Hart County was founded in 1819, created from land from Hardin and Barren Counties. The county was named for Kentucky native Captain Nathaniel Gray Smith Hart, who died in the War of 1812. At the time the county was formed, Munfordville was the largest town in the new county and was designated as the county seat for this reason. Currently, the largest city in Hart County is Horse Cave.
Hart County has had three courthouses. The first was built in 1820 and then torn down seventy-five years after construction. The second courthouse burned on January 3, 1928. The current courthouse was constructed on approximately the same location as the second courthouse.
In terms of ancient history, Salts Cave lies beneath Hart County. It is one of the richest repositories of Native American artifacts in this part of North America. Many of the artifacts found in Salts Cave are now housed in the Heyl Museum in New York City. Most of Salts Cave lies within Mammoth Cave National Park.
Hart County has a significant link to Daniel Boone. Daniel Boone's family camped above Boiling Springs in 1775. During their encampment a young son died. He is reported to be buried above the spring in an unmarked grave.
In the nineteenth century, Hart County was host to several noted visitors who came to stay at the Old Munford Inn. Local legend says that Andrew Jackson stayed overnight in February, 1832. Jenny Lind is said to have visited in the 1850's.
Hart County was home to two Civil War generals. Thomas J. Wood and Simon Bolivar Buckner, who later became governor of Kentucky, both went to Green River Academy and then to West Point. The two fought on opposite sides in the war, which was the case with many family members and friends in Kentucky during the war.
The single most significant series of events in Hart County's history was the Civil War conflicts that occurred in the county in 1861 and 1862. Three battles took place in the Munfordville area over control of the Green River Railroad Bridge, with the largest battle in Woodsonville at Fort Craig. The significance of the "Battle for the Bridge" is celebrated each year during Hart County Civil War Days in September. A grant was received in 1997 to preserve Fort Craig and develop a museum dedicated to Hart County's Civil War heritage.
The first towns established in this area were:
Hart County Historical Society