cubs in his first professional season.[11]

The city has been a center of rapid development in Eastern Kentucky since the 1990s. Pikeville College (now the University of Pikeville) opened the Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1997.[12] The university also opened the Kentucky College of Optometry, the first optometry school in Central Appalachia, in the fall of 2016.[13] In October 2005, the 7,000 seat, multi-purpose Appalachian Wireless Arena opened in downtown.[14] Pikeville Medical Center has established itself as a regional healthcare center. In 2014, a new 11-story clinic and a 10-story parking structure was completed at a cost of $150 million. The hospital has also become a member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network.[15] In 2013, construction began on a shopping center known as Pikeville Commons. The first stores opened in the shopping center in October 2014.[16]

Late 2017 saw several announcements regarding tenants for the recently opened Kentucky Enterprise Industrial Park. Following an announcement on October 27, 2017, construction has begun on a 60,000 square foot manufacturing facility to be owned and operated by SilverLiner, whose primary business is expected to be the manufacture and assembly of tanks for tanker trucks.[17]

In September 2018, Pikeville's City government was named 2018 KLC City Government of the Year by the Kentucky League of Cities. This was the inaugural year for the award and was intended to recognize "a city that has done something transformational and our first ever recipient certainly demonstrates a city making a huge impact on its region."[18]


Aerial photo of Pikeville

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city covers a total land area of 15.4 square miles (40 km2), all land. As of March 2009, Pikeville set its new city limits to be 0.3-mile from its county line. This significantly affected the city of Coal Run Village, which was previously on the city limit of Pikeville.

The city is located in the Appalachian Mountains, along the Levisa Fork of the Big Sandy River. The downtown area is built in a narrow valley in a bend of the Levisa Fork that was bypassed in 1987 with the completion of the Pikeville Cut-Through, while places such as Weddington Square Plaza are built in a broader part of the river valley.


Pikeville has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.

Climate data for Pikeville, Kentucky
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 82
Mean daily maximum °F (°C) 44
Mean daily minimum °F (°C) 24
Record low °F (°C) −18
Average precipitation inches (mm) 3.72
Source: The Weather Channel.[19]


Historical population
2022 (est.)7,358[20]−5.1%
U.S. Decennial Census[21]

As of the 2020 United States Census, there were 7,754 people living in the city. The racial makeup of the city was 93.8% White, 2.9% Black, 0.5% Native American, 1.3% Asian alone, 0.0% Pacific Islander, 1.5% from two or more races, and 2.2% Hispanic or Latino.

As of the census[22] of 2000, there were 6,295 people, 2,705 households, and 1,563 families living in the city. The population density was 408.0 inhabitants per square mile (157.5/km2). There were 2,981 housing units at an average density of 193.2 per square mile (74.6/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 94.58% White, 2.64% African American, 0.17% Native American, 1.25% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 0.25% from other races, and 1.05% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.40% of the population.

There were 2,763 households, out of which 29.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.0% were married couples living together, 14.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 42.2% were non-families. 39.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 16.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.14 and the average family size was 2.88.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 22.2% under the age of 18, 12.9% from 18 to 24, 27.9% from 25 to 44, 21.5% from 45 to 64, and 15.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 85.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 78.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $22,026, and the median income for a family was $36,792. Males had a median income of $42,298 versus $19,306 for females. The per capita income for the city was $21,426. About 21.2% of families and 25.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 36.7% of those under age 18 and 15.8% of those age 65 or over.

Arts and culture

Crowded Hambley Boulevard during Hillbilly Days 2013

Hillbilly Days is an annual festival held in mid-April in Pikeville, Kentucky celebrating the best of Appalachian culture. The event began by local Shriners as a fundraiser to support the Shriners Children's Hospital. It has grown since its beginning in 1976 and now is the second largest festival held in the state of Kentucky. Artists and craftspeople showcase their talents and sell their works on display. Nationally renowned musicians as well as the best of the regional mountain musicians share six different stages located throughout the downtown area of Pikeville. Want-to-be hillbillies from across the nation compete to come up with the wildest Hillbilly outfit. Fans of "mountain music" come from around the United States to hear this annual concentrated gathering of talent. The festival embraces the area's culture and past through company, music, and costume. The proceeds from the festival go to Shriners Hospitals for Children. The festival serves to honor and recognize the heritage of Appalachia, while poking fun at the stereotype associated with the region.

In the fall of 2005 the Appalachian Wireless Arena , formerly known as the Eastern Kentucky Expo Center, opened in downtown Pikeville. The center, which seats 7,000, features numerous events including world-renowned concerts and shows. The city is also home to the Pikeville Concert Association which secures renowned cultural events for the area. These events usually take place at Booth Auditorium on the campus of the University of Pikeville.

