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flag  History of Louisville, Kentucky, USA

Journey back in time to Louisville, Kentucky, USA

Visit Louisville, Kentucky, USA. Discover its history. Learn about the people who lived there through stories, old newspaper articles, pictures, postcards and ancestry.

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Louisville, Kentucky, USA - Plug Tobacco Cutter

Louisville, Jefferson, Kentucky, USA

The Kentucky Derby is the oldest continuously held horse race in the country. It is held at Churchill Downs in Louisville on the first Saturday in May.

The public saw an electric light for the first time in Louisville. Thomas Edison introduced his incandescent light bulb to crowds at the Southern Exposition in 1883.

The song "Happy Birthday to You" was the creation of two Louisville sisters in 1893.

Cheeseburgers were first served in 1934 at Kaolin's restaurant in Louisville.
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Postcards and Memories of Louisville, Kentucky, USA

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There is MUCH more to discover about Louisville, Kentucky, USA. Read on!

Louisville Nostalgia: Vintage Photos, Ads, and Postcards

Plug Tobacco Cutter
Louisville, Kentucky, USA

The Way It Was Museum, Virginia City, Nevada
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Plug Tobacco Cutter
Mellwood Whisky
Kentucky Distilleries & Warehouse Co., Louisville, Kentucky
Louisville, Kentucky, USA

The Way It Was Museum, Virginia City, Nevada
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Mellwood Whisky
Kentucky Distilleries & Warehouse Co., Louisville, Kentucky
View of 4th Ave
Louisville, Kentucky, USA

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View of 4th Ave
Market Street East from Fourth
Louisville, Kentucky, USA

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Market Street East from Fourth
Live Stock Pavilion, State Fair Ground, Front Entrance
Louisville, Kentucky, USA

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Live Stock Pavilion, State Fair Ground, Front Entrance
Court House, 1907
Louisville, Kentucky, USA

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Court House, 1907
Third Avenue
Louisville, Kentucky, USA

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Third Avenue
Bird's-Eye View of Louisville, Ky.
Louisville, Kentucky, USA

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Bird's-Eye View of Louisville, Ky.
Canal Locks, 1908
Louisville, Kentucky, USA

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Canal Locks, 1908
Girls' High School, 1908
Louisville, Kentucky, USA

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Girls' High School, 1908
Pennsylvania R.R. Bridge
Louisville, Kentucky, USA

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Pennsylvania R.R. Bridge
Tyler Hotel
Louisville, Kentucky, USA

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Tyler Hotel
Fourth Street Shopping District
Louisville, Kentucky, USA

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Fourth Street Shopping District
St. Anthony Hospital
Louisville, Kentucky, USA

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St. Anthony Hospital
Louisville Free Public Library, 1910
Louisville, Kentucky, USA

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Louisville Free Public Library, 1910
Home of
Louisville, Kentucky, USA

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Home of "Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch"
The Country Club House, 1911
Louisville, Kentucky, USA

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The Country Club House, 1911
Seelbach Hotel
Louisville, Kentucky, USA

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Seelbach Hotel
National Theatre
Louisville, Kentucky, USA

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National Theatre
Jefferson St., West from Third
Louisville, Kentucky, USA

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Jefferson St., West from Third
New York Hall, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Louisville, Kentucky, USA

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New York Hall, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Churchill Downs
Louisville, Kentucky, USA

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Churchill Downs

"Churchill Downs, located on Central Avenue in south Louisville, Kentucky, United States, is a Thoroughbred racetrack most famous for hosting the Kentucky Derby annually. It officially opened in 1875, and held the first Kentucky Derby and the first Kentucky Oaks in the same year...

The track is named for John and Henry Churchill, who leased 80 acres (32 ha) of land to their nephew, Colonel Meriwether Lewis Clark Jr. (grandson of explorer William Clark). Clark was president of the Louisville Jockey Club and Driving Park Association, which formed in 1874. His father-in-law, Richard Ten Broeck, was an accomplished horse breeder and trainer, and introduced Clark to horse racing, attending the English Derby at Epsom Downs outside London.

