The settlement that became the City of Louisville was founded in 1778 by George Rogers Clark and is named after King Louis XVI of France, making Louisville one of the oldest cities west of the Appalachian Mountains. Louisville is now our nation’s 16th largest city.
The first Kentucky Derby was held on May 17, 1875, at the Louisville Jockey Club track which was later renamed Churchill Downs. The Derby was originally shepherded by Meriwether Lewis Clark, Jr.. He was the grandson of William Clark of the Lewis and Clark Expedition and grandnephew of the city's founder George Rogers Clark. Horse racing has a strong tradition in Kentucky, whose Inner Bluegrass Region had been a center of breeding high quality livestock throughout the 19th century.
Old Louisville boasts the largest collection of Victorian mansions and the third largest historic preservation district, in the United States. This National Preservation District offers more than 1,400 homes in a forty-eight block area along miles of tree lined streets, courts and avenues. The Historic Old Louisville area ranges from the southern edge of downtown Louisville to the University of Louisville campus and boasts a magnificent collection of Victorian Gothic, Arts and Crafts, Richardsonian Romanesque, Queen Anne, Italianate, Chateauesque and Beaux Arts architecture. Fabulous details such as leaded and stained-glass windows, turrets, gargoyles and wrought iron fences abound.
Held in the heart of historic Old Louisville, the annual St. James Court Art Show is a juried fine arts and crafts show that began over five decades ago and now hosts an impressive 750 artists from across North America. The St. James Court Art Show has long ago outgrown its original location, now crowding every inch of St. James, and Belgravia Courts, as well as significant areas of Magnolia, 3rd and 4th Streets, and Central Park. It is estimated that over a quarter million people attend the three day event held annually during the fall.