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ABOUT MY STATE OF KENTUCKY

KentuckyStateMap5

We Southerners are all proud of our Southern States. Here are some facts about my home state Kentucky.

  • The town of Murray is home to the Boy Scouts of America Scouting Museum located on the campus of Murray State University.
  • 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 Bluegrass Country around Lexington is home to some of the world’s finest racehorses.
  • Kentucky was a popular hunting ground for the Shawnee and Cherokee Indian nations prior to being settled by white settlers.
  • In 1774 Harrodstown (now Harrodsburg) was established as the first permanent settlement in the Kentucky region. It was named after James Harrod who led a team of area surveyors.
  • The old official state tree was the Kentucky coffee tree (Gymnocladus dioicus.) The tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) is the current official state tree. The change was made in 1976.
  • Cheeseburgers were first served in 1934 at Kaolin’s restaurant in Louisville.
  • Chevrolet Corvettes are manufactured in Bowling Green.
  • Mammoth Cave is the world’s longest cave and was first promoted in 1816, making it the second oldest tourist attraction in the United States. Niagara Falls, New York is first.
  • Begun in 1819 the first commercial oil well was on the Cumberland River in McCreary County.
  • The first Miss America from Kentucky is Heather Renee French. She was crowned September 18, 1999.
  • The first Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant owned and operated by Colonel Sanders is located in Corbin.
  • Kentucky is the state where both Abraham Lincoln, President of the Union, and Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederacy, were born. They were born less than one hundred miles and one year apart.
  • Cumberland is the only waterfall in the world to regularly display a Moonbow. It is located just southwest of Corbin.
  • Fleming County is recognized as the Covered Bridge Capital of Kentucky.
  • Shelby County is recognized as the Saddlebred Capital of Kentucky.
  • The town of Corbin was the birthplace of old time movie star Arthur Lake whose real surname was Silverlake: He played the role of Dagwood in the “Blondie” films of the 1930s and ‘40s. Lake’s parents were trapeze artists billed as The Flying Silverlakes.
  • Christian County is wet while Bourbon County is dry. Barren County has the most fertile land in the state.
  • Thunder Over Louisville is the opening ceremony for the Kentucky Derby Festival and is the world’s largest fireworks display.
  • More than 100 native Kentuckians have been elected governors of other states.
  • In 1888, “Honest Dick” Tate the state treasurer embezzled $247,000 and fled the state.
  • The song “Happy Birthday to You” was the creation of two Louisville sisters in 1893.
  • Teacher Mary S. Wilson held the first observance of Mother’s Day in Henderson in 1887. It was made a national holiday in 1916.
  • The great Man o’ War won all of his horse races except one which he lost to a horse named Upset.
  • The first town in the United States to be named for the first president was Washington. It was named in 1780.
  • Pikeville annually leads the nation in per capita consumption of Pepsi-Cola.
  • The first American performance of a Beethoven symphony was in Lexington in 1817.
  • Post-It Notes are manufactured exclusively in Cynthiana. The exact number made annually of these popular notes is a trade secret.
  • Kentucky was the 15th state to join the Union and the first on the western frontier.
  • Bluegrass is not really blue–its green–but in the spring bluegrass produces bluish purple buds that when seen in large fields give a blue cast to the grass. Today Kentucky is known as the Bluegrass State.
  • There is a legend that the inspiration for Stephen Foster’s hymn like song
    “My Old Kentucky Home” was written in 1852 after an unverified trip to visit relatives in Kentucky.
  • Daniel Boone and his wife Rebecca are buried in the Frankfort Cemetery. Their son Isaac is buried at Blue Licks Battlefield near Carlisle, where he was killed in the last battle of the Revolutionary War fought in Kentucky.
  • The only monument south of the Ohio River dedicated to Union Soldiers who died in the Civil War is located in Vanceburg.
  • 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 radio was invented by a Kentuckian named Nathan B. Stubblefield of Murray in 1892. It was three years before Marconi made his claim to the invention.
  • The first enamel bathtub was made in Louisville in 1856.
  • In the War of 1812 more than half of all Americans killed in action were Kentuckians.
  • Middlesboro is the only city in the United States built within a meteor crater.
  • Joe Bowen holds the world record for stilt walking endurance. He walked 3,008 miles on stilts between Bowen, Kentucky to Los Angeles, California.
  • The world’s largest free-swinging bell known as the World Peace Bell is on permanent display in Newport.
  • High Bridge located near Nicholasville is the highest railroad bridge over navigable water in the United States.
  • Carrie Nation the spokesperson against rum, tobacco, pornography, and corsets was born near Lancaster in Garrard County.
  • The brass plate embedded in the sidewalk at the corner of Limestone and Main Street in downtown Lexington is a memorial marker honoring Smiley Pete. The animal was known as the town dog in Lexington. He died in 1957.
  • Kentucky-born Alben W. Barkley was the oldest United States Vice President when he assumed office in 1949. He was 71 years old.
  • More than $6 billion worth of gold is held in the underground vaults of Fort Knox. This is the largest amount of gold stored anywhere in the world.
  • The Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption in Covington has 82 stained-glass windows including the world’s largest hand-blown one. The window measures 24 feet wide by 67 feet high and depicts the Council of Ephesus with 134 life-sized figures.
  • The Lost River Cave and Valley Bowling Green includes a cave with the shortest and deepest underground river in the world. It contains the largest cave opening east of the Mississippi.
  • The swimsuit Mark Spitz wore in the 1972 Olympic games was manufactured in Paris, Kentucky.
  • Frederick Vinson who was born in Louisa is the only Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court known to be born in jail.
  • Pike County the world’s largest producer of coal is famous for the Hatfield-McCoy feud, an Appalachian vendetta that lasted from the Civil War to the 1890s.Thanks to: Kentucky Department of Travel, John D. Dowd, Mandy Paige, DeLores Wiggins, Wayne Shelton, David Grossman, Cleamon Inman, Jody Odonnell
  • State Nickname The Bluegrass State
  • State Motto “United We Stand, Divided We Fall”
  • Official Latin MottoDeo gratiam habeamus” (“Let us be grateful to God”)
  • Official State Slogan “Unbridled Spirit”
  • State SongMy Old Kentucky Home (contemporary version)“, by Stephen C. Foster
  • State Bluegrass SongBlue Moon of Kentucky” , William S. “Bill” Monroe
  • State Language English

