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Louisville (usually pronounced ; see Pronunciation below) is Kentucky's largest city and the 16th largest city of the United States. The settlement that became the City of Louisville was founded in 1778 by George Rogers Clark and is named after King Louis XVI of France. Louisville is most famous as the home of the Kentucky Derby, the most widely watched event in American horse racing.
Louisville is situated on the Kentucky-Indiana border at the only natural obstacle in the Ohio River, the Falls of the Ohio. Because of its proximity to Indiana, the metro area around Louisville is normally referred to as Kentuckiana.
As of the 2000 census, Louisville had a total population of 256,231. However, in 2003, the city and Jefferson County merged into a single government named Louisville-Jefferson County Metro Government (official long form) and Louisville Metro (official short form), resulting in a city populated with approximately 700,000 residents. The Louisville metropolitan area (not to be confused with Louisville Metro), with a population of approximately 1.5 million, is the largest in Kentucky and also includes some southern Indiana counties (see Metropolitan area below).
and the southern Indiana counties of:
Most long-time residents pronounce the city's name as ['luːǝvǝl] (IPA)—often this degrades further into ['lǝvǝl]. The name is often pronounced far back in the mouth, in the top of the throat. The standard English pronunciation, however, is ['luːivɪl] (referring to King Louis XVI), which is often utilized by political leaders and the media. No matter how Louisville is pronounced, the "s" is always silent.
The variability of the local pronunciation of Louisville's name can perhaps be laid at the feet of the city's location on the border between the North and South of the United States. Louisville's diverse population has traditionally represented elements of both Northern and Southern culture.
Regional migration patterns and the homogenization of dialect due to electronic media also may be responsible for the incidence of native-born Louisvillians adopting or affecting the standard English pronunciation. Nevertheless, the ['luːǝvǝl] pronunciation is most popular among residents and is, with little exception, used by news and sports reporters.
The first settlement was made here in 1778 by 13 families under Col. George Rogers Clark. Two years later the place was incorporated by an act of the Virginia Legislature, and called Louisville in honor of Louis XVI of France, whose soldiers were then aiding the Americans in the Revolutionary War. During its early history it suffered greatly from Indian attacks. It was chartered as a city February 13, 1828.
In 1890 it was visited by a tornado which destroyed $3 million worth of property and killed 100 persons. Another major (F4) tornado hit on April 3, 1974 as part of the Super Outbreak of tornados that struck 13 states. It covered 21 miles and destroyed several hundred homes in the Louisville area but was only responsible for 2 deaths. It also caused extensive damage in Cherokee Park.
Louisville is governed by a mayor and Metro Council. The current mayor is Jerry E. Abramson. The Metro Council consists of 26 seats corresponding to 26 districts apportioned by population throughout the area of Louisville Metro. Half (13) of the seats come up for re-election every two years.
The Official Seal of the City of Louisville, no longer used following the formation of a consolidated city-county government in 2003, reflected its history and heritage in the fleur-de-lis representing French aid given during the Revolutionary War, and the thirteen stars signify the original colonies. It was designed by legendary Austrian typographer Victor Hammer . The new seal of the consolidated government retains the fleur-de-lis, but has only two stars, one representing the city and the other the county.
- Hillerich & Bradsby (known for Louisville Slugger baseball bats)
- Humana Inc. (Fortune 500)
- Kindred Healthcare Incorporated (Fortune 500)
- Papa John's Pizza
- Presbyterian Church (USA)
- Yum! Brands, Inc. (owners of KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, Long John Silver's and A & W Restaurants; formerly Tricon Global Restaurants, successor to KFC Corporation) (Fortune 500)
Louisville is served by the following local broadcast television stations:
- WAVE—Channel 3, an NBC affiliate
- WHAS—Channel 11, an ABC affiliate
- WLKY—Channel 32, a CBS affiliate
- WBKI—Channel 34, a WB affilate
- WDRB—Channel 41, a FOX affiliate
- WFTE—Channel 58, a UPN affiliate
Some of the major radio stations are:
- WFPL-FM : 89.3 - Louisville's NPR News Station
- WKUE-FM : 90.9 - Western's Public Radio (musical programming)
- WUKY-FM : 91.3 - NPR @ 91.3 FM
- WFPK-FM : 91.9 - WFPK Radio Louisville
- WILL-AM : 580.0 - The Information Advantage
- Rock: WQMF-FM : 95.7, WXNU-FM : 105.9, WTFX-FM : 100.5
- Oldies: WRKA-FM : 103.1, WQLL-FM : 103.9
- Classical: WUOL-FM : 90.5,
- Jazz/NAC: WFPL-FM : 89.3
- Urban: WGZB-FM : 96.5, WLSY-FM : 101.7, WLOU-AM : 1350
- Top 40: WDJX-FM : 99.7
- Talk radio: WHAS-AM: 840.0
Louisville is home to the University of Louisville, Spalding University , Sullivan University, Bellarmine University and Jefferson Community College (part of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System ).
