This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56) – Lexington is the heart of Fayette County and home to around 320,601 Kentuckians, according to the United States Census Bureau. Kentucky’s second-largest city surpassed the population of Cincinnati, Ohio in 2010 and secured its current place as the 60th largest in the United States.

Lexington is known for its SEC sports teams from the University of Kentucky and was ranked one of the Best College Towns in the South in 2020. It also secured a place as one of the U.S.’s kindest states.

Lexington is a lot of things with a ton of history.

When was Lexington founded?

Lexington was founded in 1775 when it was still part of Virginia and seventeen years before Kentucky became a state, according to Lexington-Fayette County Urban Government.

Before and during the early arrival of colonizers the area known as Kentucky was home to the people of the Shawnee, Cherokee, Chickasaw, and Osage tribes, among others, according to the Kentuckians for the Common Wealth.

Explorers like William McConnell, Daniel Boone, and Thomas Walker were some of the Europeans who took part in the exploration of early Kentucky and Lexington history.

William McConnel and a team of frontier explorers were camping near a spring when word came from Fort Boonesborough in modern-day Richmond word of the first battle of the American Revolution came. The battle was fought in Lexington, Massachusetts and to honor the battle the explorers named their site Lexington.

Where is Lexington?

Lexington is located in the Bluegrass region of central-eastern Kentucky. With around 283 square miles of gentle hills full of horse pasture, surrounded by the traditional double fences, settler-built stone fences, and crisscrossed with creeks.

The Bluegrass region got its name from the Bluegrass, genus Poa, which grows and provides pasture for the horse capital of the world.

The landscape is perfect for Lexington’s more than 100 parks like McConnell Springs named in honor of William McConnell who named Lexington in the June of 1775.

Why was Lexington founded?

According to VisitLEX, Danial Boone helped establish Kentucky’s first forts in Harrodsburg and Boonesborough which are just outside of modern-day Lexington.

In 1775, four years before Lexington became a permanent settlement one of Kentucky’s most well-known brands bubbled into reality: Buffalo Trace Distillery.

This distillery is just one of the many developments that Kentucky and Lexington would have leading to its success.

In 1780, the Virginia General Assembly separated Kentucky County into three entities including Fayette, Lincoln, and Jefferson counties. Lexington was named the “capital” of Fayette County.

Fayette County, and with it Lexington, took no time to grow into its own. Moving Transylvania Seminary from Danville to Lexington in 1789, a year later founding the nation’s third-oldest black baptist congregation.

Five years later in 1795, Kentucky’s first public library was founded in Lexington.


How did Lexington get its name?

A group of frontier explorers, along with William McConnell, were camped near a natural spring when news of the first battle of the American Revolution had been fought in Lexington, Massachusetts.

This location is marked now as McConnell Springs located in Lexington, according to the National Parks Service.

They honored the battle by naming their site Lexington. The name stuck and by 1820, Lexington was one of the largest and wealthiest towns west of the Allegheny Mountains.

During this time, Kentucky was still a territory of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The celebration and honoring of the beginning of the American Revolution continued with the decision to name the county Fayette, after Marquis de Lafayette, one of France’s largest supporters of the revolution in 1780.