Although the place where the city of Frankfort now stands had long been home to Native Americans, the city's modern history began in 1786 when a General by the name of James Wilkinson bought a tract of land near the Kentucky River.  At the time the land was part of the state of Virginia, and within a year of its purchase the Virginia legislature granted Wilkinson permission to charter a city on his land:  Frankfort.

Frankfort has been the capitol of the Commonwealth of Kentucky since the state's founding in 1792.  As the capitol, Frankfort enjoyed a great deal of growth and prosperity that many towns in the region did not.  From an early time, Frankfort enjoyed a bustling business community, a growing manufacturing industry, large and modern buildings, and a population of affluent and educated citizens.  Because of its location on the Kentucky River, the city would also grow to become an important commerce center.

After a period of reconstruction after the Civil War, when the city had been occupied by the Confederate Army, Frankfort again enjoyed a period of economic growth and prosperity.  Today the city is a popular destination for visitors to Kentucky because of its location and historic charm.