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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

City of Owensboro, Kentucky
—  City  —
Historic District in downtown Owensboro
Nickname(s): BBQ Capital of the world
Location of Owensboro within Kentucky.
Coordinates: 37°45′28″N 87°7′6″W / 37.75778°N 87.11833°W / 37.75778; -87.11833
Country United States
State Kentucky
County Daviess
Settled Yellow Banks, 1797
Incorporated 1817
Government
 - Mayor Ron Payne
 - Mayor Pro Tem Charlie Castlen
 - City Manager William Parrish
Area
 - City 18.7 sq mi (48.3 km2)
 - Land 17.4 sq mi (45.1 km2)
 - Water 1.2 sq mi (3.2 km2)  6.59%
Elevation 394 ft (120 m)
Population (2008)
 - City 55,516
 Density 3,107.3/sq mi (1,198.8/km2)
 Metro 111,599
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
 - Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP codes 42301-42304
Area code(s) 270
FIPS code 21-58620
GNIS feature ID 0500082
Website http://www.owensboro.org

Owensboro is the third-largest city in the U.S. state of Kentucky and the county seat of Daviess County.[1] It is located on U.S. Route 60 about 32 miles southeast of Evansville, Indiana and is the principal city of the Owensboro, Kentucky Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 55,512 at the 2008 U.S. Census Estimate. The city was named after Colonel Abraham Owen. Owensboro is the second-largest city in the Tri-State region of Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky after Evansville, Indiana.

Contents

History

Stretching out for more than five miles along the meandering south bank of the mighty Ohio River lies the sprawling steel town of Owensboro, in the bluegrass state of Kentucky. St Louis, the 2nd largest city in Missouri, is 200 miles to its north-west, while some 120 miles south is the home of country music itself: Nashville, Tennessee. To the north, on the other side of the river, lies Indiana; to the east, Virginia of which Kentucky was originally a part.

According to anthropological studies, Native American culture in the locality dates back 12,000 years, through the last Shawnee Indians were forced to vacate the area before the end of the eighteenth century. Legend has it that Kentucky as a whole is 'dark and bloody ground' - a myth which arose out of the popular belief that Indian tribes were happy to hunt the land but were unwilling to settle it, rather than a reference to any hostilities which might have taken place in the territory between 1861 and 1865. During the American Civil War, Owensboro was a town of split loyalties: it fought with the North, but its heart lay with the South. Owensboro's only claim to fame in the civil war was that in August 1865, the town was subject to a raid by a band of Confederate guerrillas from Tennessee led by Captin Jack Bennett, an officer in Johnson's Partisan Rangers. Bennett's men rode into Owensboro, tried and failed to rob a local bank, took 13 Union soldiers of the 108th Coloured Infantry prisoner, executed them, burned the bodies on a supply boat and escaped back to Tennessee having covered a total of 300 miles on horseback inside six days. At that time, Owensboro was less than 70 years old.

It had initially been settled in 1798, becoming Owensborough after the name of its founding father, Colonel Abraham Owen, in 1816, before finally opting for the shortened version of its original name in 1893.

The end of the Second World war had bought civil engineering projects, which helped turn Owensboro from sleepy industrial rump into a modern, expanding community by the turn of the 1960s. Many of those had been set in motion by Johnson, Depp & Quisenberry, a firm of consulting engineers then engaged in a runway redesign at the County Airport; the 'Depp' in question was but one member of an old and prodigious Kentucky family which was to endow the town with its most famous son Johnny Depp although in the 1960s, it was more famously the home of Colonel Harland Sanders, founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Owensboro was first settled in the 1790s by frontiersman William "Bill" Smeathers, for whom the riverfront park is named. A Kentucky Historical Marker # 744 was erected in his honor at the park. The settlement was called Yellow Banks, an allusion to the color of the banks of the Ohio River. In 1817, Yellow Banks was incorporated as a city under the name Owensborough, named after Colonel Abraham Owen. He was also the namesake of Owen County, Kentucky. In 1893, the spelling of the name was shortened to its current Owensboro.

Frederick A. Ames came to Owensboro from Washington, Pennsylvania in 1887. He started the Carriage Woodstock Company to repair horse-drawn carriages. In 1910 he began to manufacture a line of automobiles under the Ames brand name. Ames hired industrialist Vincent Bendix in 1912, and the company became the Ames Motor Car Company.

Despite its product being called the "best $1500" car by a Texas car dealer, the company ceased production of its own model in 1915. The company then began manufacturing replacement bodies for the more widely sold Ford Model T. In 1922, the company again remade itself and started to manufacture furniture under the name Ames Corporation. The company finally sold out to Whitehall Furniture in 1970.[2]

On August 14, 1936, downtown Owensboro was the site of the last public hanging in the United States. Rainey Bethea was executed for the rape and murder of 70-year-old Lischa Edwards.

