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Olive Hill is a home rule-class city along Tygarts Creek in Carter County, Kentucky, in the United States. The population was 1,599 during the year 2010 U.S. Census.
Olive Hill began as a rural trading post established by the Henderson brothers in the first part of the 19th century. Although Olive Hill was allegedly named by Elias P. Davis for his friend Thomas Oliver, there is no evidence to support this popular contention. In 1881, the town was moved from a hillside location to the current location in the Tygarts Creek valley, where the Elizabethtown, Lexington and Big Sandy Railroad had laid tracks. The hillside location become known as Old Olive Hill and now serves as the city's residential area. On March 24, 1884, Olive Hill incorporated as a city and served as the county seat of the short-lived Beckham County from February 9 to April 29, 1904.
The Chesapeake and Ohio Railway served Olive Hill and many other places on the railroad's Lexington Subdivision (running from Ashland to Lexington). The C&O merged into the Chessie System, which CSX Transportation later bought out, and after that CSX pulled up the railroad in the mid 1980s. Olive Hill retained and restored a passenger depot as well as a caboose ("John Hop Brown" Memorial Park). Olive Hill's racial history is not one that makes for pleasant reading. According to George C. Wright in his A History of Blacks in Kentucky, volume 2, "In the small community of Olive Hill in 1917, several hundred white laborers at the brick-making General Refractories Company threatened to strike unless recently employed blacks were dismissed.
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