Historic Henderson Kentucky
Welcome to the historic city of Henderson, located on the southern bank of the beautiful Ohio River in western Kentucky. Daniel Boone was among the first groups of men to see this area of wooded hills and lush vegetation. The city was named for Colonel Richard Henderson, who originally purchased 17,000,000 acres of land from the Cherokee Indians, only to have the purchase voided by the Virginia legislature. In 1778, the Richard Henderson Company was granted 200,000 acres in recognition of the $50,000 paid by the company to the Indians in the Treaty of Watagua. Land in that grant is included in the present boundary of Henderson County.
Henderson was founded in 1797, incorporated as a town in 1810 and became a city in 1867. The first settlement on the site was called Red Banks by Pennsylvania Dutch squatters. Today, the city is proud to boast that its founders wisely laid out the streets 100 feet wide and also set aside acreage for a public square and the first municipal park west of the Allegheny Mountains.
John James Audubon discovered the beauty and plenty, fertile soil, gentle hills and peace and
quiet of is the area in 1810, when he moved with his wife and young son to Henderson. The world-renowned artist and naturalist spent nine years in Henderson painting many exquisite life-sized pictures of birds and animals in their natural habitat.
Audubon is remembered through John James Audubon State Park, located on 692 acres on Henderson’s north side. The park includes the Audubon Museum, which houses many of Audubon’s original watercolors, oils, engravings and personal memorabilia. The Nature Center features a wildlife observatory, which nurtures Audubon’s own love for nature and the great outdoors. The park also offers facilities for camping, hiking, fishing, swimming, golf and tennis.
Henderson thrived in the late 19th century thanks to river commerce, tobacco and agriculture.
Today, Henderson's diverse economy has produced a low unemployment rate with job opportunities in manufacturing, wholesale/retail trade, construction, services, energy, health care and education. At one time, Henderson was the second-richest city per capita in the world and, as a result, there remains today many charming and elaborate homes build in the early 1800s.
As of 2008 the population of Henderson County was 46,406. The county covers 440 square miles. The city of Henderson boasts 28,853 residents. In addition to Audubon State Park, Henderson is home to Ellis Park thoroughbred race track and and the 1,000-seat Henderson Fine Arts Center. Henderson Community College and a local satellite campus of Murray State University offer an array of post-secondary educational opportunities and training. And each year Hendersonians enjoy the Big Rivers Arts and Crafts Show, the Lions Club Tri-Fest, the W. C. Handy Blues & Barbeque Festival and the Bluegrass in Park music festival.