Composite image of Churchill Downs on Derby Day, 1902
Churchill Downs filled a void in Louisville left by the closing of Oakland and Woodlawn, two earlier race courses..."

wikipedia
Union Station, 10th and Broadway
Louisville, Kentucky, USA

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Union Station, 10th and Broadway
Male High School, Brook and Breckenridge Sts., 1935
Louisville, Kentucky, USA

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Male High School, Brook and Breckenridge Sts., 1935
U.S. Coast Guard Station.
The Only Inland Life-Saving Station in America.
Louisville, Kentucky, USA

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U.S. Coast Guard Station.
The Only Inland Life-Saving Station in America.
The Kentucky Hotel
Louisville, Kentucky, USA

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The Kentucky Hotel
Cathedral of the Assumption
Louisville, Kentucky, USA

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Cathedral of the Assumption
Mosque Kosair Temple
Louisville, Kentucky, USA

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Mosque Kosair Temple
Parkway Field Baseball Park
Louisville, Kentucky, USA

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Parkway Field Baseball Park
Hotel Henry Watterson
Louisville, Kentucky, USA

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Hotel Henry Watterson
Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corporation
Manufacturers of Raleigh Wings and Kool Cigarettes and Sir W
Louisville, Kentucky, USA

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Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corporation
Manufacturers of Raleigh Wings and Kool Cigarettes and Sir Walter Raleigh Smoking Tobacco
Greyhound Bus Terminal
Louisville, Kentucky, USA

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Greyhound Bus Terminal
Have you protected the finish on your Packard?
Packard Louisville Motor Company, Incorporated
Broa
Louisville, Kentucky, USA

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Have you protected the finish on your Packard?
Packard Louisville Motor Company, Incorporated
Broadway at Campbell
Alamo Plaza Court
Louisville, Kentucky, USA

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Alamo Plaza Court
Louisville Service Club, 1957
824 South Fourth Street
Louisville 3, KY.
Louisville, Kentucky, USA

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Louisville Service Club, 1957
824 South Fourth Street
Louisville 3, KY.
Henry Clay Hotel
Third at Chestnut St.
Louisville 2, Kentucky
Louisville, Kentucky, USA

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Henry Clay Hotel
Third at Chestnut St.
Louisville 2, Kentucky

Discover Louisville: History, News, Travel, and Stories

Add informationAdd History/News/Story
1778 - Louisville, Kentucky founded

wikipedia.org
1830 - Louisville and Portland Canal opened.

www.e-referencedesk.com/ resources/ state-history-timeline/ kentucky.html
1849 - June 12 - Gas mask patented by Lewis Haslett (Louisville Ky)

historyorb.com
June 12, 1849
1854 - Louisville
Louisville, a city and port of entry of Kentucky, and seat of justice of Jefferson county, is situated on the Ohio river, at the head of the falls, at the mouth of Beargrass creek, 130 miles below Cincinnati, and 53 miles W. from Frankfort, and 690 miles from Washington. It is the largest town in the state, and one of the most important places on the Ohio river. The population in 1830 was 10,341 ; in 1840. 21,210; in 1850, 43,196; and in 1853 it amounts to 51,726. A railroad, 98 miles long, connects it with Frankfort and Lexington, and several others are in course of construction from this place to Danville, Nashville, &c. The situation and surrounding scenery are remarkably beautiful. Some parts of the city present delightful views of the Ohio river, which is here about one mile wide ; of the rocky rapids, and of the town of New Albany, a few miles below. Louisville stands on a plain elevated about 70 feet above low water, and is regularly laid out. Eight handsome streets extend... Read MORE...

1854 - August 27 - Tornado Kills 18 to 20 people in Louisville church
This deadly storm touched down near the intersection of Jefferson and Twentieth Streets, unroofing 21 buildings at the German Protestant Orphan Asylum. The Louisville Daily Courier described the storm as "a whirlwind revolving leftwise." The tornado appears to have travelled in an east-southeasterly direction. Seventeen houses were damaged along Walnut Street from Fifteenth to Seventeenth Streets, a home was severely damaged near the corner of Madison and Thirteenth Streets, and a factory was damaged at the corner of Chestnut and Twelfth Streets. However, the most catastrophic damage occurred when the tornado destroyed the Third Presbyterian Church at Walnut and Eleventh Streets. At a quarter past noon during Sunday services the twister struck the church, causing it to collapse. A door was opened by gusts of wind just moments prior to the tornado, and this may have been one factor in the destruction of the church as powerful tornado winds battered the outside of the building... Read MORE...