In 1937, Pope Pius XI established the Roman Catholic Diocese of Owensboro, which spans approximately the western third of the state. It includes thirty-two counties and covers approximately 12,500 square miles.[3]

In 1961, engineers at the General Electric plant in Owensboro introduced a family of vacuum tubes called the Compactron.

Geography

Owensboro is located at 37°45′28″N 87°7′6″W / 37.75778°N 87.11833°W / 37.75778; -87.11833 (37.757748, -87.118390)[4], at the crook of a bend in the Ohio River.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 48.3 km² (18.7 mi²). 45.1 km² (17.4 mi²) of it is land and 3.2 km² (1.2 mi²) of it (6.59%) is water.

Demographics

Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1830 229
1850 1,215
1860 2,308 90.0%
1870 3,437 48.9%
1880 6,231 81.3%
1890 9,837 57.9%
1900 13,189 34.1%
1910 16,011 21.4%
1920 17,424 8.8%
1930 22,765 30.7%
1940 30,245 32.9%
1950 33,651 11.3%
1960 42,471 26.2%
1970 50,329 18.5%
1980 54,450 8.2%
1990 53,549 −1.7%
2000 54,067 1.0%
Est. 2008 55,512 2.7%
U.S. Census Bureau[5]

As of the U.S. census[6] estimate of 2007, there were 55,398 people, 22,659 households, and 14,093 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,198.4/km² (3,102.9/mi²). There were 24,302 housing units at an average density of 538.6/km² (1,394.7/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 90.63% White, 6.90% African American, 0.51% Asian, 0.12% Native American, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.55% from other races, and 1.28% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.03% of the population.

There were 22,659 households out of which 28.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.7% were married couples living together, 13.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.8% were non-families. 33.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.29 and the average family size was 2.91.

In the city the population was spread out with 24.1% under the age of 18, 9.8% from 18 to 24, 27.4% from 25 to 44, 22.4% from 45 to 64, and 16.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 87.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 82.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $31,867, and the median income for a family was $41,333. Males had a median income of $33,429 versus $21,457 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,968. About 12.2% of families and 15.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.9% of those under age 18 and 12.4% of those age 65 or over.

Metropolitan area

According to the 2007 census, the Owensboro Metropolitan Area includes Daviess, Hancock, and McLean counties.

Law and government

Daviess County Courthouse

Owensboro has operated under a City Manager form of government since 1954. Citizens elect a mayor and four city commissioners who form the Board of Commissioners. The Board of Commissioners is the legislative body of the city government and represents the interests of the citizens. The Board of Commissioners hires a city manager who administers the day-to-day operations of the city.

The mayor is elected for a term of four years. Each city commissioner is elected for a term of two years. The term of the city manager is indefinite and based on performance.

Education

The Owensboro Public Schools, Daviess County Public Schools, and the Diocese of Owensboro's Catholic School System oversee K-12 education in and around Owensboro.

Owensboro is home to two private, four-year colleges, Brescia University and Kentucky Wesleyan College, and one public community college, Owensboro Community and Technical College. Campuses of Draughons Junior College and Daymar College are also located in Owensboro, and Western Kentucky University maintains an extended campus presence there.

In 2006, plans were announced for a research center operated by the University of Louisville to be located at the Mitchell Memorial Cancer Center, a part of the Owensboro Medical Health System, to study how to make the first ever human papilloma virus vaccine, called Gardasil, from tobacco plants. U of L researcher Dr Albert Bennet Jenson and Dr Shin-je Ghim discovered the vaccine in 2006. If successful, the vaccine would be made in Owensboro.[7]

Transportation

Glover Cary Bridge

US 60 and US 431 serve downtown Owensboro. US 231 and US 60 BYPASS form a partial beltway around Owensboro. KY 81, KY 56, KY 331, KY 298, KY 54, and KY 144 also serve the city.

Owensboro-Daviess County Regional Airport serves along with Evansville Regional Airport as one of the region's commercial airports.

The Owensboro Wagon Company, established in 1884, was one of the largest and most influential wagon companies in the nation. With nearly eight styles or sizes of wagons, the company set the standard of quality at the turn of the 20th century.

Cultural features

Media

The daily newspaper is the Messenger-Inquirer, owned by the Paxton Media Group of Paducah, Kentucky.[8]

Radio Stations include WBIO (FM), WOMI (AM), WVJS (AM), WBKR and numerous other stations broadcasting from Evansville are also available. One, WSTO FM 96.1 Radio, is actually licensed to Owensboro, although its studios are now located in Evansville.

