Portal:Kentucky/Selected city

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Louisville is Kentucky's largest city. It is ranked as either the 17th or 27th largest city in the United States depending on how the population is calculated. The settlement that became the City of Louisville was founded in 1778 by George Rogers Clark and is named after King Louis XVI of France. Louisville is famous as the home of "The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports": the Kentucky Derby, the widely watched first race of the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing.

Louisville is situated in north-central Kentucky on the Kentucky-Indiana border at the only natural obstacle in the Ohio River, the Falls of the Ohio. Louisville is the county seat of Jefferson County, and since 2003, the city's borders are coterminous with those of the county due to merger. Because it includes counties in Southern Indiana, the Louisville metropolitan area is regularly referred to as Kentuckiana. A resident of Louisville is referred to as a Louisvillian. Although situated in a Southern state, Louisville is influenced by both Midwestern and Southern culture, and is commonly referred to as either the northernmost Southern city or the southernmost Northern city in the United States.

Louisville has been the site of many important innovations through history. Notable residents have included inventor Thomas Edison, the first Jewish Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, boxing legend Muhammad Ali, newscaster Diane Sawyer, writer Hunter S. Thompson, and actor Tom Cruise. Notable events occurring in the city include the first public viewing place of Edison's light bulb, the first library in the U.S. open to African Americans, and medical advances including the first human hand transplant, the first self-contained artificial heart transplant, and the development site of the first cervical cancer vaccine.




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Lexington, known as the "Horse Capital of the World," is located in the heart of the Bluegrass region. It is the second-largest city in Kentucky, after Louisville. On January 1, 1974 Lexington became the first municipality in the Commonwealth of Kentucky to form a consolidated city-county government by merging with Fayette County. In 2006, the population estimate given by the U.S. Census Bureau was 275,754.

Lexington is home to the Kentucky Horse Park, Keeneland race course, the Red Mile race course, Transylvania University and the University of Kentucky. Lexington has been selected to be the site of the 2010 FEI World Equestrian Games.

By 1820, it was one of the largest and wealthiest towns west of the Allegheny Mountains. So cultured was its lifestyle, Lexington gained the nickname "Athens of the West." One early prominent citizen, John Wesley Hunt, became the first millionaire west of the Alleghenies. Slaves were widely held and used as laborers, field hands and domestic servants in Kentucky. In 1850, 1/5 of the state's population were slaves, and Lexington had the highest concentration of slaves in the state.




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Bardstown is a city in Nelson County. The population was 10,374 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Nelson County[1]. It is named for David Bard, the man who obtained the land for the city from the governor of Virginia, and his brother William Bard, the surveyor who laid out the town. Bardstown is the second oldest city in Kentucky. It was settled in the 1770s, and received its charter in 1790.

Bardstown was the first center of Catholicism west of the Appalachian Mountains. The Diocese of Bardstown was established on February 8, 1808, and served all Catholics between the Appalachians and the Mississippi River, an area now served by 44 dioceses and archdioceses in 10 states. Its cathedral still stands as the Basilica of Saint Joseph Proto-Cathedral. The seat of the diocese was transferred to Louisville in 1841. Bardstown is still the home of a Catholic high school, Bethlehem High School.

Bardstown is the home of My Old Kentucky Home State Park, on which the Federal Hill mansion ( the alleged inspiration for Stephen Foster's song "My Old Kentucky Home") was built by Judge John Rowan and his wife Ann Lytle Rowan of the Lytle family, from whose father William Lytle they had been deeded the land as a wedding gift. The Federal Hill mansion is depicted on the reverse of the Kentucky state quarter issued by the United States Mint in 2001.




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Paducah is the county seat of McCracken County, located at the confluence of the Tennessee River and the Ohio River. The population was 26,307 at the 2000 census. Paducah is the largest city in the Jackson Purchase Region of Western Kentucky. It is one of two cities named Paducah located in the United States. The other Paducah is in the state of Texas, near the panhandle, and was named after Paducah, Kentucky. Originally called Pekin, it began around 1815 as a mixed community of Native Americans and white settlers who were attracted by its location at the confluence of many waterways.

According to legend, Chief Paduke, most likely a Chickasaw, welcomed the people traveling down the Ohio and Tennessee on flatboats. His wigwam, located on a low bluff at the mouth of Island Creek, served as the counsel lodge for his village. The settlers, appreciative of his hospitality, and respectful of his ways, settled across the creek. The two communities lived in harmony trading goods and services enjoying the novelty of each other's culture. The settlers had brought horses and mules which they used to pull the flatboats upstream to farms, logging camps, trading posts and other settlements along the waterways, establishing a primitive, but thriving economy.




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Ashland is a city in Boyd County, nestled along the banks of the Ohio River. The population was 21,981 at the 2000 census. Ashland serves as an important economic and medical center for northeast Kentucky.

Ashland dates back to the migration of the Poage family from the Shenandoah Valley via the famed Cumberland Gap in 1786. They settled upon a homestead along the Ohio River and named it Poage's Landing. It remained an extended-family settlement until the mid-1800s. In 1854, the name of the city was changed to Ashland, after Henry Clay's Lexington estate, and to reflect the city's growing industrial base. Ironically enough, the first child born in the new town of Ashland was named Ashland Poage, a mixture of the old and new names.

Ashland boasts a 47-acre wooded Central Park, founded in 1854, playgrounds and other amusements. It was bounded between Lexington and Central Avenue, and 17th and 22nd Streets. In 1936, the Works Progress Administration constructed a central road through the park; one year later, a pond was constructed in the southeast quadrant. Twenty years later, after complaints of mosquito problems, the pond was filled in with five feet of dirt and it became a softball practice field.