More State Symbols

  • State Fossil Brachiopod
  • State Butterfly Viceroy Butterfly (Limenitis archippus)
  • State Wild Animal Game Species Gray Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis)
  • State Horse Thoroughbred (Equus caballus)
  • State Fish Kentucky Spotted Bass (Micropterus punctulatus)
  • State Fruit Blackberry (Rubus allegheniensis)
  • State Drink Milk
  • State Rock Kentucky Agate
  • State Gemstone Freshwater Pearl
  • State Soil Crider Soil Series
  • State Mineral Coal
  • State Musical Instrument Appalachian Mountain Dulcimer
  • State Music Bluegrass Music
  • State Silverware Pattern “Old Kentucky Blue Grass, The Georgetown Pattern”
  • State Dance Clogging
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56 Responses

  1. your information about your stateis so ontrestingthat I wanted to read more.very
    Informative and well written. Come see us in Texas sometime. We’ll show you a good time.

  2. You have a wonderful website. I was born and raised in Pike County, Kentucky. I currently live in Floyd County, near Prestonsburg.

    Just wanted to update you on one of the Facts listed about Kentucky. My family has several generations of coal miners. Since the 2008 Presidential Election, the coal industry has suffered terribly. There have been 6000 coal-related jobs lost in Kentucky alone. 2013 was the first year, in many decades, that western Kentucky produced more coal than eastern Kentucky. Overall, Kentucky has ranked third in U.S. coal production–Wyoming being first, and West Virginia ranking second.

  3. I love my Kentucky Home! Just so you know Bourbon County is not dry anymore.

  4. I love your recipes. I just found them on Pinterest. I’m from Kentucky. I lived in Campbellsville, KY, the center part of the state. Beautiful. We are blessed to be from KY, God smiled upon us :).