1856 - The first enamel bathtub was made in Louisville.

www.ereferencedesk.com/ resources/ state-facts/ kentucky.html
1860 - May 21 - A swarm of tornadoes occurred in the Ohio Valley. Tornadoes struck the cities of Louisville, KY, Cincinnati, OH, Chillicothe, OH, and Marietta, OH, causing a million dollars damage.

WeatherForYou.com
1862 - Approach of Confederate Forces
September 18, 1862

Louisville, Kentucky, was excited again over the reported approach of Ge. E. Kirby Smith with a Confederate force.

September 22, 1862

Gen. E. Kirby Smith, with a Confederate force, continued to threaten Louisville, Ky. Governor Robinson issued a call upon the citizens, urging them to rally to the defence of the town and join the military command of General Nelson with what arms they had.
The Daily Herald
Chicago, Illinois
September 20, 1912
1871 - May 12 - Segregated street cars integrated in Louisville, Ky

historyorb.com
1871 - A CRASH AT LOUISVILLE, KY
The Floors of a Grain Warehouse Fall Through to the Cellar - Three Men Killed.

Louisville - August 30, 1871
About ten o'clock this morning the fourth floor of Whitney, Brown & Co.'s grain warehouse gave way under the heavy weight, and the large quantity of grain crashed through the floors into the cellar, killing three men, one white and two colored. Two prominent Main street merchants had just stepped out of the building when the crash occurred, and were blown into the street by the concussion, which burst off the doors of the building and shattered the glass in the windows.
New York Herald
New York, New York
August 31, 1871
1875 - May 17 - First Kentucky Derby run at Churchill Downs in Louisville

www.worldatlas.com/ webimage/ countrys/ namerica/ usstates/ kytimeln.htm
1879 - ALMSHOUSE FIRE.
Louisville, Ky. - The Louisville, Ky., Almshouse, located five miles south of the city, was destroyed by fire on the morning of the 31st.
There were 340 inmates, a large number of whom were old, crippled and imbecile, and the flames spread so rapidly that many were obliged to jump from the upper windows.

Two men were killed by their fall, one perished in the flames, and another was fatally burned, while several others were severely injured in various ways. The building cost $175,000 and was insured for $70,000.
Iola Register
Kansas
February 7, 1879
1881 - Killed By A Boiler Explosion. Disaster In A Louisville Soap Factory-One Man Fatally Hurt And One Seriously.
Louisville, Ky., Feb. 22.-A terrific boiler explosion-the third fatal one here this year-occurred to-day. Henry Myer, an old German, has been conducting a soap factory in the eastern part of Louisville for many years. Mr. Myer’s only assistants were his four sons. This morning about 7 o’clock Mr. Myer and his sons went to work as usual, intending to boil up some soap. William, the second son, who has been acting as engineer for the past two months, built a fire in the furnace about 8 o’clock, the neighborhood was startled by a tremendous report. The shed was suddenly demolished, and the boiler flew through the air with fearful force and landed against the house in front. At the time of the explosion old Mr. Myer was busy in the yard. Henry, the eldest son, was engaged at the soap-vat in the factory back of the boiler. Charles was down stairs. Edward was splitting wood in the yard, and William, the engineer, was busy about his engine. No other persons were about the place. Charles Myer ... Read MORE...

