HISTORY OF MOUNT WASHINGTON
There were only a few hundred adventurous settlers in all of Kentucky in 1776. But by the 1800’s, settlements were popping up everywhere, partly enhanced by the many land grants given by the government to pay former Revolutionary War soldiers. David Leach/Leitch (of Leitchfield, KY. fame) was one of those. His land grant of 1,400 hundred acres included the land that would become known as The City of Mount Washington. Local historian and author Bobby Darnell says in his “Mt. Washington Images of America” book, pioneers traveling on the Wilderness Road, who veered off the path near McCulloughs Run on Salt River, looking for a more direct route to Louisville, there subsequently ventured through a small borough called Hell’s Kitchen. A fur trader catered to rough characters who came into contact with him.
As more and more settlers came to Kentucky, horse paths became roads. Two of those roads developed from Bardstown to Louisville and from Shepherdsville to Shelbyville. Those two roads crossed near Hell’s Kitchen and the resulting community became known as “The Crossroads.” Today, of course, those crossing roads are the Bardstown/Louisville Road (US Highway 31E) and Kentucky Highway 44.
The earliest known name of Mount Washington was “The Crossroads” because of its location around the intersection of Highway 31E and Highway 44. The Crossroads name was later changed to Mt. Vernon, but when a post office was applied for, it was discovered there was already a city in Kentucky with that name, and consequently, Mount Washington was the name accepted.
Mount Washington was incorporated in 1833 and at that time, contained 3 churches, 2 schools, 6 stores, and groceries, 5 doctors, 2 taverns, and 12 mechanical trades. The population at that time was approximately 700 people as pointed out in the printing of the History of Kentucky in 1847 by Lewis Collins.
Today, Mount Washington is a vibrant and thriving city of well over 14,000 people. Mount Washington recently received recognition as one of the safest communities for children and families in Kentucky. The town’s Bullitt East High School was named a “school of distinction,” ranked in the top 10 performing schools in Kentucky. Volunteer organizations such as the Lions and Lioness clubs, sponsor both the fall and spring town festivals, and help lead the way to a successful community. Active organizations, top notch schools, forward-looking city government leadership and a devoted group of citizens who respect our towns history bodes well for a bright future for the City of Mount Washington.