Maysville is a city in and the county seat of Mason County, Kentucky, United States. The population was 8,993 at the 2000 census, making it the fiftieth largest city in Kentucky by population. Maysville is on the Ohio River, 66 miles northeast of Lexington, Kentucky. It is the principal city of the Maysville Micropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Mason and Lewis counties. Two bridges cross the Ohio River from Maysville to Aberdeen, Ohio: the Simon Kenton Memorial Bridge built in 1931, and the William H. Harsha Bridge built in 2001.
Maysville was historically important in the settlement of the Kentucky bluegrass region. Frontiersmen Simon Kenton and Daniel Boone were among its founders. Later Maysville was an important port for the northeastern section of the state, exporting the region's production of hemp and tobacco. It was once a center of wrought-iron manufacture, sending fancy ironwork down the Ohio to decorate the buildings of New Orleans, Louisiana. Other small manufacturers located early in Maysville, and manufacture remains an important part of the modern economy. For most of the twentieth century, Maysville was home to one of the largest tobacco auction warehouse systems in the world.
Maysville was an important stop on the Underground Railroad, as the free state of Ohio was just across the river. Harriet Beecher Stowe visited the area in 1833 and witnessed a slave auction in front of the county court house in Washington (then the county seat, since annexed to Maysville). Stowe included the scene in her novel Uncle Tom's Cabin, published in 1852.
The Rosemary Clooney Music Festival, founded by the singer in 1999 to benefit the restoration of the Russell Theater, is held in Maysville each year. Past performers at the festival include Debby Boone, Rita Coolidge, Michael Feinstein, Roberta Flack, Alison Krauss, The Pointer Sisters, and Linda Ronstadt.
Maysville is located on the Ohio River at the mouth of Limestone Creek. It occupies the narrow river plain and the steep hills rising from it, giving city the prospect of an Italian hill town
. The city now extends inland to the former town of Washington
, which was annexed by Maysville in 1990. The city has a total area of 22.25 square miles (57.6 km²), of which 19.91 square miles (51.6 km²) is land and 2.3 square miles (6.1 km²), or 10.52%, is water. Maysville is at Ohio River mile
marker 408.7, and is 100 miles downriver from Huntington, West Virginia
and 62 miles upriver from Cincinnati, Ohio
used to ford the Ohio at this place, beating a broad path into the interior of Kentucky in search of salt
. Settlers traveling down the Ohio found a natural harbor at Limestone Creek, and the buffalo trace was a natural path into the bluegrass region, extending all the way to Lexington, Kentucky
. Frontiersman Simon Kenton
made the first settlement in the area in 1775 but was forced out by the western battles of the American Revolution
. Returning in 1784, Kenton built a blockhouse
at the site of Maysville and founded Kenton's Station (frontier fort) at a site three miles inland. Kenton would meet settlers at Limestone, as the landing place was called, and escort them inland to his station. In 1786 the village which grew up near Kenton's Station was established by act of the Virginia General Assembly
as the town of Washington
. By this time John May had acquired the land at Limestone and Daniel Boone
had established a trading post
there. In 1787 the little settlement was incorporated
as Maysville, though the name Limestone persisted well into the nineteenth century.
In 1788, when Mason County was organized and Washington was named its county seat, Maysville was still a rude collection of warehouses and wharves, with few dwellings. In 1795 the conclusion of the Northwest Indian War reduced the likelihood of Indian attacks from across the Ohio and allowed Maysville to begin to flourish. Zane's Trace, a road from Wheeling, Virginia (now West Virginia), to the bank of the Ohio River opposite Maysville, was completed in 1797 and stimulated ferry traffic across the river. By 1807 Maysville was one of two principal ports in Kentucky, but was still a place that goods and people passed through, having only about sixty dwellings. In 1811 the first steamboat came down the Ohio from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, passing Maysville on its way to New Orleans. With the coming of the steamboat, both Maysville's size and population expanded rapidly.
Southwest from Maysville the road followed the old buffalo trace to Lexington, and was known both as the Maysville Road and the Limestone Road. It was maintained by the various counties through which it passed with local labor from the county levies. The road was rough and during certain seasons practically impassable.
In 1829 the Maysville, Washington, Paris and Lexington Turnpike Road Company was authorized by an act of the Kentucky legislature for the purpose of constructing a modern roadway along the route of the old Limestone Road. Users would be charged to maintain the road and to pay back the shareholders who had advanced the money to build it. The act included a provision setting aside blocks of shares for purchase by the federal government. Henry Clay, an influential Kentucky politician and proponent of the American System, argued that the Maysville Road would benefit the nation as part of a larger road terminating in New Orleans, Louisiana, and was therefore a proper project for federal funding.