1883 - Louisville Suddenly Deluged. An Embankment Burst At Midnight And One-Fifth Of The City Flooded.
Louisville, Ky., Feb. 13. - During the past 24 hours the Ohio River, by bursting through cut-offs and pouring over embankments, has completely submerged one-fifth of the area of this City. At least 7,000 or 8,000 people have been driven from their homes, and the loss by actual destruction of property, to say nothing of that from the stoppage of foundries and manufactories, is fully $800,000. To explain the situation fully it is necessary to state that the northeastern part of the city lying north of main Street and east of First, is on a level with the river when at average height, and it has been supposed hitherto to be protected from the flood by an embankment high enough to withstand even an extraordinary rise. This portion of the city is called “The Point,” and is inhabited mostly by laboring people. Scattered here and there among the cottages of the inhabitants are most of the large manufacturing establishments of the city.

At midnight last night the embankment which formed... Read MORE...

1883 - September 24 - National black convention meets in Louisville, Kentucky

historyorb.com
1884 - Strange Fire
Mrs. Barbara Becht, of Louisville, arose from her bed to hunt for a cat. Her clothes took fire from a candle, and she was burned to death.
The Belleville Telescope
Belleville, Kansas
October 9, 1884
1888 - February 24 - Louisville, Ky becomes 1st government in US to adopt Australian ballot

historyorb.com
1890 - March 27 - A tornado strikes Louisville, Kentucky
The Louisville, Ky Outbreak - March 27, 1890 - At least 125 people were killed in Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky, and 76 people were killed in the city of Louisville, Ky., alone - 44 of those in one building.

www.weather.com
March 27, 1890
1893 - The song "Happy Birthday to You" was the creation of two Louisville sisters.

www.ereferencedesk.com/ resources/ state-facts/ kentucky.html
1894 - AN ELECTRIC STORM
Does a Large Amount of Damage at Louisville.
MANY HOUSES UNROOFED AND RAZED.
Electricity Causes a Panic Among Two Hundred Sewing Girls – Men Shocked and Burned by Falling Electric Wires, Etc.

LOUISVILLE, KY., June 27. – Louisville was visited yesterday afternoon by a severe wind and electrical storm, which last half an hour. Many houses were unroofed and razed and the occupants had narrow escaped. Large shade trees were blown down and several people were injured by electric wires. The storm came from the southwest accompanied by heavy rain. The path of the storm was almost identical with that taken by the fatal tornado of March 27, 1890.

Twelve persons had a narrow escape in a house at Twenty-eighth street and Greenwood avenue. Mrs. Herman Zeilch, her children and those of a neighbor were in the house when the storm struck. The roof was blown off and carried 200 feet. The occupants of the house were buried in the falling debris, but none were injured more than a few scratches... Read MORE...

1894 - FIVE FIREMEN BADLY HURT. SERIOUS CASUALTY AT THE BURNING OF A BUILDING AT LOUISVILLE.
Louisville, Ky., Nov. 5. - Fire broke out in the building occupied by the Louisville branch of the Singer Sewing Machine Manufacturing company, at 552 Fourth Avenue, and before the flames could be extinguished did about $50,000 worth of damage. Just as the firemen had the fire under control the rear wall of the Singer building fell and five firemen were caught under it and badly hurt. Two of them, VALENTINE RIEHL and JAMES MANNIX, may die.

The injured are:
VALENTINE RIEHL, captain No. 2 hook and ladder company, may die.
JAMES MANNIX, pipeman No. 3 engine company, may die.
JOHN MORTON, captain No. 3 engine company, badly hurt.
MONK CLINE, pipeman No. 8 engine company, left leg crushed and injured internally.
EDWARD REIHL, ladder man No. 2 truck company, cut in top of head and left arm.

At the time of the fire there was a large audience present at the Avenue Theater, which adjoins the Singer building. The fire was discovered by the people on the stage and the curtain was... Read MORE...

1895 - Louisville
Louisville, the county seat of Jefferson co., and principal city of Kentucky, was founded in the year 1778, and incorporated as a city in 1828. It is beautifully situated at the falls of the Ohio River, 400 miles from its mouth, and 130 miles below Cincinnati. Lat. 38° 3' N.; lon. 85° 30'W. The town is built on a plateau about 70 feet above the river at an ordinary stage of water, and about 25 feet above the highest flood-mark. It has 8 miles of river front suitable for wharf purposes, and the even surface extending southward from the river affords the most ample space for the growth of the city in that direction. Two fine bridges, nearly a mile in length, connect the city with New Albany and Jeffersonville, on the right bank of the river, in the state of Indiana. The streets are laid out by the meridian, cross one another at right angles, and are over 500 in number, 60 to 120 feet wide, covering a tract of 35 square miles. They are well sewered, and form about 1900 squares. Here are... Read MORE...

