The Best of Both Worlds

By Barron, Jacob | Business Credit, February 2008 | Go to article overview

The Best of Both Worlds


Barron, Jacob, Business Credit


Over the last decade, the government and residents of Louisville have taken strides to revitalize the city with new and exciting cultural and entertainment venues, like Fourth Street Live!, a collection of different world class eateries, bars and nightclubs just a short walk away from where most of this year's Credit Congress will take place, and Waterfront Park, formerly the home of scrap yards, sand pits and industrial sites that was renewed into a 55-acre multi-purpose park that offers several trails and a number of summer concerts and events. In addition to serving their purpose as tourist attractions and cultural centers, these parts of the city serve as a testament to Louisville's ongoing economic growth and innovation, a trend that can be traced all the way back to the city's founding by Colonel George Rogers Clark in the latter years of the 18th century. Fortunately for city visitors and Credit Congress attendees, Louisville has managed to steadily develop into a modern city while maintaining a rich sense of history and preservation that characterizes the cityscape, its continuing growth and its many varied entertainment and leisure offerings.

Early Growth

Louisville's early growth can he attributed to the city's unique location on the Ohio River, which quickly transformed the fledgling town into a major shipping point and a major force in the development of not only the region, but the rest of the country as well. In the early 19th century, boats headed down the Ohio were forced to unload their cargo before facing the Falls of the Ohio, an ancient fossil bed located off Louisville's shores. This sprawling area now serves as a more than 200-acre national park, the entrance of which is located just over the river in Indiana off Interstate 65. The construction of the Louisville and Portland Canal in 1830, however, allowed ships to continue on through all 981 miles of the river, from New Orleans to Pittsburgh, without having to dismantle cargo at all.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

By 1850, Louisville was the nation's 10th most populous city and continued to grow through the Civil War and Reconstruction era. The city was instrumental in the development of the American automotive industry, as the late 1920s and early 1930s, saw the Ford Motor Company using wooden components provided by local Louisville companies in their Model A automobile, the second majorly successful automobile produced by Ford following the overwhelming popularity of the Model T. Today, Louisville is home to the Kentucky Truck Assembly, a 4.5 million square-foot factory owned by Ford that produces 75 vehicles an hour and employs more than 5,000 workers, and the Louisville Assembly, another factory that produces some of the Ford Company's sport utility vehicles.

Additionally, Louisville continues to earn its reputation as a major shipping hub. As of 2003, Louisville was the nation's seventh largest inland port and serves as a major crossroads for the transportation of cargo to one route or another due to the intersection of three major cross-country roadways (Interstates 64, 65 and 71) all within city limits. Aside from its position on the river and the ongoing improvements being made to the Louisville and Portland Canal, the city's geographical location puts it within a day's worth of road travel to 60% of the cities in the continental U.S., making it an ideal shipping point. The United Parcel Service (UPS) also has a major air hub, called the Worldport, at Louisville International Airport. The Worldport employs nearly 20,000 people and is capable of handling 84 packages per second or 304,000 packages per hour.

All these factors have allowed Louisville to not only continue growing steadily, but also allowed the city to retain its reputation as having the best of both worlds: a thriving modern city with old world sensibilities and a constantly visible tie to its rich history.

Border State

During the American Civil War, Kentucky, along with Missouri, Delaware, Maryland and West Virginia, was one of the nation's border states--a state that sided with the Union but also operated under some of the Confederacy's principles. …

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