The city was once known as Big Buffalo Crossing. The current name came from Richard Jones Munford, who donated the land for development in 1816. The Hardy family, better known later through descendant Lieutenant Governor of Kentucky James Greene Hardy who died in office in 1856, and for whom nearby Hardyville was named, played an important role in establishing the city, especially over 1816 through 1818, and continuing well into the 1840s. In 1862 the American Civil War battle, Battle of Munfordville, took place. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.5 square miles (6.5km2), all of it land.