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Kentucky Counties
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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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Nelson County, Kentucky

Nelson County Education, Geography, and HistoryNelson County, Kentucky Courthouse

Nelson County is a county located in the state of Kentucky. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 43,437. Its county seat is Bardstown.

Nelson County comprises the Bardstown, KY Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is also included in the Louisville/Jefferson County-Elizabethtown-Madison, KY-IN Combined Statistical Area.

Etymology - Origin of Nelson County Name

Thomas Nelson (1738-1789), Virginia governor and signer of the Declaration of Independence.


County QuickFacts: Census Bureau Quick Facts

Nelson County History

NThe fourth county created in what is now Kentucky, it was formed from Jefferson County, Virginia in 1784 shortly after the Revolutionary War. It is located in the Western Knobs region of the state. The elevation in the county ranges from 390 to 1090 feet above sea level. In 2000 the county population was 37,477 in a land area of 422.63 square miles, an average of 88.7 people per square mile. The county seat is Bardstown.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 424 square miles (1,100 km2), of which 418 square miles (1,080 km2) is land and 6.6 square miles (17 km2) (1.5%) is water

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Northeast: Spencer County; Anderson County
  • East: Washington County
  • Southeast: Marion County
  • Southwest: Larue County; Hardin County
  • Northwest: Bullitt County


Two public school districts operate in the county:

The Nelson County School District
The Bardstown City Schools

Several private schools also operate in the county.

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