Lexington, Kentucky is endearingly called the “Horse Capital of the World”. Located smack dab in the heart of Bluegrass Country, it’s the perfect place to raise horses.
As far as land area goes, Lexington is the 28th largest US city. Population-wise, it’s the 60th, however, topping out around 318,449 in 2016. The city of Lexington is consolidated with Fayette County and is many times referred to as “Lexington-Fayette”. It is the second largest city in Kentucky, coming in right behind. Louisville.
Lexington is home to the Kentucky Horse Park, a working horse farm that includes the Smithsonian International Museum of the Horse. The 1,224-acre facility is an interactive educational horse-theme park where visitors can learn about horses and how to care for them as well. Twice a day, an event is available to the public that showcases horses of the world.
Other points of interest in Lexington are: Rupp Arena (the largest basketball arena in the world), The Red Mile and the Keeneland thoroughbred race track. Transylvania University is also an attraction. Once a log cabin in Boyle County, the private university was chartered back in 1780 when Thomas Jefferson was governor.
The Lexington area boasts abundant wildlife as well as rich, fertile soil, making it a coveted spot for Native Americans to dwell. Settlers began to come to trade with them in the late 18th century. In 1775, the settlement of Lexington was officially founded by European Americans. Seventeen years later, Kentucky became a state. Lexington was chartered in 1782 after the Colonists defended it in the tail-end of the American Revolutionary War.
Tobacco plantations were plentiful. During the mid-1850’s, one-fifth of Kentucky’s population was made up of slaves. Lexington held the highest population of them. It also had the most free blacks and was home to the First American Baptist Church which had a congregation of 1,820 people, making it the largest in the state, black or white.
During 1935, the Great Depression was in full swing. One of the first ever drug rehabilitation clinics in the nation was birthed in Lexington, the Addiction Research Center (ARC). It became the first actual drug and alcohol hospital in the United States and was later converted to serve the medical needs of the Federal Prison System and as a pack horse library headquarter.
The horse headquarter center gave way to the thoroughbred horse racing and breeding that Lexington has long since been famous for. There are many horse sales facilities in the town and major horse racing events as well. Bluegrass is abundant in the limestone grounded town, making it prime grazing for horses.
There are five counties that make up the Lexington-Fayette metro area. The cityscape of the town is very diverse. It has been named one of the world’s top cleanest cities, coming in at number seventeen.
While Lexington is noted for its smarts, ranking 10th in the college education rank of US cities, its traffic problem is certainly a downfall. Known for its rapidly increasing population, the traffic congestion issue in the growing town is one of the worst in the state. Fortunately for the equine section, Lexington enforces strict boundaries where urban growth is concerned so the horse farm are protected.
Thirty-seven elementary schools, 12 middle schools and 6 high schools serve the city. Two traditional colleges (Transylvania University and the University of Kentucky) join a myriad of other higher education learning facilities in the town, like Medtech College, Strayer University and Georgetown College.
Located in the humid subtropical climate zone, Lexington’s weather tends to be humid and hot in the summer and somewhat cold in the winter. Average temperatures range from 32.9 degrees to 76.2 with a mean temperature of 55.5 degrees.
As far as geography goes, Lexington is mainly comprised of gentle rolling plateau. Being the very heart of the Bluegrass Region, it has fertile soil and superb limestone-based pastureland. It is well-known for its beauty with small meandering creeks that flow gently into the Kentucky River.
Something Lexington definitely has going in its favor is that has a very stable economy, one of the best in the nation. The unemployment rate is only around 3.7% which is the lowest of any similar sized city. It is a top-rated city for being business and career friendly.
Home to four Fortune 500 companies (Lexmark, Lockheed-Martin, IBM and Xerox), the city has a thriving economy. Amazon.com, United Parcel Service, Jiffy peanut butter, Trane and Toyota also have sizeable operations in Lexington that employ scores of people.
The town’s location, economy and diversity are attributes that companies find attractive. A good number of corporations headquarter their organizations in Lexington such as A&W Restaurants, Tempur Sealy International and Forcht Group of Kentucky. The largest employer in the city is the University of Kentucky, employing over 14,000.
Lexington is very family-friendly with over 100 designated parks. There are a number of historical structures and museums to visit. The most visited is Ashland: The Henry Clay Estate. Pope Villa is quite popular as well.
The cost of living in Lexington is rated as being at 90. The US average is classified as 100 so it is ten percent below average, another characteristic of the city that many find appealing.
Whether you are looking to catch a good horse race, planning to pursue your education or are looking for a great, family and economically friendly place to live, Lexington has much to offer in all the categories. Perhaps that is why it is called one of the most diverse and desirable cities in the world.