The public school system, Jefferson County Public Schools, includes the distinctive Ballard High School, duPont Manual Magnet High School and Louisville Male High School. There are also a variety of special schools in the system, including:
- The Brown School, a small, centrally located, highly regarded K-12 school
- the Youth Performing Arts School (YPAS)
Louisville has 27 Catholic schools and two Catholic universities (the aforementioned Bellarmine and Spalding). Some of the high schools include:
- Assumption High School (all girls)
- Sacred Heart Academy (all girls)
- Trinity High School (all boys)
- Saint Xavier High School (all boys)
- Holy Cross High School (coeducational)
Also located in Louisville is the Christian Academy of Louisville (CAL), the largest Protestant school system in the country in terms of student population.
College basketball is very popular in greater Louisville; Louisville and the nearby University of Kentucky in Lexington have won a combined nine national titles (two at U of L and seven at UK), and four of the 25 winningest NCAA Division I teams are located in or near the city. Loyalties in the immediate Louisville area are fairly evenly divided between U of L and UK, with substantial numbers of Indiana and Purdue fans on the Indiana side of the river.
High school sports are also very popular in the city. While basketball is not as popular as in the rest of the state, Louisville area high schools have been dominant in football in recent years. Trinity (1994, 2001, 2002, 2003), Male (1993, 1998, 2000) and St. Xavier (1992, 1995, 1997, 1999, 2004) High Schools have won every 4A football title except one (Nelson County 1996) since 1992 and have been 13 of the 15 finalists since 1997.
Horse racing is also very popular. Churchill Downs is home to the Kentucky Derby, the largest sports event in the state, as well as the Kentucky Oaks which together cap the two-week-long Kentucky Derby Festival . Churchill Downs has also hosted the renowned Breeders' Cup on five occasions.
Louisville has several professional sports teams. In the ABA there is the Kentucky Colonels. Also, in the Arena Football League 2 there is the Louisville Fire. Minor League Baseball's Louisville Bats, the AAA team affiliated with the Cincinnati Reds, play at Louisville Slugger Field.
Attractions and events
Attractions in Louisville Metro include:
- Myriad spacious city parks and forested areas, several designed by Frederick Law Olmsted; distinctive examples include:
- Cherokee Park
- Iroquois Park (features a locally popular ampitheatre)
- Louisville Waterfront Park and Belvedere (features annual Thunder Over Louisville fireworks and air show during the Kentucky Derby Festival)
- Jefferson Memorial Forest, in southwest Louisville, the largest municipal urban forest in the United States
- Distinctive locales:
- Speed Art Museum
- Louisville Science Center
- Louisville Slugger Museum
- Frazier Historical Arms Museum
- Callahan Museum of the American Printing House for the Blind
- Historic properties:
- Belle of Louisville , the oldest Mississippi-style steamboat in operation on the inland waterways of the U.S. (Built 1914-1915 in Pittsburgh for service in Memphis as the Idlewild, renamed Avalon in 1948, purchased by Jefferson County and renamed Belle of Louisville in 1962.)
