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Portal:Kentucky

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The Commonwealth of Kentucky /knˈtʌki/ is a state located in the East Central United States of America. As classified by the United States Census Bureau, Kentucky is a Southern state. 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 it became the 15th state to join the Union. Kentucky is the 37th largest state in terms of total area, the 36th largest in land area, and ranks 26th in population.

Kentucky is known as the "Bluegrass State", a nickname based on the fact that native bluegrass is present in many of the pastures throughout the state, based on the fertile soil. It made possible the breeding of high-quality livestock, especially thoroughbred racing horses. 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 Lower 48 states; and the two largest man-made lakes east of the Mississippi River. It is also home to the highest per capita number of deer and turkey in the United States, the largest free-ranging elk herd east of Montana, and the nation's most productive coalfield. Kentucky is also known for thoroughbred horses, horse racing, bourbon distilleries, bluegrass music, automobile manufacturing, tobacco and college basketball.

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Western Kentucky University (WKU) 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.

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Photo credit: C. Bedford Crenshaw
John Hunt Morgan Memorial features testicles placed on a mare.

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Frankfort serves as the state capital of the commonwealth of Kentucky, and is the county seat of Franklin County. The population was 27,741 at the 2000 census; by population, it is the 4th smallest state capital in the United States. James Wilkinson purchased in 1786 the 260-acre tract of land on the north side of the Kentucky River, which is now downtown Frankfort. Called by some the father of Frankfort, Wilkinson was an early promoter to make Frankfort the state capital.

The town of Frankfort probably received its name from an event that took place in 1780's when Indians attacked a group of pioneers from Bryan's Station who were making salt at a ford in the Kentucky River. One of the pioneers, Stephen Frank, was killed and the crossing became known as "Frank's Ford." Later this name was shortened to Frankfort.

After Kentucky became a state, five commissioners were appointed on June 20, 1792, to choose a location for the state capital. They were John Allen and John Edwards (both from Bourbon County), Henry Lee (Mason County), Thomas Kennedy (Madison County), and Robert Todd (Fayette County). A number of communities competed for this honor, but Frankfort won by perseverance and, according to early histories, the offer of Andrew Holmes' log house as capitol for seven years, a number of town lots, £50 worth of locks and hinges, 10 boxes of glass, 1500 pounds of nails, and $3000 in gold.

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Thompson and Powell Martyrs Monument

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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Kentucky Horse Park is a working horse farm and an educational theme park opened in 1978 in Lexington, Kentucky. The equestrian facility is a 1,200-acre (4.9 km2) park dedicated to "man's relationship with the horse." Open to the public, the Park has a twice daily Parade of Breeds, showcasing both common and rare horses from across the globe. The horses are ridden in authentic costume. Each year the Park is host to a number of special events and horse shows.

Every year from one week after Thanksgiving to New Year's Day, the Kentucky Horse Park features a three-mile (5 km) drive-through Christmas lights display.

Although the park is owned by the state government, it is administered separately from the state park system.

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Addison Mitchell "Mitch" McConnell, Jr. (born February 20, 1942), is the senior United States Senator from Kentucky. A Republican, he was chosen by his peers as the Minority Leader in November 2006, making him the top-ranking Republican in the 110th Congress, which convened in January 2007.

McConnell is a member of the Baptist Church. He married Elaine Chao, the current Secretary of Labor, in 1993, and has three grown daughters from his first marriage. McConnell's first wife worked as a librarian for a small college in the Northeast.

In 1992, McConnell teamed with the University of Louisville to create the McConnell Center.

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