1. Louisville was voted the manliest city in America by GQ magazine. 49 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Louisville
Source: Flickr user Goldberg
2. Legend has it that the University of Louisville Cardinals basketball team originated the high-five during a practice of the 1978-79 season. High-fives can even be seen during the highlight reels of that year. 49 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Louisville
Source: Facebook user National High Five Day
3. The historic Old Louisville neighborhood is one the largest Victorian neighborhoods in the US. It also has more pedestrian-only streets than any other neighborhood in the country. 4. A now closed Louisville eatery, Kaelin’s Restaurant, claimed to be the original inventor of the cheeseburger. 49 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Louisville
Source: Flickr user Gabrielsaldana
5. A Virginia militia man, Captain Aaron Fontaine, moved to Louisville in 1798. Before the abolition of slavery, his plantation was a stop on the Underground Railroad. Later, in 1905, the city built an amusement park on the site of the old estate and, in his honor, named it Fontaine Ferry Park. Ironically, the park was “whites only” until 1964. 6. Two Louisville kindergarten teachers, Patty and Mildred J. Hill, created the “Happy Birthday to You” song. It was originally entitled “Good Morning to All” but was later changed to fit a birthday theme. 49 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Louisville
Source: Flickr user AndrewEick
7. Screenwriter Stephen Gaghan initially wanted to include his hometown, Louisville, in the movie “Traffic.” However, he decided that Cincinnati’s inner city looked seedier and would serve the film better. 8. At 6,218 acres, Louisville’s Jefferson Memorial Forest is the largest municipal urban forest in the country. 9. Renowned professional boxer Muhammad Ali was born in Louisville. 49 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Louisville
Source: Facebook user Muhammad Ali
10. The Louisville Redbirds were the first minor league baseball team to draw more than 1 million fans in a single season. 11. Louisville is named after King Louis XVI of France. 12. On Feb 13, 1981, the Ralston-Purina soybean processing plant released hexane vapors into the Louisville sewer system, causing a series of explosions that destroyed over 2 miles of the city streets. Thankfully, there were no fatalities. 13. The annual Thunder Over Louisville event is the largest annual fireworks show in America. 49 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Louisville
Source: Flickr user 7263255
14. In 1999, surgeons from the Kleinert Kutz Hand Care Center directed the first hand transplant in the US. The procedure was performed on a New Jersey native, Matthew Scott, who had lost his hand in a fireworks accident. Ironically, a couple years later, Scott had the honor of pressing the button to kick off Thunder Over Louisville. 15. Several of the parks in Louisville were designed by famous architect Frederick Law Olmsted, who also co-designed New York City’s Central Park. 16. The world-famous Louisville Slugger baseball bat was created by John Andrew “Bud” Hillerich in Louisville in 1884. However, the bats were originally called Falls City Sluggers. The name Louisville slugger wasn’t trademarked until 1894. 49 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Louisville
Source: Facebook user Louisville Slugger
17. Legendary author F. Scott Fitzgerald was stationed at a camp near Louisville as a young Army Officer. Parts of the city served as inspiration for his novel, “The Great Gatsby,” like the Seelbach Hotel. 18. A half-man half-goat creature, the Pope Lick Monster, is rumored to live under a railroad trestle in East Louisville. 19. Louisville’s Main Street has the second largest collection of cast-iron storefront facades in the nation. Only New York City has more. 20. At Louisville’s Bourbons Bistro, you can choose from over 130 varieties of bourbon. The spot was also awarded the Gold Medal for Whisky Magazine’s “Whiskey Bars of the World.” 49 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Louisville
Source: Facebook user Bourbons Bistro
21. The annual Trinity-St. Xavier game claims to be the most-attended regular-season high school football game in the nation. It typically draws in over 35,000 fans. 22. Lewis and Clark met in Louisville in 1803 before beginning their famous exploration, forming one of the most famous and successful partnerships in history. 23. Louisville is home to Churchill Downs which, since 1875, has hosted the Kentucky Derby, the first leg of the American Triple Crown of thoroughbred horse racing. 49 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Louisville
Source: Flickr user AJ Photographic Art
