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Kentucky Counties

Kentucky has one hundred and twenty counties, third in the US behind Texas's (254) and Georgia's (159.) Washington County was the first county formed in the Commonwealth of Kentucky when it reached statehood, and the sixteenth county formed

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Muhlenberg County, Kentucky

Muhlenberg County Education, Geography, and HistoryMuhlenberg County, Kentucky Courthouse

Muhlenberg County is a county located in the state of Kentucky. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 31,499. Its county seat is Greenville. The county was founded in 1798 and named for General Peter Muhlenberg, a colonial general during the American Revolutionary War.

Etymology - Origin of Muhlenberg County Name

Gen. Peter Muhlenberg (1746-1807), preacher, Revolutionary War officer, and US congressman and senator.


County QuickFacts: Census Bureau Quick Facts

Muhlenberg County History

Muhlenberg County was established in 1798 from land given by Logan and Christian counties. Muhlenberg was the 34th Kentucky county in order of formation. It is located in the Western Coal Field region of the state. The elevation in the county ranges from 355 to 760 feet above sea level. In 2000 the county population was 31,839 in a land area of 474.7 square miles, an average of 67.1 people per square mile. The county seat is Greenville.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 479 square miles (1,240 km2), of which 467 square miles (1,210 km2) is land and 12 square miles (31 km2) (2.6%) is water.

The two primary aquatic features of Muhlenberg County are the Green River and Lake Malone. The northern portion of the county is typically gently rolling hills, river flatlands, and some sizeable bald cypress swamps along Cypress Creek and its tributaries. The southern portion consist of rolling hills with higher relief. Many of the valleys in the southern part of the county are rather deep and in places and somewhat rugged. This area is also known for many sandstone formations and some small limestone caves, of which only two known limestone caves are thought to be in the county, both in the far southern region. A number of faults cross the county at roughly the half-way point between neighboring counties to the north and south. Coal is a large natural resource found in the central part of the county. Most deposits reside deep underground, though in the past deposits were closer to the surface. In former years, it was common to see machines such as the "Big Brother" Power Shovel (pictured on the right) throughout the county. During the 1970s and early 1980s, Muhlenberg County was the state leader in Coal Production and sometimes the top coal producer in the United States. This was the subject of the song "Paradise".

The Bucyrus Erie 3850-B Power Shovel named "Big Brother" went to work next door to Paradise Fossil Plant for Peabody Coal Company's Sinclair Surface Mine in 1962. When it started work it was received with grand fanfare and was the Largest Shovel in The World with a bucket size of 115 cubic yards. After it finished work in the mid-1980s, it was buried in a pit on the mine's property. It remains there still today.

Muhlenberg County's predominate rock type is sandstone. As one travels south and gets closer to the southern border, one begins to notice limestone outcroppings become more numerous and much closer to the surface. Early attempts at extracting iron ore were tried at Old Airdrie on the banks of the Green River and at Buckner Furnace south of Greenville, Kentucky. Both operations were extant in the late 19th century and early 20th century; neither enjoyed long-term success.

Green River

The 300 miles (483 km)-long Green River is a tributary of the Ohio River. It provides a commercial outlet for goods (primarily coal) to be shipped from the county to the major trade centers along the Mississippi River. Muhlenberg County and the Green River first entered the popular consciousness through the John Prine song "Paradise", about a now-defunct coal-mining town.

Lake Malone

Spanning 788 acres (3.19 km2) near the small town of Dunmor in southern Muhlenberg County, Lake Malone provides a locale for water recreation such as swimming, boating, and fishing. Lake Malone and the surrounding hardwood forest form Lake Malone State Park. Lake Malone is maintained by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife. The lakes surface extends into two neighboring counties. The lake is known for its sandstone cliffs and natural sandstone formations along the lake shore including a natural bridge. The bridge itself is not in the boundaries of the state park.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Northeast: Ohio County
  • East: Butler County
  • Southeast: Logan County
  • South: Todd County
  • Southwest: Christian County
  • Northwest: Hopkins County; McLean County


Public schools in Muhlenberg County are under the purview of the Muhlenberg County Board of Education. They include:

Elementary (K-5)

Bremen Elementary School in Bremen
Central City Elementary School in Central City
Greenville Elementary School in Greenville
Longest Elementary School in Powderly
Muhlenberg South Elementary School in Beechmont

Middle (6-8)

Muhlenberg North Middle School in Powderly
Muhlenberg South Middle School in Greenville

High (9-12)

Muhlenberg County High School


The Muhlenberg Campus of Madisonville Community College is located in Central City. The Muhlenberg Career Development Center is located between Central City & Greenville.

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