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All About Kentucky: Gold, Horses & Bluegrass

by | Dec 9, 2022 | All About States

The earliest settlers in the Kentucky area, Native American tribes that included the: Cherokee, Chickasaw, and Shawnee Indians, must have adored their pet dogs. They were often buried with them as was discovered at the Indian Knoll site in western Kentucky. Do you have a pet dog? If so, is the pooch treated like one of the family?

Kentucky shares a border with seven different states: Indiana and Ohio to the north, West Virginia and Virginia to the east, Tennessee to the south, Missouri and Illinois to the west.

The largest city in the state is Louisville. It was actually named after the last King of France, King Louis XVI, who helped Kentucky during the American Revolutionary War. France provided the American colonies with supplies, troops and even help from its naval ships to fight against the British.

However, people pronounce the city’s name in at least five different ways: Louie-Ville, Luis-Ville, Loo-a-Vull, Loo-A-Ville, and Luhvul. Not sure the King would approve had he not been beheaded in 1793 for treason. What do you think is the proper way to say the city’s name?

What really happened

  • In 1673, French Jesuit missionary Thomas Walker and French-Canadian explorer Louis Jolliet were most likely the first Europeans in the state.
  • Daniel Boone was a pioneer and frontiersman. He played a major role in settling the area, which was west of the 13 colonies. He first sighted the region in 1767, then built a trail in 1775 through Kentucky and to the Ohio River. It was called the Wilderness Road. Within 35 years, roughly 300,000 people used this trail to settle in the state.
  • After the Revolutionary War between the US and Britain, the eastern part of Kentucky became part of the state of Virginia. But in 1792, it became its own state. The western part of the state was later added in 1818 after being purchased from the Chickasaw tribe.
  • Between 1811 and 1812, the Kentucky area experienced at least three powerful earthquakes (on a scale of 1-10, they measured more than 7 in strength!). Besides destroying towns, the earthquakes caused the Mississippi River to temporarily run backward.
  • In 1818, between 55 and 75 slaves attempted to escape to freedom. Although most were later captured, it was the state’s most famous uprising.
  • The state was torn when it came to Around 1833, Kentucky passed a law forbidding slaves being brought into the state for resale.
  • Zachary Taylor, whose boyhood home was in the state, was known as the “Kentucky hero of the Mexican War”. He became the 12thpresident of the US in 1849.
  • The state had four different governors in less than three months between December 1899 and February 1900.
  • In 1966, Kentucky became the first southern state to pass a Civil Rights

Stuff you should know

  • Kentucky’s nickname is “The Bluegrass State”. Bluegrass is actually green, but it produces bluish purple buds in the spring. So when looking at a large field of bluegrass, it has a bluish
  • There is one national park in Kentucky: Mammoth Cave National Park. With 400 miles of caves, it is the world’s longest cave system.
  • The state has more miles of river than any other states besides Alaska; around 90,000 miles in total.
  • Traffic lights were invented by former slave Garret Morgan, who was from the city of Paris.
  • Kentucky is the home of a US military base called Fort Knox. This base also stores the most gold in the world at the United States Bullion Depository, an underground vault.
  • Two Louisville sisters, Mildred and Patty Hill, wrote the “Happy Birthday” song in 1893.
  • Kentucky is the only state with rivers on three sides of its borders: the Ohio River to the north, Mississippi to the west, and the Big Sandy and Tug Fork Rivers to the east.
  • The Kentucky Derby is one of the world’s most famous horse races.
  • Almost half the state is covered in forests, making Kentucky one of the country’s top three producers of hardwood. Furniture and houses are made out of wood. Can you name something else that is made out of wood?
  • The state has many grassy farms that are considered to be the best place to raise and breed horses.

Crazy, funny or just plain weird

  • Located in the city of Newport, the World Peace Bell is one of the world’s biggest swinging bells. It weighs 66,000 pounds!
  • In Guthrie, Kentucky, there’s a big statue of a dairy cow wearing pink glasses.
  • Senior welding students at Franklin-Simpson High School constructed a 21-foot tall, 680-pound stainless steel fork that was installed at the fork in the road off State Route 1434.
  • Cumberland Falls in the Daniel Boone National Forest is among the few places on earth where you may be able to see a
  • By law, every citizen of Kentucky is required to take a shower at least once a year. (Do baths count?)

Tell me more

  • Colonel Sanders was a real person. In 1939, he developed the secret recipe for Kentucky Fried Chicken at his restaurant called Sanders’ Café in Corbin, Kentucky.
  • The “Louisville Slugger” baseball bat was invented in 1884. Pete Browning, known as the “Louisville Slugger”, broke his bat and had a local shop make a new one for him.
  • Kentuckians claim that the very first cheeseburger was served at Kaelin’s restaurant in Louisville in 1934. BUT, it was called a cheese hamburger. Not so fast. Others say Lionel Sternberger (yes, that’s his real last name) invented it at his sandwich shop, the Rite Spot, in Pasadena, California in 1927. Not sure if we’ll ever know who was the first to top a burger with a slice of cheese, but we sure love ‘em! Guess which state eats the most burgers – with or without cheese? Oregon!
  • Thomas Edison introduced the electric lightbulb to the public for the first time at the 1893 Southern Exposition in Louisville.
  • Eastern Kentucky is home to so many country-music stars that a stretch of highway was renamed the “Country Music Highway”.
  • Like peanut butter? Mo’s favorite brand, Jif, is made in Lexington at the largest peanut butter producing facility in the world.

Do you live in Kentucky or have you visited relatives or friends in the state? If so, what would you like to tell others about it? Please email us at along with your first name, age, and state you live in and we’ll post it on Mo’s social media pages!

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