Campbellsville (population 10,498), seat of Taylor County, is named for Andrew Campbell and his brothers who settled in the area in the early 1800s and who platted their land for town development.
Campbellsville prospered as a stage coach stop on the national mail route between Ohio and Alabama, but its location also put it in the path of both Northern and Southern armies during the Civil War. Confederate General John Hunt Morgan campaigned extensively in Taylor County, but was defeated at the Battle of Tebbs Bend just south of Campbellsville.
The battlefield is on the John Hunt Morgan Heritage Trail, and a self-guided driving tour of the battlefield has been established. Campbellsville promotes visitation to the battlefield and other historic sites through participation in the Southern and Eastern Kentucky Tourism Development Association.
In the late 1990s, two of Taylor County's anchor industries closed, sending unemployment soaring. This downturn has been substantially reversed through the advent of new industries and services, and efforts are also underway to revitalize Campbellsville's historic downtown.
The community is rehabilitating an historic downtown building to house the Taylor County Public Library and plans to renovate the historic Tebbs Bend Toll House for use as a welcome/education center.
These facilities will join the Taylor County Clerk's Office (1865)—currently home to the Taylor County Historical Society—as focal points for heritage tourism and heritage education. The Clerk's Office is the departure point for walking tours of the historic downtown, which is listed as a district in the National Register of Historic Places.
Designated a Preserve America Community in April 2005.