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Portal:Kentucky

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Introduction

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Kentucky (/kənˈtʌki/ (About this sound 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.

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The John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge spans the Ohio River between Cincinnati, Ohio and Covington, Kentucky. When the first pedestrians crossed on December 1, 1866, it was the longest suspension bridge in the world at 1,057 feet (322 m), a status it maintained until 1883. Today, many pedestrians use the bridge to get between the arenas in Cincinnati (Paul Brown Stadium, Great American Ball Park, and U.S. Bank Arena) and the hotels and parking lots in Northern Kentucky.

The bridge was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975 and designated a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark in 1983. It remains the busiest of Cincinnati's four non-expressway automobile or pedestrian bridges. Initially called the "Covington-Cincinnati Suspension Bridge," it was renamed in honor of its designer and builder on June 27, 1983.

The state of Kentucky closed the bridge on November 13, 2006 to make extensive repairs to the structure. It was scheduled to reopen April 22, 2007, but reopened about a month ahead of schedule in late March. However, it will close again for much of 2008 for repainting.

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Kentucky countryside.jpg
Photo credit: A. Aspie
Woodford County is in the heart of the Bluegrass region.

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Paducah is the county seat of McCracken County, located at the confluence of the Tennessee River and the Ohio River. The population was 26,307 at the 2000 census. Paducah is the largest city in the Jackson Purchase Region of Western Kentucky. It is one of two cities named Paducah located in the United States. The other Paducah is in the state of Texas, near the panhandle, and was named after Paducah, Kentucky. Originally called Pekin, it began around 1815 as a mixed community of Native Americans and white settlers who were attracted by its location at the confluence of many waterways.

According to legend, Chief Paduke, most likely a Chickasaw, welcomed the people traveling down the Ohio and Tennessee on flatboats. His wigwam, located on a low bluff at the mouth of Island Creek, served as the counsel lodge for his village. The settlers, appreciative of his hospitality, and respectful of his ways, settled across the creek. The two communities lived in harmony trading goods and services enjoying the novelty of each other's culture. The settlers had brought horses and mules which they used to pull the flatboats upstream to farms, logging camps, trading posts and other settlements along the waterways, establishing a primitive, but thriving economy.

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Confederate Monument in Cynthiana

Kentucky Official Symbols

Quotes

"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

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Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area is a United States National Recreation Area located in Kentucky and Tennessee between Lake Barkley and Kentucky Lake. The area was designated a national recreation area by President John F. Kennedy in 1963. The recreation area was originally managed by the Tennessee Valley Authority but jurisdiction has since been transferred to the United States Forest Service.

The Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers flow very close to each other in the northwestern corner of Middle Tennessee and Western Kentucky, separated by a rather narrow and mostly low ridge. This area where they are only a few miles apart had been known as "Between the Rivers" since at least the 1830s or 1840s. After the Cumberland River was impounded in the 1960s and a canal was constructed between the two lakes, Land Between The Lakes became the largest inland peninsula in the United States. Downstream from this area, the courses of the rivers then diverge again, with the result being that the mouth of the Cumberland into the Ohio River is approximately 40 mi (64 km) from that of the Tennessee.

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Thomas Hines (October 8, 1838 – January 23, 1898) was a Confederate spy during the American Civil War. A native of Butler County, Kentucky, he originally served as a grammar instructor, particularly at the Masonic University of La Grange, Kentucky before the war. After several daring adventures and almost-impossible escapes during the war, he settled down after the war with much of his family in Bowling Green, Kentucky, where he would go on to serve on the Kentucky Court of Appeals.

Thomas Hines was said to resemble noted actor John Wilkes Booth, who would gain some fame immediately after Robert E. Lee surrendered. Hines was five feet nine inches tall, and weighed a mere 140 pounds. With his slim build, he was said to not be particularly menacing in appearance, and a friend said he had a voice like a "refined woman". He had a fondness not only for women, but music and horses as well. Union agents saw Hines as the man they most needed to apprehend, but except for his time at the Ohio State Penitentiary in late 1863, he was never captured.

During his time in the Kentucky Court of Appeals, Thomas Hines was a witness to the assassination of fellow Judge John Milton Elliott on March 26, 1879, while the two were leaving the Kentucky State House. A judge from Henry County, Kentucky, Colonel Thomas Buford, shot Elliott with a double-barreled shotgun filled with twelve buckshot after Hines had turned and walked six feet away from Elliott.

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