Friday, April 07, 2006

The Ville

I was born and raised in Louisville ("the Ville"), Kentucky, and there's no place I'd rather live. I thought I would share some things about my home town that you might not know.

Louisville is the largest city in Kentucky, and is the 16th largest city in the United States, with a population of 1.3 million. While most non-Kentuckians want to pronounce our city as "Lewis-ville", the "S" is silent, unless you are referring to Louisville, Colorado. The correct way to pronounce Louisville is: "Loo-a-vul" or "Louie-ville". Just a tip, in case you ever want to come visit, without getting laughed at. LOL!

The City of Louisville was founded in 1778 (just two years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence), by George Rogers Clark, and is named after King Louis XVI. In 1803, explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark organized their expedition across America at the Fall of the Ohio in Louisville. In 1826, the Louisville and Portland Canal was completed. This allowed boat traffic to circumvent the Falls of the Ohio and travel through from Pittsburgh to New Orleans.

In January of 1937, a month of heavy rain througout the Ohio River Valley prompted what is still known as the "Great Flood of '37". The flood submerged 70% of our great city and forced the evacaution of 175,000 residents, and killing 90 people. Many Kentuckians blame the length of recovery time from this flood for Indianapolis and Cincinnati becoming larger and more popular cities.

On March 27, 1890, Louisville was visited by a major F4 tornado, which destroyed 766 buildings, causing over Three Million Dollars in damage, and killing 78 people. At least 44 of those deaths were caused when the Falls City Hall collapsed, making this one of the highest death tolls due to a single building collapse in United States history.

Kentucky is most famous for horse racing,

although we're also known for things such as:


Fried Chicken


and, Bluegrass

The Derby is a really big deal here. It is held annually on the first Saturday of May, and is preceded by the two-week-long Derby Festival, which includes "Thunder Over Louisville", the largest annual firework display in the nation. It really is pretty awesome! The Festival also includes the Pegagus Parade, the Great Balloon Race, a marathon, the Great Steamboat Race, and about 70 other events. It's really a great time and the whole city gets involved. If you ever have the chance to come for the Derby, let me know, and I'll make sure you have a blast! The Derby is usually attended by over 375,000 people (including the infield section).

Louisville is also home to several major corporations, including several Fortune 500 companies, which has helped our economy in so many ways. Louisville is also home to the third largest tobacco company, two major Ford plants, General Electric, UPS, and Brown-Forman, which produces one-third of the world's bourbon supply.

Louisville's sister cities are located in China, Argentina, Germany, France, Russia, Ecuador, Ghana and England.


In 1880, a local pharmacist invented flavored chewing gum.

In 1934, Kaelin's Restaurant introduced the first cheeseburger.

90% of the world's disco balls are manufactured in Louisville.

One of our natural attractions, Mammoth Cave, is the longest cave system in the world.

The Ford Edsel, the biggest flop in automotive history, was built in Louisville.

Louisville is only one of two cities named for someone who was executed.

The term "workaholic" was coined by a professor at our local seminary in 1968.

According to Entertainment Weekly, the ABC show, "According to Jim", has a stronger viewership in Louisville, than any other TV market.

Spinelli's Pizzeria serves pizza until 5:00 a.m.

Our local go-kart track, Kart Kountry, is the longest track in the world - one and a half miles.

Built in 1914, the Belle of Louisville, is the oldest river steamboat still in operation.

In 1983, the Louisville Redbirds (Cincinnati's minor league team) was the first minor league team to draw more than one million fans in a season.

The first enamel bathtub was made in Louisville in 1856.

Maier's Tavern has a happy hour that lasts for seven and a half hours.

The Kentucky State Fair is the most air-conditioned of any in the country, with 1.2 million square feet of indoor space.

Jefferson Memorial Forest is the largest urban forest in America, with more than 30 miles of hiking trails.

During the 1970's, you couldn't turn on the TV without seeing a game show hosted by a Louisvillian.

Underneath the Louisville Zoo, is a three million square foot cavern which holds sensitive financial documents and medical supplies. This space was once used as a stone quarry.

In 1964, Colonel Sanders sold Kentucky Fried Chicken to investors for $2 Million Dollars. Seven years later, the investors sold it for $285 million.

Abraham Lincoln's grandfather, who was also named Abraham Lincoln, lived on a farm in Louisville, until he was shot by Indians in 1786.

In 1925, the Courier Journal (our local newspaper), sponsored a spelling bee that later became the National Spelling Bee.

The Kentucky Shakespeare Festival, which puts on plays every summer in Central Park, is the oldest free Shakespeare Festival in the country.

Diane Sawyer began her career as our local weather reporter in 1967.


Muhammad Ali, of course!

