About Danville, KY
Where Preservation Meets Progress
Welcome to historic Danville, located in Boyle County, Ky. Boyle County’s heritage is an essential part of our community, and historical preservation is among our passions. Here are a few reasons why:
- Danville is the birthplace of Kentucky statehood. Ten constitutional conventions took place in Danville from 1785 to 1792 before Kentucky was successfully admitted into the Union as the 15th state on June 1, 1792.
Constitution Square, located in downtown Danville, commemorates the adoption of Kentucky’s first state constitution.
- Danville is known as the City of Firsts for many reasons. Here, we are host to the first courthouse, post office, and State Capital west of the Appalachian Mountains. Other firsts: Willis Russell House, first school for African-Americans; Kentucky School for The Deaf, first school for the deaf; and McDowell House, site of the first abdominal surgery.
- Perryville Battlefield, the site of the largest Civil War battle fought in Kentucky, is a 1,000-acre paragon of preservation located in Western Boyle County. Visitors can tour an interpretive museum, hiking trails and gift shop.
The Story of Ephraim McDowell
One of the most famous Danvillians is Ephraim McDowell. A pioneer of his time, McDowell revolutionized surgery and medicine, redefining progress.
Take a step back in time and tour McDowell’s house and apothecary to get a glimpse of why he is called the “father of abdominal surgery.” More than 200 years ago, McDowell removed a 22-and-a-half-pound ovarian tumor from Jane Todd Crawford without anesthesia. As the story goes, Crawford recited Bible verses during her operation and, after recovering for 23 days, rode on horseback back home to Greensburg, Ky.
Today, Danville is home to Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center, a comprehensive, integrated healthcare delivery system that serves 119,000 residents in six counties. It is dedicated to serving the community and advancing the health and quality of life of residents in this region.
- In September 2011, CNN-Money magazine ranked Danville #4 among the “25 Best Places to Retire” in the United States.
- In October 2010, Bankrate, Inc., named Danville as one of “10 Great Places to Retire in the U.S.” based upon median home prices for communities named in Elizabeth Armstrong’s book, “America’s 100 Best Places to Retire.”
- Best Boomer Towns continues to rank Danville among the “Best 21 U.S. Places for Retirement.”
Most Beautiful Small Town in America
- Danville was one of six finalist communities for “Most Beautiful” in the 2012 Rand McNally/USA TODAY Best of the Road competition.
- Livabilty.com rated Danville the #9 Best City for Historic Preservation.
- The March 2012 edition of SITE Selection magazine ranked the Danville Micropolitan Area (Boyle and Lincoln Counties) #13 in the United States and #1 in Kentucky for new and expanding business projects in 2011.This is the third year in a row that Danville has ranked among the top 14 micros nationally and was the #1 Kentucky micropolitan.
Rich Political History
Kentucky’s first governor, Isaac Shelby, was a Danville area resident, active in Danville’s political affairs, and the first chairman of Centre College’s Board of Trustees in 1819. His family home, Traveler’s Rest, and his gravesite are located just south of Danville.
One of our nation’s finest presidents was born in Kentucky. Abraham Lincoln’s family settled in the Forkland area in southwestern Boyle County. The Forkland Community Center has opened a new Lincoln Heritage Museum documenting Lincoln’s family ties to the Forkland area.
Kentucky’s largest Civil War battle was fought on Oct. 8, 1862, near Perryville. The battle is known as the “Highwater Mark of the Confederacy in the West” because of Confederate forces’ unsuccessful invasion and attempt to control Kentucky in the summer and fall of 1862. Former slaves congregated in Danville on their way to Camp Nelson to be formed into the first African-American units of the Union Army during the Civil War in 1864.
Danville has just received the distinction of becoming one of five cities in Kentucky to be designated an Arts, Heritage, and Cultural District.
Stroll through the Community Arts Center to catch the latest exhibit or take the family for a walk through time and discover the cultural wonders at the Great American Dollhouse Museum. Or catch a funny, heartwarming play under the stars at Pioneer Playhouse or at West T. Hill, Danville’s local community theatre. And Centre College’s Norton Center for the Arts draws amazing talent and serves local students and citizens from all over Kentucky.
Our nationally-recognized Main Street program, Heart of Danville, has played a critical role in stimulating economic vitality while protecting the historic integrity of our community. Since 1986, Heart of Danville has generated 120 new businesses, 454 new jobs, and $1,242,500 in new investment in downtown Danville.
For more information, please contact the Danville/Boyle County Convention and Visitors Bureau at 1-800-755-0076 or visit www.danvillekentucky.com. Or download the free Danville App, available for iPhone and Android, for a complete listing of what to do and where to eat.