Louisville was founded in 1778 by Colonel George Rogers Clark, on a plain adjacent to the Falls of the Ohio River. The city was named in honor of King Louis XVI of France in appreciation for his assistance during the Revolutionary War. The arrival of the steamboat in the early 1800s ignited industrial development, making Louisville the largest city in Kentucky.
The city remains today as the second largest collection of cast iron buildings in America. Main Street is home to many business, galleries, and museums, including the Louisville Slugger Museum, Muhammad Ali Center, Frazier Kentucky History Museum, Louisville Science Center, Actors Theatre, and the Kentucky Center for the Arts.
For over 130 years, the Kentucky Derby has captured the world’s attention. Louisville hosts a two week long Kentucky Derby Festival, which includes one of the world’s largest fireworks displays and a steamboat race with the Belle of Louisville, the oldest working steamboat in existence.