Louisville is the largest city in Kentucky, and the 28th most populous city in the United States. On the basis of population it is rated the state's only 1st-class city. Louisville is the historical seat and, since 2003, the nominal seat of Jefferson County. Sited beside the Falls of the Ohio, the only major obstruction to river traffic between the upper Ohio River and the Gulf of Mexico, Louisville first grew as a portage site. It was the founding city of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad, which grew into a 6,000-mile system across 13 states. The settlement that became the city of Louisville was founded in 1778 by George Rogers Clark and is named after King Louis XVI of France, making Louisville one of the oldest cities west of the Appalachian Mountains. Although the city's name is formally pronounced “Lou-wee-vil” reflecting the king's name, most native Louisvillians pronounce the city's name as “Lu-uh-vul”…sometimes shortened to “Luhvul”.
I got into Louisville a bit early and couldn’t check into my hotel, yet. So I found a parking lot, parked the car and grabbed my camera gear. While walking, I just so happened to be in front of the Kentucky International Convention Center, which takes up a full square block…it’s huge, and a really cool building once inside! While walking along the Convention Center, I spotted a banner dedicated to Louisville’s “Original’ Top Chef…Colonel Sanders. How great was that! I next arrived at Mercer Square where I came upon one of many of Louisville’s sidewalk derby horse statues of former Kentucky Derby winners. To my left was Louisville Metro Hall(formerly Jefferson County Courthouse) where I saw three great statues…Thomas Jefferson out front, the Kentucky Medal of Honor Memorial and the King Louis XVI statue, for which the city is named. There was also a huge World War II Memorial to my right. Next up was City Hall, which was built between 1870 and 1873! It too, is a huge, grande building. Down the street was the Jefferson County Judicial Center, which had huge columns surrounding the entrance, which made for a great photo. As I passed other government buildings, I came across another Kentucky Derby sidewalk statue. Awesome! As I continued along Market Street, I saw many buildings that reminded me of the “Chicago-style” architecture made famous by Louis Sullivan. Is this why I was loving me some Louisville? Next stop was the KFC Yum! Center, home of the 2013 NCAA Champion Louisville Cardinals. Down the street was the Whiskey Row Lofts(look it up). I then came upon the George Rogers Clark Memorial Bridge, named after the man who founded Louisville. After that, I drove over to the downtown waterfront, where I walked across the Big Four Railroad pedestrian and bicycle path bridge. This bridge spans over the Ohio River, where if you walked all the way across you’d be near Clarksville, Indiana. Walking halfway across the bridge, I was able to get great shots of the downtown skyline as well as the John F. Kennedy Bridge, which had major construction going on. I waited until late evening so I could get a few night shots in. There is a pretty cool Abraham Lincoln Memorial on the Waterfront by Ed Hamilton. Ed Hamilton also has a statue of York at the Riverfront Plaza downtown…York was William Clark’s slave, and an important member of the Lewis & Clark Expedition Corps. some 200 years ago. He was also the first black man to travel across the United States from coast-to-coast.
The next day I started early driving across the Clark Bridge over to Falls Of Ohio State Park in Clarksville, Indiana, where I got to see and photograph the heavy and dangerous current of the Ohio River. I also shot the Ohio Falls Bridge, which spans the Ohio River between Louisville and Clarksville, Indiana. I shot the Louisville skyline from there as well. Next stop was Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, home of the Louisville Cardinals football team. After photographing around the stadium a while, I went to the souvenir shop to get some authentic Louisville Cardinals gear. Down the street was my “I can’t leave this city without getting a picture of” shot…Churchill Downs, home of The Kentucky Derby. I then went to the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory. And if you’re a baseball fan, you know about the Louisville Slugger. Other sites this day included the Kentucky Science Center, a life-sized gold Statue of David, the Muhammad Ali Center(another architectural gem), the Frazier History Museum, Old Bank of Louisville building, 4th Street Live!, the landmark 300 Building, Louisville Slugger Field and many others. Another “I can’t leave this city without getting a picture of” shot was Muhammad Ali’s childhood home. That took the “cake” for me. I ended this day at the University of Louisville where I got a quick photo of Auguste Rodin’s “The Thinker” statue outside Grawemeyer Hall. I said quick because there was no parking, so I illegally drove onto the grounds. As I was pulling out heading back to the hotel, I saw the police rolling in silently with lights flashing. I had a feeling that “other guy” wasn’t a photographer! Whew…I dodged that ticket! Bye Louisville...see you again!