1895 - Blizzard - THE STORM STILL HOVERS OVER THE UNITED STATES. IT IS SEVEREST IN THE EAST. TRAFFIC ALMOST ENTIRELY AT A STANDSTILL -- RAILROAD TRAINS BLOCKADED -- BUSINESS PARALYZED -- PEOPLE FROZEN TO DEATH AT SEVERAL PLACES...
...Cold In Kentucky.
Louisville, Feb. 9. - The present cold snap smashes all records for February in this vicinity. Hertofore the record for February was 1 degree below zero, which occurred on Feb. 11, 1883. The weather bureau records shows 10.2 below zero, but other thermometers record as low as 15 below. Reports from throughout the state show that the thermometer ranges from 8 to 20 degrees below, the latter being the lowest at Harrodsburg, Kentucky...
The Delphos Daily Herald
Ohio
February 9, 1895
1897 - MIDNIGHT FIRE AT LOUISVILLE. DAMAGE DONE IN THE WHOLESALE DISTRICT TO THE AMOUNT OF $150,000.
Louisville, Ky., Nov. 7. - A fire broke out at midnight tonight on Main Street, in the wholesale business district.

The flames originated on the top floor of the four-story building occupied by Buford & Lawson wholesale millinery dealers, and quickly spread to the four-story building on the west, occupied by Benjamin B. Aller, wholesale dealer in boots and shoes. The flames were fed by a large quantity of wax used in making wax flowers. At 1 o'clock the fire was brought under control.

The stocks of the McIntosh Millinery company, P. G. Cooker, millinery dealer, and Louisville tin and stove buildings adjoining, were considerably damaged by smoke and water. A conservative estimate prices the total loss at $150,000, fully covered by insurance.
Nebraska State Journal
Lincoln, Nebraska
November 8, 1897
1898 - A COSTLY SMOKE. NATIONAL TOBACCO WAREHOUSE AT LOUISVILLE, KY., BURNED.
THREE MEN WERE SERIOUSLY INJURED, TWO OF WHOM MAY DIE.
HUNDREDS OF OTHERS WERE ENDANGERED -- THE LOSS WILL BE IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD OF ONE MILLION DOLLARS, FULLY INSURED -- MANY PERSONS OUT OF WORK.

Louisville, Ky., Feb. 26 - Picking, drying and steaming warehouses of the National Tobacco Co., situated at Twenty-fourth and Main Streets, were totally destroyed by fire Friday morning. The loss will amount to $1,000,000, fully covered by insurance. Mr. W. R. Duke, of New York, president of the American Tobacco Co., of which the National Tobacco Co., of Louisville, is a branch, is in the city and witnessed the destruction of his property. He said that it would be at once rebuilt.

The fire was discovered at 8 o'clock on the second floor of the building used for drying purposes. Three alarms called the entire department to the scene, and although the firemen worked heroically they could do little less than save the property adjoining, as the three big buildings which occupy nearly the... Read MORE...

1900 - Louisville - The Gateway City to the South by Lucien V. Rule
Beautiful of situation is Louisville, the metropolis of Kentucky, and the Gateway City to the South. Builded along. the Ohio at the Falls, the river stretches away to the northeast in a sheet of water nearly a mile wide and six miles in extent with a scarcely perceptible current, making one of the finest harbors in the whole course of this "Rhine of America." Circling hills surround the city, and the parks upon them are unsurpassed in this section of the country. The avenues are broad and well shaded, and while the residences are, as a rule, handsomely modern, many splendid specimens of Colonial architecture are to be seen. The homesteads in the suburbs are delightful, dreamy retreats, and the river valley is as fertile as that of the Jordan.

