Woodford County is located in the state of Kentucky, smack dab in the heart of the breathtaking Bluegrass Region. At the last census, the population was 24,939. The county seat is Versailles and it is part of the Lexington-Fayette, KY Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Formed from a piece of Fayette County in 1788, the County was named in honor of William Woodford, a general in the American Revolutionary War who hailed from Virginia. He led many heroic battles and then was sent to join the Southern Continental Army. He was capture during the Siege of Charleston. In 1780, Woodford died while he was a prisoner of war on board a prison ship headed to New York. He is buried in New York at the historical Trinity Church.
The county joined with eight others in 1792 to form the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The original boundaries ran from the Kentucky River from Mundy’s Landing on the southern tip to the Ohio River in the north. It went east to the Licking River mouth to what is now Covington.
There are over 123,000 acres of rich bluegrass land the county encompasses. Some of the world’s finest of agricultural land is in the county. It is also boasts the largest farming income in the state – much due to its significant equine industry.With 192 square miles in the county, 189 square miles is land and 3.3 square miles is water.
Industrial and commercial development is plentiful as well. There are around 11,000 jobs located in Woodford County. About half of the employees reside in the county and the other half commute from other surrounding counties.
To ensure the continued positive steps in economic development, the county is generous with its contributions. Such gestures can be noted to their financial attention towards Midway Station Industrial Park and infrastructure investment.
Recently, the area was declared one of four counties in Kentucky that are designated as Work Ready Communities. Being a Work Ready Community entails that certain workforce development, educational and collaboration goals are met and continue to be met. In return, the county sports a competitive edge for attracting new businesses and jobs and for maintaining the workforce needed to service the existing ones.
The county takes great pride in being unique and special. They take their deep-rooted history to heart yet embrace the possibilities to come. There is an unprecedented commitment to the environment. The artisan care taken where the horses, bourbon, services and products are concerned is impressive as well.
The logo of the county is of a horse and a barrel, indeed significant of the area. “Uniquely Woodford” is the accompanying slogan for the logo. There is a romance with the land, the past and the future, and a strong community bond that makes the slogan ring true. Two main colleges are located in Woodford County, the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (with over 100,000 students), and Midway College.
Woodford County plays an active role in leadership and government employment roles. One resident in particular has served as the Governor for seven different occasions which exceeds any other county.
Two towns make up the entirety of the incorporated area, the county seat of Versailles and Midway. A good number of unincorporated towns are within the county as well – Millville, Nonesuch, Mortonsville, Milner, Pinkard, Huntertown, Mundy’s Landing, Pisgah, Wallace and Troy.
Adjacent counties include: Franklin County, Scot County, Fayette County, Jessamine County, Mercer County and Anderson County.
Not only do the residents of Woodford County enjoy the amenities of the land, tourists flock in as well. Some of the most popular attractions are the bourbon whiskey distilleries. Labrot& Graham, the maker of Woodford Reserve has been making fine whiskey since 1812 and is the oldest distillery around. The Castle post hotel is another beloved place to visit as it was home to the former Old Taylor Distillery.
The Bluegrass Railroad and Museum hosts an 11-mile round trip through horse farmland to Young’s High Bridge where passengers can get off and check out the valley area. The most impressive feature is that the trains are diesel locomotives.
The Jack Jouett House Historic Site is a hot spot for tourists too. It was built in 1797 and is one of the oldest and most historic houses in Kentucky. It was erected in the mid-Federal period just give years after Kentucky became a state.
Jack’s house has a rich history behind it. One night in early June of 1781, Captain John “Jack” Jouett, Jr. took a brave 40 mile horseback ride through the Virginia backwoods to warn Governor Thomas Jefferson that 250 British troops were on their way. Jouett’s heroic act is credited for saving the American Revolution since the political leaders the troops were after remained safe.
The Buckley Wildlife Sanctuary and Life Adventure Center is a treasured attraction of the area. It is dedicated to saving and protecting birds, habitations and wildlife. School field trips are given, hiking trails are available and visitors can enjoy a bird blind.
The Three Chimneys Farm is a thoroughbred stable and farm for race horses. Currently, the farm is not accepting visitors but just a tad out of the county, The Kentucky Horse Park is. Carriage rides, pony rides an horseback riding are among the fun activities available in the educational themed park.
For wine lovers, the Equus Run Vineyards make over 9,000 cases of wine per year and are the official wine providers for the Kentucky Derby. Tours of the vineyard and winery take place regularly on the property that used to be overflowing with tobacco and cattle.
The county was graced by Queen Elizabeth II in 2007 when she visited the Lane’s End Farm and also attended the Kentucky Derby in nearby Louisville.
Noteworthy locals, past and present include Officer John Buford of the Union cavalry in the Civil War. NFL quarterback, Chad Pennington, hails from the county. The actor William Shatner is from the area too.
Those who live within the Bluegrass-clad, tightly knit community, the unique county is a place they are proud to call home. For those who are considering making Woodford County a place to hang their hat, you can bet you will be welcomed.