State Information

Nickname(s):                        Bluegrass State

Motto(s):                                  Let us be grateful to God

State song(s):                         My old Kentucky Home

 Capital                                     Frankfort

 Largest City                         Louisville

Admitted to US          6/1/1792                 15th State

Brief History

Kentucky was originally part of the Virginia territory before splitting from Virginia. 

Here are a few interesting facts about Kentucky:

  • It has the 4th largest number of automobile and truck assembling plants in the US. 

  • Kentucky has the Nation’s only operating uranium enrichment facility. 

  • Over half of all US troops killed in the War of 1812 were Kentuckians. 

  • The Nation’s gold is housed at Fort Knox. 

  • Kentucky produces 95% of the world’s supply of bourbon whiskey. 

  • The song “Happy Birthday” was composed in 1893 by two Louisville sisters. 

  • Kentucky has the 4th lowest abortion rate and the 6th lowest crime rate. 

  • Some famous people include Jefferson Davis (general), Casey Jones (locomotive engineer), Nathan Stubblefield (invented the radio), Colonel Sanders (founder of  Kentucky Fried Chicken), Louis Brandeis (retired Supreme Court Judge), and many others.

Interesting Stories

Kentucky Derby is the oldest continuously held horse race in the Nation.  It started in 1875 when Meriwether Lewis Clark, of the Lewis & Clark fame, saw the pageantry and charm of European horse races.  When he returned to Kentucky, he persuaded his uncles, John & Henry Churchill, to give him the land to build a race track.  His first race was attended by an unexpectedly large crowd of 10,000 spectators.  The traditional drink at the Derby is the mint julep, with more than 120,000 served each race, 142,000 hot dogs, 32,000 jumbo shrimp, and 300,000 strawberries.  The Kentucky Derby is synonymous with fashion and stunning headwear. Men’s dress typically revolves around color palettes, ties, and straw hats, while ladies sport their most flamboyant hat and a matching dress.  This race is one of the most joyous, safe, eloquent, and obscene-free events in the Nation.  

Abraham Lincoln was born in a one-room log cabin in Sinking Springs Farm, KY.  Lincoln was self-educated, having less than 12 months of formal education.  He learned to read from the Bible.  Lincoln hated slavery, which led him to join the Republican Party.  He won the election in 1860, becoming the first Republican president. The South signed the Articles of Succession before Lincoln took office, but President Buchanan and President-Elect Lincoln declared the succession illegal.  Lincoln was re-elected to a second term, and the war ended six months later.  He was assassinated five days after that.  However, during his time as president, he helped reunite the North and South. He spoke vehemently against the evils of slavery, issuing the Emancipation Proclamation and arming black soldiers in the Union army. Although he wasn’t alive to see it, his efforts set a precedent for freeing enslaved people under the Thirteenth Amendment.

Loretta Lynn was born in Butcher Hollow, Kentucky. Her father was a coal miner.  She taught herself to play the guitar while pregnant with her first child.  She sang for $12 a gig and picked strawberries for 5 cents per crate. All the while, she was jotting down lyrics.  Many of them found their way into her first hit, “I’m a Honky Tonk Girl.” Her song “Coal Miner’s Daughter” was based on actual events from her youth.  Her fearlessness ensured her success.

Muhammad Ali (Cassius Clay) was born in Louisville.  “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” is a quote that will undoubtedly live forever.  At 18, he claimed the gold medal at the 1960 Summer Olympics.  In 1961 he was scheduled to fight Sonny Liston for the world’s heavyweight championship.  Liston was an intimidating boxer, having enormous 17 ½-inch biceps and 14 ½-inch fists, which were 30% larger than Ali’s.  As if that wasn’t terrifying enough, Liston learned how to fight in prison.  But Ali was undaunted. He taunted Liston by driving around broadcasting that he’d knock out Liston in the 8th round.  This infuriated Liston. People worried that he’d kill Ali.  When the fight started, Liston charged out of his corner. Ali dodged, ducked, and danced around the ring.  At the beginning of the seventh round, Liston spat out his mouth guard and conceded the fight.  In the rematch, Ali knocked Liston out in the first round.  Ali’s statement, “I am the greatest,” was proven true.