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The Commonwealth of Kentucky is a state located in the East Central United States, normally included in the group of Southern states, but sometimes included, geographically and culturally, in the Midwest. Kentucky is one of four U.S. states established as a commonwealth. 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 land area, and ranks 26th in population.

Kentucky is known as the "Bluegrass State," a nickname based on the fact that bluegrass is present in many of the lawns and pastures throughout the state. It is a land with diverse environments and abundant resources, including the world's longest cave system, the most miles of navigable waterways and streams in the Lower 48, the two largest man made lakes east of the Mississippi River, the highest per capita number of deer, turkey, and elk in the US, and the most productive coalfield in the US. Kentucky is also known for thoroughbred horses, horse racing, bourbon distilleries, bluegrass music, automobile manufacturing (including the best selling car, truck, and SUV in the US market), and college basketball.

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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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Woodford County is in the heart of the Bluegrass region.

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Bowling Green is the fourth-most populous city in Kentucky, after Louisville, Lexington and Owensboro, with an estimated population in 2006 of 53,112. It is the county seat of Warren County. Bowling Green was founded in 1798 after Robert and George Moore donated 30-40 acres to the Warren County trustees. The land surrounded the 2 acre plot they had previously donated for the construction of public buildings. In 2003, Bowling Green and its surrounding communities were designated as a "metropolitan area".

The third largest Kentucky public university, Western Kentucky University, is situated upon a hill in central Bowling Green, thus its athletes are called Hilltoppers.

The origin of the name Bowling Green has not been definitely pinned to a single source by historians. Some say at the first county commissioners meeting in early 1798, the pioneers decided that the new town would be "called and known" by the name of Bolin Green." This name was after the Bowling Green in New York City, where patriots had pulled down a statue of King George III and used the lead to make bullets during the American Revolution. Other say the Virginian settlers could have been honoring Bowling Green, Virginia. Still others say, Robert Moore kept a "ball alley game" on his residence which guests called bowling on the green. Early records indicate that the city name was also spelled Bowlingreen and Bolin Green.

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Kentucky Official Symbols

On this day in Kentucky history...

Portal:Kentucky/On this day.../January 17

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My Old Kentucky Home State Park is a state park in Kentucky. It is located in Bardstown. The state park consists of Federal Hill, a former plantation owned by the Rowan family. A visit to the site in 1852 is said to have inspired Stephen Foster to write his famous song, My Old Kentucky Home. On June 1, 1992, a 29-cent stamp was issued honoring the park.

The park features an amphitheater that is home to the long-running outdoor musical, Stephen Foster — The Musical, which was usually staged each night except Monday during the summer. It is the longest running outdoor drama in the state of Kentucky, having started in 1959.

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Alben W. Barkley (November 24, 1877April 30, 1956) was a Democrat member of the U.S. House of Representatives and the United States Senate from Paducah, Kentucky, and the thirty-fifth Vice President of the United States. Barkley was born Willie Alben Barkley in a log cabin near Lowes, Graves County, Kentucky

Barkley was elected Vice President on the Democratic ticket with President Harry S. Truman in 1948 and was inaugurated January 20, 1949. His "prop-stops" by airplane initiated a new phase in presidential campaigning. He was 71 years old at the time of his election and inauguration, the oldest vice president to date. In his first year Vice President, Barkley became the only vice president to marry while in office. At the age of 71, he married Jane Hadley, a widow from St. Louis, capturing national attention.

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

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