Here are some facts about the great state of Kentucky:
The town of Murray is home to the Boy Scouts of America Scouting Museum located on the campus of Murray State University.
The Kentucky Derby is the oldest continuously held horse race in the country. It is held at Churchill Downs in Louisville on the first Saturday in May.
The Bluegrass Country around Lexington is home to some of the world’s finest racehorses.
Kentucky was a popular hunting ground for the Shawnee and Cherokee Indian nations prior to being settled by white settlers.
In 1774 Harrodstown (now Harrodsburg) was established as the first permanent settlement in the Kentucky region. It was named after James Harrod who led a team of area surveyors.
The old official state tree was the Kentucky coffee tree (Gymnocladus dioicus.) The tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) is the current official state tree. The change was made in 1976.
Cheeseburgers were first served in 1934 at Kaolin’s restaurant in Louisville.
Chevrolet Corvettes are manufactured in Bowling Green.
Mammoth Cave is the world’s longest cave and was first promoted in 1816, making it the second oldest tourist attraction in the United States. Niagara Falls, New York is first.
Begun in 1819 the first commercial oil well was on the Cumberland River in McCreary County.
The first Miss America from Kentucky is Heather Renee French. She was crowned September 18, 1999.
The first Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant owned and operated by Colonel Sanders is located in Corbin.
Kentucky is the state where both Abraham Lincoln, President of the Union, and Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederacy, were born. They were born less than one hundred miles and one year apart.
Cumberland is the only waterfall in the world to regularly display a Moonbow. It is located just southwest of Corbin.
Fleming County is recognized as the Covered Bridge Capital of Kentucky.
Shelby County is recognized as the Saddlebred Capital of Kentucky.
The town of Corbin was the birthplace of old time movie star Arthur Lake whose real surname was Silverlake: He played the role of Dagwood in the “Blondie” films of the 1930s and ‘40s. Lake’s parents were trapeze artists billed as The Flying Silverlakes.
Christian County is wet while Bourbon County is dry. Barren County has the most fertile land in the state.
Thunder Over Louisville is the opening ceremony for the Kentucky Derby Festival and is the world’s largest fireworks display.
More than 100 native Kentuckians have been elected governors of other states.
In 1888, “Honest Dick” Tate the state treasurer embezzled $247,000 and fled the state.
The song “Happy Birthday to You” was the creation of two Louisville sisters in 1893.
Teacher Mary S. Wilson held the first observance of Mother’s Day in Henderson in 1887. It was made a national holiday in 1916.
The great Man o’ War won all of his horse races except one which he lost to a horse named Upset.
The first town in the United States to be named for the first president was Washington. It was named in 1780.
Pikeville annually leads the nation in per capita consumption of Pepsi-Cola.
The first American performance of a Beethoven symphony was in Lexington in 1817.
Post-It Notes are manufactured exclusively in Cynthiana. The exact number made annually of these popular notes is a trade secret.
Kentucky was the 15th state to join the Union and the first on the western frontier.
Bluegrass is not really blue–its green–but in the spring bluegrass produces bluish purple buds that when seen in large fields give a blue cast to the grass. Today Kentucky is known as the Bluegrass State.
There is a legend that the inspiration for Stephen Foster’s hymn like song
“My Old Kentucky Home” was written in 1852 after an unverified trip to visit relatives in Kentucky.
Daniel Boone and his wife Rebecca are buried in the Frankfort Cemetery. Their son Isaac is buried at Blue Licks Battlefield near Carlisle, where he was killed in the last battle of the Revolutionary War fought in Kentucky.
The only monument south of the Ohio River dedicated to Union Soldiers who died in the Civil War is located in Vanceburg.
The public saw an electric light for the first time in Louisville. Thomas Edison introduced his incandescent light bulb to crowds at the Southern Exposition in 1883.
The radio was invented by a Kentuckian named Nathan B. Stubblefield of Murray in 1892. It was three years before Marconi made his claim to the invention.
The first enamel bathtub was made in Louisville in 1856.
In the War of 1812 more than half of all Americans killed in action were Kentuckians.
Middlesboro is the only city in the United States built within a meteor crater.
Joe Bowen holds the world record for stilt walking endurance. He walked 3,008 miles on stilts between Bowen, Kentucky to Los Angeles, California.
The world’s largest free-swinging bell known as the World Peace Bell is on permanent display in Newport.
High Bridge located near Nicholasville is the highest railroad bridge over navigable water in the United States.
Carrie Nation the spokesperson against rum, tobacco, pornography, and corsets was born near Lancaster in Garrard County.
The brass plate embedded in the sidewalk at the corner of Limestone and Main Street in downtown Lexington is a memorial marker honoring Smiley Pete. The animal was known as the town dog in Lexington. He died in 1957.
Kentucky-born Alben W. Barkley was the oldest United States Vice President when he assumed office in 1949. He was 71 years old.
More than $6 billion worth of gold is held in the underground vaults of Fort Knox. This is the largest amount of gold stored anywhere in the world.
The Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption in Covington has 82 stained-glass windows including the world’s largest hand-blown one. The window measures 24 feet wide by 67 feet high and depicts the Council of Ephesus with 134 life-sized figures.
The Lost River Cave and Valley Bowling Green includes a cave with the shortest and deepest underground river in the world. It contains the largest cave opening east of the Mississippi.
The swimsuit Mark Spitz wore in the 1972 Olympic games was manufactured in Paris, Kentucky.
Frederick Vinson who was born in Louisa is the only Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court known to be born in jail.
Pike County the world’s largest producer of coal is famous for the Hatfield-McCoy feud, an Appalachian vendetta that lasted from the Civil War to the 1890s.
Thanks to: Kentucky Department of Travel, John D. Dowd, Mandy Paige, DeLores Wiggins, Wayne Shelton, David Grossman, Cleamon Inman, Jody Odonnell