Stanford (population 3,430), county seat of Lincoln County, is the second oldest settlement in Kentucky. Its early history dates to the 1770's, when Colonel Benjamin Logan blazed a trail from Virginia through the area and established a fortified settlement.
Remaining 18th-century buildings that are open to the public include the William Whitley House (1788), the oldest brick house in Kentucky, and the Harvey Helm Memorial Museum and Library.
The city is using Community Development Block Grant funds to help restore a log portion of the Memorial Museum and Library, which saw use as one of the earliest Presbyterian meeting houses west of the Allegheny Mountains. With the coming of the railroad in 1865, Stanford became an important railhead in the region, and the historic L & N Depot (1912) has been restored to interpret this era in the community's history.
Stanford's downtown commercial district is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, and the city is encouraging rehabilitation and reinvestment through streetscape improvements and a façade grant program. To increase parking, a historic garage from the 1930s is being converted into a parking structure.
Designated a Preserve America Community in August 2004.