Danville, Kentucky, (population 15,487) the county seat of Boyle County, is nicknamed “The City of Firsts.” Prominently located on the Wilderness Road, it became a crossroads for early settlers in the late 18th century and a center of political activity. It was the location of the first courthouse in Kentucky (1785), the first U.S. Post Office west of the Alleghenies (1792), the first Capital of the Kentucky District in Virginia (1785), the first college in the West (1783), and the first law school in the West (1799). Kentucky’s first constitution was signed at Danville in 1792.  

In another first, local physician Ephraim McDowell, “Father of Abdominal Surgery,” performed the world’s first successful ovarian surgery at his Danville home. The house, a National Historic Landmark, is open to the public and received a Save America’s Treasures Grant to assist in its continued preservation.  

Danville has six historic districts listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Annually, the city offers its Front Porch Tour during Historic Preservation Week, showcasing a different neighborhood each year. During that week, gold bows are hung on every National Register property to highlight their significance.  

One of the most prominent corners of Danville’s downtown commercial historic district, “The Hub” department store was a community fixture from 1914 to 1995. Upon closure of the store, its complex of three historic buildings sat vacant until the state of Kentucky secured a direct appropriation for Danville to acquire the buildings. Renovation of these buildings, coupled with the creation of a new parking facility, is expected to be a key economic revitalization effort in Downtown. 

Danville’s historic preservation ordinance protects properties in the commercial historic district and is administered by a Board of Review through the Heart of Danville Main Street Program. Danville has been designated a Certified Local Government by the National Park Service. 

Designated a Preserve America Community in April 2004.

For more information

City of Danville

Danville/Boyle County Convention and Visitors Bureau

Heart of Danville Main Street Program