As the visitor approaches over any one of the railroads leading into Louisville and looks upon the charming scene just outlined, he may recall the historic associations connected with it. Here, in the long ago, Daniel Boone loved to linger and ... Read MORE...

1903 - EIGHT PERSONS ARE INJURED. Court House Elevator Drops Five Stories.
Louisville, Ky., March 18.- The elevator at the Jefferson county court house here fell five stories today and cause the injury of eight persons, two of whom are thought to be seriously hurt. The seriously injured are:
Mrs. Agnes Wilson, back broken.
Mrs. Ed Simon, head crushed and internally injured.
There were fourteen persons in the car at the time the accident occurred. The entire carload of people boarded the elevator at the top floor.
Morning World-Herald
Omaha, Nebraska
March 19, 1903
1907 - WATER REACHES CHIMNEYS
LOUISVILLE, KY., SWEPT BY RAGING WATER OF THE RIVER
Louisville, Ky., Jan. 20. - With the Ohio relentlessly pouring its flood southward and maintaining a steady rise of an inch an hour. Kentucky streams contributing their volumes from the mountain regions, a high wind blowing up stream all day damaging shipping and preventing the rapid passing of the current. Louisville tonight faces a flood situation which promises to equal before the crest is passed the stage of 1894, the greatest flood ever known to this city. Thousands of people are homeless and are housed in school buildings, warehouses and other structures. Factories in this city, Jeffersonville and New Albany are closed, throwing hundreds of people out of work; stocks of merchandise in the business houses along the river front are ruined, much lumber has been washed away and many small houses with their contents toppled over into the water. A conservative estimate of the damage done, with the crest of the flood yet two days... Read MORE...

1916
Louisville, loo'e-vil or loo'is-vil, the principal city of Kentucky, capital of Jefferson co., beautifully situated at the falls (rapids) of the Ohio River, 400 miles from its mouth and 130 miles below Cincinnati, on the Chicago, Indianapolis and Louisville, the Illinois Central and other railroads. Lat. 38° 12' N. ; Lon. 85° 42' W. The town is built on a plateau about 60 feet above the river at an ordinary stage of water and about 25 feet above the highest flood-mark. It has 7 miles of river-front and the even surface extending southward from the river affords ample space for the growth of the city in that direction. Three fine bridges, varying from 1/ 2 to 1 mile in length, connect the city with New Albany and Jeffersonville, on the right bank of the river, in the state of Indiana. A canal has been constructed at the rapids. Louisville is a city of attractive homes and beautifully shaded streets. It has a number of imposing buildings, among which the most conspicuous are the... Read MORE...

1934 - Cheeseburgers were first served in 1934 at Kaolin's restaurant in Louisville.

www.ereferencedesk.com/ resources/ state-facts/ kentucky.html
1956 - September 10 - Louisville Ky public schools integrates

historyorb.com
1967 - January 12 - Louisville, Ky, draft board refuses exemption for boxer Muhammad Ali

historyorb.com
1981 - February 13 - A series of sewer explosions destroys more than two miles of streets in Louisville, Kentucky

historyorb.com
2023 - Here's a list of places to visit and things to do in Louisville:
Churchill Downs: Home to the famous Kentucky Derby, Churchill Downs is a must-visit for horse racing enthusiasts. Even if you can't make it to the Derby, you can take a tour of the historic racetrack and its museum to learn about the history of this iconic event.

Louisville Mega Cavern: This underground adventure park offers zip lining, tram tours, obstacle courses, and a one-of-a-kind underground zip line called the "Mega Zips." It's a unique experience for the whole family.

Bourbon Distilleries: Kentucky is famous for its bourbon, and there are several distilleries in and around Louisville that offer tours and tastings. Popular options include the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience, Angel's Envy, and Bulleit Frontier Whiskey Experience.

Louisville Waterfront Park: This beautiful park along the Ohio River is a great place for a leisurely stroll, picnicking, or simply enjoying the view. It often hosts events and concerts, so be sure to check the schedule.

Louisville Slugger... Read MORE...

Discover MY Roots: Louisville Ancestry

Ancestors Who Were Born or Died in Louisville, Kentucky, USA

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Genealogy Resources for Louisville

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