Wheelwright, Kentucky
Housing on South Main Street
Housing on South Main Street
Location of Wheelwright in Floyd County, Kentucky.
Location of Wheelwright in Floyd County, Kentucky.
Coordinates: 37°19′53″N 82°43′9″W / 37.33139°N 82.71917°W / 37.33139; -82.71917Coordinates: 37°19′53″N 82°43′9″W / 37.33139°N 82.71917°W / 37.33139; -82.71917
CountryUnited States
IncorporatedFebruary 6, 1917
 • TypeCity Commission
 • MayorDon "Booty" Hall
 • Total1.76 sq mi (4.57 km2)
 • Land1.76 sq mi (4.57 km2)
 • Water0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
1,138 ft (347 m)
 • Total509
 • Density288.71/sq mi (111.45/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s)606
FIPS code21-82272
GNIS feature ID0506542

Wheelwright is a home rule-class city in Floyd County, Kentucky, United States. The population was 780 at the 2010 census,[2] down from 1,042 in 2000.


The town produced coal for the Inland Steel Company
The town produced coal for the Inland Steel Company

Founded by the Elk Horn Coal Company in 1916, it was named for the company's president at that time, Jere H. Wheelwright.[3] Elk Horn leased its mines from the Consolidation Coal. In 1930, Consolidation sold the Wheelwright coal camp to Inland Steel. In 1966, Inland Steel sold the camp to Island Creek Coal. The mine closed in the 1970s.[4] After the mine was abandoned, the Kentucky Housing Corporation purchased the town, rehabilitated the homes, and sold the homes to residents.[5]

Wheelwright was home to one of the pack horse libraries in the 1930s and early 1940s.[6]


Wheelwright is located at the southern end of Floyd County at 37°19′53″N 82°43′9″W / 37.33139°N 82.71917°W / 37.33139; -82.71917 (37.331465, -82.719064),[7] in the valley of the Right Fork Otter Creek. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.8 square miles (4.6 km2), all land.[2]

There is just one way in and out of the city, via the Junction Bridge, located in Bypro, also referred to as "Wheelwright Junction", on state route 122. The original metal structure was replaced by concrete in 1959. This bridge is now known as the Timothy Hall Memorial Bridge,[8] in honor of City Commissioner Timothy Hall, who died in a car crash.[9]


Historical population
Census Pop.
U.S. Decennial Census[10]

As of the census[11] of 2000, there were 1,042 people, 203 households, and 146 families residing in the city. The population density was 598.0 people per square mile (231.2/km2). There were 236 housing units at an average density of 135.4 per square mile (52.4/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 63.15% White, 34.74% African American, 0.10% Asian, 1.25% from other races, and 0.77% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.73% of the population.

There were 203 households, out of which 36.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.7% were married couples living together, 16.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.6% were non-families. 26.1% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.53 and the average family size was 3.08.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 13.7% under the age of 18, 22.7% from 18 to 24, 43.4% from 25 to 44, 13.6% from 45 to 64, and 6.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 29 years. For every 100 females, there were 290.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 330.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $14,808, and the median income for a family was $20,625. Males had a median income of $30,625 versus $16,563 for females. The per capita income for the city was $5,367. About 36.8% of families and 40.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 47.0% of those under the age of 18 and 11.6% of those ages 65 and older. As of the census in 2014, there were 556 people left in the city of Wheelwright


Future Wheelright Mayor Ella Jane Fain, age 18 (right) and her cousin at the soda fountain in 1946
Future Wheelright Mayor Ella Jane Fain, age 18 (right) and her cousin at the soda fountain in 1946

Wheelwright is governed by a city commission form of government. Its current mayor is Don "Booty" Hall. The city commission consists of Bobby W. Akers, Sam Little Jr., Dana McCown, and Vernon Smallwood.[12]


Floyd County's public schools are operated by Floyd County Schools. Most students residing in the city of Wheelwright attend:


The Corrections Corporation of America (now CoreCivic)-owned Otter Creek Correctional Center in Wheelwright closed in 2012, due in part to a riot by Indiana prisoners in 2001, and subsequent widespread sexual abuse of women inmates.[13][14] The prison, renamed the Southeast State Correctional Complex and operated by the Kentucky Department of Corrections under a lease from CoreCivic, reopened as a male facility in September 2020. [15][16]


  1. ^ "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 18, 2022.
  2. ^ a b "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Census Summary File 1 (G001), Wheelwright city, Kentucky". American FactFinder. U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved May 23, 2016.
  3. ^ Rennick, Robert M. (1988). "Place Names". Kentucky Place Names. Lexington, Kentucky: The University Press of Kentucky. ISBN 0-8131-0179-4.
  4. ^ Inland Steel Company
  5. ^ Kentucky Housing Corporation, History, accessed September 29, 2016
  6. ^ "Packhorse Librarian to Broaden Service". The Courier-Journal. 12 March 1939. Retrieved 3 September 2017 – via Newspapers.com.
  7. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  8. ^ Turner, J. "SJR 25 (BR 1024)". Retrieved 17 March 2013.
  9. ^ Lawson, Jennifer. "Commissioner killed in wreck". Retrieved 17 March 2013.
  10. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  11. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  12. ^ Kentucky Secretary of State-Land Office Retrieved on 2010-04-17
  13. ^ Kentucky Prison Under Lockdown After Riot, Associated Press, July 6, 2001. Retrieved 3 October 2015.
  14. ^ Prison closing leaveing more than 170 jobless, WKYT, October 13, 2012. Retrieved 3 October 2015. Archived October 4, 2015, at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ Southeast State Correctional Complex
  16. ^ Gov. Beshear Announces Plan to Open Southeast State Correctional Complex in Wheelwright