- Seelbach and Camberley-Brown hotels
- Historic Locust Grove farm, home of George Rogers Clark
- Farmington Historic Home
- Riverside, the Farnsley-Moremen Landing
- Cave Hill Cemetery
- Zachery Taylor National Cemetery
Nearby, in Southern Indiana, attractions include:
- Falls of the Ohio National Wildlife Conservation Area (Clarksville), featuring the oldest exposed Devonian fossil beds in the United States
- Howard Steamboat Museum (Jeffersonville)
Other attractions in the Louisville metropolitan area include:
- Bernheim Forest (Bullitt County)
- Caesars Indiana (Elizabeth, Indiana)
- Fort Knox, including the U.S. Bullion Depository and Patton Museum of Cavalry and Armor (Hardin County)
- My Old Kentucky Home State Park (Bardstown, Kentucky), featuring the Federal Hill mansion (inspiration for Stephen Foster's My Old Kentucky Home) and Stephen Foster, The Musical
- Otter Creek Park (Brandenburg, Kentucky)
Famous Louisvillians include:
Geography and maps
Louisville is located at 38°13'44" North, 85°44'58" West (38.228870, -85.749534).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 172.6 km² (66.7 mi²). 160.9 km² (62.1 mi²) of it is land and 11.7 km² (4.5 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 6.80% water.
Note: All demographics apply to the former City of Louisville as it existed prior to the creation of Louisville Metro on January 6, 2003. For demographics of Louisville Metro, see Jefferson County, Kentucky.
As of the census2 of 2000, there are 256,231 people, 111,414 households, and 61,389 families residing in the city. The population density is 1,592.6/km² (4,124.9/mi²). There are 121,275 housing units at an average density of 753.8/km² (1,952.3/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 62.94% White, 33.01% African American, 0.23% Native American, 1.45% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.67% from other races, and 1.67% from two or more races. 1.86% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 111,414 households out of which 25.7% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 31.6% are married couples living together, 19.2% have a female householder with no husband present, and 44.9% are non-families. 37.9% of all households are made up of individuals and 12.4% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.22 and the average family size is 2.97.
The age distribution is: 23.7% under the age of 18, 10.4% from 18 to 24, 30.4% from 25 to 44, 21.0% from 45 to 64, and 14.6% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 36 years. For every 100 females there are 89.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 85.2 males.
The median income for a household in the city is $28,843, and the median income for a family is $36,696. Males have a median income of $30,608 versus $24,439 for females. The per capita income for the city is $18,193. 21.6% of the population and 17.9% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 33.5% of those under the age of 18 and 13.2% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.
Louisville is twinned with the following cities:
- One third of the bourbon in the U.S. comes from Louisville.
- Both the lyrics and the melody of Happy Birthday to You are reported to have been written by Louisvillians in the late 19th century.
- Louisville is the only city in the United States to have two consecutively-numbered three-digit Interstate Highways: I-264 and I-265.
- 90% of the United States' disco balls are made in Louisville at National Products, Inc.
- Louisville is perhaps the most Catholic city in the South. There is a city cathedral (Cathedral of the Assumption) downtown as well as 27 Catholic schools and two Catholic universities.
- Movies filmed in Louisville include Stripes and The Insider.
- The very first cheeseburger was made in 1934 at Kaelin's Restaurant.
- Dennis Domer, Gregory A. Luhan, and David Mohney, The Louisville Guide, 2004. (ISBN 1568984510)
- John E. Kleber et al (editor), The Encyclopedia of Louisville, University Press of Kentucky, 2000. (ISBN 0813121000)
- Chip Nold and Bob Bahr, Insiders' Guide to Louisville, Kentucky & Southern Indiana, Globe Pequot, 1997. (ISBN 1573800430)
The links in this section either extend content about Louisville, Kentucky or go to entities that don't currently have articles.
Attractions and events
- Frazier Historical Arms Museum
- Kentucky Derby Festival
- Locust Grove National Historic Landmark
- Louisville Metro Parks
- St. James Court Art Show
- A Concise History of Louisville
- Greater Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau
- Louisville Eccentric Observer (LEO)
- Louisville, Kentucky in the Open Directory Project
- Louisville Metro - Official Website
- Louisville Olmsted Parks Conservancy
- The Ohio River Bridges Project (note: site uses Flash)
- Sister Cities of Louisville, Inc.
- Unofficial Fan Site of Louisville, Kentucky
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