Paintsville, Kentucky

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City of Paintsville
Main Street decorated for Christmas
Main Street decorated for Christmas
Nickname(s): "City Between the Lakes"
Location of Paintsville, Kentucky
Location of Paintsville, Kentucky
Detailed map of Paintsville
Detailed map of Paintsville
Coordinates: 37°48′41″N 82°48′24″W / 37.81139°N 82.80667°W / 37.81139; -82.80667Coordinates: 37°48′41″N 82°48′24″W / 37.81139°N 82.80667°W / 37.81139; -82.80667
CountryUnited States
EstablishedFebruary 24, 1834[1]
IncorporatedFebruary 5, 1843[1]
Named fora nearby creek[2]
 • TypeMayor-Council
 • MayorBob Porter
 • Total5.3 sq mi (130.6 km2)
 • Land5.3 sq mi (130.6 km2)
 • Water0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
Elevation614 ft (187 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total3,459
 • Density652.7/sq mi (254.4/km2)
Time zoneEastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST)EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code41240
Area code(s)606
FIPS code21-58962
GNIS feature ID0500128
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City of Paintsville
Main Street decorated for Christmas
Main Street decorated for Christmas
Nickname(s): "City Between the Lakes"
Location of Paintsville, Kentucky
Location of Paintsville, Kentucky
Detailed map of Paintsville
Detailed map of Paintsville
Coordinates: 37°48′41″N 82°48′24″W / 37.81139°N 82.80667°W / 37.81139; -82.80667Coordinates: 37°48′41″N 82°48′24″W / 37.81139°N 82.80667°W / 37.81139; -82.80667
CountryUnited States
EstablishedFebruary 24, 1834[1]
IncorporatedFebruary 5, 1843[1]
Named fora nearby creek[2]
 • TypeMayor-Council
 • MayorBob Porter
 • Total5.3 sq mi (130.6 km2)
 • Land5.3 sq mi (130.6 km2)
 • Water0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
Elevation614 ft (187 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total3,459
 • Density652.7/sq mi (254.4/km2)
Time zoneEastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST)EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code41240
Area code(s)606
FIPS code21-58962
GNIS feature ID0500128

Paintsville (local /pntsvəl/)[2] is a 4th-class city along Paint Creek in Johnson County, Kentucky, in the United States. It is the seat of its county. The population was 3,459 during the 2010 U.S. Census.[3]


A Paint Lick Station was referred to in military dispatches as early as 1780.[citation needed] The site was named for Indian art painted on the debarked trees near a local salt lick when the first white settlers arrived and was originally part of a 19,050-acre (7,710 ha) tract belonging to George Lewis.[2] The trading post was purchased by the Carolinian Rev. Dalton Ray Chandler II in 1812 and laid out as the town of Paint Lick Station in 1826.[2] The town was formally established under that name in 1834,[1] although the post office was probably named Paint Creek.[2] It was incorporated as a city under its present name of Paintsville in 1843,[1] the same year it became the seat of Johnson County.

The Civil War found Johnson County Fiscal Court passing an ordinance barring both Union and Confederate flags from being flown in its jurisdiction. This was quickly repealed when then-Col. James A. Garfield marched his brigade into the city.

During the early Twentieth Century, Paintsville began to transform into a modern American city. In 1902, the city's first bank – First National – opened for business. In 1906, the city received telephone service and, two years later, all of its streets were paved. In 1912, Paintsville received electricity and natural gas services. In 1926, Paintsville residents received public water and the city's fire department was established.[4]

Since the late 1990s, Paintsville has been growing rapidly. This is due in part to some business developments in the past few years, as well as growing tourist interest. Paintsville has also been in the process of revitalizing the downtown area in order to rejuvenate its original business district. On June 9, 2009, Paintsville became a "wet" city for the first time since March 14, 1945, permitting stores located within the city limits to sell alcoholic beverages.[5]


The Levisa Fork River in Paintsville

Paintsville is located at 37°48′41″N 82°48′24″W / 37.81139°N 82.80667°W / 37.81139; -82.80667 (37.811324, -82.806780)[6] in the bottomland at the confluence of Paint Creek and the Levisa Fork of the Big Sandy River amid the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in the Cumberland Plateau. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 5.3 square miles (14 km2), all of it land.


