Madison county is in the Eastern Knobs region of Kentucky. The elevation in the county ranges from 530 to 1660 feet above sea level.
It was formed in 1786 from Lincoln county. Madison county was a source of Garrard (1797), Clay (1807), Estill (1808), Rockcastle (1810), and Jackson (1858) counties. The county seat is Richmond.
In 2020 the county population was 92,701 in a land area of 437.29 square miles, an average of 212.0 people per square mile.
The equine population was 3,100 in the 2012 Kentucky Equine Survey.
Madison county is in the Richmond-Berea micro statistical area and the Bluegrass Area Development District. It is in the Appalachian region according to the Appalachian Regional Commission.
Madison county was formed while the area was still part of Virginia and probably named for James Madison, who was then in the Virginia legislature. The original county seat was Milford, but it was moved to Richmond in 1798.
Many early settlers passed through Madison county. Fort Boonesborough was established near the Kentucky River in 1775. Several ferries across the Kentucky once operated in the county, beginning with one at Boonesborough in 1779. A ferry still operates at Valley View, where Tates Creek enters the Kentucky River.
Madison county is the home of the Lexington-Blue Grass Army Depot, Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, and Berea College in Berea.
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© 2023 David C. Elbon