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Danville is a city in and the county seat of Boyle Countymarker, Kentuckymarker, United Statesmarker. The population was 15,477 at the 2000 census.Danville is the principal city of the Danville Micropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Boyle and Lincolnmarker counties.

In 2001, Danville received a Great American Main Street Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation.


Danville is called the "City of Firsts".
  • It housed the first Courthouse in Kentucky
  • It had the first U.S. Post Office west of the Allegheny Mountains
  • It hosts the first state-supported school for the deafmarker.
  • In it, Ephraim McDowell became the first physician in the world to successfully remove an ovarian tumor.
  • It is home to the oldest college administration building and campus west of the Allegheny Mountains at Centre Collegemarker.

Boyle County Courthouse in Danville
Danville was part of the Great Settlement Area around Harrod's Fort (now Harrodsburgmarker), which was first settled in 1774. Walker Daniel, Kentucky's first District Attorney, bought from settler John Crow on the Wilderness Road and had it surveyed for a town in 1783-1784. The city was probably named for Daniel. The Virginia Legislature officially established Danville on December 4, 1787.

Between 1784 and 1792, ten conventions were held in Danville to petition for better governance and ultimately to secure independence from Virginia. In 1786 the Danville Political Club was organized. It met each Saturday night at Grayson’s Tavern to discuss the political, economic, and social concerns. After a state constitution was adopted and separation was confirmed in 1792, the town ceased to be of statewide importance and its leading citizens moved to elsewhere.

Transylvania Universitymarker was founded in Danville in 1783. It moved to Lexington, Kentuckymarker in 1789. Center College was founded in 1819. Danville Theological Seminary was founded in 1853; in 1901 it became part of the Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminarymarker. The Caldwell Institute for Young Ladies was founded in 1860. It became Caldwell Female College in 1876, Caldwell College in 1904, Kentucky College for Women in 1913, and merged into Centre Collegemarker in 1926.

In November 1806, Meriwether Lewis, co-leader of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, visited Danville while traveling the Wilderness Road to Washington DC to report on the expedition. In December 1806, William Clark visited his nephews in school in Danville before following Lewis to Washington.

In 1842, Boyle Countymarker was formed from southern Mercer Countymarker and northern Lincoln Countymarker. Danville became its county seat.

In 1850, Danville and Boyle County backed construction of the Lexington and Danville Railroad . Money ran out when the railroad reached Nicholasville, Kentuckymarker and John A. Roebling had built towers for a suspension bridge over the Kentucky River (Roebling lived in Danville during the construction). Despite the lack of a railroad to Danville, the county still owed $150,000; it completed payment on time in 1884.

In 1860, a fire devastated the city, destroying 64 buildings and causing over $300,000 in damages. Boyle County's courthouse was among the destroyed buildings; its replacement was completed in 1862. After the Battle of Perryvillemarker in the American Civil War on October 8, 1862, the courthouse was appropriated by Union forces for use as a hospital. On October 11, a Union force drove Confederate forces from the county fairgrounds through Danville.

In 1775, Archibald McNeill planted Kentucky's first recorded hemp crop at Clark's Run Creek near Danville. Boyle County became one of ten Kentucky counties which together produced over 90% of the US yield in 1889. It was the state's largest cash crop until 1915 when it lost its market to imported jute.

On October 5 2000, Dick Cheney and Senator Joe Lieberman, candidates for Vice President of the United States, debated at Centre College during the 2000 presidential election.


Danville is located at .

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of , of which, of it is land.


  • A bus service connects points inside Danville. Another connects Danville to Lexington.



  • Norfolk Southern Railway operates a freight rail yard in Danville. Its Louisville-Chattanooga line meets its Cincinnati-Chattanooga line in Danville.



Historical Populations
1790 150 1910 5,420
1810 432 1920 5,099
1820 654 1930 6,729
1840 1,223 1940 6,734
1850 2,850 1950 8,686
1860 4,962 1960 8,855
1870 2,542 1970 11,542
1880 3,074 1980 12,942
1890 3,766 1990 12,420
1900 4,285 2000 15,477

As of the census of 2000, there were 15,477 people, 6,223 households, and 4,013 families residing in the city. The population density was . There were 6,734 housing units at an average density of . The racial makeup of the city was 83.67% White, 13.02% African American, 0.25% Native American, 0.83% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.82% from other races, and 1.38% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.48% of the population.

Of the 6,223 households, 29.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.4% were married couples living together, 14.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.5% were non-families. 31.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.26 and the average family size was 2.82.

22.4% of the population was under the age of 18, 13.3% from 18 to 24, 25.8% from 25 to 44, 22.2% from 45 to 64, and 16.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 86.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 81.2 males.

The median income for a household was US $32,938, and the median income for a family was $40,528. Males had a median income of $35,327 versus $24,542 for females. The per capita income was $18,906. About 9.4% of families and 12.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.6% of those under age 18 and 10.5% of those age 65 or over.


Centre College

Public Schools

Danville is served by two school districts:

Danville Schools serves the city of Danville.

Boyle County School District serves areas of Danville and the remainder of Boyle County.

Kentucky School for the Deafmarker

Private Schools

Colleges and Universities


Places of Interest

Annual Events


Films Shot in Danville

Notable Residents

Major Employers

Major employers in Danville include

Sister Cities

Danville has one sister city, as designated by Sister Cities International.


  1. Fackler, Calvin M., Early Days in Danville, Standard Printing Co., Louisville, 1941.

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