  5. Hi, my mother was born in Barstown. We use to spend our summers there. Very fond memories. The Smith’ s are still there.

  6. I was disappointed that “Dippin Dots” wasn’t mentioned. This freeze dried ice cream is manufactured exclusively in Paducah KY and sold world wide.

  7. I was born and raised in Union Star, a small town in northern Breckinridge County. I have lived in Louisville since graduating from high school. Most of my family still live in Union Star so visit there often. Just found your site and like what I see, so will visit often.

  8. I’m from Louisville, around Christmas time I was looking for a recipe for Jam cake. My grandma who was from Paris Ky always made this at holidays and that cake just brings back alot of memories of me sitting at her kitchen table watching her cook. My grandma has been gone since i was 17 and I sure do miss her , being able to make that cake for my kids this Christmas was like having a small piece of my own childhood back and even a part of my mamaw…Thanks so much for the recipe it meant more than you know..

    • You are so welcome Jennifer. So happy you enjoyed the recipe and in some way I was able to make your Christmas better. I hope you can use this recipe for many years to come. Hugs to you and yours, Judy.

    • It pleases me that you like jam cake too! I make a jam cake for our family reunion every year. My Aunt Grace made it before that. She was at my house when we decided I would learn to make it. She dumped out the “right amount” of each ingredient using a coffee cup as a way of approximating measurement. I then measured it in a standard measuring cup so I could replicate the recipe.

      Before we started she was rummaging in my cupboard for a coffee cup, she wanted a big cup. She said, “If you want a big cake, start with a big cup.”

      My version of Aunt Grace’s Jam Cake is very good and very close to hers. She used margarine sticks to make it, I use butter. I suspect that lard was used many years ago, but I will stick with butter. I no longer see sticks of margarine in the grocery.

      I hope you enjoy knowing our family story about jam cake. I better have it at the reunion — and if I have to buy blackberry jam to make it I need jam with seeds!

  9. I WAS RAISED IN A COAL CAMP NAMED “HARDY” IT IS LOCATED ABOUT 32 MILES FROM PIKEVILLE AND 5 MILES OUT OF WILLIAMSON WVA.. ANSE HATFIELD WAS BURIED BETWEEN HARDY AND BLACKBERRY. LOVELY MOUNTIANS AND COLD STREAMS. HAD A WONDERFUL CHILDHOOD. LIVE IN TAVARES FL NOW, GET HOMESICK LOTS.

    MYRTLE – MAY 31, 2014

  10. I live in London ky I love ky it’s been my home all my fifty years best state to live in.

  11. Visited Frankfort in 2002. Stayed with our family Christopher and Glenda Dempster, had a wonderful time. Lovely place, great people. We still have family in Lexington, had a fantastic time there and around Kentucky. Love and Hugs to you all . From Carol in the UK xxx

  12. Married a Frankfort boy many years ago. Marriage didn’t last, but the friendship did. We lived in Frankfort several years before moving to my home state of Florida. I still LOVE Frankfort and visit every time I visit my girlfriend in Midway. You may know of her or at least her pies……Kentucky Silk Pie from the Robin’s Nest in Midway.

  13. I’m a tow boat cook who works on the Tennessee, Cumberland and Lower Ohio rivers. Yep, I see the beautiful state of Kentucky all the time. =)

  14. Traveled in your state in October,2013. Had a wonderful time doing Family history in Mt. Vernon, Rockcastle County and taking the tour of Mammoth Cave. Also traveled a short distance on the Purple Heart Trail. Thank you for the hospitality.

    • Happy to have you Glenda. Kentucky is a beautiful state. So happy to hear you enjoyed your trip to visit us.

      • We enjoyed looking for the different quilt blocks. My mother loved to quilt and I grew up helping her on the old wood frames.

