The following article by David Strange was originally published on 13 Mar 2016.
Each Sunday in this column, Charles Hartley and I take turns telling you a little about Bullitt County's history, and about memories to which everyone can relate, whether one has ever heard of Bullitt County, Kentucky, or not.
For my part over the past several columns, I have told you about Bullitt County's eight cities. As I close out that series, I tell you a little now about the county itself.
First let's review.
Bullitt County's eight incorporated cities are (by order of incorporation):
In addition to those cities, there are of course many unincorporated communities across the county such as Belmont, Clermont, Cedar Grove, Kings Church, Nichols, Wilson Creek, Zoneton, and neighborhoods such as my own Peaceful Valley. Each town, community, and person has unique, wonderful, memories; many of which we have told you about in this column over the past few years.
Altogether, the total population of Bullitt County is around 78,000+, the 10th largest county in Kentucky. Bullitt County's modern and highly-rated public school system is the seventh-largest system in the state. The county contains a large part of the Ft. Knox military reservation and most of the nationally-recognized Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest.
By the way, here's a trivia question for you: Was Bullitt County established in 1796 or 1797? The answer is "yes." The Kentucky legislative act authorizing the new county was passed on December 13, 1796, but the first official meeting organizing county government was in January 1797. Both years are found in various histories. "1796" is on the county flag.
Another trivia point, this one important in this age of Google searches, is that "Bullitt" County, spelled as it is, is the only Bullitt County in the U.S. Many states have Jeffersons, Scotts, Lincolns, etc. But if you include "Bullitt County" in your internet searches, you will always get Bullitt County, Kentucky. "Shepherdsville," I believe, is also unique in its spelling.
Bullitt County was named after Alexander Scott Bullitt, the first Lieutenant Governor of Kentucky. It was the 20th of Kentucky's 120 counties.
Why did Bullitt County form? That is one of my many "Holy Grails" of things to learn. Perhaps it was just convenience of government. At one time, Jefferson County stretched down to the Salt River and Nelson County stretched up to meet it. Bullitt was created by taking some of both, with Shepherdsville, on the Salt River, at its center. But WHY was it formed? I hope to someday find an old letter or petition honestly expressing why the people of the area wanted their own county. I have picked up hints over the years, but no documentation beyond an official request. Perhaps it is unimportant in the scheme of things. Remember the old question, "Why did the chicken cross the road?" My favorite answer to that is, "I long for the day when a chicken's motives will no longer be questioned."
Over the coming weeks I hope to tell you stories about six-man football, fishing, and a time when there was only one traffic light in the entire county.
Or perhaps some other "Bullitt County Memory."
By the way, Charles Hartley and I have produced two books drawn from our stories over the years. Both Bullitt County Memories (published in 2013) and More Bullitt County Memories (published in 2015) can be purchased through the Bullitt County History Museum. Call the museum at 502-921-0161 weekdays for more information. Price is $20, including tax and shipping. All profits go to the museum.
Join us in this space each Sunday as we tell stories, sometimes of formal history and sometimes purely personal, but always with a reverence and humor that only memories can bring.
Below is a Google map showing Bullitt County.
Copyright 2016 by David Strange, Shepherdsville KY. All rights are reserved. No part of the content of this page may be included in any format in any place without the written permission of the copyright holder.