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Elizabethtown is the county seat of Hardin County. The population was 22,542 at the 2000 census. Hardin County was established in 1793 and named for Colonel John Hardin, an Indian fighter who had been killed by Native Americans while on a peace mission with tribes in Ohio. It did not take long for the settlement to become an active community. In just a few years, professional men and tradesmen came to live in the area. In 1793, Colonel Hynes had thirty acres of land surveyed and laid off into lots and streets to establish Elizabethtown. Named in honor of the wife of Andrew Hynes, Elizabethtown was legally established on July 4, 1797.

On December 27, 1862, General John Hunt Morgan and his 3,000-man cavalry attacked Elizabethtown. During the battle more than 100 cannon balls were fired into the town. Although he successfully captured Elizabethtown, his goal was to disrupt the railroad. He proceeded north along the route of the railroad burning trestles and destroying sections of the track. After the battle, one cannon ball was lodged in the side of a building on the Public Square.

The town is regionally referred to as "E-town." It is notable as one of two larger towns (the other being Bowling Green) along I-65 between Louisville and Nashville. The movie Elizabethtown (2005) was named after the town, even though the majority of the movie was filmed in Versailles and Louisville because Elizabethtown has lost most of its historic buildings in recent years due to development and sprawl.




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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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Owensboro is the third largest city in Kentucky and the county seat of Daviess County. According to 2006 estimates, the city had a total population of 55,525 and a metropolitan population of 111,599. Owensboro was first settled in the 1790s by frontiersman William "Bill" Smeathers, for which the park on the riverfront is named. The settlement was called Yellow Banks, an allusion to the color of the banks of the Ohio River. In 1817, Yellow Banks was incorporated as a city under the name Owensborough, named after Colonel Abraham Owen. In 1893, the name was shortened to its present spelling of Owensboro.

On August 14, 1936, downtown Owensboro became the site of the last public hanging in the United States. Rainey Bethea was executed for the rape of 70-year-old Lischa Edwards, who was also murdered. He had confessed to her strangling but the Commonwealth indicted him only on the rape charge since that was the only capital crime for which the penalty was hanging.

Owensboro considers itself the "BBQ Capital of the world"; it holds its International BBQ festival and competition every second weekend in May. Owensboro also hosts the Annual Owensboro PumpkinFest held each September at the Sportscenter/Moreland Park complex. The festival consists of food vendors, crafts people, carnival rides, children and adult activities and games, and plenty of contests using pumpkins.




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Covington is a city in Kenton County. As of the 2000 census, the city population was 43,370; it is the fifth-most-populous city in Kentucky. It is one of two county seats of Kenton County. Covington is located at the confluence of the Ohio and Licking Rivers. Covington is separated from Cincinnati, Ohio by the Ohio River and from Newport by the Licking River. Covington is located within the Upland South region; it is also acknowledged as a Midwestern city.

In 1814, John Gano, Richard Gano, and Thomas Carneal purchased 150 acres (0.6 km2) on the west side of the Licking River at its confluence with the Ohio River, referred to as "the Point," from Thomas Kennedy for $50,000. The men named their new riverfront enterprise the "Covington Company," in honor of their friend, General Leonard Covington, an American officer who once trained troops in the area and was killed in the War of 1812.

Fueled in part by the European revolutions of the mid-1800s, many Europeans, particularly Germans, immigrated to Covington. At this time, the primary commercial district and gathering place was on Main Street near Sixth Street, the area now known as "Mainstrasse." Sixth Street was laid out with a wide width that allowed the city, in 1861, to establish a public market in the center of the street with traffic lanes on either side. The nearby Mutter Gottes Kirche (Mother of God Church), built in 1871, was the center of another German-speaking neighborhood.




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Frankfort serves as the state capital of the commonwealth of Kentucky, and is the county seat of Franklin County. The population was 27,741 at the 2000 census; by population, it is the 4th smallest state capital in the United States. James Wilkinson purchased in 1786 the 260-acre tract of land on the north side of the Kentucky River, which is now downtown Frankfort. Called by some the father of Frankfort, Wilkinson was an early promoter to make Frankfort the state capital.

The town of Frankfort probably received its name from an event that took place in 1780's when Indians attacked a group of pioneers from Bryan's Station who were making salt at a ford in the Kentucky River. One of the pioneers, Stephen Frank, was killed and the crossing became known as "Frank's Ford." Later this name was shortened to Frankfort.

After Kentucky became a state, five commissioners were appointed on June 20, 1792, to choose a location for the state capital. They were John Allen and John Edwards (both from Bourbon County), Henry Lee (Mason County), Thomas Kennedy (Madison County), and Robert Todd (Fayette County). A number of communities competed for this honor, but Frankfort won by perseverance and, according to early histories, the offer of Andrew Holmes' log house as capitol for seven years, a number of town lots, £50 worth of locks and hinges, 10 boxes of glass, 1500 pounds of nails, and $3000 in gold.




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Newport is a city in Campbell County, Kentucky, United States, at the confluence of the Ohio and Licking Rivers. Settled about 1791, Newport was incorporated as a town in 1795 and in 1850 received a city charter. In 1900, 28,301 people lived in Newport, Kentucky; in 1910, 30,309; in 1920, 29,317; and in 1940, 30,631. The population was 17,048 at the 2000 census. It is one of two county seats of Campbell County. Newport is part of the Greater Cincinnati, Ohio Metro Area which comprises over 2 million inhabitants. Today, Newport is becoming the entertainment community of the fast-growing Northern Kentucky area while its neighboring cities--Bellevue and Covington--become the business centers.

Newport is located within a transition zone and is proximal to the extreme northern limit of the humid subtropical climate of the Southeastern United States.




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  1. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.