|City of Owensboro, Kentucky|
|— City —|
|Nickname(s): BBQ Capital of the World|
|Motto: "Progress 1817"|
|Settled||Yellow Banks, Kentucky 1797|
|• Mayor||Ron Payne|
|• Mayor Pro Tem||Deborah May Nunley|
|• City Manager||William Parrish|
|• City||18.7 sq mi (48.3 km2)|
|• Land||17.4 sq mi (45.1 km2)|
|• Water||1.2 sq mi (3.2 km2) 6.59%|
|Elevation||394 ft (120 m)|
|• Density||3,107.3/sq mi (1,198.8/km2)|
|Time zone||CST (UTC−6)|
|• Summer (DST)||CDT (UTC−5)|
|GNIS feature ID||0500082|
Owensboro is the fourth largest city by population in the U.S. state of Kentucky. It is the county seat of Daviess County.1 It is located on U.S. Route 60 about 32 miles (51 km) southeast of Evansville, Indiana, and is the principal city of the Owensboro, Kentucky, Metropolitan Statistical Area. The city's population was 58,083 in the 2012 US Census Estimate, with a metropolitan population of 116,030. The city was named after Colonel Abraham Owen. Owensboro is the second-largest city in the Tri-State region of Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky after Evansville.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (November 2011)|
According to anthropological studies, Native American culture in the locality dates back 12,000 years, though the last Shawnee Indians were forced to vacate the area before the end of the eighteenth century.
The first European descendant to settle in Owensboro was frontiersman William Smeathers (Smothers) in 1797, for whom the riverfront park in downtown Owensboro is named. A Kentucky Historical Marker is erected in his honor at the park. The settlement was originally known as Yellow Banks, a reference to the color of the banks of the Ohio River. The Lewis and Clark Expedition wintered at what is today's Owensboro prior to departing on their famous travels. In 1817, Yellow Banks was incorporated as a city under the name Owensborough, named after Colonel Abraham Owen. In 1893, the spelling of the name was shortened to its current Owensboro.
In August 1865, Owensboro was subject to a raid by a band of Confederate guerrillas from Tennessee led by Captain Jack Bennett, an officer in Stovepipe Johnson's Partisan Rangers. Bennett's men rode into Owensboro, tried and failed to rob a local bank, took 13 Union soldiers of the 108th Coloured Infantry prisoner, executed them, burned the bodies on a supply boat and escaped back to Tennessee having covered a total of 300 miles (480 km) on horseback inside six days. Another major battle occurred 8 miles (13 km) south of Owensboro and is today signified by a monument marking the battle located beside US Hwy 431.
There have been several distillers, mainly of bourbon whiskey, in and around the city of Owensboro. The major distillery still in operation is the Glenmore Distillery Company.
On August 14, 1936, downtown Owensboro was the site of the last public hanging in the United States. Rainey Bethea was executed for the rape and murder of 70-year-old Lischa Edwards. The execution was presided over by a woman sheriff, Florence Shoemaker Thompson, who gained national media attention for her role in the process.
The end of the Second World War brought civil engineering projects, which helped turn Owensboro from a sleepy industrial town into a modern, expanding community by the turn of the 1960s. Many of the projects were set in motion by Johnson, Depp & Quisenberry, a firm of consulting engineers then engaged in a runway redesign at the County Airport; the 'Depp' in question was a member of an old and prodigious Kentucky family which includes the town's most famous son, actor Johnny Depp.
The Owensboro Wagon Company, established in 1884, was one of the largest and most influential wagon companies in the nation. With nearly eight styles or sizes of wagons, the company set the standard of quality at the turn of the 20th century
Frederick A. Ames came to Owensboro from Washington, Pennsylvania in 1887. He started the Carriage Woodstock Company to repair horse-drawn carriages. In 1910 he began to manufacture a line of automobiles under the Ames brand name. Ames hired industrialist Vincent Bendix in 1912, and the company became the Ames Motor Car Company. Despite its product being called the "best $1500" car by a Texas car dealer, the company ceased production of its own model in 1915. The company then began manufacturing replacement bodies for the more widely sold Ford Model T. In 1922, the company again remade itself and started to manufacture furniture under the name Ames Corporation. The company finally sold out to Whitehall Furniture in 1970.2
1899 saw the start of the Kentucky Electrical Lamp Company, a light bulb manufacturing company which eventually was acquired by Kentucky Radio Company (Ken-Rad) in 1918 and later acquired by General Electric in 1945 and in 1987 acquired by MPD, Inc.,3 created the light bulbs that illuminated the first night game in the history of Major League Baseball on May 24, 1935,between the Reds and Phillies at Cincinnati's Crosley Field.4 The Owensboro plant was a major part of General Electric's vacuum tube manufacturing operations, producing both receiving types and military/industrial ceramic types. In 1961, engineers at the General Electric plant in Owensboro introduced a family of vacuum tubes called the Compactron.
In June 1932, John G. Barnard founded the Modern Welding Company, Inc. in a small building located near the Ohio River at First and Frederica Streets where the Commonwealth of Kentucky office building sits today. Today, Modern Welding Company has 9 steel tank and vessel fabrication subsidiaries located throughout the United States and 5 welding supply stores located in Kentucky and Indiana. The company is an industry leader by being the country's largest supplier of Underwriters Laboratories listed, underground and aboveground steel storage tanks for flammable and combustible liquids. Chemical storage tanks, ASME pressure vessels and structural steel fabrication are additional products manufactured by the company. The company celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2007.5
Texas Gas Transmission Corporation was created in 1948 with the merger of Memphis Natural Gas Company and Kentucky Natural Gas Corporation and made its headquarters in Owensboro. Since that time, Texas Gas changed ownership four times. The company was bought by CSX Corp. in 1983; by Transco Energy Corp. in 1989; by Williams in 1995; and by Loews Corporation in 2003.6
According to Owensboro's 2010 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,7 the top employers in the city were:
|#||Employer||# of Employees|
|1||Owensboro Medical Health System Hospital||3,300|
|2||U.S. Bank Home Mortgage||1,261|
|3||Owensboro Public Schools||778|
|4||Specialty Foods Group||470|
|7||City of Owensboro||481|
|8||Commonwealth of Kentucky||471|
In 1937, Pope Pius XI established the Roman Catholic Diocese of Owensboro, which spans approximately the western third of the state. It includes thirty-two counties and covers approximately 12,500 square miles (32,000 km2).8
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 18.7 square miles (48 km2), of which 17.4 square miles (45 km2) is land and 1.2 square miles (3.1 km2) (6.59%) is water.
Owensboro is about 32 miles (51 km) east of Evansville, Indiana.
The Kentucky city has Humid subtropical climate which are characterised by hot humid summers and moderately cold winters. Day to day temperature differences can be high in the winters summers in comparison are much more stable.
|Climate data for Owensboro, Kentucky|
|Average high °F (°C)||41.2
|Average low °F (°C)||23.2
|Precipitation inches (mm)||3.3
|U.S. Census Bureau11|
At the U.S. 2011 census12 estimate, there were 57,605 people, 22,659 households and 14,093 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,102.9 per square mile (1,198.4/km²). There were 24,302 housing units at an average density of 1,394.7 per square mile (538.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 90.63% White, 6.90% African American, 0.51% Asian, 0.12% Native American, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.55% from other races, and 1.28% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.03% of the population.
There were 22,659 households, of which 28.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.7% were married couples living together, 13.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.8% were non-families. 33.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.29 and the average family size was 2.91.
24.1% of the population were under the age of 18, 9.8% from 18 to 24, 27.4% from 25 to 44, 22.4% from 45 to 64, and 16.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 87.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 82.6 males.
The median household income was $31,867 and the median family income was $41,333. Males had a median income of $33,429 versus $21,457 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,968. About 12.2% of families and 15.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.9% of those under age 18 and 12.4% of those age 65 or over.
Owensboro has operated under a City Manager form of government since 1954. Citizens elect a mayor and four city commissioners who form the Board of Commissioners. The Board of Commissioners is the legislative body of the city government and represents the interests of the citizens. The Board of Commissioners hires a city manager who administers the day-to-day operations of the city.
The mayor is elected for a term of four years. Each city commissioner is elected for a term of two years. The term of the city manager is indefinite and based on performance.
Owensboro is home to two private, four-year colleges, Brescia University and Kentucky Wesleyan College, and one public community college, Owensboro Community and Technical College. Campus of Daymar College are also located in Owensboro, and Western Kentucky University Owensboro maintains an extended campus there.
In 2006, plans were announced for a research center operated by the University of Louisville to be located at the Mitchell Memorial Cancer Center, a part of the Owensboro Medical Health System, to study how to make the first ever human papilloma virus vaccine, called Gardasil, from tobacco plants. U of L researcher Dr Albert Bennet Jenson and Dr Shin-je Ghim discovered the vaccine in 2006. If successful, the vaccine would be made in Owensboro.13
US 60 and US 431 serve Owensboro, with US 431 terminating at the former US 60 Bypass (now signed US 60). US 231 and US 60 form a partial beltway around Owensboro. KY 81, KY 56, KY 331, KY 298, KY 54, and KY 144 also serve the city.
Although no television stations are based in the city, it is part of the Evansville television market, which is the 100th-largest in the United States according to Nielsen Media Research.15 However, in early 2007, WFIE-TV opened a bureau in Owensboro which covers news on the Kentucky side of the market. Many of the local television stations often promote themselves as serving Evansville, Henderson and Owensboro.
- Owensboro considers itself the "BBQ Capital of the world"; it holds its International BBQ festival and competition every second weekend in May.
- During the summer, the city offers "Friday After 5", a free 16-week series of outdoor concerts on the downtown riverfront. The festival includes live bands, events for families, and entertainment every Friday from 5:00 pm till 10:00 pm. An estimated 55,000 people attend the events.16
- Owensboro holds the Annual Owensboro PumpkinFest each September at the Sportscenter/Moreland Park complex. The festival includes food vendors, crafts people, carnival rides, children and adult activities and games, and contests using pumpkins.17 Each year, the festival hosts a weekend-long concert series featuring some of the area's top bands, such as the Velvet Bombers, Sundown, Bad Kitty, and Mr. Nice Guy, to name a few. The event was started by the Glenmary Sisters as a way to raise awareness and funds for their mission work in the southeastern United States. The festival, however, was handed over to New Beginnings Rape Crisis Center in October 2009.18
- Owensboro is home of a unique annual fundraiser: Men Who Cook – Celebrity Chefs Gala & Auction. The first Men Who Cook was held in 2007 through the collaboration of Richard Remp-Morris,1920 Deputy Chief David Thompson with the Owensboro Police Department and many dedicated volunteers. Men Who Cook features amateur chefs who display their culinary talents in a friendly competition for coveted Silver Spoon Awards. The event includes food, live music, as well as silent and live auctions. The event has received recognition from Kentucky's Governor Steven L. Beshear; State Representatives Tommy N. Thompson, Jim Gooch, and Jim Glenn; City Commissioner Al Mattingly; Mayors Tom Watson and Ron Payne; and Bishop John McRaith. All proceeds from the event support the mission work of the Glenmary Sisters. Since 1941 the Glenmary Sisters have supported the poorest of Americans living in the rural south and Appalachia. The Sisters are funded almost entirely by donations from supporters who share an interest in reaching the unchurched, underserved, and oppressed. 
- During the summer, Owensboro is home of the Owensboro Oilers, a baseball team in the collegiate wood bat KIT League. The Oilers were the KIT League's 2008 playoff champions and the 2006 KIT League season champions. The team is named for the baseball minor league farm team 'Owensboro Oilers' which existed in the 1940s.
- In the February of 2013, Owensboro will host indoor football games of the Owensboro Rage. The Rage, who re-located from Evansville, Indiana, will play in the Continental Indoor Football League.
- Ben Hawes Golf Course and Park
- International Bluegrass Music Museum
- Western Kentucky Botanical Garden
- Owensboro Museum of Science and History
- Glover Cary Bridge
- William H. Natcher Bridge
- Temple Adath Israel – one of the oldest synagogue buildings still standing in the United States.21
- Largest Sassafras tree (located on Fredrica Street next door to the Owensboro Public Library)
- Smothers Park
- W. Ralph Basham, former Director of the United States Secret Service
- William E. Berry, former Law Director of Louisville and federal judge
- Wendell H. Ford, former Kentucky Governor and U.S. Senator
- Steve Henry, former Lieutenant Governor of Kentucky
- Albert S. Marks, former Governor of Tennessee
- Wilbur Kingsbury Miller, federal judge
- John M. Spalding, World War II hero, politician
- Chris Brown (defensive back), former NFL football player
- Bruce Brubaker, former MLB baseball player
- Vince Buck, NFL player
- Rex Chapman, former NBA basketball player
- Wayne Chapman, former NBA and ABA player
- David Green, Jeff Green and Mark Green, NASCAR drivers
- Cliff Hagan, former NBA basketball player
- Joe Hardesty, roller skating national champion 1977 & 1978
- Nicky Hayden, motorcycle racer, 2006 MotoGP champion
- Roger Lee Hayden, motorcycle racer
- Tommy Hayden, motorcycle racer
- Kenny Higgs, former NBA player
- Mark Higgs, former NFL football player
- Jeff Jones, collegiate basketball coach
- Jeremy Mayfield, former NASCAR driver
- Tommy Kron, professional basketball player
- Justin Miller, NFL football player
- Eugene Oberst, Olympic bronze medalist in the javelin throw
- Bo Smith, Canadian Football League cornerback
- Nick Varner, pool champion
- Darrell Waltrip, 3 time NASCAR champion and Hall of Fame inductee and FOX sports commentator
- Michael Waltrip, semi-retired NASCAR driver/ team owner and FOX sports commentator
- Dave Watkins, MLB baseball player
- Bobby Watson, former NBA basketball player
- BJ Whitmer, professional wrestler
- Brad Wilkerson, MLB baseball player
- Ken Willis, former NFL football player
- Haley Strode, actress
- Johnny Depp, actor, director, musician
- Tom Ewell, actor
- John Ferguson, member of The Apples in Stereo
- Florence Henderson, of The Brady Bunch fame
- Byron C. Miller, filmmaker and member of God Module
- Tom Powers, actor
- Christine Johnson Smith, opera singer and Tony Award nominated Broadway actress
- Mark Stuart, vocalist for Audio Adrenaline
- William Booth Wecker, showman of the 1930s and 1940s
Authors and journalists
- Terry Bisson, author
- Stephen F. Cohen, Russian studies scholar
- Craig Crawford, political commentator
- Marcus Rediker, author
- Moneta Sleet Jr., Pulitzer prize-winning photographer
- Beulah Annan, suspected murderess
- Hazen A. Dean, noted Boy Scouts of America member and Scoutmaster
- Dudley W. Morton, U.S. naval commander
- Thomas Cruse, United States Army Brigadier General who was a recipient of the Medal of Honor
- Jon Brennan, cast member on The Real World Los Angeles
- U.S. Army Specialist William Colton Millay, convicted spy currently serving a 16-year prison sentence
- Union Station (Owensboro)
- Owensboro metropolitan area
- International Bar-B-Q Festival
- List of cities and towns along the Ohio River
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
- CoachBuilt.com – Ames Buggy Company
- "The seizure of the Ken-Rad Plant-1944" by Leonard Rex, Daviess County Historical Quarterly, April 1984, pp 27–31
- Thackers mark anniversary of landmark baseball game,By Suzi Bartholomy, Messenger-Inquirer, Owensboro, Ky. Wednesday, May 26, 2010
- "Modern Welding Company | About Us". Modweldco.com. 2008-12-07. Retrieved 2012-05-15.
- "Texas Gas - History". Txgt.com. 2005-11-15. Retrieved 2012-05-15.
- City of Owensboro CAFR
- Owensboro Diocese Home Page
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- "Owensboro, KY, Kentucky, USA: Climate, Global Warming, and Daylight Charts and Data - Climate (Average Weather) Data". Climate-Charts.com. Retrieved 2011−06−09.
- Historical Census Data United States Census Bureau. Retrieved on 2009-1-8
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- Two at UofL help invent vaccine – Courier Journal
- "Messenger-Inquirer Website". Messenger-Inquirer. Retrieved 2007-07-03.
- "Nielsen Media Research Local Universe Estimates". Audience Research & Development. Retrieved 2006-12-28.
- "Friday After 5". Downtown Owensboro, Inc. Retrieved 2007-07-03.
- "Owensboro PumpkinFest". Retrieved 2007-07-03.
- "Glenmary Sisters". Glenmary Home Mission Sisters of America. Retrieved 2007-07-03.
- dead link
- dead link
- Rediscovering Jewish Infrastructure: Update on United States Nineteenth Century Synagogues, Mark W. Gordon, American Jewish History 84.1 (1996) 11–27 
- "Online directory: Kentucky, USA". Sister Cities International. Retrieved 2007-06-11.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Owensboro, Kentucky|
|Wikisource has the text of the 1905 New International Encyclopedia article Owensboro.|
- Official website
- Entry about Owensboro from the Kentucky Atlas and Gazetteer, a University of Kentucky website
- Owensboro Chamber of Commerce
- 1821 Advertisement for an auction for land around Owensboro, Kentucky, from the Library of Congress
- Owensboro Daviess County Convention and Visitor Bureau
- A Kentucky City Reinvents a Faded Downtown, Owensboro, Ky.—NY Times November 15, 2011