Danville was established on December 4, 1787, by the Virginia legislature. Before recognition from Virginia, Danville and the area had already become home to numerous settlers, being in the original Great Settlement Area around Harrod's Fort (now Harrodsburg), which was first settled in 1774. It was named in honor of Walker Daniel, who purchased the original site of the settlement from John Crow, another settler. Walker served as the first attorney general of the Kentucky District Supreme Court.
Danville became a part of the Commonwealth when Kentucky became a state in 1792, and was the capital of Kentucky when it was a district of Virginia. In 1842, Danville became the seat of Boyle County, which was formed primarily from southern Mercer County and northern Lincoln County.
Danville is called the "Birthplace of the Bluegrass" because the state's Constitutional Convention was held at what is now known as Constitution Square in 1792, when Kentucky's first Constitution was signed.
It is also known as the "City of Firsts" for many reasons. It housed the first courthouse in Kentucky, had the first post office and first college campus built west of the Allegheny Mountains, is home of the first state-supported school for the deaf and more.
More than 10 public schools and 2 private schools offer education to local students. These include Mary G. Hogsett Elementary, Jennie Rogers Elementary, Edna L. Toliver Elementary, Bate Middle School and Danville High School.
Local colleges and universities include the Bluegrass Community and Technical College, Centre College of Kentucky, Eastern Kentucky University - Danville Campus, Midway College - Danville Campus and the National College - Danville Campus.
Hospital and medical centers in and near Danville include the Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center, Fort Logan Hospital, James B. Haggin Memorial Hospital and the Garrard County Memorial Hospital.
Herrington Lake is 3,500-acre lake where anglers can fish for crappie, catfish, perch, bluegill, white bass, smallmouth & largemouth bass. The lake is also the home of the Gwinn Island Resort & Marina. It offers cabin rentals, boat & waverunner rentals, boat slip rentals, bait & fishing supplies, a grocery store, swimming pool and a deli.
Old Bridge Golf Course is an 18-hole course with driving range, practice green, grill, snack bar and cart rental. The rolling terrain and water hazards provide a challenge to suit players of any skill level.
The Central Kentucky Wildlife Refuge is a 500-acre preserve bordering the North Rolling Fork. There are a wide variety of birds to spot, 5 hiking trails, and of course animals that roam freely along these ridges. Hundreds of different wildflowers grow in profusion here as well.
Ponderosa Speedway hosts dirt track racing every weekend from April through September. There are many special events in which anyone can enter to compete for large prizes.
Historical attractions include the site of one of the fiercest battles of the Civil War at Perryville and the home of Dr. Ephraim McDowell, a physician who performed the world's first successful abdominal surgery. You can also shop at Penn's Store, reported to be the oldest country store in America still in operation by the same family.
The more artfully inclined will enjoy the Norton Center for the Arts. The Community Arts Center, in downtown Danville, is in a historic beaux arts building, and is the hub for area artist activity. The center contains ever-changing regional art displays in various galleries, working studios of local artists and diverse arts programming from dance to music to painting and more.
Public parks in the Danville-Boyle County area provide baseball fields, tennis courts and playground equipment. The Parks and Recreation Sport and Fitness Center offers 2 racquetball courts, machine weights, free weights and cardiovascular equipment. Step and aerobic classes are available for any fitness level. You'll find disc golf at the Henry Jackson Park which has a 9-hole par 30 regulation disc golf course with amateur and professional tees. At Millennium Park is a new 10,000 sq ft skateboard park for skateboarders, in-line skaters, bikers and remote car owners. Other nearby parks include Cowan Street Park, Danville-Boyle Millennium Park and Junction City Park.