Kentucky is filled with gorgeous landscapes and sweet southerners, making it a great place to live or visit. There are certain times each year when people travel from all around the world just to visit the lovely lands within our borders. In fact, there are a few reasons why the rest of the country should really appreciate Kentucky, and here are 12 of them:
Kentucky is the world’s largest producer of coal, providing warmth for the masses since the early 1800s. Coal was discovered in Kentucky by Thomas Walker in 1750 and slowly became a popular way to warm oneself around a campfire or in a cabin.
11. Kentucky Bourbon
It may not be my favorite drink, but I know lots of people that absolutely love it. Kentucky Bourbon is as much a part of this state as the horse racing. Maker’s Mark, Jim Beam, Wild Turkey, Four Roses, Woodford Reserve distilleries and more, are all located in the Bluegrass State.
10. Enamel bathtub
The very first enamel bathtub was constructed in Louisville in the year 1856, replacing the old wash tubs formally used. Without us…bathing would have remained in heavy cast iron or wooden tubs, (at least until someone else figured it out.)
9. Duncan Hines, the man behind the cake mix
You can have your cake and eat it too, thanks to Duncan Hines. He was a real person, born in Bowling Green, who is now immortalized on cake boxes everywhere, via name, not image. Hines is renowned for not only his delicious cake mix, but his love of travel and food experimentation. He wrote about dishes he experienced in a book, “Adventures of Good Eating.”
8. Bibb Lettuce
If you love salads, most likely you have enjoyed Bibb lettuce. It originated in Frankfurt via a farmer named John Bibb, and was named Bibb in his honor. Lettuce may not mean a lot to someone who doesn’t care for leafy greens, but to those of us who do, Bibb is a light, refreshing vegetable to enjoy.
7. Happy birthday song
The Happy Birthday song was written in 1893 by two sisters in Louisville, Patty and Mildred Hill. Patty was a Kindergarten Principal and Mildred a pianist, together they composed “Good Morning to All”, which they thought would be easy for the children to sing. Their song then evolved into the famed, “Happy Birthday to You”, now sang around the world. The first recognized print was in 1912, but the sister’s had an earlier rendition in the song book, “Songs for the Kindergarten”, under its original title.
6. Kentucky Derby and festival
This is the one week-long event in Kentucky that draws people from all around the world, horse owners or not. The Derby ties up every media station in the state for a week, and in the nation for at least five minutes during the race. The renowned event gives everyone an excuse to dress up, wear a fancy hat, drink and gamble, not that all that is a good thing, but it does add to our economy. The largest fireworks display in the world also kicks off the Derby festivities on the bridge crossing from Louisville to Indiana.
5. Kentucky Fried Chicken
If you are a fan of fried chicken and you have not tried KFC, it is time to do so. The Colonel put his heart and soul into the recipe created in Corbin. In the early 1930s, his restaurant was called Sanders Court and Café, and was mentioned in a book, “Adventures in Good Eating” circa 1935 via Duncan Hines. (Yes, of the cake mix.) The recipe itself might have been altered a bit since his passing, but they still make some incredibly tasty chicken. The fixins are pretty good too, especially the biscuits, mashed potatoes and slaw.
4. Johnny Depp
Everyone may not see this man as completely epic withiin the entertainment industry, but seriously, can you imagine a world without him? He has given us some fantastic movies from The Tourist to Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
3. Post-It Notes
The famed Post-It notes that are used all around the country are made in Cynthiana, and only in Cynthiana. Without these wonderful little squares with a thin line of sticky, we’d be using a lot more tape.
2. Traffic Lights, hair straightener and safety hood for fire fighters
Stop signs are fine, but in 1922, Garrett Morgan Sr. invented the first 3-position traffic control device. His patent went into effect in 1923. He invented the first safety hood around 1912, which was used by fireman and soldiers in W.W. I, to protect and provide fresh air while in smoke saturated areas. This apparatus gained him some fame in 1916 when he used one and saved several men from a tunnel fire, as seen in the old image. Last, but not least, Morgan created a hair straightening cream in 1905, including a black dye and curve tooth comb to work it in. Garrett was born in Claysville, outside of Paris Kentucky, though he died in Ohio.
1. Mammoth Cave
Without Kentucky, one of the Seven Wonders of the World would be MIA. We are home to Mammoth Cave, which is the world’s longest cave system. It is also the second oldest tourist attraction in the United States, beginning in 1816, and second only to Niagara Falls. This lengthy family of caves, pits, deep chasms and underground river are truly an amazing sight to behold. There is a whole different world underground just waiting to be explored.
Some of these things may not seem that spectacular, but most of them have gotten us quite the renowned reputation via the media. Things such as the bath tub, traffic lights and the happy birthday song all happened long ago, but they all made a difference in life. Kentucky is renowned for so many things, including (of course) its beauty. These are just what I thought of, but I’d love to hear the opinion of the Only in Kentucky readers.