In 1830, Congress passed a bill authorizing the purchase of shares in the turnpike company. President Andrew Jackson, a bitter rival of Clay, vetoed the bill, arguing that the project was of purely local benefit and therefore using federal funds to underwrite it was unconstitutional. The Maysville Road veto was one of Jackson's first acts in aligning the federal government with the principles of Jacksonian democracy.
An attempt to override Jackson's veto failed, but the controversy over the Maysville Road veto continued for some time. In the event, the turnpike was completed in 1835 with funding from local entities and private investment. It was the first macadamized road in the state. Today is it U.S. Route 68.
By the 1830s Maysville had a population of 3,000 and was the second city in Kentucky after Louisville
. Washington, the county seat, had dwindled in importance after a fire in 1825 and a series of deadly cholera epidemics. A proposal to move the county government from Washington to Maysville was bitterly fought but passed by a slender margin in 1848. Maysville donated its city hall, completed in 1846, to the county for a court house.
Simon Kenton Memorial Bridge
The Simon Kenton Memorial Bridge
is a suspension bridge
built in 1931 and originally opened with a toll. Those tolls were removed in 1945 to much fanfare - including celebrations from the local Rotary and Lions club, and a parade in downtown Maysville. It crosses the Ohio River. Its main span is 323 meters (1,060 feet) long, and the total length of the bridge is 607 meters (1,991 feet). It connects Maysville, Kentucky and Aberdeen, Ohio
. It is currently in use and is not slated for demolition as the bridge was closed for refurbishment in 2001 after the William H. Harsha Bridge
The Simon Kenton Suspension Bridge opened to traffic at 10:30 AM on Nov. 25, 1931, at a cost of $1.6 million. In 2002, a $5.8 million renovation job replaced the deck of the Ohio River crossing. A fresh coat of battleship gray paint was also applied.
The Russell Theatre, located on Third Street in Maysville, Kentucky, was the site of the world premiere of Rosemary Clooney
's first film, The Stars Are Singing
, in 1953. The Russell Theatre is an Atmospheric theatre
, and featured a large rainbow that would light up before and after the showing of each movie. The theatre is now undergoing the second phase of a restoration project that began in 2008. Organizers plan to revive The Russell as a movie and film venue, with emphasis on themed movie marathons, classics, documentaries, art films and other movies not available at mainstream cinemas.
Hayswood Hospital, located in Maysville, Kentucky, opened in 1908 as a general hospital it was closed in 1983 with the opening of Meadowview Regional Medical Center. It has been popularized by exposure of video of a ghostly face appearing in a window. It was featured on an episode of the day time talk show, Maury, and several television news stations.
As of the census
of 2000, there were 7,323 people, 3,856 households, and 2,406 families residing in the city. The population density
was 451.6 people per square mile (174.4/km²). There were 4,416 housing units at an average density of 221.8/sq mi (85.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 86.00% White
, 11.54% African American
, 0.14% Native American
, 0.60% Asian
, 0.03% Pacific Islander
, 0.50% from other races
, and 1.18% from two or more races. Hispanic
of any race were 0.86% of the population.
There were 3,856 households out of which 27.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.5% were married couples living together, 14.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.6% were non-families. 33.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.25 and the average family size was 2.85.
In the city the population was spread out with 22.7% under the age of 18, 8.1% from 18 to 24, 26.6% from 25 to 44, 23.5% from 45 to 64, and 19.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 85.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 80.7 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $27,813, and the median income for a family was $37,684. Males had a median income of $31,975 versus $20,775 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,836. About 14.4% of families and 18.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 27.1% of those under age 18 and 16.2% of those age 65 or over.
, the national passenger rail system, provides service to Maysville. Amtrak Train 51, the westbound Cardinal
, is scheduled to depart Maysville at 11:36pm on Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday with service to Cincinnati
, Connersville, Indianapolis
, Crawfordsville, Lafayette, Rensselaer, Dyer, and Chicago
. Amtrak Train 50, the eastbound Cardinal, is scheduled to depart Maysville at 4:36am on Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday with service to South Portsmouth, Ashland, Huntington, Charleston
, Montgomery, Thurmond, Prince, Hinton, Alderson, White Sulphur Springs, Clifton Forge, Staunton, Charlottesville
, Culpeper, Manassas, Alexandria, and Washington, DC
, before continuing on to New York City
Notable people from Maysville
- Seen from above at night, the streetlights of the downtown area form the outline of the Liberty Bell, crack included.
- A series of 9 murals were painted on the Maysville floodwall by muralist Robert Dafford beginning in 1998.
Citations and Notes