  15. my ancestors was from perry & letcher county.last name coots.i was raised in va.tn.&ohio. everytime I go to kentucky or go through i feel like i want to live there…i now live in utah.mary hamilton

  16. Thanks for more good KY info. What a great state we live in!

    May I share this recipe –blackberry puddin–with my readers on http://www.mykentuckyliv.com

    Looks like a delicious recipe,
    Sheila from Mykentuckyliving

    • My recipes are not to be copied and pasted onto another site. If you want to share to photo along with the link to my site, that would be good. Not the entire recipe typed out.

  17. I am from Kentucky and was interested in the facts about my state. Thanks for sharing.

  18. I am a Ky girl also lived here all my life will be 51-yrs this month and I am so proud to say I am from Ky We live in a small place called Littcarr near Carr fork lake and Hindman Love your recipes we was raised on soup beans, taters, corn, cornbread and blackberry dumplings Mom always made her own jam, beats, pickles and put up June apples for frying and for fried apple pie’s and I still cook just like my Mom love our ky food I think we have the best cook’s in the world…!!! We love everyone and you cannot stop by our house without eating something before you leave that is the way we were raised and I love it..!! Love you all and God Bless…!!!

  19. I love it so much! I guess I hadn’t realized before that you were a KYgal too! Our state is so diversified and beautiful.

  20. Hi! I have lived in Kentucky all my life! I live in Elizabethtown, Ky. I love all your recipes! It’s the kind of food I grew up eating! Thanks!

  21. I,M FROM KY ALSO WAS BORN IN PETERSBURG KY IN 1949 MOVED WITH MY FAMILY TO TULSA OKLA IN1966 .MOST OF MY FAMILY LIVES AROUND FLORENCE KY.

  22. I, too am a KY GIRL! From Greenville, in Muhlenberg County…we have a lovely little town and are in the top 5 rightnow for the coolest small town in america! Our town recently got a major facelift and it is just lovely! Muhlenberg Co..home of the Everly Brothers, several BlueGrass music legends adn the largest “Superdome” opem bellfrey in the world atop our newly refurbished historical courthouse…short drive to Lake Malone St Park with beautiful cliffs and bluffs and to the long gone community of “Paradise” from the song by John Prine..”Daddy won’t you take me back to Muhlenberg Co”….check us out…very friendly little town…great site..love it!

    • Hi Susie, Always nice to meet another Kentucky girl. I remember the Everly Brothers and also love that song about Muhlenberg County. Happy to have you on my site.

      • we are also very close to a large concentration of good Amish folk nearby and close to Elkton! They have several businesses close by with beautiful handmade outdoor furniture, a WONDERFUL bakery, a bulk store that sells fresh milk, lots of building and gardening things as well…such nice people. The Jefferson Davis Monument in nearby community of Fairwview…a smaller version of the Washington Monument…in honour of the President of the Confederate State of America! Our state is just full fo historical places and lots of good places to eat and enjoy the worlds best burbon, Malers Mark!

  23. I was born in ky in a town call prestonsburg .i live in Warsaw ind now .but I try
    To. Go home ever year .

    • I have been to Jenny Wiley State Park many times. Know exactly where Prestonsburg, Kentucky is located.

    • My parents were born in Prestonsburg and my mom is a descendent of Jenny Wiley. I was born in Ashland, but we moved to California as a child. I’m still so very proud to be a Kentuckian and still have family there. “On the Seventh Day, God made Kentucky.”

  24. I live in a small town in the hills of eastern Kentucky called, Oil Springs- known for it’s oil wells(past and future). I was born in Ohio but my mom was born here and my dad was from Ohio. They met by way of my grandpa’s working together in Ohio. My parents loved to travel and fix up houses so we lived in Ohio, California(2 times) and finally in Kentucky- lived here 45 years now! I love this country but Ky. is ‘home’! As we say here at my house, You’re in God’s Country Here’!

  25. I was born in Paducah,was raised in Chicago lived in Princeton for awhile after college and finally have moved back now that my children are grown to Dawson Springs.. I love Kentucky!

  26. Another Kentuckian here — Thanks for the representation and good eats & recipes.

  27. I’m from Kentucky too…..thanks sooo much for all this information…..a lot of facts were very surprising…love your site ….keep up the great work!!!!