Beginning in 1976, Paintsville's main shopping district has gradually moved from Main Street to Mayo Plaza, which is northwest of downtown. Stores such as Wal-Mart and Lowe's opened in the plaza during the early 1990s. This proved to be too much competition for the small family owned businesses in downtown causing them to close. Today, downtown mostly serves as Paintsville's financial district. But, in May 2009 Paintsville received a grant to redevelop Main Street in hopes of making it one of the city's popular shopping districts again. In recent years, Mayo Plaza has rapidly expanded. In the early 2000s, a new Wal-Mart Supercenter, a new Lowe's, and multiple restaurants have opened.


Paintsville is located in a transition area between a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Dfa) and a humid continental climate (Köppen Cfa).[7] Summers are hot and humid with frequent severe storms. July is the warmest month, with an average high 89 °F (32 °C) and an average low of 66 °F (19 °C). Winters are cold with occasional mild periods. January is the coldest month with an average high of 44 °F (7 °C) and an average low of 24 °F (-4 °C). The highest recorded temperature was 105 °F (41 °C) in 1988 and the lowest recorded temperature was -26 °F (-13 °C) in 1994. May has the highest average rainfall (4.54 inches) and October has the lowest average rainfall (2.97 inches).[8]

Climate data for Paintsville, Kentucky
Record high °F (°C)80
Average high °F (°C)44
Average low °F (°C)24
Record low °F (°C)−26
Precipitation inches (mm)3.06
Source: The Weather Channel.[8]


Historical population
Est. 20134,283[9]23.8%
U.S. Census Bureau[10]
Portion of Court Street

As of the census[11][not in citation given] of 2000, there were 4,132 people, 1,681 households, and 1,079 families residing in the city. The population density was 786.1 people per square mile (303.3/km²). There were 1,901 housing units at an average density of 361.7 per square mile (139.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 97.48% White, 0.65% African American, 0.19% Native American, 0.61% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.10% from other races, and 0.94% from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 0.75% of the population.

There were 1,681 households out of which 29.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.2% were married couples living together, 15.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.8% were non-families. 33.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.21 and the average family size was 2.81.

The age distribution was 21.2% under 18, 8.2% from 18 to 24, 27.1% from 25 to 44, 24.6% from 45 to 64, and 18.9% who were 65 or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 81.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 80.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $25,259, and the median income for a family was $30,575. Males had a median income of $30,478 versus $25,640 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,876. About 21.0% of families and 29.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 39.9% of those under age 18 and 22.0% of those age 65 or over.


In 2009, the following crime rate (per 100,000 population) was reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation by the city police department:[12]

Johnson County Judicial Center
CrimePaintsvilleKentuckyUnited States
Violent crime6260429
Forcible rape03529
Aggravated assault4135269
Property crime862,5133,061
Motor vehicle theft11141259


Paintsville has a mayor-council form of government.[13] Paintsville's current mayor/city executive is Bob Porter, who was elected in 2007.

Former Mayors:[14]

  • Richard C. Thomas (1920−1922)
  • Dr. J.C. Sparks (1924)
  • James N. Meek (1924−1925)
  • Dr. E.E. Archer (1926−1933)
  • F.S. Vanhoose (1934−1939)
  • J.B. Wells Jr. (1940−1945)
  • Escom Chandler (1946−1949)
  • J.B. Wells, Jr. (1949−1955)
  • Ralph B. "Tiny" Preston (1955−1965)
  • J.B. Wells, Jr. (1966−1969)
  • John E. Chandler (1969−1975)
  • Jim T. Newman (1975)
  • Allen S. Perry (1975)
  • James S. Trimble (1975−1985)
  • Robert Wiley (1986−1988)
  • John David Preston (1988−1993)
  • Robin T. Cooper (1994−2002)
  • Douglas W. Pugh (2003−2006)
  • Bob Porter (2007−present)

