Hazard, Kentucky

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Hazard is a city in Perry County, Kentucky, United States. The population was 4,806 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Perry County.[2]



The town of Hazard, as well as Perry County, is named after U.S. Navy Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry, known for his victory report during the War of 1812 stating, "We have met the enemy and they are ours." A post office named Perry Court House was established in the area in the 1820s, though some reports note that locals had always referred to the area as "Hazard". The town's name was officially changed to Hazard in 1854.

Long isolated by the surrounding mountains, Hazard met the outside world with the arrival of the railroad in 1912. Previously, the only ways in or out of the valley were 45 miles down the North Fork of the Kentucky River, or a 2-week trip over the surrounding mountains. The railroad brought boom times to the town, but the Great Depression saw prosperity end as quickly as it had begun.

The CBS television series The Dukes of Hazzard got its name from Hazard, Kentucky. To avoid legal problems, the producers added an extra "Z" and set the show in a fictional county in Georgia. In 1981 many of the stars of the show, Catherine Bach, James Best, Sorrell Booke, and Rick Hurst visited Hazard, Kentucky during the Black Gold Festival.[3] Soon afterwards Tom Wopat, & John Schneider, made appearances in Hazard.

In July, 1999, Hazard received the honor of being the first stop on President Bill Clinton's tour of poverty-stricken communities that had failed to share in the boom of the 1990s. Clinton's wife, Hillary, visited Hazard on November 2, 2008 at a political rally for Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Bruce Lunsford.[4][5]

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