Kentucky: A Guide to the Bluegrass State

By Federal Writers' Project | Go to book overview

NATURAL SETTING

KENTUCKY, lying on the western slope of the Alleghenies, is bounded on the north by the northern bank of the Ohio River, on the northeast and southeast by West Virginia and Virginia, on the south by Tennessee, and on the west by the Mississippi River. Its greatest length, east to west, is 425 miles; its greatest breadth 182 miles. The total area is 40,598 square miles, including 417 miles of water surface.

"A peculiar situation exists at the extreme southwest corner," the U. S. Geological Survey Bulletin 817 states, "where, owing to a double bend in the Mississippi River, there is an area of about 10 square miles belonging to Kentucky that cannot be reached from the rest of the State without passing through a part of Missouri or Tennessee."

The State's topographic variations are mainly the result of slow or rapid erosion, according to the degree of resistance encountered in particular rock strata. The mountains in the sandstone region, the occasional deep gorges or underground drainage systems in the limestone area, and the swamp flats and oxbow lagoons in the far western part of the State, indicate the force, extent, and direction of erosive processes. Reelfoot Lake, in the far southwest, resulted from the earthquake of 1811-12. It is the only lake of importance in Kentucky, although the edge of the Highland Rim Plateau in the southwest is pocked with numerous small bodies of still water. These are sinkholes which have choked with vegetable matter and retained the water that drained into them.

The Ohio and Mississippi Rivers flow west and south, and form the State's main drainage channel. The Cumberland River, except for a small portion in the south-central region, the Big Sandy, the Licking, the Kentucky, the Green, the Tradewater, and the Tennessee Rivers follow the general northwest slope of the Allegheny Plateau. About 3,000 miles of river course are navigable.

Kentucky has six natural physiographic regions: (1) Mountain, (2)

-7-

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Kentucky: A Guide to the Bluegrass State
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Foreword vii
  • Preface ix
  • Contents xi
  • List of Illustrations xv
  • List of Maps xxi
  • General Information xxiii
  • Calendar of Events xxvii
  • Part I - Kentucky: the General Background 1
  • Kentuckians 3
  • Natural Setting 7
  • Archeology and Indians 28
  • History 35
  • Agriculture 50
  • Transportation 56
  • Manufacturing and Mining 60
  • Labor 66
  • The Negro 72
  • Religion 77
  • Education 83
  • Folklore and Folk Music 89
  • Kentucky Thorough- Breds 94
  • Press and Radio 102
  • The Arts 110
  • Part II - Cities and Towns 137
  • Ashland 139
  • Covington 147
  • Frankfort 157
  • Harrodsburg 168
  • Louisville 175
  • Lexington 197
  • Paducah 221
  • Part III - Highways and Byways 231
  • Tour 1 233
  • Tour 2 242
  • Tour 3 246
  • Tour 4 261
  • Tour 4a 274
  • Tour 4b 279
  • Tour 5 280
  • Tour 6 288
  • Tour 7 296
  • Tour 7a 309
  • Tour 8 315
  • Tour 9 322
  • Tour 10 324
  • Tour 11 329
  • Tour 12 334
  • Tour 12a 341
  • Tour 13 344
  • Tour 14 351
  • Tour 15 362
  • Tour 16 387
  • Tour 17 414
  • Tour 17 A 419
  • Tour 18 424
  • Tour 19 433
  • Tour 20 441
  • Part IV - Appendices 449
  • Chronology 451
  • Selective Bibliography 462
  • Index 471
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