Welcome to Powell County, Kentucky!
Nestled between the Appalachian Mountains and the Bluegrass, we are located in one of the most scenic areas of Kentucky. We are located at exits 16, 18, 22 and 33 off of the Bert. T. Combs Mountain Parkway; just 1 hour from Lexington and 2 hours from Cincinnati & Louisville.
Seventy million years of wind and water sculpting have created natural wonders and a vacationer’s paradise. Powell County has a diverse landscape, ranging from flat river bottom lands in the west, to the knobs and gorge in the east. The elevation ranges from 580 to 1440 feet above sea level. As the flat lands give way to the knobs, wide valleys are created, which enable farmers to plant their crops while still enjoying the scenery of the mountains.
Powell County Kentucky such scenic natural wonders as Red River Gorge, Natural Bridge State Resort Park, Pilot Knob State Nature Preserve, The Red River Gorge National Scenic Byway and the Red River which is the only designated Wild & Scenic River in Kentucky. Portions of the county are covered by the Daniel Boone National Forest.
With great schools and diversified access to transportation and telecommunications infrastructure, this wonderful place to visit and live also offers a host of excellent economic development opportunities to would-be business owners.
The population of Powell County as of the 2010 census was about 12,500. There are two incorporated townships in the county which are Stanton and Clay City. The remaining townships of Bowen, Nada and Slade are all unincorporated.
Powell County was formed from portions of Clark, Estill and Montgomery Counties on January 7, 1852 by Kentucky Governor Lazarus Powell, the 19th governor of Kentucky and the source of its namesake. It was the 101st county formed in Kentucky. Pilot Knob in Powell County is believed to be where Daniel Boone first viewed the Kentucky Bluegrass region in 1769.
Stanton, orginally known as Beaver Pond until 1852, is the county seat. During the Civil War, Stanton, named in honor of Representative Richard M. Stanton, saw the county courthouse burned in 1863 and the county jail destroyed in 1864. These attacks caused some of the early records to be destroyed. Clay City is located on the Red River and was orginally know as Collins Forge. It was later renamed Red River Iron Works. During the 1800's it was one of the nations largest logging and iron manufacturing plants. Clay City was also known as Waltersville and finally received its present name in 1883.
Famous Powell Countians:Lily May Ledford (March 17, 1917 – July 14, 1985) was an American clawhammer banjo and fiddle player. After gaining regional radio fame in the 1940s and 1950s as head of the Coon Creek Girls— one of the first all-female string bands to appear on radio— Ledford went on to gain national renown as a solo artist during the American folk music revival of the 1960s. In 1985, she was awarded a National Heritage Felloship.w
Ledford was born along the banks of the Red River in rural Powell County, Kentucky in 1917. She was the seventh of fourteen children born to tenant farmer Daw White Ledford and wife Stella May Tackett. Her father taught her to play banjo at a young age, and by age 12 she had learned to play the fiddle. Lily loved the traditional dance tunes, and she often had to sneak off to play at area dances, as her mother considered this type of music to be "old drunkard songs." In 1936, Ledford won a music competition at Mount Vernon, Kentucky, and the following year made her radio debut on WLS Chicago's National Barn Dance. Shortly after this appearance, she was recruited by John Lair for his new radio program, Renfro Valley Barn Dance, which was initially broadcast from Cincinnati and later moved to Mount Vernon. Ledford and Lair formed the Coon Creek Girls (Lair provided the band's name, even though there was no such place as Coon Creek, as it was typical for early country music producers to give bands colorful rural-sounding names). The Coon Creek Girls originally consisted of Ledford on banjo and vocals, Ledford's sister Rosie on guitar, Evelyn Daisy Lange on bass, and Esther Violet Koehler on mandolin. Lange and Koehler left in 1939, and were replaced by Ledford's sister, Minnie. The group performed at the White House in 1939 for President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his guests, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. The group made regular appearances on Renfro Valley Barn Dance until disbanding in 1957.
Woody Stephens (September 1, 1913 - August 22, 1998) was an American Thoroughbred horse racing Hall of Fame trainer. In a career that spanned seven decades, Stephens trained eleven Eclipse Award winners, and his horses won over a hundred Grade 1 stakes races. Among his most notable horses was Henryk de Kwiatkowski's colt Conquistador Cielo, the winner of the 1982 Eclipse Award for Horse of the Year. Although Stephens trained horses that won the Kentucky Oaks for fillies five times, plus the Kentucky Derby twice and the Preakness Stakes once, he is most remembered for winning an unprecedented five straight Belmont Stakes between 1982 and 1986.Stephens was elected to the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 1976. In 1983, he won the Eclipse Award as the top trainer in the United States. Although he often wore rumpled clothes, his earnings from racing plus investments in successful breeding stock made him a very wealthy man. Stephens died in 1998 in Miami Lakes, Florida, from complications of chronic emphysema 10 days shy of his 85th birthday.
Joe Bowen (1944 - ) In 1980, Joe Bowen walked 3,000 miles across the United States on stilts to raise money for Muscular Dystrophy research. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, he holds the world record for the longest stilt-walk. He also stilt-walked in five European countries to raise money for philanthropic purposes.
For his commitment, Joe has won a multitude of awards. Twice, he has carried the Olympic torch. Twice he has been featured in “Ripley’s Believe it or Not.” He’s won the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, the Humanities Outstanding Service Award from the University of Louisville, and the Ambassador for Life award from the U.S. Jaycees. Also, he’s currently listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest walk on stilts.