City (pop., 2000: 27,741), capital of Kentucky, U.S. Located on the Kentucky River, it was founded in 1786 and has been the capital since statehood (1792). Twice during its early history the capitol was burned, and both times the larger cities of Louisville and Lexington tried to become the state capital. Frankfort was retained, however, because of its central location. It is a trading centre for the Bluegrass region, producing tobacco, corn, and Thoroughbred horses, and the site of Kentucky State University (1886).
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The town of Frankfort probably received its name from an event that took place in 1780s when Indians attacked a group of pioneers from Bryan’s Station who were making salt at a ford in the Kentucky River. One of the pioneers, Stephen Frank, was killed and the crossing became known as “Frank’s Ford.” Later this name was shortened to Frankfort.
After Kentucky became a state, five commissioners were appointed on June 20, 1792, to choose a location for the state capital. They were John Allen and John Edwards (both from Bourbon County), Henry Lee (Mason County), Thomas Kennedy (Madison County), and Robert Todd (Fayette County). A number of communities competed for this honor, but Frankfort won by perseverance and, according to early histories, the offer of Andrew Holmes' log house as capitol for seven years, a number of town lots, £50 worth of locks and hinges, 10 boxes of glass, 1,500 pounds of nails, and $3,000 in gold.
Frankfort had a post office by 1794, with Daniel Weisiger as postmaster.
John Brown, a Virginia lawyer and statesman, built a home, now called Liberty Hall, in Frankfort in 1796. Before statehood he represented Virginia in the Continental Congress (1777–78) and the U.S. Congress (1789–91). While in Congress he introduced the bill granting statehood to Kentucky. Once that was accomplished, he was elected a U.S. Senator for Kentucky.
The Kentucky General Assembly appropriated funds to provide a house to accommodate the governor in 1796. Construction was completed in 1798. The Old Governor's Mansion is reputed to be the oldest official executive residence still in use in the United States.
On February 3, 1900 Governor-elect William Goebel was assassinated in Frankfort while walking to the capitol to be inaugurated. Former Secretary of State Caleb Powers was later found guilty in a conspiracy to kill Goebel.
The city has seen considerable growth since the 1960s. A modern addition to the State Office Building was completed in 1967. The original building was completed in the 1930s on the location of the former Kentucky State Penitentiary. Some of the stone from the old prison was used for the walls surrounding the office building. Capitol Plaza was established in the 1960s. The Plaza consists of the Capitol Plaza Office Tower, the Capitol Plaza Hotel (formerly the Holiday Inn, Frankfort), and the Fountain Place Shoppes. The Capital Plaza Office Tower opened in approximately 1968. In August 2008, officials revealed a plan to demolish the Capital Plaza Office Tower and redevelop the area over a period of years, replacing the Tower with a smaller, four- or five-story building.
Frankfort is located at (38.197274, -84.863110). It is in the Bluegrass region of Central Kentucky.
The city is bisected by the Kentucky River, which makes an s-turn as it passes through the center of town. The river valley widens at this point, which creates four distinct parts of town. The valley within the city limits contains "downtown" and "south" Frankfort districts, which lie opposite one another on the river. A small neighborhood with its own distinct identity, Bellepoint, is located on the west bank of the river to the north of Benson Creek, opposite the river from the "downtown" district. The suburban areas on either side of the valley are referred to as "west" Frankfort and "east" Frankfort, respectively.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 15.0 square miles (38.9 km²), of which, 14.7 square miles (38.2 km²) of it is land and 0.3 square miles (0.7 km²) of it (1.87%) is water.
There were 12,314 households out of which 26.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.9% were married couples living together, 14.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 43.6% were non-families. 37.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.14 and the average family size was 2.83.
The age distribution was 21.6% under the age of 18, 11.7% from 18 to 24, 30.3% from 25 to 44, 22.4% from 45 to 64, and 14.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 91.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.2 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $34,980, and the median income for a family was $47,855. Males had a median income of $31,339 versus $25,361 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,512. About 9.5% of families and 13.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.3% of those under age 18 and 14.8% of those age 65 or over.
Frankfort is the focal point of a micropolitan statistical area consisting of Frankfort and Franklin County as well as adjacent Lawrenceburg and Anderson County. The city has also achieved classification into a combined statistical area with Lexington and Richmond to the east.