Tuesday 30 August 2011

The America project - Kentucky

Kentucky (KY) size 40,409 sq.m population 4.3 million

Bordering states Tennessee, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia (7)
State capital Frankfort
Most populous city Louisville
Other notable places Lexington, Owensboro, Cowington, London
Notable landmarks and natural features The Cumberland Gap, The Jackson Purchase, The East Kentucky Coal Field

Statehood 1st June 1792 (15th)

Ten famous Kentuckians
Muhammad Ali (boxer; born Louisville, 1942 -)
Tod Browning (film director; born Louisville, 1882-1962)
George Clooney (actor; born Lexington, 1961 -)
Johnny Depp (actor and musician; born Owensboro, 1963 -)
Tyson Gay (athlete; born Lexington, 1982 -)
D.W. Griffith (actor, director and Hollywood pioneer; born Crestwood, 1875-1948)
Nicky Hayden (motorcycle racer; born Owensboro, 1981 -)
Abraham Lincoln (politician, 16th President of the United States; born Hardin County, 1809-1865)
Loretta Lynn (singer; born Ashland, 1932 -)
Hunter S. Thompson (author and journalist; born Louisville, 1937-2005)

Three important events

1. The New Madrid Earthquakes (1811-1812)
In mid-December 1811, Kentucky experienced the first of a series of 4 powerful and hugely wide-ranging earthquakes, over a period of two-and-a-half months. Each quake measured between 7 and 8 on the Richter Scale, and represent the most powerful earthquakes ever to hit the eastern continental United States. Tremors were felt as far away as Pennsylvania and Virginia, with the overall effects of the disaster spread over an enormous 50,000 square mile area. The force of the quakes actually diverted the course of the Mississippi River, creating an area known as the Kentucky Bend.

2. Assassination of William Goebel (January 30th 1900)
Northern Kentucky saw a great increase in its immigrant German population around the turn of the 20th century. William Goebel (1856-1900) was one of their foremost civic leaders, becoming a State Senator in 1887 and assuming control of the Kentucky Democratic Party a few years later. In 1895, Goebel took vote counting powers away local officials for future elections and gave them to officials of the Democrat-controlled Assembly. The Republican Party countered by raising an army, and Kentucky started to slide towards civil war. Goebel was shot by a sniper on his way to his Gubernatorial inauguration on January 30th 1900, and although he was successfully sworn in the following day he was mortally wounded and died 4 days later.

3. Ohio River Flood (1937)
Following hot on the heels of the dustbowl and the Great Depression came a huge flood, which eventually affected 4 States. Heavy rainfall and snow in January 1937 saw the Ohio River break its banks in Ohio and Indiana. By January 27th, the devastation had reached Kentucky. Many businesses in Louisville were destroyed, with 70% of the city under waters as high as 57 feet. A few days later the flood waters reached 60 feet at Paducah. The waters didn't start to recede until February 5th, after almost three weeks of continuous flooding in many places. It remains the worst flood in Kentucky's history, causing a combined total of $20 million damage.

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