Kentucky ( (listen) kən-TUK-ee), officially the Commonwealth of Kentucky, is a state located in the east south-central region of the United States. Although styled as the "State of Kentucky" in the law creating it, Kentucky is one of four U.S. states constituted as a commonwealth (the others being Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts). Originally a part of Virginia, in 1792 Kentucky became the 15th state to join the Union. Kentucky is the 37th most extensive and the 26th most populous of the 50 United States.
Kentucky is known as the "Bluegrass State", a nickname based on the bluegrass found in many of its pastures due to the fertile soil. One of the major regions in Kentucky is the Bluegrass Region in central Kentucky, which houses two of its major cities, Louisville and Lexington. It is a land with diverse environments and abundant resources, including the world's longest cave system, Mammoth Cave National Park, the greatest length of navigable waterways and streams in the contiguous United States, and the two largest man-made lakes east of the Mississippi River.
Western Kentucky University
) is a public university in Bowling Green, Kentucky
. The roots of WKU go back to 1875 and the founding of the privately owned Glasgow Normal School
. This institution moved to Bowling Green in 1884 and became the Southern Normal School and Business College.
The student body and building were transferred to the Western Kentucky State Normal School, when it was created by an act of the Kentucky General Assembly in 1906. The owner of the Southern Normal School, Henry Hardin Cherry, became the first president of the new school. Classes began on January 22, 1907. The school moved to its present location in 1911. The property had been purchased in 1909 when the Pleasant J. Potter College closed. In 1922, the school was authorized by the state to grant four-year degrees and was renamed as Western Kentucky State Normal School and Teachers College. The first four-year degrees were awarded in 1924. In 1927, it merged with Odgen College, which occupied an adjacent campus.
WKU is also home to the largest American master's degree program in folklore; it is contained within the Department of Folk Studies and Anthropology.
Extended campuses are operated in Glasgow, Elizabethtown/Fort Knox and Owensboro.
is a city in Nelson County
. The population was 10,374 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat
of Nelson County
. It is named for David Bard, the man who obtained the land for the city from the governor of Virginia
, and his brother William Bard, the surveyor who laid out the town. Bardstown is the second oldest city in Kentucky
. It was settled in the 1770s, and received its charter in 1790.
Bardstown was the first center of Catholicism west of the Appalachian Mountains. The Diocese of Bardstown was established on February 8, 1808, and served all Catholics between the Appalachians and the Mississippi River, an area now served by 44 dioceses and archdioceses in 10 states. Its cathedral still stands as the Basilica of Saint Joseph Proto-Cathedral. The seat of the diocese was transferred to Louisville in 1841. Bardstown is still the home of a Catholic high school, Bethlehem High School.
Bardstown is the home of My Old Kentucky Home State Park, on which the Federal Hill mansion ( the alleged inspiration for Stephen Foster's song "My Old Kentucky Home") was built by Judge John Rowan and his wife Ann Lytle Rowan of the Lytle family, from whose father William Lytle they had been deeded the land as a wedding gift. The Federal Hill mansion is depicted on the reverse of the Kentucky state quarter issued by the United States Mint in 2001.
Did you know...
- ... that the Confederate Monument (pictured) in Murray, Kentucky, is the only Civil War Monument in Kentucky to prominently feature Robert E. Lee?
- ... that in 1785, all men between 16 and 50, who were not ministers, were required to help build Bardstown, Kentucky's Cobblestone Path or be subject to a fine?
- ... that Kentucky's Cherokee State Park, now part of Kenlake State Resort Park, was the first blacks-only state park in the Southern United States?
- ... that during the Battle of New Haven, the fort the Confederate howitzer aimed at was not damaged, but the town's only hotel and bar were?
- ... that the Milton-Madison Bridge, which carries U.S. Route 421 across the Ohio River, is considered structurally poor and unable to handle modern truck traffic?
- ... that the Nancy Lincoln Inn was once deemed an "unacceptable adjacent commercialization" to the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace N.H.S.?
Kentucky Official Symbols
"I hope to have God on my side, but I must have Kentucky." -- Abraham Lincoln
"I was brought up to believe that Scotch whisky would need a tax preference to survive in competition with Kentucky bourbon." -- Hugo Black
"Tough girls come from New York. Sweet girls, they're from Georgia. But us Kentucky girls, we have fire and ice in our blood. We can ride horses, be a debutante, throw left hooks, and drink with the boys, all the while making sweet tea, darlin'. And if we have an opinion, you know you're gonna hear it." -- Ashley Judd
"Soon after, I returned home to my family, with a determination to bring them as soon as possible to live in Kentucky, which I esteemed a second paradise, at the risk of my life and fortune." -- Daniel Boone
is the site of a Shaker religious community
that was active from 1805
. Following a preservationist
effort that began in 1961
, the site, now a National Historic Landmark
, has become a popular tourist destination
. Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill
, or Shakertown
, as it is known by residents of the area, is located 25 miles (40 km) southwest of Lexington
, in Kentucky's Bluegrass region
On January 1, 1805, with eleven Shaker communities already established in New York and New England, three Shaker missionaries set out to find new converts among the pioneers then pouring into the western lands by way of Cumberland Gap and the Ohio. By August, they had gathered a small group of new adherents to the doctrine of Mother Ann Lee, many of whom had earlier been influenced by the fervent Cane Ridge Revival. In December 1806, forty-four converts of legal age signed a covenant agreeing to mutual support and the common ownership of property.
(February 6, 1797 – May 25, 1877) was a United States Representative
and the second Confederate Governor of Kentucky
. He was part of an influential political family, with a brother, uncle, and cousin who also served as U.S. Representatives. He began his political career as an ardent Whig
and was a close friend of the party's founder, Henry Clay
. When the party declined and dissolved in the 1850s, Hawes became a Democrat
, and his relationship with Clay cooled.
At the outbreak of the Civil War, Hawes was a supporter of Kentucky's doctrine of armed neutrality. When the Commonwealth's neutrality was breached in September 1861, Hawes fled to Virginia and enlisted as a brigade commissary under Confederate general Humphrey Marshall. When Kentucky's Confederate government was formed in Russellville, Hawes was offered the position of state auditor, but declined. Months later, he was elected Confederate governor of the Commonwealth following the late George W. Johnson's death at the Battle of Shiloh.
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