Catlettsburg is a city in Boyd County, Kentucky, United States and is the county seat of Boyd County. The city population was 1,960 at the 2000 census. The city's postal ZIP code serves a greater population of 10,029, which is a better reflection of the community's size. Catlettsburg is a part of the Huntington-Ashland, WV-KY-OH, Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). As of the 2000 census, the MSA had a population of 288,649. Since the early 1990s, the commercial sector has grown due to its proximity to Interstate 64 and its location along U.S. Route 23 and 60, both major regional arteries which overlap in Catlettsburg and travel into the city of Ashland to the north. Many commercial developments have developed on the south side along these routes. Pauline S. Hunt is the current mayor. Elected in 2008, Hunt previously served as city treasurer from 1974–2008 and served as City Clerk/Treasurer for the last 16 years of her tenure.
Catlettsburg's history begins in the decades directly following the American Revolution. The American frontier was pushing westward, and many frontiersman passed through there on their western trek along the Ohio River. A United States Post Office was first opened there in 1808 as Mouth of Sandy, Va. In 1849, civil engineer James Fry, was commissioned to lay out the original town of Catlettsburg(the area from 24th to 26th streets, and from the former Front to present-day Walnut Streets). The lots were quickly sold, and the community was named after brothers Horatio and Alexander "Sawny" Catlett. They first settled here in in 1811 and resided at the location for at least 26 years. After establishing this settlement, the Catlett's operated a combination business here that consisted of a tavern, post office, trading post, and inn, all out of a log structure they built from virgin timber in 1811. Due to it's location along the route of the American frontier, the Catlett's provided hospitality to such notable patrons as General Stonewall Jackson, Henry Clay, Felix Grundy and future U.S. President James Garfield. Catering to the ever growing river traffic, the Catlett business flourished and the present day town grew up around it. Unbelievably, the Catlett home built in 1811 is still standing two hundred years later, and has long been used as the "servants quarters" of Beechmoor Place, a large home located on Walnut Street(U.S. Routes 23 and 60). C.W. Culver bought the property in 1869 from the Catlett heirs and built a large home of the Georgian style on the right of the the Catletts' original dwelling. In 1868, Col. Laban T. Moore bought the estate from C.W. Culver for $10,000($171,000 in 2011). Col. Moore was noted as a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives and also had previously served as a captain in the Kentucky Volunteer Infantry. He named his home Beechmoor, a derivation of his surname and that of a magnificent beech that stood on the fertile grounds at the time. Ownership of Beechmoor has remained in the Moore family since 1868. Beechmoor's eastern wing, being 200 years old and built by the Catlett's, is cited as the oldest known building in a 300 mile radius. Built of Kentucky's virgin Hemlock Maple(now virtually extinct), the exterior walls are between 9 and 12 inches thick. The main portion has a stone foundation, and is held up by the same virgin timber, each 64 feet (20 m) in diameter, and running the entire 42-foot (13 m) width of the house. Beechmoor's last full-time resident, Rebecca Patton, Col. L.T. Moore's granddaughter, was always dedicated to Beechmoor's preservation during her lifetime. In 1973, she had her lifelong home listed on the National Registry of Historic Places and made provisions to ensure the home would be maintained in the event of her demise. She died in 1986. Since then, it's been maintained by proceeds from a trust fund and rental property income. A paid caretaker lives on the property full time as of 2011. Several attempts have been made by local civic groups to acquire the property as a museum or civic use property due to its historical significance to the area but have not been successful as of this timen due to the family of Miss Patton's desire to retain ownership. The Catlett name is still used on a tributary to the Ohio River, Catlett's Creek, which follows Kentucky Route 168 for many miles west of the city. Catlettsburg annexed two nearby communities on its borders in the late 19th Century: Hampton City to the south side and Sandy City to the north.
The spelling of the city's name was changed to Catlettsburg from the previous spelling of Catlett's Burg in approximately 1890, as the United States Post Office sought to improve postage delivery service by simplifying operations with the combined name.