Campbellsville Historic Sites Walking/Driving Tour
Pick up the Campbellsville Historic Sites booklet and let it guide you to over 40 historic sites in Downtown Campbellsville and Taylor County! The booklet also tells a small piece of history of each building. Go inside, meet the owners and learn more about our historic town!
The Historic booklets can be found in the Tourism office, Chamber office and many of the businesses on Mainstreet.
History of Campbellsville
Taylor County, located in south-central Kentucky, was the 100th county to be formed in 1848. Surrounded by Green, Larue, Marion, Casey, and Adair counties, it covers 284 square miles and was named for Zachary Taylor, Mexican War hero and later 12th President of the United States.
The City of Campbellsville, which is the county seat, is located 80 miles from Lexington, Louisville, Frankfort, and Bowling Green. It was established by the Kentucky General Assembly in 1817. Campbellsville was named for Andrew Campbell who made the first town plat. He was one of five brothers who migrated here from Augusta County, Virginia. The town plat, registered in the Green County records in 1820, contained 85 lots and a public square where a courthouse was later built. The first school was established in 1836 when Adam Campbell sold land on Buckhorn Creek.
In the 1830s, Campbellsville served as a stagecoach stop on the National Mail Route between Zanesville, Ohio, and Florence, Alabama. The stage lines connecting Lebanon, Campbellsville, Columbia and Greensburg became feeder lines to the railroad when it came to Lebanon in the 1850s. After a rail spur between Lebanon and Greensburg was opened by the Cumberland & Ohio Railroad in 1879, Campbellsville entered a new era of development. By 1890, the population reached 1,018. By 1892, a flour mill, saw mill, and a woolen and carding mill were operating as well as a lumber company, bank, newspaper and two hotels.
By 1914, Campbellsville had an electrical power company, gas company, and water works. Fires in 1911 and 1914 destroyed many of the town’s early buildings. In 1948, the Union Underwear Company came to Campbellsville and spurred economic growth. By 1989, the plant that manufactured Fruit of the Loom products was the world’s largest producer of men and boys’ underwear and the second largest textile plant in the U.S. The plant closed in 1998.
Campbellsville is an important manufacturing, medical and recreational center in south-central Kentucky. It is a third-class city with a 2014 estimated population of 10,000.