If you’re a true Kentuckian, or at least friends with Kentucky on Facebook, you know the Bluegrass State turns 228 years old today. Crazy, I know. She doesn’t look a day past 227.
It was on June 1, 1792 when Kentucky became the fifteenth state to join the Union, separating itself from Virginia for a number of reasons. For starters, the state capital was too far away and ain’t nobody got time for that ride. On top of that, Kentucky residents understood the importance of trade along the Mississippi River, but Virginia was all like, “the Mississippi River is stupid,” or something like that. So Colonel Benjamin Logan called a constitutional convention in Danville in 1784 and eight years later Kentucky officially separated from Virginia in a mutual breakup. Kentucky got Mammoth Cave and a bunch of lakes; Virginia got to keep Mount Vernon and Busch Gardens. Fair trade.
Anyway, that was my brief history lesson, and I have so much more Kentucky for you. I assume you’re all familiar with the bourbon, fried chicken, bourbon, horses, coal, and bourbon, but there is so much more to learn about this great
state Commonwealth. Sure, you know Abraham Lincoln, George Clooney, Muhammad Ali and the lead singer of 98 Degrees were born here, and that it’s home to the “Horse Capital of the World,” but there’s even more to know and love.
So please join me in celebrating these 28 little known Kentucky facts in honor of Kentucky’s 228th birthday. I would’ve listed 228 facts, but I’m not paid hourly. We’ll just say these are Nos. 201-228 and the first 200 are bourbons.
Did I mention Kentucky has bourbon?
The first cheeseburger was served in Louisville. (Maybe.)
Kaelin’s Restaurant in Louisville is known as the Birthplace of the Cheeseburger. Carl Kaelin took credit for the invention of the cheeseburger in 1934 and his restaurant served the cheesy, beefy patty on a bun until it closed in 2004.
The Humpty Dumpty Drive-In in Denver trademarked the name “cheeseburger” one year later, but we’re standing by Kaelin’s in this one. The cheeseburger began in the Bluegrass.
Larry Flynt was born in Kentucky.
The founder of Hustler magazine was born in Magoffin County. He attended Salyersville High School, now known as Magoffin County High School.
Then he opened a bunch of clubs and started the famous nudie mag and published pictures of former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.
Mark Spitz’s 1972 Olympic swimsuit was manufactured in Paris, Ky.
Spitz’s patriotic Speedo, worn in the 1972 Munich games, was sewn right here in Kentucky. Spitz was a perfect 7-for-7 in Munich, winning a gold medal and setting a new world record in all seven events.
Half of the Americans killed in the War of 1812 were Kentuckians.
Over 25,000 Kentuckians fought in the war, which explains why Kentucky saw more casualties than every other state combined.
Nine of the 120 Kentucky counties were named for fallen officers in the Battle of Frenchtown (in Michigan), so pour one out for the homies Allen, Ballard, Edmonson, Graves, Hart, Hickman, McCracken, Meade and Simpson.
The first American performance of a Beethoven symphony was in Lexington in 1817.
Anthony Philip Heinrich led a performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 1 in the assembly room of Postlethwait’s Tavern in Lexington, the first American performance of a Beethoven symphony.
Postlethwait’s was located at Main and Limestone, now where Phoenix Park sits outside the public library.
Jessamine County’s High Bridge is the highest railroad bridge over navigable water.
At 275 feet tall, no other railroad bridge in America stands taller over navigable water, and at one time was the tallest railroad bridge in the entire world. It is a National Civil Engineering Landmark.
Every Post-It note in every office in the world was made in Cynthiana.
The good people at the 3M Company set up a factory in Cynthiana in 1969. The Post-It note was developed shortly thereafter and has been produced at the same 3M factory ever since.
The JIF plant in Lexington is the world’s largest peanut butter producing facility.
The largest IN THE WORLD!
I bet all the other plants are so jelly.
It is illegal to dye a baby duckling purple and sell it, unless more than six are for sale at once.
So don’t go dyeing your ducklings!
No person shall sell, exchange, offer to sell or exchange, display, or possess living baby chicks, ducklings, or other fowl or rabbits which have been dyed or colored; nor dye or color any baby chicks, ducklings, or other fowl or rabbits; nor sell, exchange, offer to sell or exchange or to give away baby chicks, ducklings or other fowl or rabbits, under two (2) months of age in any quantity less than six (6), except that any rabbit weighing three (3) pounds or more may be sold at an age of six (6) weeks. Any person who violates this section shall be fined not less than $100 nor more than $500.
Unless, of course, you have six or more dyed ducklings. Then you’re good.
A poor Kentucky melon farmer invented the radio.
Nathan B. Stubblefield of Murray built the first known radio before a bunch of New Yorkers stole his invention and made it their own. As the legend goes, Stubblefield was so upset, he disappeared into his shack for 15 years, only to be seen a couple times by his neighbors. His
WNBS, the official station of Murray high school and Murray State athletics, is named for Stubblefield. (That’s the NBS in WNBS.)
Thunder Over Louisville is the largest fireworks show in North America.
It’s 28 minutes long, costs an estimated million bucks each year, and draws over 500,000 people to downtown Louisville.
The co-creators of The Walking Dead were born in Kentucky.
Tony Moore (Cynthiana) and Robert Kirkman (Richmond) created The Walking Dead comic book that would later be adapted into the popular AMC television series.
