Owensboro, Kentucky

Owensboro Business Signs

Owensboro is a city located in the northwest region of the present-day U.S. state of Kentucky.  Prior to incursions by those of European ancestry, this area had been inhabited by native peoples such as the Shawnee for thousands of years.  In 1797, the first European-descendant settled in the area which would eventually become Owensboro, Kentucky.  His name was William Smeathers or Smothers and he was a frontiersman.  His settlement was initially known as ‘Yellow Banks,’ after the color of the land beside the Ohio River.  The Lewis and Clark Expedition even wintered there.  However, by 1817, Yellow Banks was officially established under the name Owensborough, after Col. Abraham Owen, who fought in the Indian Wars.  In 1893, the city’s name was shortened to Owensboro, Kentucky.  The city was officially incorporated back in 1850.

Today, according to a 2016 estimate by the U.S. Census Bureau, the city of Owensboro, Kentucky has a total population of 59,273 people.  This makes it the fourth most populous city in the state of Kentucky.  Owensboro, Kentucky has the honor of serving as the county seat for Daviess County, Kentucky.  According to that same 2016 estimate, the Owensboro, Kentucky metropolitan area has a total population of 116,506 people.

Back in 2013, Owensboro, Kentucky was named an All-American City.  Additionally, Owensboro, Kentucky placed “fourth on Area Development’s Top 20 Southern Cities, with a 9th-place ranking for its ‘recession busting factors among the Top 25 Small Cities.”

While Owensboro, Kentucky has a long and proud manufacturing history, these days the city’s largest employers partake in diversified industries.  Indeed, according to Owensboro’s 2010 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the largest employer in the area is Owensboro Medical Health System Hospital, which is responsible for 4,125 local jobs.  Second on this list is U.S. Bank Home Mortgage, which employs 2,120 people.  Owensboro Public Schools comes in third, providing employment for 778 locals, while Specialty Food Groups comes in fourth, with 600 employees.

Otherwise, Owensboro, Kentucky is well known for its various festivals.  In fact, the city has often been referred to as the “BBQ Capital of the World” as it hosts the International Bar-B-Q Festival and Competition on an annual basis.  Additionally, Owensboro, Kentucky holds other festivals such as the Big O Music Fest (which is a large country music festival), the River of Music Party, Lanham Brothers Jamboree, Friday After 5, the Owensboro PumpkinFest, and the Men Who Cook – Celebrity Chefs Gala & Auction.

Elsewhere in the city of Owensboro, Kentucky is Temple Adath Israel, one of the oldest synagogue buildings still standing in the United States.  Temple Adath Israel, which was built in 1877 in the Late Victorian and Eclectic styles of architecture, is now listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.  Temple Adath Israel, according to Amy Hill Shevitz’s book Jewish Communities on the Ohio River: A History, also features “a Moorish Revival façade with a gothic-arched door flanked by a pair of gothic-arched windows punctuated by four pilasters.  These are surmounted with molded capitals and fanciful embellishments and the whole is topped by a whimsical row of four, small, onion domed turrets.”

Own a small business in and/or around the Owensboro, Kentucky area?  Have you, by any chance, considered embarking upon such an exhilarating experiment?  These resources listed below could help you should you decide to take up such a mantle:

Apply for a Business License in Owensboro, Kentucky:


Doing Business in Owensboro, Kentucky:


Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce:


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Georgetown, KY

Richard Maggard