Earlington is a city in Hopkins County, Kentucky, United States. As of the 2000 census, the city had a population of 1,649. It was founded in 1870 around the area coal fields, and was named for John Baylis Earl, a lawyer who was central in developing the coal industry in the region. Until the mid-1970s, the City of Earlington operated an independent school system. The system served students from primary until graduation and was known regionally for an exceptionally strong academic program and producing very strong students. The athletic programs at Earlington were also very strong. In 1967, the Earlington Yellowjackets won the state "Sweet 16" basketball tournament. What made this achievement even more notable was during the 1960s, the champion of the Sweet 16 were typically from Jefferson County (Louisville) or Fayette County (Lexington) since school boundaries were being re-written to conform to school desegration orders. To this day, Earlington remains one of the smallest schools to ever win the "Sweet 16" in the modern era. When the city school board decided to merge with the Hopkins County School System, the school and community was literally split into two. Half of the student population was enrolled at South Hopkins High School approximately 3 miles to the South and West Hopkins High School, located approximately 8 miles to the West. The dividing line was the railroad line that still bisects the town. The City of Earlington also had a private school that operated until the 1970s. Immaculate Conception, the only Roman Catholic Parish in Earlington and the oldest parish in Hopkins County, operated a school periodically from the 1890s until the school was condemned due to poor building conditions. The school was a kindergarten through sixth grade. It was located across the street from the parish building and demolished after the school closed.