The Appalachian Center for the Arts is a 200-seat indoor professional theater located in downtown Pikeville. [23]

The Hatfield and McCoy River Trails, located on the Levisa Fork River, opened on April 26, 2014.[24]

Alltech of Lexington completed construction of a distillery, brewery and visitors center known as Dueling Barrels Brewery & Distillery which opened in downtown in 2018.[25] The name was inspired by the Hatfield-McCoy Feud, and the tour includes story tellers describing those events in addition to an explanation of the brewing and distilling processes.


A pack horse library was established for library services in the late 1930s and early 1940s.[26]

Pikeville has a lending library, a branch of the Pike County Public Library.[27]


The Academy Building at the University of Pikeville

Pikeville is included in the Pike County Public School System, which includes Johns Creek, Milliard, Mullins, and Valley elementary schools (grades K–8), as well as Northpoint Academy, Pikeville High School and Shelby Valley High School (grades 9–12).

The University of Pikeville, a private 4-year institution affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA), is located in Pikeville. The college is one of the smallest in the nation to have an osteopathic medicine program as part of its curriculum. Founded in May 1996,[28] the University of Pikeville Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine is one of three medical schools in the state of Kentucky. The city is also home to campuses of the Big Sandy Community and Technical College and National College.

Sister cities

Notable people

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Commonwealth of Kentucky. Office of the Secretary of State. Land Office. "Pikeville, Kentucky". Retrieved September 27, 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: Pikeville, 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. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 31, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  6. ^ a b c Rennick, Robert. Kentucky Place Names, p. 233. University Press of Kentucky (Lexington), 1987. Retrieved September 27, 2013.
  7. ^ "Visit Pikeville". Retrieved July 16, 2009.
  8. ^ City of Pikeville. "Visitors Archived 2009-06-27 at the Wayback Machine". Retrieved July 16, 2009.
  9. ^ Past Winners of All-American City Award Archived April 5, 2012, at the Wayback Machine National Civic League. Retrieved May 19, 2014.
  10. ^ Maddox, Connie. The Pikeville Cut-Through Project (brochure). Pikeville-Pike County Tourism. Retrieved May 19, 2014
  11. ^ "Greg Maddux | Society for American Baseball Research". sabr.org.
  12. ^ History of Pikeville College School of Osteopathic Medicine Archived May 31, 2010, at the Wayback Machine Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine. Retrieved May 20, 2014.
  13. ^ Kentucky College of Optometry welcomes inaugural class, University of Pikeville. Retrieved 2018-07-28,
  14. ^ About Archived June 15, 2014, at the Wayback Machine Eastern Kentucky Exposition Center. Retrieved May 20, 2014.
  15. ^ "Pikeville Medical Center in Kentucky Joins Mayo Clinic Care Network". Mayo Clinic. May 23, 2013. Archived from the original on May 24, 2014. Retrieved May 20, 2014.
  16. ^ Thorton, Hillary (October 13, 2014). "First store in Pikeville Commons officially opens". WYMT-TV. Archived from the original on May 23, 2014. Retrieved May 20, 2014.
  17. ^ McCauley, Cory. "City of Pikeville holds ribbon cutting for SilverLiner". Retrieved October 13, 2018.
  18. ^ "City of Pikeville named first-ever KLC City Government of the Year". Appalachian News-Express. Retrieved October 13, 2018.
  19. ^ "MONTHLY AVERAGES for Pikeville, KY". The Weather Channel. Retrieved July 17, 2009.
  20. ^ "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.
  21. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  22. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  23. ^ The Appalachian Center for the Arts: 'The Show must go on.' WKYT-TV April 25, 2019.
  24. ^ "Hatfield-McCoy River Trails set to open". Appalachian News-Express. April 20, 2014. Retrieved May 20, 2014.
  25. ^ "Pikeville's first legal distillery has moonshine, stories worth telling". Lexington Herald-Leader. May 19, 2014. Retrieved May 20, 2014.
  26. ^ "The Packhorse Library". The Courier-Journal. February 17, 1938. Retrieved September 3, 2017 – via Newspapers.com.
  27. ^ "Kentucky Public Library Directory". Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives. Archived from the original on January 11, 2019. Retrieved June 7, 2019.
  28. ^ "History of PCSOM". Archived from the original on December 14, 2007. Retrieved January 15, 2008.
  29. ^ Interactive City Directory Archived May 23, 2014, at the Wayback Machine Sister Cities International. Retrieved May 20, 2014.
  30. ^ a b "Dundalk agrees to twin with Pikeville, Kentucky". independent.

Further reading