Michael Bryan

Written by Michael Bryan

Modified & Updated: 22 May 2024

Sherman Smith

Reviewed by Sherman Smith

falls, cumberland, kentucky facts

Kentucky is the home to the famous KFC, moonshine, and bluegrass. There is still so much to find out about this state. Read these Kentucky facts to get to know the bluegrass city more.

  1. The first settlements were founded in the year 1775.
  2. Kentucky’s current population is 4.5 million.
  3. The largest city of Kentucky is Louisville.
  4. People from Kentucky are called Kentuckians.
  5. Kentuckians are known for their laid-back attitude as well as being friendly and hospitable.
  1. Kentucky is home to the world’s finest racehorses. Hence, its the United States’ leading producer of horses.
  2. The horse industry of Kentucky is a major part of the state’s agricultural business.
  3. The horse industry provides over 40,000 jobs for the Americans as well as contributing billions of dollars to the economy.
  4. Horse racing is famous in Kentucky due to its history. Horse racing has been recorded since the 18th century.
  5. The oldest horse racing in the United States is the Kentucky Derby. The event happens on the first Saturday of May.
  6. Kentucky’s Lost River Cave is the shortest and deepest underground river in the world.
  7. The official language in Kentucky is English. However, there is a growing Spanish-speaking population.
  8. The official name of Kentucky is the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
  9. The United States calls the region of Kentucky, the East South Central.
  10. Kentucky’s nickname is Bluegrass State.
  1. Former President Abraham Lincoln was born in Hodgenville, Kentucky.
  2. Boxing legend Muhammad Ali was born in Louisville, Kentucky.
  3. Former President of the Confederate States, Jefferson Davis was also born in Kentucky.
  4. The first U.S. performance of a Beethoven symphony happened in the year 1817 at Lexington, Kentucky.
  5. Kentucky is the only state to have an acting governor assassinated, Governor William Goebel.
Table of Contents

Kentucky Facts Infographics

Kentucky Facts Infographics

Kentucky got its nickname, Bluegrass, literally.

Kentucky got its nickname since its covered with a type of grass called, bluegrass. During springtime, it looks blue with all of the buds that can grow in the bluegrass. Interestingly, the soil of Kentucky is compatible with this type of grass.

The meaning behind Kentucky's state flag.

Kentucky flag, Kentucky facts
Image from Wikipedia

Kentucky’s flag is navy blue along with a state seal in the middle. It shows 2 men in the middle of the flag which represents the pioneer and a politician that are working together. There is also a quote written in the flag that says “Together we stand, Divided we fall” along with the Commonwealth of Kentucky on top of it.

Who are the two men on Kentucky's state flag?

Most people are convinced that the person who represents the pioneer in Kentucky’s flag is Daniel Boone, an American pioneer, explorer, woodsman, and frontiersman. On the other hand, many believe that the former US Senator, Henry Clay is the politician on Kentucky’s flag.

The bourbon industry is big in Kentucky.

Kentucky is the birthplace or the origin of bourbon. The bourbon industry in Kentucky grew and generated over 20,000 jobs with an annual payroll of $1 billion.

Bourbon's dominance in Kentucky continues.

The bourbon production has grown more than 115% in the last five years with premium batch and single barrel brands driving the bourbon’s dominance. Furthermore, tourists are also contributing to its sales as millions of them visit the distilleries each year. Most noteworthy, the exportation of bourbon has tripled over the last 20 years.

bourbon, kentucky facts
Photo by Adam Wilson on Unsplash

The longest cave system in the world is in Kentucky.

Mammoth Cave, a national park in central Kentucky, is the longest cave system in the world. It is also one of the oldest tourist attractions in the country which was established as a national park on July 1, 1941.

Cumberland Falls can produce a moonbow.

Kentucky’s Cumberland Falls, also known as the Little Niagara is one of the rare places in the earth where people can find moonbow, a rainbow formed by moonlight rather than direct sunlight.

The sisters from Kentucky composed the tune of "Happy Birthday to You"

The American songwriter Mildred Hill, along with her sister Patty Hill composed a tune which later became popular as “Happy Birthday to You”. Mildred Hill was born in Louisville, Kentucky on June 27, 1859, while Patty Hill was born in Anchorage, Kentucky, on 27 March 1868.

Mother's Day originated in Kentucky.

Mother’s Day was invented in Kentucky. In particular, Mary Towles Sasseen celebrated the first mother’s day to honor her mother. The recognition goes to her in 1887 as the founder of Mother’s Day.

24,000 Kentuckians died during the war in 1812.

Due to unfortunate events, more than half of the United States troops killed in the War of 1812 were Kentuckians. Consequently, 24,000 Kentuckians who served during the war represents 64% of the total troops.

Thomas Edison worked at Louisville, Kentucky for two years.