Ned Beatty - actor

Foster Brooks - actor and comedian

George Rogers Clark - preeminent miltary leader during the American Revolution

Tom Cruise - lived in Louisville until his early teens

Thomas Edison

Dian Fossey - gorilla activist

Heather French - Miss America 2000

Mildred and Patty Hill - composers of "Happy Birthday to You"

Paul Hornung - Football player for Notre Dame and Green Bay Packers

Allan Houston - NY Knicks player

Pee Wee Reese - Brooklyn & LA Dodgers player

Diane Sawyer

Phil Simms - NY Giants Quarterback

Tantric - rock band

My Morning Jacket - indie band

Zachary Taylor - U.S. President

Hunter S. Thompson - need I say more!

Johnny Unitas - football legend

Sean Young - actress

Among the many things I love about "The Ville", are the diversity of the people, as well as the changes in the landscape:

I'm so proud of where I come from and I just wanted to share a little more of "me" with you guys! I hope I didn't bore you too much with the history lesson. It's just something I've been wanting to do for awhile!

I hope you all have a great weekend!

XO - Jen


Blogger Cowboy Opined...

Wow Jen, that was really fascinating! Now I want to visit Louisville before I die!

Bit of trivia here: KFC has its roots in Kentucky, but the world's very first KFC restaurant is in Salt Lake City, within a few miles of where I work!

April 07, 2006 12:33 PM  
Blogger xfilipponex Opined...

Louisville is the best city on earth..everyone should come visit!! "It's that Friendly!"....god thats a bit of history id like to <3

April 07, 2006 12:57 PM  
Blogger nelle Opined...

That was a lovely post! I drove through Kentucky once, but I haven't actually spent any time there. Louisville looks beautiful. And with 90% of all the disco balls coming out of it, it must be cool!

April 07, 2006 1:17 PM  
Blogger Scott Opined...

Fantastic post. Thanks for sharing your stuff about the city. I have been there once and loved it. Just spent one day there passing through though.



April 07, 2006 2:05 PM  
Blogger Ellen Opined...

Loved it! You know me... little ole history buff that I am, I love learning about the history of an area. Thanks for the insight and pictures... they were great!

Have a good weekend!

April 07, 2006 2:18 PM  
Blogger Jinsane Opined...

Nilo: If you do, look me up!
P.S. I did not know that...does that's mean we're connected in some weird way??? LOL

Sis: I didn't mind them that much, but I like the new ones better!

EJ: Oh yeah....we're very proud of that fact! HAHA

Scott: Well, I hope you come back soon!

Ellen: I'm glad you enjoyed it! I had a blast learning new little tidbits about my hometown!

April 07, 2006 2:27 PM  
Blogger SkyeBlue2U Opined...

That was very interesting, Jen. My first husband and I came up to Louisville to check out the seminary one cold winter another lifetime ago. Great post. You have a Fantastic weekend!

April 07, 2006 5:02 PM  
Blogger Neo Opined...


Neo ducks


Great article, I didn't know there was that much history there.

Have a great weekend.

Peace & Hugs,

- Neo

April 07, 2006 6:35 PM  
Blogger Ellen Opined...

I'm watching the Weather Channel here (10 PM Friday night) and the storms are right over Louisville.
Take care, and hunker down... the tornados are fierce tonight... and there's been 48 of them already.

April 07, 2006 10:10 PM  
Blogger Snaggle Tooth Opined...

I've always wanted to go to the KY Derby day. This year not gonna make it tho- just a couple weeks away now.
Didn't know I love horse-racin did ya? The animals, the science in training, not the betting part (unless I win)!

April 08, 2006 11:49 PM  
Blogger Wiwille Opined...

If I ever go there I'm going to lobby the city council for a Hunter S Thompson museum.

April 09, 2006 9:34 PM  
Blogger Jinsane Opined...

Sag Sis: Thanks! I had alot of fun writing it!

Neo: don't visit half as much as you used to and then you come on here and post something rude! How dare you! J/K

You better duck!

Ellen: Yeah - we got hit pretty hard. AGAIN! But I made it out safely!

Snags: I really hope you can make it one year - it really is a great experience!

WW: Great idea! Maybe they would build it right next to the new Muhammad Ali Center!!!

April 10, 2006 9:55 AM  
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April 10, 2006 7:40 PM  
Blogger Wiwille Opined...

Here's a new interesting fact about Kentucky that will generate a laugh:

Yep your official state dance is now clogging. I've never clogged in my life and am curious as to how many Kentuckians have.

April 18, 2006 11:25 AM  
Blogger Jinsane Opined...

OH....MY....GAWD!!! First off, I can't stand our governor, and not many people here can. I have never clogged either, nor do I want to. At least the counties that were represented were on the total opposite side of the state from where I live.

Just another thing to stereotype Kentuckians in an even worse way! WTF???

Thanks for taking such an interest in my homeland! LOL

April 18, 2006 11:32 AM  

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