24. Louisville is the only US city to make Zagzat’s 2012 list of “8 Awesome Foodie Getaways Around the World”. 25. Well-known writer Charles Dickens visited Louisville twice. After staying in the Galt House, he wrote, “a splendid hotel; and were as handsomely lodged as though we had been in Paris.” 49 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Louisville
Source: Jeremiah Gurney via Wikimedia Commons
26. In 1876, the Louisville Grays became part of the national baseball league. However, their term was short lived. In 1878, the team was disbanded because of a gambling scandal, the first in major league baseball. 27. Louisville’s 1959 Kentucky Derby Festival Queen, Martha Layne Collins, went on to be Kentucky’s first and, as of 2014, only woman governor. 28. The Belle of Louisville is the oldest operating Mississippi-style steamboat. 49 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Louisville
Source: Flickr user Dprevite
29. The Actors Theatre of Louisville won The Regional Theatre Tony Award in 1980. 49 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Louisville
Source: Facebook user Actors Theatre of Louisville
30. National Baseball Hall of Fame player Pee Wee Reese grew up in Louisville. 31. The 1883 Southern Exposition in Louisville had the largest installation of incandescent light bulbs to-date, which had recently been invented by Thomas Edison. The expo had 5,000 incandescent lamps, more than all the lamps installed in New York City at the time. 32. The Pendennis Club, a private club in Louisville, is the birthplace of the Old Fashioned drink, possibly the first mixed drink to be called a cocktail. 49 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Louisville
Source: Flickr user Wickenden
33. Abraham Lincoln’s grandfather, also named Abraham Lincoln, lived on a farm in East Jefferson County until he was shot and killed by an Indian. 34. A Louisville company, Omega National Products, claims to have made 90% of the disco balls used in the US during the country’s disco heydays. They still produce the shiny mirrored spheres to this day. 35. The Louisville Slugger Museum is home to the world’s biggest bat. At 68,000 pounds and 120-feet tall, it’s an exact-scale replica of Babe Ruth’s 34-inch Louisville Slugger bat. 49 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Louisville
Source: Flickr user Lisa Padilla
36. Louisville’s Southeast Christian Church was formed in 1962 with only 53 members. Today it has 30,000 members and is the 5th largest church in the US. 37. American actor Tom Cruise once worked at an ice cream shop in Louisville and briefly attended St Xavier High School. 38. A 4 million square foot cavern lies beneath Louisville Zoo, called Louisville Mega Cavern. Among other attractions, it holds the world’s only fully underground zip line course. 49 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Louisville
Source: Louisville Mega Cavern
39. The Kentucky State Fair in Louisville is the largest air-conditioned fair in the country 40. The 12th US president, Zachary Taylor, grew up in Louisville. Today he’s buried in the city at Zachary Taylor National Cemetery. 41. Louisville holds the annual Idea Festival, which attracts great thinkers from all around the world. 42. Apparently, Frank Sinatra was very fond of the food at a Louisville Italian restaurant, Vincenzo’s. A veal dish was later named Involtini Di Vitello Sinatra in his honor. 49 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Louisville
Source: Wikimedia Commons user Wikiwatcher1
43. Louisville’s Kart Kountry claims to have the longest go-kart track in the world. 44. Louisville based company Caldwell Tanks has built water tanks in the shapes of a giant ketchup bottle and a pair of Mickey Mouse ears. 49 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Louisville
Source: Wikimedia Commons user Tristan Denyer
45. Each year, a blanket of exactly 554 roses is presented to the winner of the Kentucky Derby. 46. The Louisville Free Public Library, Western Colored Branch was the first public library built for African-Americans. 47. The 981 mile long Ohio River, which runs through Louisville, is one of the major rivers of North America. By volume, it’s the largest tributary of the Mississippi River in the US. 49 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Louisville
Source: Flickr user LouisvilleUSACE
48. A Louisville restaurateur, Jennie Carter Benedict, created Benedictine, a spread made with cream cheese and cucumbers. 49 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Louisville
Source: Wikimedia Commons user Glane23
49. Louisville’s annual Bluegrass Balloon Festival is the 5th largest hot air balloon festival in the U.S. and the largest in Kentucky. What’s your favorite fun fact about L? Tell us in the comments below!