Ashland, the largest city in Boyd County and eastern Kentucky, is on the Ohio River near its confluence with the Big Sandy River, about 200 miles east of Louisville. It forms a metro area with Huntingdon, West Virginia, to which it is connected by an Interstate Highway bridge.
Significant settlement of the area began after the Battle of Fallen Timbers removed the immediate threat of Indian attacks. At first, the community was called Poages Settlement and later Pollards Mill. The first church was built by the Presbyterians in 1819. The Pollards Mill post office opened in 1847 and the settlement was renamed Ashland in 1850, after the home of Henry Clay. In 1854, the present town was laid out by the Kentucky Iron, Coal, and Manufacturing Company. In the center is Central Park, covering 52 acres, where prehistoric Indian mounds have been discovered. Ashland was incorporated as a village in 1858 and as a city in 1870.
The first railroad connection for Ashland was a ten-mile line connecting it to Princess. Ashland was at one time the busiest station on the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad. Ashland Oil, Inc., the largest corporation headquartered in Kentucky, was started in 1924 at a small refinery at Leach Station, south of Ashland in nearby Catlettsburg, the county seat of Boyd County.
Highlands Museum and Discovery Center offers avenues of discovery to children and adults. Another museum of local history is Lawrence County Historical Museum, across the Ohio River in Ironton, Ohio. Ashland is the home of the Ashland Community and Technical College, which was formerly two separate institutions. Morehead State University at Ashland shares the same campus. King's Daughters Hospital has grown into King's Daughters Medical Center, the largest employer in Ashland. The Bon Secours Health System operates Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital.