Fort Knox, KY Image 1
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    Fort Knox, KY Museums

    Abraham Lincoln's Birthplace National Historical Park contains two farms on which Abraham Lincoln lived from birth to age 7 before his family moved to Indiana. The Memorial Building is an impressive marble structure built in 1909 that has 16 windows and rosettes on the ceiling, for Lincoln was the 16th president, and 56 steps leading up to the building, representing the age he was when he died. A cornerstone of the building was laid by President Roosevelt in 1909 and was officially dedicated by President Taft in 1911. Inside the marble structure is a replica one-room log cabin of the one in which he was born on Sinking Spring Farm in 1809. A separate site in the park is Knob Creek which has a replica 19th century log cabin representing the one Lincoln lived in from ages 2-7.

    Summit One-Room Schoolhouse was originally a one-room building with dirt floor and split log benches, but it was deemed unfit and underwent a major renovation in 1892 and then became known as the "finest school in the country". The first teacher after renovations is believed to be Miss Sallie Graham who taught 80-100 students that year. After both World Wars, there were only about 15 students and the schoolhouse was soon forgotten and neglected until it was relocated to Freeman Lake Park in Elizabethtown in 1978 and rededicated in 1982 by several local preservation groups. It was slightly renovated again, but visitors will see the one-room schoolhouse largely as it was when it was the "finest" around.

    My Old Kentucky Dinner Train is a 37-mile, 2 hour round trip fine dining experience, following the route of the 19th century Bardstown and Louisville Railroad passenger and freight trains which began in 1860. The passenger lines stopped in 1953, however the freight portion still runs to this day. The R.J. Corman Railroad Company bought and restored 1940s Budd Company steel-skirted train cars in 1987 and the Dinner Train began in 1988. Several Murder Mysteries are performed by acting groups during the dinner ride throughout the year.

    The Belle of Louisville is the oldest operating steamboat in the world. It was constructed in 1914 as a day ferry and day packet boat called the Idylwilde before returning to Louisville in 1934 and operating as a night cruise boat along the Mississippi River for the USO during World War II. In 1949 the Idylwilde was sold to investors in Cincinnati as the Avalon and it became the most widely traveled steamboat in the U.S. Not until 1962 was the Avalon renamed Belle of Louisville after being purchased at an auction by a local judge. In 1963, the Belle raced the Delta Queen in what would become the annual Great Steamboat Race. Today the Belle offers sightseeing tours and lunch and dinner cruises.

    Colgate Clock is the 2nd largest clock in the world with a diameter of 40 feet, nearly twice that of Big Ben in London, and has sat atop the Colgate-Palmolive building in Indiana, just across the Ohio River from Louisville since 1924. The clock is so large that the time can actually be read from the Kentucky side of the river and up to a mile away.

    Fort Duffield is widely thought to be the oldest Union fortification in Kentucky and the most unique in its serpentine shape as a wall instead of most others that were star-shaped and enclosed. Built under the command of Brigadier General William Tecumseh Sherman in 1861, it is the largest earthwork structure in Kentucky. It was never challenged as a fort during the war and remained largely unused for many years. It had faded back into the woods of Radcliff until volunteers restored it in the early 1990s so that visitors may now see the fort as it was during the Civil War.

    The Galt House Hotel is Kentucky's largest hotel located on the Ohio River in Louisville with two towers at 25-stories high and over 1,200 rooms. It was established in 1837 with only 60 rooms and over the years saw many distinguished guests, including Charles Dickens, Abraham Lincoln, and is where Generals Ulysses S. Grant and William Tecumseh Sherman met to plan what would become Sherman's March to the Sea during the Civil War. The hotel burned down in 1869, was rebuilt, and subsequently fell into financial disrepair and was demolished in 1921. When it was rebuilt in 1972, as a part of Louisville's Riverfront Urban Renewal Project, the West Tower stood at 25 stories tall. The East Tower was added in 1984 and offers over 600 riverfront suites and apartments. The hotel is host to Thunder Over Louisville, the nation's largest firework show, and a renowned academic tournament known as the Governor's Cup.

    Historic Locust Grove Farm was established in 1790 as the home of William and Lucy Clark Croghan. Lucy was the sister of William Clark of Lewis and Clark, and George Rogers Clark, the founder of Louisville. The Croghans hosted Lewis and Clark upon their return from their Pacific expedition in 1806 and has since become the only remaining place west of the Appalachian Mountains to house the famous duo. George Rogers Clark lived at Locust Grove for the last years of his life from 1809-1818. The farm was also host to several different presidents, including President James Monroe and General Andrew Jackson in 1819, and President Zachary Taylor, who had been a neighbor of Locust Grove as a child, in 1825.

    The Seelbach Hotel was started in 1903 by two Bavarian born brothers, Otto and Louis Seelbach, who spared no expense in creating a hotel of their dreams in the extravagant Beaux Arts style with imported Turkish and Persian rugs, Irish linens, and bronzes from France. When it opened in 1905, the hotel was so popular the brothers immediately began building an additional 154 rooms that same year. The Prohibition years during the 1920s saw many notable gangsters frequent the hotel for bootlegging and card playing, including Lucky Luciano and Al Capone, who had his own alcove with secret passageways that still exist today. F. Scott Fitzgerald even took his inspiration for Tom and Daisy's lavish wedding in his book, The Great Gatsby. The Seelbach is the only hotel in Kentucky to have a AAA 5 Diamond Restaurant Award winner, The Oakroom.

    Thomas Edison House is a small one room house in the Butchertown area of Louisville where Thomas Edison lived at age 19. He had a job as a telegraph operator for Western Union and became enamored with the telegraph, using it for many experiments and inspiration for future designs; he would eventually receive over 125 patents relating back to those early works. On display at the house are cylinder and disc phonographs, an Edison Business Phonograph, and the first home motion picture projector, the Edison Kinetoscope.

    The Filson Historical Society was established in 1884 by a group of 10 Louisvillians. They named their group after Kentucky's first historian, John Filson, who had written a book on the state in 1784. The first meetings were held in the group's President's house until it eventually became a privately funded historical society. The Filson contains over 1.5 million manuscripts, 50,000 volumes in its library, and 10,000 items in the museum. One of the exhibits, "United We Stand- Divided We Fall", has the state's best collection of Civil War manuscripts including letters, documents, and photographs.

    The Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory was started as a woodworking shop of the Hillerich family who had immigrated from Germany and moved to Louisville in 1856. Soon Hillerich's son Bud was working in the shop too, and as a baseball player, began making wooden bats. His father wanted nothing to do with it, but soon Bud's bats were so popular and prosperous that the Louisville Slugger was trademarked in 1894 and Bud became a partner in the business a few years later. By 1919, the company was producing one million bats each year. The museum and factory are located at the company's headquarters where the "world's biggest baseball bat" leans against the building. Inside, visitors will learn about the history and making of the famous bats and kids can climb on a giant baseball glove or try out famous replica bats at the batting cages, like that of Babe Ruth or Ted Williams. A 1927 Louisville Slugger was the bat used by Babe Ruth to hit 21 home runs.

    The General George Patton Museum of Leadership originally opened in 1949 as the Patton Museum of Cavalry and Armor, dedicated to preserving military history for the public and soldiers alike, located at Fort Knox. However, today it is the Army's only museum of leadership and the largest collection of Patton memorabilia and personal items. Historic military artifacts from 1775 to present are on display.

    The Louisville Science Center is the largest hands-on science museum in Kentucky. It was founded as a natural history collection and widely known as the Louisville Museum of Natural History and Science until recently. The Science Center features a KidZone for younger children, an IMAX theatre, and permanent exhibits like The World Within Us, a hands-on way to learn about the human body. There are more school field trips taken here than any other place in the state.

    The Muhammad Ali Center is an award-winning museum and cultural center built in 2005 to honor champion boxer Muhammad Ali and the six core values he strived to live by: respect, dedication, confidence, spirituality, conviction and giving. The center includes an interactive museum and offers film series, talks, and educational programs for children.

    The Frazier International History Museum contains over 75,000 square feet of space to display its many unique exhibits which explore over 1000 years of history. The museum is the only place outside of Great Britain to house the Royal Armouries, impressive displays of armor and weaponry dating back to the Middle Ages through the 20th century in Britain. It is also the home of one of the largest toy soldier collections in the U.S. The Frazier is a Smithsonian Affiliate museum and boasts artifacts from the 16th-20th century of American History. There are many interactive exhibits, special events, and even daily live performances bringing a range of historical figures to life.

    The Speed Art Museum is the largest and oldest museum in the state of Kentucky. It was started in 1925 by Hattie Bishop Speed in memory of her husband, art collector and notable businessman, James Breckinridge Speed. The museum boasts an impressive collection of mostly Western art from antiquity to the present, including works by Auguste Rodin, Claude Monet, John Singer Sargent, Pablo Picasso, and perhaps one of the museum's most important acquisitions, Rembrandt's Portrait of a Woman. In 1996, the Speed received the largest ever donation to an art museum, $50 million from the granddaughter of James Breckinridge Speed.