Thomas Edison worked as a telegraph operator in the Western Union office at Louisville, Kentucky for two years. Interestingly, Thomas Edison has no plans of leaving the company. However, he was fired after unintentionally spilling a sulfuric acid on his boss’s furniture. This incident eventually became a blessing in disguise as he flourished in his career as an inventor upon leaving the company.

Thomas Edison, Kentucky facts
Photo from Wikipedia

Louisville was once the most electrified place on earth.

Thomas Edison electrified the Southern Exposition in Louisville, Kentucky in 1893. In detail, the exhibit hall has 4,600 incandescent lamps and 400 in the art gallery. On that day, Louisville was the world’s most electrified place on earth.

Kentucky is in 2nd place for having the most miles of running water.

After Alaska, Kentucky has more miles of running water than any other state of the United States. The diverse rivers and water impoundments unfold more than 1,000 commercially navigable miles that are over 1,770 kilometers.

Kentucky has 7 boarding states.

Kentucky has 7 boarding states, namely Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Missouri.

Kentucky neighboring states, Kentucky facts
Image from Adobe Stock

Kentucky does not have significant border issues with its neighbors.

Kentucky is relatively a populous Commonwealth-State in the United States, while maintaining a good relationship with its close bordering states. Besides, there is no difference in their relationship to the United States in general.

Kentuckians have a diverse Christian faith.

Kentuckians have a diverse Christian faith. In particular, more than 70% of the population is divided into Protestant, Baptist, Methodist, Catholic, Lutheran, Pentecostal, and other Christian faith. On the contrary, religions like Islam and other Eastern faith is only less than 1%.

Kentucky has 4 distinct seasons.

Since Kentucky is located in the Central United States, its climate is typically mild and moderate. However, the state experiences all four distinct seasons, with warm summers and as well as cold winters.

The temperature in Kentucky goes as high as 30°C and dip as low as -5°C.

The average temperature in Kentucky is 30°C during summer. On the other hand, the average temperature of the state during winter can drop up to -5°C. During the fall season, the weather brings more color in the environment and the air usually feels nice and cool. Finally, the legendary bluegrass of Kentucky is most visible during springtime along with nice cool weather of 15 to 21°C.

Kentucky's state bird is the Kentucky cardinal.

The Kentucky cardinal, or also known as the red bird, is officially selected as the state bird of Kentucky which was approved on February 26, 1926, by the House of Representatives. Above all, the red bird was chosen because it is a native species of the State of Kentucky.

kentucky cardinal, kentucky facts
Photo by Timothy Dykes on Unsplash

The Tulip tree is the state tree of Kentucky.

The Tulip tree is the state tree of Kentucky, where it is home to some of the most beautiful of these majestic trees. Moreover, the Tulip tree is one of the tallest native American hardwoods in the world which can reach more than 191.8 feet.

In contrast to the belief of many, the horse is not the state animal of Kentucky but rather the eastern gray squirrel.

Even though the horse industry is the heart and soul of Kentucky, it is not their state animal. Instead, Kentucky’s state animal is the eastern gray squirrel. The gray squirrel is known for its ability to plan ahead of time. For instance, during cool months like autumn and spring, they spend each day to accumulate their food such as nuts and seeds and hiding them so they will have enough food to last through the winter.

Kentucky is a country before it became a state.

Kentucky used to be a country before it became a state. However, after the Revolutionary War, Kentucky became a part of the state of Virginia. Kentuckians aspired to have a better government, therefore they applied for statehood and Kentucky became the 15th state on 1 June 1792.

The Woodland people are one of the first people of Kentucky.

Different people lived in Kentucky for hundreds of years. In particular, the Woodland people (the indigenous people of North America), including the Hopewell and the Adena, were one of the earliest cultures to settle in the area.

KFC originated from Kentucky.

kfc, fast food, kentucky facts
Photo from Pixabay

No prizes for getting that right. The fast-food giant KFC originated in Kentucky on Sept 24, 1952. Today, it is the world’s second-largest fast-food chain with over 20,000 branches across the globe. Above all, its acronyms KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) has been there from the very start and will carry on its legacy as a homegrown trademark.

The legacy of KFC continues even after the owner's death.

Colonel Harland David Sanders founded KFC in North Cornin, Kentucky. Furthermore, the famous icon or logo of KFC is the picture of the owner himself. The legacy of Colonel Sanders continues even after his death. To illustrate, by the time of Sanders’ death on December 16, 1980, there were only 6,000 KFC branches – which grew over 3 fold as of this writing.

Kentucky native Bill Monroe helped the development of the Bluegrass Music.

Kentucky native Bill Monroe, an American mandolinist, singer, and songwriter, helped the development of the music style known as Bluegrass Music. In particular, Bluegrass Music is an American roots music genre that originated in the Appalachian region, a cultural region in the Eastern United States, of the United States in the 1940s. To name a few of his famous songs, they are Alabama Waltz, Orange Blossom Special, and Kentucky Waltz.