In 2005, Moore filed a lawsuit against Kirkman alleging Kirkman had deceitfully engineered him into surrendering his rights to The Walking Dead comic book and TV series. I don’t know what happened, nor do I care, but those two should be filthy rich right now. It has to be on like Season 50 now.
A woman may not buy a hat without her husband’s permission in Owensboro.
Although I believe that law hasn’t been strictly enforced in a century or two.
The world’s largest hand-blown stained glass window is in Covington.
At 67′ x 24′, the stained glass window in Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption is the biggest of its kind.
It takes over 500 gallons of Windex to clean the window on every other Sunday, costing the cathedral thousands of dollars each month. (I completely made that last part that up.)
Washington, Ky. was the first town in the United States to be named after George Washington.
Take that, D.C.!
A Powell County man walked 3,000 miles from Kentucky to California on stilts.
In 1980, Joe Bowen of Bowen, Ky. walked 3,000 miles across the United States on stilts to raise money for Muscular Dystrophy research. It is the Guiness world record for longest-stilt walk.
Bowen also rode a bicycle from California to Eastern Kentucky after returning from the Air Force, prior to the stilt-walk.
He should inquire about his candidacy for the Guiness world record for calf muscles.
Every Corvette in the world (made after 1981) was manufactured in Bowling Green.
So next time you see one with a douchebag vanity plate taking up two parking spots outside the T-Mobile store, just know it began its life as a bunch of individual parts in a factory in Bowling Green, Ky.
Thomas Edison lit up Louisville’s Southern Exposition with his incandescent light bulb in 1883.
The 1883 Southern Exposition in what is now Old Louisville used the recently-invented light bulb to light up the event in the nighttime. With 5,000 incandescent lamps, 4,600 lamps for the exhibition hall and 400 for an art gallery, the exposition used more light bulbs than all of New York City at the time.
Thomas Edison had previously lived in Louisville. Another fun fact for ya.
It is illegal to carry an ice cream cone in your back pocket in Lexington.
So don’t do that.
Pikeville leads the nation in Pepsi-Cola consumption.
Charles Boston, the general manager of the East Kentucky Beverage Company, told the Chicago-Tribune it’s because he has hardworking sales people. I’d say it has more to do with the people of Pikeville loving a good sugary carbonated soft drink or 12.
Either way, that’s an impressive feat. An unhealthy one, too.
Dogs may not molest cars in Fort Thomas.
ORDINANCE NO. 0-5-2001
AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF FORT THOMAS, KENTUCKY PROHIBITING THE CREATION OF ANIMAL-RELATED NUISANCES ASSOCIATED WITH ANIMAL OWNERSHIP, MAINTENANCE OR CONTROL; AND PROVIDING APPROPRIATE ENFORCEMENT AUTHORITY AND A PENALTY FOR VIOLATION THEREOF
BE IT ORDAINED BY THE CITY OF FORT THOMAS, CAMPBELL COUNTY, KENTUCKY:
A. Animal – Any vertebrate creature other than a human being.
B. Animal-related Nuisance – Circumstances in which animal ownership, maintenance or control creates, contributes to, or permits any of the following undesirable animal actions or conditions upon public or private property causing annoyance, discomfort or injury to the health and welfare of persons in the community:
(1) Molesting pedestrians or passing vehicles;
But everywhere else, it’s fair game!
There is a dinosaur on the side of I-65 South in Barren County.
It is not real so don’t be alarmed. Dinosaurs have been gone longer than Indiana basketball. This particular dinosaur is a replica and it is there to invite you to Dinosaur World, a bizarre tourist attraction in Cave City, near Mammoth Cave, which brings us to our next fact.
Kentucky has the longest known cave system in the world.
Mammoth Cave has over 400 miles of underground passageways, almost twice as long as its closest competitor in the world cave rankings.
Northern Kentucky was home to “Sin City” before Las Vegas stole its thunder.
From the 1930s to 1960s, Newport was littered with corruption, mafia influence and businesses you wouldn’t want to frequent with your mother. Las Vegas wasn’t a thing yet, so Newport is where all the sinning went down. Matter of fact, I’m currently on Chapter 4 of a book about it so ask me more in a few days.
Kentucky has the world’s largest free swinging bell.
Also in Newport, the World Peace Bell is a record-holder for largest free swinging bell. It is 66,000 lbs. and rings at noon each day.
Cumberland Falls in the Daniel Boone National Forest is one of two places on Earth where you can see a moonbow.
A moonbow is rare, obviously, and occurs when the moon’s light reflects off water droplets (a waterfall). Moonbows can be found on occasion at Cumberland Falls in the Daniel Boone National Forest — or if you’re not a Daniel Boone National Forest fan, you can catch one at Victoria Falls on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe, a long drive from Corbin, Kentucky.
Henderson claims it is the birthplace of Mother’s Day.
And who are we to say otherwise? It’s not like I fact checked any of this.
As Henderson tells it, a school teacher named Mary Towles Sasseen planned the first Mother’s Day celebration on her mother’s birthday in 1887. Sasseen’s tribute to her mama is now the holiday we all celebrate in honor of our own mothers.
“Happy Birthday To You” was created by two sisters in Louisville.
In 1893, Patty and Mildred J. Hill of Louisville came up with “Happy Birthday To You,” officially the most recognized song in the English language.
Patty and Mildred wrote many more on Channel 4 and Scooby Doo on Channel 2.
Kentucky is awesome.
But you already knew that.