Portal:Kentucky

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The Commonwealth of Kentucky Listeni/kɨnˈtʌki/ is a state located in the East Central United States of America. As classified by the United States Census Bureau, Kentucky is a Southern state. Kentucky is one of four U.S. states constituted as a commonwealth (the others being Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts). Originally a part of Virginia, in 1792 it became the 15th state to join the Union. Kentucky is the 37th largest state in terms of total area, the 36th largest in land area, and ranks 26th in population.

Kentucky is known as the "Bluegrass State", a nickname based on the fact that native bluegrass is present in many of the pastures throughout the state, based on the fertile soil. It made possible the breeding of high-quality livestock, especially thoroughbred racing horses. It is a land with diverse environments and abundant resources, including the world's longest cave system, Mammoth Cave National Park; the greatest length of navigable waterways and streams in the Lower 48 states; and the two largest man-made lakes east of the Mississippi River. It is also home to the highest per capita number of deer and turkey in the United States, the largest free-ranging elk herd east of Montana, and the nation's most productive coalfield. Kentucky is also known for thoroughbred horses, horse racing, bourbon distilleries, bluegrass music, automobile manufacturing, tobacco and college basketball.

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The Wilderness Road was the principal route used by settlers to reach Kentucky for more than fifty years. In 1775, Daniel Boone blazed a trail for the Transylvania Company from Fort Chiswell in Virginia through the Cumberland Gap into central Kentucky. It was later lengthened, following Native American trails, to reach the Falls of the Ohio at Louisville. The Wilderness Road was steep and rough, and could only be traversed on foot or horseback. Despite the adverse conditions, thousands of people used it. In 1792, the new Kentucky legislature provided money to upgrade the road. In 1796, an improved all-weather road was opened for wagon and carriage travel. The road was abandoned around 1840, although modern highways follow much of its route.

Because of the threat of Native American attacks, the road was so dangerous that most pioneers traveled well armed. Robbers and criminals also could be found on the road, ready to pounce on weaker pioneers. Although the Transylvania Company had purchased the region from the Cherokee, and the Iroquois had ceded it at the Treaty of Fort Stanwix, other tribes, such as the Shawnee, still claimed it and lived there.

During the American Civil War, both the Union Army and the Confederate States Army used the Road. An early battle (Camp Wildcat), stymied the first attempt by the Confederates to seize control of neutral Kentucky. The Cumberland Gap changed hands four times throughout the war. The southern armies used the road for marches into Virginia. General Ulysses S. Grant came down the road for the Union campaign in Tennessee in 1864. Grant was so taken by the Road that he said, "With two brigades of the Army of the Cumberland I could hold that pass against the army which Napoleon led to Moscow."

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Photo credit: Kap Lansa
Buffalo Trace Distillery pays tribute to the once might herds of American bison that once roamed the American prairies.

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Bowling Green is the fourth-most populous city in Kentucky, after Louisville, Lexington and Owensboro, with an estimated population in 2006 of 53,112. It is the county seat of Warren County. Bowling Green was founded in 1798 after Robert and George Moore donated 30–40 acres (120,000–160,000 m2) to the Warren County trustees. The land surrounded the 2-acre (8,100 m2) plot they had previously donated for the construction of public buildings. In 2003, Bowling Green and its surrounding communities were designated as a "metropolitan area".

The third largest Kentucky public university, Western Kentucky University, is situated upon a hill in central Bowling Green, thus its athletes are called Hilltoppers.

The origin of the name Bowling Green has not been definitely pinned to a single source by historians. Some say at the first county commissioners meeting in early 1798, the pioneers decided that the new town would be "called and known" by the name of Bolin Green." This name was after the Bowling Green in New York City, where patriots had pulled down a statue of King George III and used the lead to make bullets during the American Revolution. Other say the Virginian settlers could have been honoring Bowling Green, Virginia. Still others say, Robert Moore kept a "ball alley game" on his residence which guests called bowling on the green. Early records indicate that the city name was also spelled Bowlingreen and Bolin Green.

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Kentucky Official Symbols

On this day in Kentucky history...

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Belle of Louisville is a steamboat owned and operated by the city of Louisville, Kentucky and moored at its downtown wharf next to the Riverfront Plaza/Belvedere during its annual operational period. Originally named the Idlewild, she was built by James Rees & Sons Company in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for the West Memphis Packet Company in 1914 and was first put into service on the Allegheny River. Constructed with an all-steel superstructure and asphalt main deck, the steamboat is said to hold the all-time record in her class for miles traveled, years in operation, and number of places visited.

The Belle's offices are located within the Mayor Andrew Broaddus, also a National Historic Landmark.

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Addison Mitchell "Mitch" McConnell, Jr. (born February 20, 1942), is the senior United States Senator from Kentucky. A Republican, he was chosen by his peers as the Minority Leader in November 2006, making him the top-ranking Republican in the 110th Congress, which convened in January 2007.

McConnell is a member of the Baptist Church. He married Elaine Chao, the current Secretary of Labor, in 1993, and has three grown daughters from his first marriage. McConnell's first wife worked as a librarian for a small college in the Northeast.

In 1992, McConnell teamed with the University of Louisville to create the McConnell Center.

Quotes

“I hope to have God on my side, but I must have Kentucky.” -- Abraham Lincoln

“I was brought up to believe that Scotch whisky would need a tax preference to survive in competition with Kentucky bourbon.” -- Hugo Black

“Tough girls come from New York. Sweet girls, they're from Georgia. But us Kentucky girls, we have fire and ice in our blood. We can ride horses, be a debutante, throw left hooks, and drink with the boys, all the while making sweet tea, darlin'. And if we have an opinion, you know you're gonna hear it.” -- Ashley Judd


Soon after, I returned home to my family, with a determination to bring them as soon as possible to live in Kentucky, which I esteemed a second paradise, at the risk of my life and fortune. Daniel Boone

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