Western Kentucky is home to the world’s only Corvette assembly plant.

The world’s only Corvette assembly plant is located in western Kentucky. The Bowling Green Assembly Plant is a one-million-square-foot compound that was built in the year 1981. Furthermore, it also has a museum, the National Corvette Museum, which showcases the Chevrolet Corvette – an American sports car that has been in production since the year 1953. The Bowling Green Assembly Plant is owned by General Motors.

Kentucky's giant swinging bell is located in Newport.

Located at Newport, Kentucky, the World Peace Bell is one of the world’s biggest swinging bells. To illustrate, it weighs 6613 lbs and is 3.7 meters wide. In line with its theme of world peace, the bell displays an image of commemorating the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that mark important events of the last 1,000 years.

There is at least 5 pronunciation of Louisville.

The locals and even the senators have different accents about Louisville’s pronunciation. Louisville is pronounced such as Louie-Ville, Luis-Ville, Loo-a-Vull, Loo-A-Ville, and Luhvul, etc.

Louisville, Kentucky
Photo from Adobe Stock

Louisville is named after King Louis XVI.

With a rich history, Louisville is actually named after King Louis XVI since he helped Kentucky during the revolutionary war. Thus, the correct pronunciation of Louisville should sound close to the King of France’s name.

The highest point in Kentucky is 4,145 feet above sea level.

Black Mountain is Kentucky’s highest point, at an altitude of 4,145 feet above sea level which is located in Harlan County, Kentucky near the Virginia border. Furthermore, several rare animals and plants can be found in Black Mountain such as Black Bear, Red Elderberry (a species of elderberry), and Hobblebush (a perennial shrub).

Kentucky's lowest point is at the Mississippi River.

Kentucky’s lowest point is at the Mississippi River in Fulton County, 257 feet or 78 meters above sea level. Moreover, the Mississippi River is the second-longest river in North America which runs through 10 states – Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana.

Kentucky is home to diversified sports.

Aside from being famous in the horse racing sport, the Kentuckians also love to play and support basketball, football, baseball, soccer, ice hockey, and lacrosse. Kentucky is one of the most diehard basketball fans in the world.

Kentucky sports, Kentucky facts
Photo by Nik Shuliahin on Unsplash

There are many NBA players from Kentucky.

The popular NBA players from Kentucky College Basketball are Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins, Tayshaun Prince, Rajon Rondo, John Wall, Pat Riley (former NBA player and coach), and many more. Furthermore, there are hundreds of players from Kentucky that have been listed in the NBA draft since the year 1947.

Dermontti Dawson is Kentucky's pro-Football Hall of Fame.

Dermontti Dawson (Pro Football Hall of Fame) is born in Lexington, Kentucky. After playing for Kentucky for football college, he was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the second round of the 1988 NFL Draft. Furthermore, he played 184 games and started 181 of those. Dermontti Dawson is a 7-time Pro Bowl, 6-First-team All pro, NFL 1990s All-Decade Team, “Pittsburgh Steelers All-Time Team”, and Second-team All-SEC.

Jim Bunning is Kentucky's baseball player and politician.

Jim Bunning, an American professional baseball, was born in Southgate, Kentucky on October 23, 1931. Aside from being a baseball player, he also became a politician who represented Kentucky in both chambers of the United States Congress. Jim Bunning is the only Major League Baseball player that has been elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and the United States Senate.

A Kentuckian invented the car that runs on bourbon.

Mickey Nilsson, a resident of Bardstown Kentucky, invented the motor car that runs on bourbon. Mickey got his inspiration from a character in the movie Chitty Chitty Bang. Thus, he created a way to make his junk into a car that runs using Kentucky’s bourbon.

Kentucky has a huge forest that is filled with natural resources.

Forest land occupies 48% of Kentucky, and Kentucky is the 3rd largest provider of hardwoods in the country. Natural resources such as hickory, sugar maple, beech, yellow poplar, white oak, red oak white ash, and walnut are grown naturally.

Cumberland river, kentucky facts
Photo by Joshua Michaels on Unsplash

3M's Plant in Cynthiana, Kentucky is the only producer of the 3M Post-it Notes.

Dr. Spencer Silver, a scientist at 3M, invented the Post-it Note. Furthermore, 3M’s plant in Cynthiana, Kentucky is the only producer of this legendary, yet simple and effective office supply until its patent expired in the year 1990. Today, 3M has a new Post-It Extreme Notes product which offers more durability as well as being water-resistant.

There are more barrels of bourbon in Kentucky than its state citizens.

There are at least 7.5 million barrels of bourbon and other spirits in Kentucky. Moreover, the barrel inventory of Kentucky is one of the highest inventories in the world. The number of barrels of bourbon in Kentucky has even surpassed the number of its state citizens of 4.5 million.

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