Welcome to Our Little River Town
Founded in 1797, Vanceburg is named for a cofounder of the city, William Vance. Joseph Baird and William Vance received land rights and divided the area into parcels for sale. While Baird was the header of the project, the two agreed that a coin toss would settle who the town would be named after. Baird won the toss and the name “Bairdstown” was decided upon. However, the two soon decided that “Bairdstown” too closely resembled the already established city of Bardstown, Kentucky. After reaching this conclusion the pair settled on the name "Vanceburg".
The city and surrounding area originally thrived on salt productions and mines located along and in Salt Lick Creek, which flows through the city and inland through much of the heart of the county.
Vanceburg was once a thriving production city, with a small train station and a bustling downtown area. In 1937 the city was flooded, as were many cities along the river, which crested at 75 feet (23 m). A crest mark could once be found marked on the old Lock and Dam building west of Vanceburg on KY 8 but is no longer visible. During the flood all of downtown Vanceburg was under water. As a result, 1st Street of Vanceburg was washed into the river. The section of bank on which the homes and businesses once sat slid into the raging stream. Now, one will notice that there is no "1st Street" in the city, only "Front Street". The city streets were renamed according to their order back from Front Street. Front Street now is the nearest street to the river and sits nearly directly on the river bank.
Vanceburg is a home rule-class city in Lewis County, Kentucky, United States, along the Ohio River. The population was 1,428 at the 2020 census. It is the county seat of Lewis County. Vanceburg is located in northern Lewis County on the south bank of the Ohio River. Kentucky Route 9/10, the AA Highway, runs through the southern part of the city, leading west 16 miles to Tollesboro.
To the east KY 10 and the Greenup spur of the AA Highway lead east 29 miles to the Ohio River at the Jesse Stuart Memorial Bridge near Lloyd, while KY 9 and the Grayson spur of the AA Highway lead southeast 30 miles to Interstate 64 at Grayson. Kentucky Route 8 also runs through Vanceburg, closer to the center of town. It leads northwest (downstream) along the Ohio River 13 miles Concord and east (upstream) 9 miles to Garrison.
According to the United States Census Bureau, Vanceburg has a total area of 1.2 square miles, of which 0.04 square miles.