Where to Stay
The Governor’s Inn Bed & Breakfast
What to do
Explore the deep history of downtown Catlettsburg and enjoy period correct buildings and fixtures.
Catlettsburg, the seat of Boyd County, is located southeast of Ashland on U.S. 23 and U.S. 60, at the confluence of the Ohio and Big Sandy rivers in northeastern Kentucky. The city was named for early settlers Alexander Catlett and his son Horatio, who arrived from Virginia in 1798. The town grew up around Horatio Catlett’s tavern, which existed from 1808 to 1833. Because of its river location, the city became an active trading post and a steamboat landing, known as the Mouth of Sandy. The town was laid out by James Wilson Fry in 1849 and incorporated on February 11, 1858. Two years later it became the seat of newly organized Boyd County . The limestone courthouse is of Beaux Arts design. Catlettsburg thrived during the steamboat era as the timber industry prospered and many related businesses moved in. Wharves were built along the shore for loading boats. The timber industry started around 1840 and peaked around 1900, when the city was one of the largest hardwood timber markets in the world. Virgin timber from eastern Kentucky was logged, pulled by oxen to creeks, and floated to the Big Sandy River and on to the Ohio in giant timber rafts. Of the several hotels, the Alger House (1879) was regarded as the finest. A race track (1890) and the Morse Opera House (1878) provided recreation for the influx of people. Front Street had twenty-one saloons and a restaurant. Rail transportation began with the arrival of the Big Sandy Valley Railroad in 1873; the Chatteroi Railway Company in 1879; and the Elizabethtown, Lexington & Big Sandy Valley Railway Company in 1879. The Chesapeake & Ohio, which arrived in 1911, tore down many city landmarks after it acquired right of way in 1929. Streetcars came in 1894, and the Interstate Camden Railway appeared in 1903. A fire on July 22, 1878, destroyed several of the businesses and homes in downtown Catlettsburg, at a cost of $300,000. Other fires, in 1884, 1919, and 1932, destroyed many businesses. Major floods occurred in 1884, 1913, 1937, and 1948. During the Civil War, Gen. James A. Garfield with the Union 42d Division located briefly in Catlettsburg in December 1861. In 1902 a U.S. district court was established there and the federal courthouse was built in 1911. Federal court was held there until 1985, when it was moved to Ashland. Two U.S. senators, George Brown Martin (1918-19) and Ben Mitchell Williamson (1930-31); and one U.S. representative, Laban Theodore Moore (1859-61), lived for a time in the city. Mary Eliott Flanery , first woman legislator in Kentucky (1922-23), also lived there. The city is on an Amtrak route and is one of the few Kentucky cities with an active rail passenger depot.
Enjoy some friendly competition together at Malibu Jack’s Indoor Theme Park! Malibu Jack’s is Kentucky’s best all indoor family fun park! Enjoy go karts, laser tag, miniature golf, arcade games, food, and more!
The Highland Discovery Center
History and heritage along with energy and excitement come together on the Country Music Highway at the Highlands Museum & Discovery Center. From 6 months to 96 years old, visitors find activity and information that puts the past in perspective and moves the present into the future.
During your visit you’ll step into a nineteenth century classroom and become a student of the 1870’s. Enter a medical world when late night house calls were made on horseback and payment was in chickens. Immerse yourself in the culture of Eastern Kentucky music and visit the Cyrus and Judd families. Create your own music on our Karaoke Korner stage or at Music Quilt, an interactive sound sculpture. Salute those who served during the wars of the twentieth century and see Hitler’s last telephone.
The Discovery Center boasts many areas of interactive exploration, including a special play place for toddlers and a flight simulation station for pilots of all ages. Walk into the Ohio River town of Poage’s Landing and navigate Little Joe, an actual towboat. Role play in the streetscape of a river community. Learn about the natural world around you in the tree house exhibit or rest awhile on the front porch and enjoy games, a puzzle garden and a puppet doghouse.
Armco War Memorial
“Let us not forget those missing in action and prisoners of war.” – A somber memorial honoring the men and women of Boyd County, KY who lost their lives in World War 1, World War 2, Korea, and Vietnam. Featuring a large memorial, a canon, and tank destroyer. Originally erected in 1992 and meticulously maintained to this day.
Central Park Adena Mounds
Ranging from four to six feet tall, these prehistoric Native American burial mounds are arranged in a slightly curved line. They were first documented in 1932. The mounds were created by a group of prehistoric Native American people named the Adena Culture. The Adena Culture, commonly called “the mound-builders”, thrived in the region from 800 B.C. to around 100 A.D. They lived in small villages, grew crops, hunted, made pottery, traded goods with other Native Americans, and built sometimes large and intricate mounds and earthworks.
What to eat
Located in the historic Camayo Arcade, Ashland’s Jim’s Hotdogs and Spaghetti is a small diner with lots of down home charm. The small hot dog joint also prides itself on its spicy meat sauce and some of the best coleslaw in town. It has been in existence for 42 years.
Crisp’s Dairy Treat
Celebrating 62 years this restaurant is still run by one of its original founders, Raymond Crisp, and his son Duane. The restaurant has established a large following for its classic roadside hot dogs, hamburgers, homemade onion rings and frozen desserts.
Family Friend Trip