Carlisle, Kentucky

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Carlisle is a city in Nicholas County, Kentucky, United States. The population was 1,917 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Nicholas County[1]. It is located at the junction of Kentucky Route 32 and Kentucky Route 36, about halfway between Lexington and Maysville.



Carlisle was founded in 1816 when John Kincart separated 50 acres (200,000 m2) of his peach orchard into 139 lots and laid out roads. The town was probably named for Carlisle, Pennsylvania, hometown of Kincart's father. The county seat was moved from Ellisville to Carlisle in that same year, and a permanent brick courthouse was built in 1818. The fourth, and final, courthouse was built in 1893-1894.

By 1830 the population was over 600, but the town's growth in the 19th century was slowed by numerous fires, a cholera epidemic in 1833, and the lack of turnpike access. However, a wide, macadamized turnpike connecting the town directly to Maysville was opposed by local residents in the 1830s, fearing economic competition to small local shippers. It was eventually built three miles (5 km) west of the town and became US 68.

The Trans Kentucky Terminal Railroad was built along the south side of Carlisle in 1871, and as a result the town became a thriving tobacco market in the early 20th century. The market declined starting in 1921.

Due to its rural nature and lack of interest in modern developments, the town was well preserved into the 21st century. The 1893 Railroad depot serves as museum and community center, and the eclectic courthouse is one of Kentucky's most interesting.

It is one of Kentucky's smallest county seats by population. The population has grown from 1,579 in 1970. The local paper, the Carlisle Mercury, was founded in 1867.


Carlisle is located at 38°18′57″N 84°1′55″W / 38.31583°N 84.03194°W / 38.31583; -84.03194 (38.315870, -84.031813)[2].

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.3 square miles (3.3 km²), all of it land.

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