Explore Jefferson County, Kentucky

Jefferson County was established in 1780, along the banks of the Ohio River. It is the largest county in the state.

In 2003, the Jefferson County government merged with that of Louisville, its largest city and county seat, forming the Louisville-Jefferson County Metro Government, known as Louisville Metro.

Jefferson County is the birthplace of boxer Muhammad Ali, baseball great Pee Wee Reese, and the 12th President of the United States, Zachary Taylor. It is, also, home to Churchill Downs, the Belle of Louisville, and the Louisville Slugger.

We hope you enjoy exploring the people, places, and stories of Jefferson County.

Kentucky Fugitives to Canada

Historical Marker #2072 in Louisville notes the escape of two slaves, Thornton and Lucie Blackburn, who made their way to Canada. In 1831, newlywed slaves Thornton and Lucie Blackburn learned that Lucie was about to be sold to the Deep South slave…

Slavery Laws in Old Kentucky

Historical Marker #1989 in Jefferson County notes the legal history of slavery in Kentucky. Slavery was a part of Kentucky long before statehood was granted in 1792. The state's earliest settlers brought their human property with them from…

Riverside, the Farnsley-Moremen Landing

Historical Marker #2141 commemorates Riverside, the Farnsley-Moremen Landing in Jefferson County. Standing on a rise overlooking the Ohio River, the Farnsley-Moremen House is the centerpiece of this nearly 300-acre historic site known today as…

Historic Locust Grove

Historical Marker #2086 commemorates Locust Grove, a National Historic Landmark and unique example of early Kentucky architecture, craftsmanship and history. The circa 1792 Georgian mansion, restored and furnished to its original appearance and…

The Brennan House

Historical Marker #2373 commemorates the Brennan House in Louisville. Located at 631 South 5th Street, the Brennan House is the only historic home remaining on a street once lined with similarly grand homes - an oasis of Victorian refinement amid…

Louisville Legion

Historical Marker #1589 in Louisville notes the military service of the Louisville Legion. Kentuckians responded enthusiastically to the call for volunteers to fight in the Mexican-American War. One of the first units to offer their services was…

Zachary Taylor Home

Historical Marker #1849 in Louisville notes the location of the boyhood home of general and president Zachary Taylor. U.S. President Zachary Taylor was born in Orange County, Virginia, in 1784 to Richard and Sarah Dabney Taylor. The Taylor family…

Zachary Taylor National Cemetery

Historical Marker #1412 in Louisville notes the location of the Zachary Taylor National Cemetery. By the time Zachary Taylor fought in the Mexican-American War, he was already an accomplished soldier in the U.S. Army. During the Second Seminole…

Slave Trading in Louisville

Historical Marker #1990 in Louisville notes the historical significance of the interstate slave trade to Kentucky’s economy before the Civil War. During the antebellum era, Kentucky, like the other border and upper-South states, served as an…

Calvary Baptist Church, Louisville

Historical Marker #1845 in Louisville notes the historical significance of Calvary Baptist Church to the city's African American community. Purchased for $1 and deeded to Henry Smith, a free man of color, in 1833, the plot of ground became a…

Forest Home Cemetery

Historical Marker #2094 in Jefferson County notes the location of Forest Home Cemetery, one of the oldest African American cemeteries in Kentucky. Forrest Home Cemetery would not exist were it not for one of the individuals buried there: Eliza…

Lewis and Clark in Kentucky – York

Historical Marker #2119 in Louisville notes the historical significance of York, William Clark’s slave, who was an active participant in the famous Lewis and Clark Expedition to the Pacific Northwest. One of many sad realities of slavery is that…

Naval Ordnance Plant/ Station

Historical Marker #2389 in Jefferson County commemorates the Naval Ordnance Plant and Naval Ordnance Station, called the "Gunsmiths to the Navy," which produced ordnance for the U.S. Navy during and after World War II. In 1940, the…