Although no television stations are based in the city, it is part of the Evansville television market, which is the 100th-largest in the United States according to Nielsen Media Research.[9] However in early 2007 WFIE-TV opened a bureau in Owensboro which covers news in the market's Western Kentucky Counties. Many of the local television stations often promote themselves as serving Evansville, Henderson, and Owensboro.

Events of interest

  • Owensboro considers itself the "BBQ Capital of the world"; it holds its International BBQ festival and competition every second weekend in May.
  • During the summer, the city offers "Friday After 5", a free 16-week series of outdoor concerts on the downtown riverfront. The festival includes live bands, events for families, and entertainment every Friday from 5:00 pm till 10:00 pm. An estimated 55,000 people attend the events. [10]
  • Owensboro holds the Annual Owensboro PumpkinFest each September at the Sportscenter/Moreland Park complex. The festival includes food vendors, crafts people, carnival rides, children and adult activities and games, and contests using pumpkins.[11] Each year, the festival hosts a weekend-long concert series featuring some of the area's top bands, such as the Velvet Bombers, Sundown, Bad Kitty, and Mr. Nice Guy, to name a few. The event was started by the Glenmary Sisters as a way to raise awareness and funds for their mission work in the southeastern United States. The festival, however, was handed over to New Beginnings Rape Crisis Center in October 2009.[12]
  • Owensboro is home of a unique annual fundraiser: Men Who Cook - Celebrity Chefs Gala & Auction. The first Men Who Cook was held in 2007 through the collaboration of Richard Remp-Morris,[13][14] Deputy Chief David Thompson with the Owensboro Police Department and many dedicated volunteers. Men Who Cook features amateur chefs who display their culinary talents in a friendly competition for coveted Silver Spoon Awards. The event includes food, live music, as well as silent and live auctions. The event has received recognition from Kentucky's Governor Steven L. Beshear; State Representatives Tommy N. Thompson, Jim Gooch, and Jim Glenn; City Commissioner Al Mattingly; Mayors Tom Watson and Ron Payne; and Bishop John McRaith. All proceeds from the event support the mission work of the Glenmary Sisters. Since 1941 the Glenmary Sisters have supported the poorest of Americans living in the rural south and Appalachia. The Sisters are funded almost entirely by donations from supporters who share an interest in reaching the unchurched, underserved, and oppressed. [2]
  • Owensboro hosts one of the largest Christmas parades in Kentucky, second only to the Pegasus Parade in Louisville. Held on the Saturday before Thanksgiving Day, the parade features marching bands, clowns, fire trucks, beauty queens, miniature horses, and decorated floats. www.ChristmasParade.net

Points of interest

Military Memorial on the riverfront

Notable natives

Politicians

Sports figures

Entertainers

Dudley Morton Memorial at the American Legion Hall

Authors and journalists

Others

Sister cities

Owensboro has two sister cities, as designated by Sister Cities International:[16]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. http://www.naco.org/Template.cfm?Section=Find_a_County&Template=/cffiles/counties/usamap.cfm. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ CoachBuilt.com - Ames Buggy Company
  3. ^ Owensboro Diocese Home Page
  4. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2005-05-03. http://www.census.gov/geo/www/gazetteer/gazette.html. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  5. ^ http://www.census.gov/prod/www/abs/decennial/ Retrieved on 2009-1-8
  6. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. http://factfinder.census.gov. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  7. ^ Two at UofL help invent vaccine - Courier Journal
  8. ^ "Messenger-Inquirer Website". Messenger-Inquirer. http://www.messenger-inquirer.com. Retrieved 2007-07-03. 
  9. ^ "Nielsen Media Research Local Universe Estimates". Audience Research & Development. http://www.ar-d.com/pdf/DMAListing_2005-2006.pdf. Retrieved 2006-12-28. 
  10. ^ "Friday After 5". Downtown Owensboro, Inc. http://www.fridayafter5.com. Retrieved 2007-07-03. 
  11. ^ "Owensboro PumpkinFest". http://www.owensboropumpkinfest.org. Retrieved 2007-07-03. 
  12. ^ "Glenmary Sisters". Glenmary Home Mission Sisters of America. http://www.glenmarysisters.org. Retrieved 2007-07-03. 
  13. ^ http://www.glenmarysisters.org/ContactUs/Staff/tabid/410/Default.aspx
  14. ^ http://www.owensboro.org/police/opd-organization/deputy-chief-of-police/
  15. ^ Rediscovering Jewish Infrastructure: Update on United States Nineteenth Century Synagogues, Mark W. Gordon, American Jewish History 84.1 (1996) 11-27 [1]
  16. ^ "Online directory: Kentucky, USA". Sister Cities International. http://www.sister-cities.org/icrc/directory/usa/KY. Retrieved 2007-06-11. 

External links

Coordinates: 37°45′28″N 87°07′06″W / 37.757748°N 87.11839°W / 37.757748; -87.11839








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