Boone County (population 85,991) was established in 1799. With an economy driven by agriculture, the county prospered largely because of the Ohio River that forms its northern and western boundaries.
Lewis and Clark came down the Ohio River at the beginning of their epic voyage of Western exploration and, at President Thomas Jefferson's request, stopped in Boone County to collect fossils at Big Bone Lick.
As early as the 1730s, French and English explorers had excavated mammoth and other bones from the site, which is considered the "Birthplace of American Vertebrate Paleontology."
The first European settlement in the county was Petersburg (1789), which today has more historic buildings than any other county community. Burlington, the county seat, and the town of Rabbit Hash both have districts listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
In all, 93 county properties are on the National Register. Boone County is promoting these historic assets through implementation of a heritage tourism plan that was developed in 2002.
A consortium of public and private organizations, the Boone County Heritage Tourism Council, has been formed, and a heritage tourism driving map and Web site have been developed. The county has also developed an award-winning heritage education curriculum for fourth-grade students.
Designated a Preserve America Community in August 2004.