The Madison County area, in which the city of Richmond is located, has a rich history stretching back to 1785, when it's first settler arrived, Colonel John Miller. Colonel Miller was a Revolutionary War veteran who later donated four and half acres for a new county seat. Richmond was created on this spot by a legislative act on July 4th of 1798. The next year the courthouse was built. the town grew at a healthy pace, adding private homes, a bank and a hotel. By its incorporation in 1809, Richmond's population of 110 people made it the 15th largest town in Kentucky. In 1862, the Civil War descended with a vengeance when the Battle of Richmond involved the entire town in the struggle. After the war, the town grew at an astonishing rate, being forced to push the city limits out four times in 24 years. An unfortunate result of this growth was a rash of fires in the hastily constructed buildings. Seven times in 38 years, fire ravaged the area. But the town marched on, encouraging growth in industry and seeing three railroad lines put track through town. Richmond was always a progressive city, with street lamps coming in 1874, and the bringing of the second telephone system in Kentucky in 1879. A public water plant opened in 1891 and electricity arrived right before the turn of the century, in 1899.
Today, our city is the fastest growing city in Kentucky, having a population of well over 22,000. The average yearly temperature of 55 degrees is as pleasant as the moderate rainfall of about 45 inches a year. Our Main Street was revitalized in 1992 which widened the street, buried all utility lines and put historic street lamps and traffic signals in place. This resulted in a surge in business development and a stronger sense of civic pride. We also have a new section the old by-pass which will increase the ease of getting around town as well as create growth of businesses and area housing. I-75 will soon be three lanes all the way from Berea to past lexington.
Richmond has an ideal location in central Kentucky on I-75 within driving distance of many major cities, including Cincinnati, Ohio and Louisville, Kentucky. Kentucky Route 52 and 1295, and US Highways 25 and 421 all converge in Richmond, making it a central location on shipping routes. Also attractive for shipping is the CSX rail line running through town, and the 34 motor carriers which serve the area. For air travel, the town is served locally by Madison Airport, which offers a 4,000 ft. runway and charter services to larger commercial airports. For commercial service, Kentucky's Bluegrass International Airport, in Lexington, is a short 29 mile drive north. Louisville and Cincinnati are also within a comfortable driving distance.
Richmond is fortunate to have the 11th largest planetarium in the United States, located on the campus of Eastern Kentucky University. The Hummel Planetarium and Space theater is open to the public. And to get back to nature of a more humane scale, Lake Reba Recreational Complex offers nature and walking trails, baseball and soccer fields, and archery range, and volleyball courts on the shores of a 75 acre lake. The lake is open to both fishing and boating. Other parks in the area include Camp Catalpa, on US 52E, E. C. Million Memorial Park, on Tate's Creek Road, and Irvine McDowell Park, on Lancaster Avenue.
For this whose idea of back to nature is a manicured green and some challenging water hazards, Richmond has six golf courses to choose from. The Gibson Bay Golf Course and Driving Range is a Par 72 public course with a full service pro shop and cafe. The Bull, located down by the Kentucky River, towards Lexington, is a brand new course with all the extras available. Bluegrass Army Depot has a lovely 9-hole course and pro shop. Madison Country Club has a private 9 hole course and Arlington Country Club, by membership only, is an 18 hole course with a pro shop. The Battlefield Golf Course is soon to be completed also.
We also have many historic sites to visit including a Battle of Richmond Driving Tour, Fort Boonesborough State Park and White Hall State Historic Site. The Richmond Area Arts Center offers a more modern look at culture, with art displays, music workshops and concerts.
The EKU Colonels have been National Champions and have a long tradition as a contending division 1 AA football team. And just 30 minutes north on I-75, you can go see the UK Wildcats play in Lexington. You can also enjoy semi-pro indoor football and baseball as well as some of the best polo events in the country in Lexington.