The representative body of the city of Paintsville is the city council. The council members include: Mark McKenzie, Bill Runyon, John Bland, Jim Meek, David Trimble, and Fran Jarrell.[13]


The city mayor oversees the following departments:[13]


Paintsville High School

The Paintsville Independent School District includes Paintsville High School (7th-12th) and Paintsville Elementary School. Paintsville Independent has consistently had college attendance rates between 95% to 100% since 2008.[15] In 2012, the district had a composite ACT score of 22.7.[16] It was the 4th highest composite ACT score out of the 169 school districts in the state of Kentucky.[16][17]

Johnson County Schools also operates three schools within the city of Paintsville: Johnson Central High School, Johnson County Middle School (Kentucky), and Central Elementary School. Johnson County is also well known for its academics. Johnson Central High School has won five international Future Problem Solving (FPS) titles while the middle school has won 10 Governor's Cup state titles along with three international FPS titles.[18][19]

Paintsville is also home to the Our Lady of the Mountains School. It is a private, K-8 school operated by the Roman Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Lexington.[20]

Big Sandy Community and Technical College operates a campus in Paintsville that offers numerous two-year degrees in various fields of study.[21]



The Kentucky Apple Festival has been held in Paintsville annually since 1962. Events include live music, carnival rides, a pageant, various competitions, a parade, and a car show. The festival occurs annually on the first full weekend in October.[22]

Paintsville also holds a Spring Fling on Main Street in May.[23]

Museums and historical sites[edit]

The U.S. 23 County Music Highway Museum gives information on the country music entertainers who grew up near U.S. 23 in Eastern Kentucky. Country music entertainers profiled in the museum such as Loretta Lynn, Crystal Gayle, and Hylo Brown. The museum is located at 120 Staves Branch, just off U.S. 23.[24]

The historic Mayo Mansion was built for John C. C. Mayo between 1905 and 1912. It now serves as Our Lady of the Mountains School. Located at 405 Third Street.[25]

The Mayo Memorial United Methodist Church was designed by one hundred Italian masons hired by John C. C. Mayo. It has several stain glass windows and has a pipe organ donated by Andrew Carnegie. The first church service was in the fall of 1909. Located on Third Street.[26]


The Paintsville Country Club includes an 18-hole golf course established on September 27, 1929, making it one of the oldest golf courses in Eastern Kentucky.[27] The country club was built in 1930 by the WPA and is on the National Register of Historic Places.[28] Located on Kentucky Route 1107 in Paintsville.

The Paintsville Recreation Center contains a volleyball court, a basketball court, a walking track, and a playground. Located on Preston Street.[29]


The Paintsville Herald is a bi-weekly newspaper printed on Wednesday and Friday with a circulation of about 5,200 copies. The newspaper serves Paintsville and the surrounding area.[30]

Call SignFrequencyFormat
WSIP98.9 FMCountry
WSIP1490 AMNews/Talk
WKYH600 AMNews/Talk
WQHY95.5 FMTop 40


Paul B. Hall Regional Medical Center is a full-service hospital providing healthcare to the region. The hospital has a full-service emergency room with a pediatric trauma room, a hyperbariatic oxygen chamber, a special Birthing Room, and full service surgical services, including a daVinci Si robotic system providing state of the art laparoscopic surgery to the greater Paintsville region.[31]



U.S. Route 23 serves as the bypass for Paintsville. The four-lane divided highway links Paintsville to Interstate 64 to the north and U.S. Route 119 and Kentucky Route 80 to the south. U.S. Route 460 links Paintsville to the Bert T. Combs Mountain Parkway in Salyersville. Kentucky Route 40 forms both Euclid Avenue and Third Street in Paintsville. It links the city to Inez and also serves as an alternative route to Salyersville. Kentucky Route 321, locally known as South Mayo Trail, serves as the city's main business route and passes through Mayo Plaza.