  28. Love you blog. I was born in KY in a little town called Olive Hill. Only lived there until I was nine months old but spent many summers there. I love visiting still. Have gone to Morehead many times. In fact, I’ll be visiting there in October.

    • Hi Carol, I know where Olive Hill is. I live in Frankfort. I once spent a month in Morehead for a training seminar. Loved the quaintness of the town. That was a long time ago but there was a little country restaurant on Main Street that had the best food ever. We used to eat there every day! Happy to have you on the site.

      • HI CAROL I HAVE ATE IN THAT RESTURANT WISH I COULD REMEMBER THE NAME OF IT MY PARENTS AND I WOULD STOP IN THERE AND EAT WE CALLED IT HALFE WAY THERE
        I AM FROM MORGAN CO. KY
        WEST LIBERTY WHERE THE TORNADO TORE UP THE WHOLE TOWN THEY ARE NOW BUILDING IT BACK
        I USED TO GO DOWN TOWN ON THE 4TH OF JULY AND CLOG I AM 67 YEARS OLD AND STILL CLOG
        I NOW LIVE IN FL BUT GO AND VISIT MY RELETIVES
        THANK YOU FROM HAVING THIS SITE IT HAS BROUGHT BACK A LOT OF MEMORIES

  29. Are you from Murray? I am from Versailles living in Mississippi now. And the the name of the restaurant in Louisville that served the first cheeseburger is called Kaelin’s. My daughter use to work there. It closed about three years ago.

  30. Hello? Are you from Murray? And it’s Kaelin’s in Louisville for the home of the cheeseburger – my daughter worked ther at one time. It has been closed for about three years now.

  31. Benton Ky is the home of Tater Day – first Monday in April. It originated when farmers brought sweet potatos and other produce to the court square in wagons. Today there is a beauty pageant, parade, carnival, etc Benton is also the home of Big Singing Day on the fourth Sunday in May where sharp note singers have gathered in the court house to sing for over 100 years.
    When KY Dam was built and KY lake formed the town of Birmingham was under water and residents relocated in other areas of Marshall County

  32. I love Kentucky also….my father called it “God’s country”…he wrote a poem that is included in a published book of his poetry….the poem is simply …Kentucky.
    I love dear old Kentucky and all my country too..
    and everything that flies the flag…
    the Red , White and Blue.
    Fly on , fly on , Old Glory, long may your colors wave,
    and ripple in the breezes, thou symbol of the brave..
    I live in Longview , WA now but was born and raised in Pike Country…my name is Betty…..but screen name kntkywmn61…says it all…enjoyed your site…thank you

    • Hi Betty, I just love the poem. Thank you so much for sharing. Of course, I love Kentucky as well. What is name of your father’s book? I am happy you enjoy the site. Thank you. Have a great day.

  33. I was born in Owensboro, now live in Arkansas, I travel back to Owensboro to visit, my family are gone now but I love to visit the old home place.

  34. And you’re from Kentucky?! Me too! I’m from Pike County. I will be following your site from now on for sure!

  35. I knew there was a reason I just adore you, my Momma was born and raise Kentucky. I have spent most of my childhood and all my holidays in around Morehead! My kin is all their between Lexington and Ashland. My siblings where raised very southern in Michigan. I love Kentucky in so many ways. I am currently in Tennessee near Nashville.

    • Thank you for such a great complement. Always happy to meet another person connected with Kentucky. I have spent some time in Morehead myself and love that little town. When I was still working, they used to send me there for training a lot. There was a little country restaurant on Main Street in Morehead back then that served pinto beans and cornbread for lunch along with fried potatoes and other great country food. I loved eating in that restaurant. lol. Thanks for stopping by. Happy to have you here.

  36. Love Kentucky…we’ve made several summer trips there to Cave Country! Love the area!!!

  37. [...] are some links to sites I came up with on Kentucky:  You will find some interesting and unusual facts about Kentucky and her history and state symbols.   There is only one horse capital of the world and if you are planning to visit our state or [...]

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