overthrust fault

Corbin, Kentucky

Corbin is a city in Whitley and Knox counties in the southeastern portion of the U.S. state of Kentucky. The urbanized area around Corbin extends into Laurel County; this area, known as North Corbin, is not incorporated into the city limits, due to a state law prohibiting cities from being in more than two counties. Much of the North Corbin area is served by the city's public services, however. As of the 2000 census, the city population was 7,742, with 17,558 living in the "urban cluster" that includes Corbin.


The post office at the site was originally named Cummins for community founder Nelson Cummins. However, when it was discovered in 1885 that both Cummins and Lynn Camp were already in use as names for Kentucky post offices, postmaster James Eaton was asked to select another name. He chose Corbin, perhaps for James Corbin Floyd, a local minister. (The word itself is derived from the Latin corvus, meaning raven; compare French corbeau.) The town was incorporated under that name in 1905.

Law and government

Corbin is a fourth-class city governed by a mayor and city commission. Willard McBurney is the current mayor. Phil Gregory, Joe Shelton, Bruce Farris, and Dennis Lynch are its four current Commissioners.

Corbin is one of the few cities in Kentucky which lies in two counties. This arrangement has created some problems with taxes. The city receives a portion of the occupational tax collected in Whitley County, but Knox County has refused to give Corbin a part of the tax collected there. On March 10, 2008, the City Commission voted to file a lawsuit against Knox County to receive a portion of the tax collected within city limits.

Corbin is located in Kentucky's 5th Congressional District. In terms of party affiliation, the residents of Corbin and the surrounding areas are predominantly Republican.


According to the United States Census Bureau, it has a total area of 7.4 square miles (19.2 km²), all land.

Corbin lies in the Cumberland Plateau region of Appalachia in southeastern Kentucky. The Pine Mountain Overthrust Fault, a geologic fault system located several miles to the east, produces occasional tremors, the most recent in 2008.


Originally formed by L&N Railroad, rail transport was the backbone of the local economy in the first half of the twentieth century. While the railroad (presently CSX) continues to play an important role, the decline of the rail industry in the latter half of the twentieth century, as well as the loss of some manufacturing jobs due to globalization, has prompted the community to begin diversifying its economy.

Major employers in the area today include Aisin Automotive Casting, Vangent, Inc. (formerly known as NCS Pearson), Pepsi Bottling Company, CTA Acoustics, Baptist Regional Medical Center, and Whayne Supply, Superior Protection Fire Safety.


Corbin is the smaller principal city of the Corbin-London CSA, a Combined Statistical Area that includes the Corbin (Whitley County) and the much larger London (Laurel County) micropolitan areas, which had a combined population of 88,580 at the 2000 census.

As of the census of 2000, there were 7,742 people, 3,308 households, and 2,067 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,045.8 people per square mile (403.9/km²). There were 3,704 housing units at an average density of 500.3/sq mi (193.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 98.35% White, 0.08% African American, 0.18% Native American, 0.32% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.17% from other races, and 0.89% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.79% of the population.

There were 3,308 households out of which 28.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.2% were married couples living together, 14.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.5% were non-families. 34.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 17.0% 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 2.89.

In the city the population was spread out with 23.3% under the age of 18, 8.7% from 18 to 24, 25.1% from 25 to 44, 22.6% from 45 to 64, and 20.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 81.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 74.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $22,203, and the median income for a family was $32,784. Males had a median income of $27,323 versus $17,568 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,200. About 15.5% of families and 21.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.0% of those under age 18 and 16.4% of those age 65 or over.

Culture and local color

  • Each year in early August, Corbin hosts a festival called NIBROC (Corbin spelled backwards) featuring open-air concerts, carnival attractions, a beauty pageant, parade, and other events. The festival is featured, if anachronistically, in the play Last Train to Nibroc by Arlene Hutton. (Though the play is set in the 1940s, the festival itself only dates to 1952.)
  • Despite being in dry counties (Knox and Whitley), sales of alcoholic drinks by restaurants seating at least 100 diners are allowed.


Corbin straddles Interstate 75 and U.S. Highway 25 (which splits into 25E and 25W in North Corbin). The town is served by the CSX rail line.

Sites of interest


Corbin, like many communities of its size in southeastern Kentucky, has an independent school system (in Kentucky, a public school system not affiliated with a county; most such districts are associated with individual cities). The Corbin Independent School District includes:

  • Corbin Preschool Center
  • Corbin Primary (grades K-2)
  • Corbin Elementary (grades 3-5)
  • Corbin Middle (grades 6-8)
  • Corbin High (grades 9-12)
  • Corbin Vocational
  • Corbin East (alternative school)

The community also places considerable emphasis on the success of its high school athletic teams. "Redhounds" games, especially football, are important social events for many within the community.

In 2004 Eastern Kentucky University opened a new extension campus in Corbin.

The annual Battle for the Brass Lantern, a college football rivalry game between University of the Cumberlands and Union College, takes place at Corbin High School's stadium, as a neutral field roughly equidistant from the two campuses. The Cumberland-Union rivalry dates to 1905, and was first played in Corbin in 2006

Corbin is also home to Saint Camillus Academy, a private pre-K-8 school affiliated with the Catholic Diocese of Lexington, Kentucky. Established in 1908 by the Sisters of Divine Providence, the school has been successful as both a boarding school for national and international students and as a Montessori school. It's original schoolhouse, built in 1913, is scheduled for demolition in June. The new school building is still situated atop a prominent hill overlooking the town, providing a striking backdrop to the streets of downtown Corbin.




  • WCTT AM 680
  • WKDP AM 1330
  • WEKF FM: 88.5
  • WVCT FM 91.5
  • WKDP FM 99.5
  • WCTT FM 107.3
  • WRHR-LPFM 95.3(Also Known As Corbin's Own Red 95.3)

Notable natives and former residents


External links

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