Bell County is in the Eastern Coal Field region and is one of 120 counties in Kentucky.
Bell County was formed just after the Civil War, on February 5, 1867, from portions of Harlan and Knox Counties. It was originally named Josh Bell County at its formation after Joshua Fry Bell, lawyer and congressman. The name was changed to Bell County by the legislature on January 31, 1873. The county includes the Cumberland Gap, one of the major migration routes into the state.
Bell County covers a land area of 361 square miles with a population of approximately 30,060. Both the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park and Pine Mountain State Resort Park are within Bell County’s boundaries, making it the only county in Kentucky to contain both a national park and a state park.
Middlesboro, Bell County’s largest city, has a population of approximately 10,384. Pineville is the county seat of Bell County and is located 12 miles north of Middlesboro with a population of approximately 2,093.