Madison County is located in Kentucky. Just under 90,000 residents call it home. The county seat is Richmond. It is nestled in the gorgeous Bluegrass Region in the eastern part of the state.
The county is named for the Virginia statesman and fourth President of the United States, James Madison. It was established in 1895 from land originating from Lincoln County which was named for another president, Abraham Lincoln.
The history of Madison County dates back to 1769 when Daniel Boone, trader John Findley and four other men went on an exploring and hunting expedition in the area. Later, in 1774, 20,000,000 acres of west Appalachian land was purchased by the Transylvania Company. Madison County was in the mix of the deal. Daniel Boone accepted a job cutting a trail that went through the Cumberland Gap. It was then he established Fort Boonesborough along the Kentucky River. The year was 1775.
Madison County is considered to be a “moist” county. Alcohol sales are prohibited in it except for in one city, Richmond, where it is allowed to retail. Alcoholic beverages can be purchased in Richmond, Arlington, The Bull golf clubs and in Berea.
Established in 1809, Bybee Pottery is the oldest known pottery operation in the nation and plays a huge role in the area’s heritage. It is located in the tiny, rural town of Bybee in the southern hills of the county. For five generations, the business has thrived. The grounds, including an antique plug mill, can be toured and pottery can still be purchased there today.
The Blue Grass Army Depot is in Richmond. Established in 1941, it contains 14, 494 acres and is an ammunition and supply storage, largely for chemical weapons. Mortar ammunition ultrasonic testing is performed on the property.
Education is a priority in Madison County. There are ten elementary schools, five middle schools and two high schools. Eastern Kentucky University, The National College of Business and Technology and Berea College are located there as well.
The county is big on tourism and rightly so for there are many places to go and lots of things to see in the area. The Battle of Richmond is an area dedicated to the historical event where tours can be taken, videos on the subject can be viewed and regular lifelike re-enactments are featured.
The Boonesborough Living History Center honors Daniel Boone and his men who built the original fort on the property in 1775. Today, the historical site if bursting with activity such as Fireside Chats where plays and performances reflect on the day and times of Boone and other historical figures who lived in the county. They are held on Saturday evenings.
The Colonial Culinary Workshop brings a tasteful helping of history. The class is part cooking lesson and part history lesson. A multi-course 1700’s style dinner is prepared and served during the class.
Located in the rolling hills near Richmond, the Chenault Vineyards offers gorgeous scenery and a look at the vineyards. It is a popular venue for picnics, parties, wedding and more. Wining and dining is featured as well.
Of course, being in the Bluegrass area, the county is horse country. Horse farm tours, horseback riding and horse riding lesson all abound in the county. Horseman’s Retreat is a favorite where horse and rider can go to refresh their skills and enjoy some time away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Deer Run Stables offers a nice place for locals and visitors to ride horses. Located around the heart of Daniel Boone country, there are seven miles of trails riders can enjoy and two arenas that are outdoors. Indoors is 12,000 square feet for riding as well.
For those who enjoy the great outdoors and like to hike, the county is a mecca for gorgeous views and other nature-based attractions as well. Pinnacle is located around Berea. It boasts a steep 400 foot hike from the trailhead to the incredible rock formations. The Devil’s Kitchen is within the area too which is a natural archway that has a six mile loop around it. The Red River Gorge is also a nearby spot of interest.
Madison County consists of 443 square miles, total. Six square miles of it is water. Boonesborough, Kirksville, Berea, Waco, Richmond and Kingston are all within the county. Fayette, Clark, Powell, Estill, Jackson, Rockcastle, Garrard and Jessamine Counties are adjacent to it.
There are a number of lakes to swim, boat and fish in within the county. Lake Reba features not only a lake but a 600-acre park lakeside that has a mini-golf course, a regulation size golf course, sports fields and an aquatic center too. Cave Run Lake, Bill’s Pay Lake and Wisemantown Pay Lake are among the other lakes around. The Pond Lake is another popular one.
The Valley View Ferry takes passengers over the Kentucky River. It is located right on Kentucky Route 169. It connects traffic between Madison County and Jessamine County. The crossover towns are Nicholasville and Richmond. The ferry itself is a historical site as it was founded in 1780 before Kentucky’s admission into the Union which was in 1792. It is the oldest continually operating business in the line of commonwealth.
The area is enjoying a growth of jobs and population in recent years. From 2014 to 2015, the population increased from 85,485 to 85,838 which amounted to a 41% increase.
From the transit systems to healthcare providers, the area is not lacking in jobs. The job outlook is good for the future. The median value for property is $144,800 and around 59% of the residents of the county are homeowners. Most of the people within the county commute to work with the average time being a little over twenty-one minutes. The average household owns two cars and the median age is thirty-three.
Madison County is a up and coming county that is going places but still holds true to its roots. It is a place that welcomes change while embracing the past.