Explore Boyle County
Boyle County, Kentucky, was formed from sections of Lincoln and Mercer Counties in 1842. The county was named in honor of John Boyle (marker #1218), a US Congressman, Chief Justice of the Kentucky Court of Appeals, and US District Judge. The county covers 180 square miles and includes the towns of Danville, Perryville, and Junction City.
Danville, the county seat, is known as the City of Firsts. Home to Centre College, the town has hosted some of Kentucky’s elite jurists, doctors, and politicians, including Supreme Court Justice John Marshall Harlan, Chief Justice Fred M. Vision, Dr. Ephraim McDowell, and Vice President Adlai Stevenson. Danville hosted the first state constitutional convention and housed injured Civil War soldiers following the Battle of Perryville.
Danville’s thriving business district has supported the community for nearly 180 years. In the years prior to the Civil War, a free Black community flourished. Danville’s Black business district continued to prosper during Jim Crow segregation, but was destroyed in the 1970s. Urban renewal grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development allowed the razing of the businesses along 2nd Street at Constitution Square. Today, the Danville-Boyle County African American Historical Society collects and interprets the histories of African Americans in the county.
Perryville sits nine miles west of Danville. It was established as a town in 1817 and is best known as the site of Kentucky’s largest battle during the Civil War. On Oct. 8, 1862, U.S. troops successfully drove Confederate troops from Kentucky. The battle resulted in nearly 8,000 wounded or dead soldiers and devastated the farmland between Danville and Perryville. The town thrived as an agricultural community throughout the late 19th and 20th centuries and today remains vibrant.
Junction City was created as a railroad exchange in 1882, as the Louisville & Nashville and Cincinnati Railroads crossed through the town. Though the railroads have left the area, the area continues to support a commercial district, family farms, and educational opportunities.
The nearly 30,000 residents of Boyle County are surrounded by history, as the markers on this tour show. Beginning in Perryville, the markers move East to Danville and cover events or people in the 18, 19, and 20th centuries.