The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Louisville

LOUISVILLE, the chief city of Kentucky, county seat of Jefferson co., situated at the falls of the Ohio, on the S. bank, about 400 m. above its mouth and 600 m. below its head at Pittsburgh, 150 m. below Cincinnati, and 45 m. W. of Frankfort, the state capital. Its situation is one of peculiar excellence. The hills which line the river recede just above the city, and do not approach it again for 20 m., leaving an almost level plain 6 m. wide, and elevated about 70 ft. above low-water mark, which affords ample room for the growth of the city. The obstruction in the river, acting as a dam, causes it to stretch for 6 m. above into a broad smooth sheet of water, a mile in width, with very little current, and presenting a safe and convenient harbor for a great distance along the Kentucky shore. This obstruction, called “the falls,” but for which “rapids” would be a more correct designation, is caused by a ridge of limestone rock running obliquely across its bed, with channels or chutes through it, modified or produced by the force of the water. There is no precipitous descent, but the fall in the course of 2½ m. amounts to 27 ft., affording great water power, of which little use has yet been made. Steamboats ascend and descend the falls in high water, but at other times pass through the Louisville and Portland canal, a work 2 m. long on the Kentucky side of the river, having three locks 480 ft. long and 90 ft. wide, and capable of passing steamboats of 3,000 tons. In 1874 control of this canal was taken by the United States government, and it was made free to commerce, excepting a small toll levied for repairs. A wing dam to throw the water into the canal and into the channel over the falls has been built by the United States government at the head of the rapids. The cost of constructing the canal was mainly borne by the people of Louisville, the United States being the only other contributor.—Since 1810 the growth of Louisville has been steady and rapid. Its population in 1810 was 1,357; in 1820, 4,012; in 1830, 10,352; in 1840, 21,210; in 1850, 43,194; in 1860, 68,033; in 1870, 100,753, of whom 14,956 were colored and 25,668 foreigners, including 14,380 natives of Germany and 7,626 of Ireland. There were 19,177 families and 14,670 dwellings. Though at first liable to bilious and malarial fevers, Louisville has become very healthy, in consequence of its excellent system of drainage and sewerage and of the manner in which it is laid out and built. The streets are wide, and the squares large and bisected each way by paved alleys 20 ft. wide. In the portion of the city devoted to residences, the houses are set back from the street, leaving lawns in front which are planted with flowers and shrubbery, and the streets are lined with shade trees. The beauty of the dwellings is a notable feature. The business portion is compactly built, and contains many fine edifices. The principal public buildings are a court house, costing more than $1,000,000; the city hall, costing $500,000; the custom house, city hospital, eruptive hospital, city almshouse, house of refuge for boys, house of refuge for girls, state blind asylum, United States marine hospital, industrial exposition building, Liederkranz hall, Macaulay's theatre, 10 orphan asylums, 95 churches, the medical university and law school, and 23 excellent common school buildings, of which the female high school cost $140,000.—Louisville is connected with the southern railroad system by the Louisville, Nashville, and Great Southern, the Louisville, Paducah, and Southwestern, and the Louisville, Cincinnati, and Lexington lines; and with the northern by the Jeffersonville and Indianapolis and the New Albany and Chicago railroads, a branch of the Ohio and Mississippi railroad, and the Cincinnati branch of the Louisville, Cincinnati, and Lexington line. The Louisville and St. Louis air-line railroad is in process of construction. The river is crossed at the head of the falls by a bridge having a single railroad track and two footways. There are 27 spans, including the canal draw, the one over the middle chute being 370 ft. long, and the one over the Indiana chute 400 ft. The channel spans are respectively 90 ft. and 96½ ft. in the clear above low water. There is a draw at the canal, giving a clear way of 114 ft. Total length of the bridge between abutments, 5,218⅔ ft.; cost, $2,016,819 63. The piers are of stone and the bridge of iron. Since the building of railroads the steamboat business of Louisville has declined in importance, but regular lines of steam packets, running to New Orleans, the cities of the lower Ohio, and to Cincinnati, are still maintained. It is a port of delivery. On June 30, 1873, there were belonging to the port 44 steamers of 11,435 tons, and 11 barges of 2,372 tons; built during the year, 17 steamers of 3,302 tons, and 7 barges of 3,206 tons. The business of the city in 1873 amounted to $250,000,000. The chief articles of shipment are dry goods, groceries, various manufactured articles, tobacco, provisions, leather, and whiskey; the receipts consist principally of dry goods, groceries, hardware, and cutlery. The value of the direct imports in 1873, under the act of 1870 allowing goods to be transported to interior ports in bond, was $302,394. The shipments of provisions exceeded $10,000,000 in value. The sugar-curing of hams is a special feature of the business, and in 1873 more than 900,000 were cured by 20 establishments. There are 9 pork-packing establishments, at which in 1871-'2 311,187 hogs were slaughtered; in 1872-'3, 310,746; in 1873-'4, 226,947. Louisville is one of the largest leaf-tobacco markets in the world. Large quantities are annually bought here for the account of the French government, and large shipments are made to Germany, England, and Canada. There are 8 warehouses for the storage and sale of this article, capable of holding 20,000 hogsheads, and 12 large stemmeries, in which the leaf is prepared for export. The sales for the year ending Oct. 31, 1869, were 36,130 hogsheads; in 1870, 43,002; in 1871, 48,007; in 1872, 38,356; in 1873, 53,897, valued at $5,765,991. The manufacture of chewing and smoking tobacco and cigars is large and increasing. In the year ending June 30, 1874, 22 tobacco factories produced 5,150,407 lbs., against a product in 1871 of 3,358,119 lbs. from 16 factories; and 86 cigar manufactories produced in 1874 13,508,119 cigars, against 8,970,456 produced by 72 makers in 1871. The manufacture of whiskey by five distilleries in 1874 amounted to 1,037,644 gals.; the same number of distilleries in 1871 produced 630,960 gals. Louisville is the great distributing market for the fine whiskeys made by the Kentucky distilleries. The manufacture of beer has become a very important interest. In 1871, 22 breweries produced 43,167 bbls. ; in 1874, 19 breweries produced 72,196 bbls. Four companies are engaged in the manufacture of the Louisville cement or water lime, from the water limestone discovered during the excavation of the canal. They have 8 mills, with capacity for 1,000,000 barrels annually; capital invested, $450,000; annual product, 500,000 barrels, valued at $550,000. Three firms, with a capital of $1,150,000 and employing 355 hands, are engaged in the manufacture of ploughs for the southern market; sales in 1873, 125,000, valued at $990,000. The manufacture of heavy sole and belting leather employs six firms, with a capital of $875,000 and 156 hands, using 9,800 cords of bark and 53,700 hides annually, and producing goods to the value of $810,000. In the manufacture of lighter leather for skirting, harness, and upper leather, 12 tanneries are engaged, with a capital of $485,000, employing 104 hands, using 6,350 cords of bark a year, and producing goods to the value of $560,000. There are also a manufactory of morocco and sheep skins, 4 large saw mills, 8 furniture factories, and manufactories of iron pipes for water and gas mains. The whole number of manufacturing establishments in 1860 was 323; capital invested, $4,563,000; hands employed, 5,894. In 1870 the number was 783; capital, $11,119,000; hands, 11,549. On July 1, 1874, there were 6 national and 17 incorporated state banks, including 3 savings banks, with an aggregate capital of $9,436,386; deposits, $7,750,583; loans, $14,321,962; cash and eastern exchange, $2,738,343. There were also 4 private banks, 10 fire insurance companies, and 3 life insurance companies.