Lee County, Kentucky

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Lee County is a county located in the U.S. state of Kentucky. As of 2000, the population was 7,916. Its county seat is Beattyville[1]. It is a prohibition or dry county.



Lee County was formed in 1870. Many sources say it was named for General Robert E. Lee, which is certainly possible given that it was formed near the time of Lee's death. On the other hand, this area of Kentucky was strongly pro-Union during the Civil War. Other sources say the County was named for Lee County, Virginia, or for Henry "Light Horse Harry" Lee.

Directions to Lee County, KY

  • From Interstate 64, Exit at the Mountain Parkway. Follow the Mountain Parkway, a modern 4-lane superhighway to Exit 33 (Slade/Beattyville). Continue on Kentucky Highway 11 into Lee County.
  • From Mountain Parkway westbound, exit at Beattyville exit 43 and follow signs onto Kentucky Highway 11.
  • From Interstate 75, Exit at either 90(northbound) or 90A(southbound) Richmond/Irvine. Follow US 25/US 421 (Dr. Robert Martin Bypass) to the intersection of Kentucky Highway 52. Follow KY 52 into Lee County.
  • From the South, Follow Kentucky Highway 11 northbound.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 211 square miles (546 km2), of which 210 square miles (544 km2) is land and 1 square mile (3 km2) is water.

Eastern Mountain Coal Fields

Lee County lies within the Eastern Mountain Coal Fields region of Kentucky. The very rugged terrain greatly defines the area. Roughly half of the county lies within the Daniel Boone National Forest. Timber and coal remain economically significant. Harmful effects from strip mining and clear cut logging are still being corrected. The proliferation of kudzu has proved difficult to address. However, with the growing environmental movement and the developing tourism industry more action is being taken.

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