Ashland is a home rule-class city in Boyd County, Kentucky, in the United States. Ashland, the largest city in Boyd County, is located upon a southern bank of the Ohio River. The population was 21,684 at the 2010 census. Ashland is the smaller of two primary cities in the Huntington-Ashland metropolitan area, which is referred to locally as the "Tri-State area" and had a population of 361,487 in 2017, while the Kentucky portion was home to 110,641 in 2017. Ashland serves as an important economic and medical center for northeastern Kentucky and is part of the fifth-largest metropolitan area in Kentucky.
Ashland dates back to the migration of the Poage family from the Shenandoah Valley via the Cumberland Gap in 1786. They erected a homestead along the Ohio River and named it Poage's Landing. Also called Poage Settlement, the community that developed around it remained an extended-family affair until the mid-19th century. In 1854, the city name was changed to Ashland, after Henry Clay's Lexington estate and to reflect the city's growing industrial base. The city's early industrial growth was a result of the Ohio Valley's pig iron industry and, particularly, the 1854 charter of the Kentucky Iron, Coal, and Manufacturing Company by the Kentucky General Assembly.