Located southeast of Paintsville in neighboring Martin County is Big Sandy Regional Airport. The publicly owned, private-use airport is used for general aviation. Its main runway is 5,000 ft (1,524 m) long.[32]

The nearest airport that provides commercial aviation services is Tri-State Airport, which is located 55 miles (89 km) northeast in Ceredo, West Virginia.

Popular culture[edit]

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Commonwealth of Kentucky. Office of the Secretary of State. Land Office. "Paintsville, Kentucky". Accessed 24 September 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d e Rennick, Robert. Kentucky Place Names, p. 225. University Press of Kentucky (Lexington), 1987. Accessed 25 September 2013.
  3. ^ United States of America. Census Bureau. "2010 Census Data". Accessed 6 November 2012.
  4. ^ Johnson County, Kentucky, History. "Johnson Co. History". Accessed 13 November 2009.
  5. ^ Commonwealth of Kentucky. "Kentucky Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control". Accessed 11 June 2009.
  6. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  7. ^ Climate Summary for Paintsville, Kentucky
  8. ^ a b "Monthly Averages for Paintsville, KY". The Weather Channel. Retrieved May 23, 2014. 
  9. ^ Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2013 Population Estimates U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2014-05-23
  10. ^ Historical Census Data Retrieved on 2010-02-7
  11. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  12. ^ "Crime in the United States: Offenses Known to Law Enforcement". U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation. September 2010. Retrieved 2010-10-20. 
  13. ^ a b c Kentucky Secretary of State-Land Office Retrieved on 2009-11-21
  14. ^ List of Mayors for the City of Paintsville Retrieved on 2010-08-10
  15. ^ Modern Curriculum-Traditional Approach Paintsville Independent Schools. Retrieved 2013-08-01
  16. ^ a b Average ACT Scores by School District Kentucky Department of Education. Retrieved 2013-08-01
  17. ^ Best High Schools in Kentucky U.S. News and World Report. Retrieved 2013-08-01
  18. ^ Johnson County Middle School Awards Retrieved 2013-08-01
  19. ^ "Johnson County schools win big at international competition". WYMT. June 18, 2013. Retrieved 2013-06-28. 
  20. ^ Our Lady of the Mountains School Retrieved 2013-08-01
  21. ^ BSCTC-Mayo Campus Retrieved 2013-08-01
  22. ^ Kentucky Apple Festival Retrieved 2013-08-18
  23. ^ Event Information City of Paintsville. Retrieved 2013-08-18
  24. ^ U.S. 23 Country Music Highway Museum Retrieved 2013-08-19.
  25. ^ Our School's History Our Lady of the Mountains School. Retrieved 2013-08-19.
  26. ^ National Register of Historic Places Building Profile Retrieved 2013-08-19.
  27. ^ Johnson County History:1900-1950 Retrieved on 2010-2-26
  28. ^ Powell, Helen National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form for Paintsville Country Club 26 January 1989. Retrieved on 2010-2-26
  29. ^ Recreation Information City of Paintsville. Retrieved 2013-08-19.
  30. ^ Paintsville Herald Echo Media. Retrieved 2013-08-19
  31. ^ Paul B. Hall Regional Medical Center Retrieved 2012-11-06
  32. ^ FAA Airport Master Record for K22 (Form 5010 PDF) Retrieved 2013-01-06
  33. ^ Kentucky Woman filming locations Retrieved on 2010-1-31
  34. ^ Passenger Pigeons filming locations Retrieved on 2010-1-31
  35. ^ "Paintsville, Ky. native Chris Stapleton performing on CMA Awards tonight". The Herald-Dispatch. November 6, 2013. Retrieved February 10, 2014. 
  36. ^ Dunning, Jennifer. "Richard S. Thomas, City Ballet Soloist and Teacher, Dies at 87," New York Times. August 4, 2013; Retrieved 2014-05-27.

External links[edit]