Pikeville is a city located in Pike County, Kentucky, USA. The history of Pikeville is closely tied to the development of eastern Kentucky and the Appalachian region. Here is an overview of Pikeville's history:
Early Settlement: Pikeville was settled in the early 19th century, and its growth was influenced by the presence of the Big Sandy River and the surrounding mountains, which provided natural resources and transportation routes. The town was initially known as "Pike" after the Pike County in which it is located.
Naming and Incorporation: Pikeville was formally established in 1824 and named after Zebulon Pike, an explorer and military officer. The town was officially incorporated in 1848.
Civil War Influence: During the American Civil War, Pikeville was a strategic location due to its position along the border between Union and Confederate territories. The town changed hands several times during the conflict, experiencing both Union and Confederate occupations.
Post-Civil War Era: After the Civil War, Pikeville experienced a period of reconstruction and growth. The town became a center for trade, education, and cultural activities in eastern Kentucky.
Railroads and Economic Development: The arrival of the railroad in the late 19th century contributed significantly to Pikeville's economic development by facilitating transportation of coal and timber from the surrounding mountains. The coal industry became a major economic driver in the region, and Pikeville played a central role as a hub for mining activities.
Flood of 1977: In 1977, Pikeville faced a devastating flood that resulted from heavy rainfall and the failure of the Big Sandy River's floodwalls. The flood caused widespread damage but also spurred efforts to improve the city's flood control infrastructure.
Educational Institutions: Pikeville is home to the University of Pikeville, a private university that has played a key role in the educational and cultural life of the region.
Modern Developments: In recent years, Pikeville has undergone revitalization efforts, including downtown redevelopment projects, aimed at enhancing the city's infrastructure and promoting economic growth.
Pikeville continues to be an important center in eastern Kentucky, serving as a hub for commerce, education, and healthcare in the region. The city's history reflects the challenges and triumphs of the Appalachian area over the years.
Top Tourist Attractions
The city offers a variety of attractions that showcase the natural beauty, history, and culture of the region. While Pikeville might not be as widely known as some other tourist destinations, it has unique offerings that make it appealing to visitors. Here are some top tourist attractions in Pikeville:
- Pikeville Cut-Through Project: The Pikeville Cut-Through Project is a remarkable engineering feat where a massive slice was cut through a mountain to reroute the Levisa Fork of the Big Sandy River. This project aimed to prevent flooding in the city. The overlook at Bob Amos Park provides a great vantage point to view the cut-through and learn about its history.
- University of Pikeville: The University of Pikeville is not only an educational institution but also a hub for cultural events and activities. Visitors can explore the campus, attend events, and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of this private university.
- Eastern Kentucky Exposition Center: The Eastern Kentucky Exposition Center hosts various events, including concerts, trade shows, and sports competitions. Check the event calendar to see if there's anything happening during your visit.
- Pike County Historical Society and Museum: Learn about the history of Pikeville and Pike County at the local historical society and museum. Exhibits showcase the area's heritage, including its role in the Civil War and the development of the coal industry.
- Hillbilly Days Festival: If you visit Pikeville in April, don't miss the Hillbilly Days Festival. This annual event celebrates Appalachian culture with live music, food, arts and crafts, and a lively parade. It's one of the largest festivals in Kentucky.
- Bob Amos Park: Bob Amos Park offers recreational facilities, walking trails, and green spaces. It's a great place for outdoor activities, and the overlook provides stunning views of Pikeville and the surrounding mountains.
- Dils Cemetery: Dils Cemetery is a historic cemetery in Pikeville with graves dating back to the 1800s. The cemetery is the final resting place for many prominent figures from the region's history.
- Pikeville City Park: Pikeville City Park is a popular spot for outdoor recreation, featuring playgrounds, walking trails, and picnic areas. The park often hosts community events and festivals.
While Pikeville may not have the same level of tourism infrastructure as larger cities, its attractions offer a genuine Appalachian experience and a chance to explore the rich history and natural beauty of eastern Kentucky.
The city experiences a humid subtropical climate with distinct seasons. Here's an overview of the climate in Pikeville:
- Summer (June to August): Summers in Pikeville are warm and humid. Average high temperatures range from the mid-80s to low 90s Fahrenheit (29-35°C). Summer is the wettest season, with occasional thunderstorms bringing rainfall.
- Fall (September to November): Fall brings cooler temperatures, and the humidity starts to decrease. Average highs in the fall range from the mid-60s to mid-70s Fahrenheit (18-24°C). Fall foliage in the surrounding Appalachian Mountains can be particularly beautiful.
- Winter (December to February): Winters in Pikeville can be cold, but the temperatures are generally milder compared to more northern states. Average highs range from the mid-30s to mid-40s Fahrenheit (2-7°C). Snowfall is common, but the amounts are usually moderate.
- Spring (March to May): Spring is a transitional season with increasing temperatures. Average highs in the spring range from the mid-50s to mid-70s Fahrenheit (13-24°C). Spring is a popular time to visit as the landscape becomes lush and colorful with blooming flowers and trees.
It's important to note that climate conditions can vary from year to year, and extremes, such as heatwaves or cold snaps, can occur. Additionally, Pikeville's location in the Appalachian region contributes to its diverse and scenic landscapes. Visitors should be prepared for a range of weather conditions, especially if exploring outdoor attractions or attending events throughout the year.
The city is situated in the eastern part of the state within the Appalachian region. Here are some key aspects of Pikeville's geography:
- Topography: Pikeville is surrounded by the rugged and picturesque terrain of the Appalachian Mountains. The landscape features hills, valleys, and forested areas characteristic of the Appalachian region.
- Levisa Fork of the Big Sandy River: The city is positioned along the banks of the Levisa Fork of the Big Sandy River. This river flows through the region and has played a historical role in transportation and industry.
- Pikeville Cut-Through: One of the notable features of Pikeville's geography is the Pikeville Cut-Through Project. This engineering project involved cutting through a mountain to reroute the Levisa Fork, which helped control flooding in the area. The result is a striking landscape with a visible slice through the mountain.
- Appalachian Mountains: Pikeville is located within the broader Appalachian mountain range, which extends from the southern United States to northeastern Canada. The Appalachian Mountains are known for their biodiversity, natural beauty, and cultural significance.
- Pikeville City Park: Pikeville City Park is a recreational area in the city that takes advantage of the local geography. It offers walking trails, green spaces, and facilities for outdoor activities.
- Coal Mining Heritage: The geography of Pikeville has contributed to the historical importance of coal mining in the region. The surrounding mountains contain valuable coal deposits, and Pikeville became a central hub for the coal industry.
- Eastern Kentucky Exposition Center: The Eastern Kentucky Exposition Center is a prominent facility in Pikeville, and its location is influenced by the city's geography. It serves as a venue for events, concerts, and sports activities.
- Transportation: The geography of the region, with its mountains and rivers, has influenced transportation routes. Highways and roads wind through the Appalachian landscape, connecting Pikeville to other parts of Kentucky and neighboring states.
Pikeville's geography plays a significant role in shaping its history, culture, and economy. The natural beauty of the Appalachian Mountains, combined with the engineering achievements such as the Pikeville Cut-Through, contributes to the city's unique character.