Gilbertsville, Kentucky

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Gilbertsville is census-designated place and unincorporated community in Marshall County, Kentucky, United States. Its elevation is 351 feet (107 m), and it is located at 37°1′28″N 88°17′59″W / 37.02444°N 88.29972°W / 37.02444; -88.29972 (37.0245003, -88.2997557).[1] It is known as the closest village to Kentucky Dam. The town was relocated to its present site when Kentucky Dam and Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park replaced the former site.


Old Gilbertsville[edit]

The original town of Gilbertsville was founded in 1871 near the Tennessee River as "Clear Pond," named for a nearby lake. In 1874 it was incorporated and renamed "Gilbertsville" in honor of Jesse C. Gilbert, who served as a Kentucky state senator from 1871 to 1875.[2] The town grew to include a bank, several stores, a jail, and a school teaching grades 1-12. It had a population of approximately 300 in 1930.[3] The village thrived because besides the fertile bottomland, it afforded the combination of river access for transportation and fishing, and railroad transportation via the Illinois Central railroad.[4]

Modern Gilbertsville[edit]

The construction of Kentucky Dam (1938–1944) meant the end for old Gilbertsville. The town was moved to its present site, initially called "West Gilbertsville," with the geographic coordinates given above, by the time Kentucky Lake was impounded in the early 1940s.[3] A notable event in the town's history was the dedication ceremony for Kentucky Dam on October 10, 1945, at which President Harry Truman gave the dedicatory speech.[5][6] Gilbertsville was a 6th class city from 1956 to 1976.[7] The town incorporated at its new site circa 1953. The town later abandoned its incorporated status in 1976 by a referendum. Before dissolving its charter, the town of 241 had a budget of $2,000 to $3,000 per year, which paid for a town marshal, street lights, and street repairs.[8][9] It has been the site, for several decades, of the 25-acre (100,000 m2) Kentucky Sheriff's Boys and Girls Ranch, which has provided a free week-long summer camp for children ages 8–11, with total attendance of 30,000 through 2008.[10] Tourism related to the dams and lakes created nearby by TVA has driven the economy of the town since the 1940s. The town has an airport, an 18-hole golf course, a large marina, and has been the site of bass fishing tournaments[11] and a car racing track.


The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Gilbertsville has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.[12]

Annual events[edit]


  • Arts and Crafts Festival—Every Memorial Day Weekend the festival is located at the Old Beach Area and features handcrafted items by artists from Kentucky and neighboring states.
  • Earth Day Celebration—Located at the Kentucky Dam Village Resort the festival features activities to celebrate Earth Day.


  1. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Gilbertsville, Kentucky
  2. ^ Rennick, Robert M. (1987). Kentucky Place Names. University Press of Kentucky. p. 115. ISBN 0813126312. Retrieved 2013-04-28.
  3. ^ a b "Marshall County," by Connie M. Huddleston, Carol Aldridge, and Virginia Smith, Arcadia Publishing, 2005, ISBN 978-0-7385-4284-3. Retrieved January 20, 2010.
  4. ^ [1]"Handbook of Kentucky," by Hubert Vreeland, Commissioner of Agriculture. Louisville, Kentucky: The Globe Printing Co., 1908. Page 537. Retrieved January 20, 2010.
  5. ^ [2] "Conflict and crisis: the presidency of Harry S. Truman, 1945-1948." by Robert J. Donovan, University of Missouri Press, 1996. ISBN 978-0-8262-1066-1. Page 119. Retrieved January 20, 2010.
  6. ^ [3]"Program for progress," St. Petersburg Times, October 11, 1945, page 4. Retrieved January 20, 2010
  7. ^ [4] "Kentucky Place Names," by Robert M. Rennick. The University Press of Kentucky, 1988, ISBN 978-0-8131-0179-8, Page 115. retrieved January 20, 2010.
  8. ^ [5]"Gilbertsville concerned about 2 questions," by Bill Bergstrom, Associated Press. In the Daily News (Bowling Green, Kentucky), June 1, 1976.
  9. ^ [6]"A still small voice." (Editorial). Kentucky New Era (Hopkinsville, Kentucky),May 28, 1976, page 21. Retrieved January 20, 2010.
  10. ^ [7]"Sheriffs' Ranch open for summer session; boys, girls 8-11 invited to participate." The Times Leader (Princeton, Kentucky), June 4, 2008. Retrieved January 20, 2010
  11. ^ [8]"On the ledge of success'" by Lynn Burkhead, August 13, 2008. Retrieved January 20, 2010
  12. ^ Climate Summary for Gilbertsville, Kentucky
  13. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-05-04. Retrieved 2014-05-06.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External links[edit]

  • [9] Kentucky Atlas and Gazetteer, showing present location of Gilbertsville.