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Cynthiana History

In a fast-moving, ever-evolving global community, some places are destined never to be a destination, the subject of exploration, or even a gasoline stop. Cynthiana, Kentucky, is not one of those places.


For all who love it and those who have called it home, this city of about 6,200 people is one of those "good to grow up in" places, full of faces, spaces, and seemingly ordinary times that, in hindsight and in Cynthiana, truly matter.


There are ground breaking dates, like December 10, 1793, when Cynthiana was chartered as a town, followed 11 days later by the formation of Harrison County by the state's general assembly. There are the downtown businesses locals still treasure-Biancke's Restaurant, which opened in 1894 and fills its walls today with photographs from the city's past-and the ones long-loved but now gone, like M. Goldberg and Sons clothing store~Excerpt from  Images of America: Cynthiana Written by M. Britt Kennerly

 Historical Points of Interest 

"Since Cynthiana's founding along the South Fork of the Licking River in the late 1700s, its residents have exemplified the pioneering spirit befitting the 'Maiden City' of Harrison County. This county seat claims an exciting spot in Central Kentucky history and a colorful timeline dotted by events, including two Civil War battles, the city's early growth as an agricultural and marketing center, and later, its role as the industrial heart of the county." -Images of America: Cynthiana


Chartered as the county seat of Harrison County on December 10, 1793 and built on the land of early settler Robert Harrison, Cynthiana was named for Harrison's daughters Cynthia and Anna. During the Civil War, John Hunt Morgan led confederate troops in two battles, one in 1862 and another in 1864. Historical Marker #2312 commemorates the battles Morgan fought and the bridge leading into the South Main Street district is named after him.


The city, listed as a historic district in the National Register of Historic Places, has the second-largest collection of buildings with mid 19th century cast iron storefronts in Kentucky. Many of these outstanding examples of Federal-style architecture have survived from the community's earliest years and are in the process of restoration


The Cynthiana-Harrison County Museum was established in 1994 and is housed in the original Rohs Theator, a historic theater in Cynthiana. Its displays document Cynthiana and Harrison County’s history of education, military, agriculture, industry, religion, and personal services through more than 2600 tangible artifacts. A pre-1900’s scale model of the SW portion of the city is on display as well as other scale models of important locations throughout the museum.


The current Rohs Opera House (pronounced ROSS) opened in 1941. It was originally built in 1871 as Aeolian Hall, a live production theatre located on the second floor. A silent movie projector was eventually added to bring "movies" to Cynthiana. In 1941. The "new" Rohs Opera House was added to the building by H. A. Rohs and his son Karle.



History in Pictures

Below you will find a list of dates ranging from the 1800's to present day.


Click on photos to view the entire album.

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