Bonnieville (population 255) is the county’s other incorporated city. Bonnieville was established as Bacon Creek Station in 1849. Bacon Creek Station changed its name to Bonnieville on March 18, 1880, originally was incorporated May 5, 1880. On December 12th, 1955 the City of Bonnieville was officially incorporated as a sixth class city. Bonnieville has a small area that is designated as official city limits, but the Bonnieville community stretches across a much larger area.
During the Civil War, a large number of Union troops were encamped there, and the L&N Railroad trestle was the site of several attacks by John Hunt Morgan. Following the war, some of its citizens decided the town needed a more sophisticated name, so in 1880 they petitioned the legislature to have the name changed to Bonnieville after the Scottish heroine “Bonnie Annie Laurie”. A railroad cross tie yard and watering station were early drivers of Bonnieville’s economy and Bonnieville continues to be a town in transition.
Bonnieville is currently in the midst of the Frenchman’s Knob Nature Preserve Project, sponsored by the Bacon Creek Historical Society with a grant from the Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Fund. Frenchman’s Knob is the highest point in Hart County. In April of 1782, a Frenchmen Gilbert LeClerc for whom the Knob was named, led a small party to settle in the area. Both LeClerc and his traveling companion, William Smuthers were killed by an Indian raiding party, only LeClerc’s wife survived the attack. The Frenchman was buried on the summit of the Knob. Among the other treasures at this rich historic site is a one room schoolhouse, once used by the locals for church revivals and gospel singings, and a cemetery with graves dating back to December 25, 1861. The site is not currently open to the public and is under development and will be open to the public for hiking, bird watching and educational programs. The historic site includes Frenchman’s Knob Schoolhouse, used both as a school and Mt Hannah Church, the Frenchman’s Knob cemetery, and several springs. The one room School will be renovated and used for educational programs.