Louisville KY history dates back to 1778 when George Rogers Clark founded a town on Corn Island. The inhabitants of the town moved to the mainland in 1779. The town charter for Louisville was approved in 1780. The town was named after King Louis XVI of France in gratitude for his aid during the Revolutionary War. Steamboats played a part in early Louisville history when they began traveling to and from Louisville along the Ohio River in the early 1800s. This river traffic increased the population of the town and Louisville was an incorporated city by 1828.
Louisville became an important shipping port and was the largest city in Kentucky in 1830. It was a busy city. A great deal of activity took place on the waterfront. Hotels and offices were built on the city’s main street. German and Irish immigrants greatly increased the city’s population by 1850. Many slaves worked in trades associated with the river traffic. Louisville became a stop on the Underground Railroad.
Louisville was a Union stronghold and a major supplier of military goods during the Civil War. Louisville was not attacked at all during the war and grew after the war. New factories were established and the transportation of goods by train increased. Goods from Louisville were sent all over the country.
A new chapter in the history of Louisville began when the first Kentucky Derby was held in the city in 1875. The Churchill Downs track was later established and the Kentucky Derby is held in Louisville every year.
A training camp for soldiers was established in Louisville during World War I. Aircraft were manufactured in the city during World War II.
The city has survived two tornadoes and a flood. Tornadoes struck in 1890 and 1974. The city was flooded in 1937.
The waterfront area of Louisville declined as the use of trains and interstate highways increased. This area of Louisville and the nearby downtown area are now undergoing revitalization.
The events in Louisville KY history have played a part in making the Louisville the exciting city that it is today.