—Louisville is divided into 12 wards, and is governed by a mayor with a board of aldermen of one and a common council of two members from each ward. It has an excellent paid fire department, with ten steam fire engines, and two hook and ladder companies. There is a fire telegraph and signal system. The police force also has a telegraph to all parts of the city. There are 114 m. of paved streets, and 23 m. of sewer conduits. The city is well supplied with water and gas by water works and gas works, which are carried on by joint-stock companies in which the city owns a controlling interest. The length of water mains is 82 m. and of gas mains 85 m. There is a good system of street railways, 23 m. in length, mostly double tracks. The principal public work, except the canal and Ohio river bridge, is the great outfall sewer, draining the W. part of the city. It is 4¼ m. long, varies in diameter from 3 ft, to 11¾ ft., and in inclination from 1 in 7 to 1 in 2,000. It is built of brick, and cost $372,427. It debouches into the river about 8 m. below the foot of the falls, through a cast-iron conduit 8 ft. in diameter, with a fall of 1 in 7, and terminates in a retaining wall of stone masonry. The bonded debt of the city, Dec. 31, 1873, was $9,761,500. The assets of the sinking fund at that time amounted to $4,062098 31. The debt was principally contracted in aid of railroads. The assessed value of property in 1870 was $71,000,000; in 1873, $78,000,000; rate of taxation for all purposes, $2 on the $100.—There are many benevolent institutions, infirmaries, and homes, under charge of the churches, and numerous benevolent associations, besides many of a literary, musical, and scientific character. There are 5 daily (2 German), 2 semi-weekly (German), and 14 weekly (4 German) newspapers, and 7 monthly magazines. Louisville has an excellent system of public schools, embracing 21 graded ward schools, a male high school, a female high school, and a training school for teachers. The average number of scholars in the school year ending June, 1874, was 10,679; number of teachers, 309, besides 27 German and 4 music teachers; cost of schools for the year, $267,354 89; value of school property, $831,100. The education of colored children is provided for. The central colored school house cost $25,000, and in 1874 provision was made for two other large buildings for colored schools. There were four colored schools in that year, with 24 teachers, and an average attendance of 1,059, the enrolled number of scholars being 2,381. Louisville contains two medical schools, the Louisville medical college and the medical department of the university of Louisville, which are attended annually, by more than 500 students. In 1874 the organization of a third was progressing. The law department of the university has four professors. There are three public libraries, viz.: the public library of Kentucky, with 30,000 volumes; the Louisville library association, 5,690; and the Episcopal diocesan library, 2,000. The public library of Kentucky has a museum and natural history department, with 100,000 specimens. The city being the centre of one of the finest fossiliferous regions in the world, there are numerous private collections containing many excellent specimens elsewhere rare. The religious societies are as follows: Baptist, 14 (7 colored); Christian, 4 (1 colored); Episcopal, 12 (1 colored); German Evangelical, 6; Jewish, 2 ; Methodist, 23 (14 Southern, 3 Northern, and 6 colored); Presbyterian, 16 (1 colored); Roman Catholic, 17 (6 German); Unitarian, 1.—The first settlement within the present limits of Louisville was made by 13 families who accompanied Col. George Rogers Clarke on his expedition down the Ohio in 1778. The situation was so exposed to Indian attack that the first settlement was made on an island at the head of the falls, near the Kentucky shore, called Corn island, which has since disappeared. On the reception of news of the capture of Vincennes by Col. Clarke's forces these families removed to the mainland and built a station. The town was established by an act of the Virginia legislature in May, 1780, and called Louisville, in honor of Louis XVI. of France, whose troops were then aiding the struggle for American independence. It was incorporated as a city by the Kentucky legislature, Feb. 13, 1828. In its early years the settlement was greatly annoyed by the Indians. In 1862 it was threatened with an attack of the confederate forces under Gen. Bragg ; and Gen. Nelson, commanding the Union forces, ordered earthworks and rifle pits to be constructed, and impressed many of the citizens to aid in the work. The arrival of Gen. Buell with the Union army saved the city from attack.

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Louisville City Hall.