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KSR County Spotlight: There’s Nothing Quite Like Pike County!


Welcome back folks.  It’s been a while since we visited our last county, and it was a pretty long drive from Western Kentucky.  But we fought through it and have officially landed in Pike County.  Let’s take a look …


Photo courtesy of Wiki


On our furthest eastern tip is Pike County, founded in 1821.  Pike is the largest Kentucky county when we’re talking land area, at 788 square miles.  Pike County is named for Zebulon Montgomery Pike, or Zebby, as I just made up but would probably have called him.  Zeb was born during the Revolutionary War and led many expeditions into the west, scouting and documenting parts of the Louisiana territory.  Eventually he made it far enough west to discover the aptly named Pike’s Peak in Colorado.  In addition to our Pike County (which is better than all the rest), there are 9 other states with counties named after Zeb M. Pike, a fort, a National Forest, a ship, and a dam in Iowa where you can ask all the Pike dam questions you’d like.


Pikes Peak, Where Beautiful Women Instinctively Flock Like The Salmon of Capistrano.

Pikes’ Peak, Where Beautiful Women Instinctively Flock Like The Salmon of Capistrano.


As Kevin Costner and the History Channel (who actually did something history related for a change) showed us last year, one of the draws to Pike County relates to the famed feud between the Hatfields and McCoys.  As you’d expect most Kentucky/West Virginia feuds to start, this one started over a hog.  Floyd Hatfield (West Virgina ) said it was his while Randolph McCoy (Kentucky) said it was his.  This led to a court battle where a relative of both families sided with the Hatfields, and was subsequently killed by two McCoy brothers after the verdict.  I won’t go into further details but let’s just say this fight has it all.  There’s star crossed lovers, bar fights and countless murders.  At one point, even the US Supreme Court became involved.  While this feud took place all over the KY/WV/VA border, McCoy patriarch Randolph is buried in the Dils Cemetery in Pikeville.  There are numerous tours both guided and otherwise that you can take while in Pikeville that will fill you in on the history as well as current, less murder-y developments.


The lengths people will go for bacon.

The lengths people will go for bacon.


Did someone say Pikeville?!?  Yip, I did.  Welcome to Pikeville everyone!  Grab yourself a seat and I’ll try to get this over so you all can meet Matt and Drew at Prohibition’s Ladies Night.  All 3 of ya.  Anyways, Pikeville is the county seat of Pike County, with a population of just around 7,000, or around 8,800 if you count Coal Run Village.  Originally named Pike, then Piketon, Pikeville was established in 1824.  Located in the Appalachian Mountains along the Big Sandy River, Pikeville is the site of one of the Western Hemisphere’s  largest ‘rock cuts’ creating space for a four-lane highway and a railroad line by moving nearly as much soil and rock as the Big Dig in Boston. Since the 1990s, Pikeville’s economy has exploded starting with the May Tower addition of the giant Pikeville Medical Center in 1998.  This was followed by an 11-story clinic in 2014, reiterating the hospital’s National Hospital of the Year award won 3 years in a row from 2009-2011.  Add on a new Coal Building at U. Pikeville and the Eastern Kentucky Exposition Center and The City that moves Mountains will need to move more here soon!


A flying bird's worst nightmare ....

A flying bird’s worst nightmare ….


Of course we can’t talk about Pikeville without mentioning everyone’s favorite event (right Nerlens?) Hillbilly Days!  Dating all the way back to 1977, Hillbilly Days is an annual fundraiser benefiting Shriner’s Children’s Hospital here in Lexington.  Drawing in over 100,000 people each year, this festival is 3 days worth of parades, food and fun!  There’s a carnival complete with a ferris wheel, Tilt-A-Whirl and me getting nauseous on the Sizzler.  Tons of food and drink vendors, with me eating funnel cakes and deep fried Oreos which I shouldn’t have before riding the Sizzler.  Fireworks, contests, car shows, everything.  If you weren’t able to make it down this April, I highly suggest you make your way over there next April just after the Cats win #9.


After 3 days of eating there, those underwear will fit you.

After 3 days of eating here, those underwear will fit you.


And there we are, another county down.  Let’s grab us some chicken and dumplings at Landmark and hit the hay.  We’ll be heading a little further south on our next stop on the county tour, Monroe County!


Remember if you want your county’s favorite hole-in-the-wall restaurant, or cool town event featured, hit me up at [email protected] and we’ll get on here!

Article written by Corey James

7 Comments for KSR County Spotlight: There’s Nothing Quite Like Pike County!

  1. tim
    6:28 pm July 16, 2014 Permalink

    I cant think of anywhere that would/could be worse to live then eastern ky. a complete shiathole. now having said that, there are a lot of people from there that i have met who are very nice. Im so thankful my dad moved to cincy area 75 years ago to work.

    • Gowcats
      8:08 pm July 16, 2014 Permalink

      Tim, thanks for your opinion. Sure, you don’t have a high opinion of the area, but telling all the nice people you have met from the area they live in a shiathole isn’t very uplifting. Think before you type, or keep some of these comments off a public forum please.

      8:12 pm July 16, 2014 Permalink


  2. EandyB
    7:49 pm July 16, 2014 Permalink

    Corey – Women flock “like the salmon of Capistrano?” I don’t know whether that analogy was dumb or dumber. Not everyone is into sucky movies that swallow.

  3. Rudge Runner
    7:55 pm July 16, 2014 Permalink

    Is it possible to get links to previous counties that have been spot lighted or a location where each county is listed?
    Thx & enjoy the write ups!

    • Ridge Runner
      7:57 pm July 16, 2014 Permalink

      oops… one would think as long as I have been on KSR, I would type my own username correctly. umm-umm.

      Above should have been from R-I-dge Runner… look over me and my typing skills.

    • JackB
      11:51 am July 18, 2014 Permalink

      Type “County Spotlight” in the search function on the right side of the page. Looks like this one makes 9.