Shelby Park Neighborhood

Historical Marker #2396 commemorates the Shelby Park Neighborhood, one of the areas in Louisville that was originally populated by German immigrants. This area of the city received one of the later waves of immigrants. In 1847, the upper third of…

St. Frances of Rome Church

Historical Marker #2385 in Louisville commemorates St. Frances of Rome Catholic Church, named for Francesca Romana who inspired women to pray, care for the sick, and feed the hungry. Frances was born in Rome to a noble family in 1384 and died in…

Campaign to End Racial Segregation in Louisville

Historical Marker # 2355 in Louisville notes the important role that non-violent demonstrations played in bringing an end to legal racial segregation in that city. In 1896, the United States Supreme Court ruled in the landmark case of "Plessy…

Charles H. Parrish, Jr. (1899-1989)

Historical Marker #2008 notes contributions made to the University of Louisville by Charles H. Parrish, Jr., the institution's first African American professor. Parrish's father was born into slavery in Fayette County, Kentucky, in 1859. …

Charles W. Anderson, Jr.

Historical Marker #1964 in Louisville notes the political career of Charles W. Anderson, Jr., the first African American elected to a Southern state legislature in the twentieth century. During the Reconstruction era, a number of African Americans…

Civil Rights Struggle, 1954/Wades: Open Housing Pioneers

Historical Marker #2254 in Louisville notes the location of the Wade home, which was bombed in the summer of 1954 after an African American family attempted to live in an all-white neighborhood. By the early 1950s, Louisville had integrated much of…

Dr. James Bond (1863-1929)

Historical Marker #1663 in Louisville notes the achievements of African American educator and leader James Bond. Bond was born into slavery in 1863 on the Anderson County farm of Preston Bond. Preston Bond is listed in the 1860 census as a…

Muhammad Ali’s Home Site

Historical Marker #2339 in Louisville notes the location of the house where the famous boxer and humanitarian Muhammad Ali grew up. Muhammad Ali, originally named Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr., was born in Louisville in 1942. Ali grew up at 3302…

Home of I. Willis Cole

Historical Marker #1998 in Louisville notes the pioneering civil rights efforts of I. Willis Cole, noted publisher of "The Louisville Leader," an African American newspaper. The great abolitionist Frederick Douglass once said, "Those…

Home of Anne and Carl Braden

Historical Marker #2254 in Louisville notes the location of the home of Anne and Carl Braden, who were active in the Civil Rights Movement. Anne and Carl Braden are probably best known for their efforts to bring fair housing to Louisville in the…

Knights of Pythias Temple

Historical Marker #1662 notes the Louisville location of the Knights of Pythias Temple. Although many fraternal organizations predated the Civil War, most African Americans were not allowed to form separate chapters of these benevolent societies…

Alonzo “Lonnie” Clayton

Historical Marker #2321 in Louisville notes the historical significance of African American jockey Alonzo "Lonnie" Clayton, who won the Kentucky Derby in 1892 at age fifteen. Alonzo Clayton was born to Robert and Evaline Clayton in Kansas…

Bashford Manor

Historical Marker #2040 in Louisville notes the location of Bashford Manor, a residence of J. B. Wilder, and, later, noted horse racing stable of George J. Long. Named for an ancestral home in Maryland, James Bennett Wilder had Bashford Manor built…

Churchill Downs

Historical Markers #1885 and #2255 in Louisville note the location of Churchill Downs, the racetrack of the "Run for the Roses," the famous Kentucky Derby. Churchill Downs began when track founder Meriwether Lewis Clark, Jr., the grandson…

Douglas Park Racetrack

Historical Marker #2336 in Louisville notes the location of Douglas Park Racetrack, which operated from 1895 to 1958. Horse racing flourished as a sport in late nineteenth-century America. Nowhere was that more apparent than in Kentucky. Difficult…

Louisville Cemetery/William Walker

Historical Marker #1992 in Louisville notes the location of the Louisville Cemetery, which was founded by prominent African American citizens in 1886. The Louisville Cemetery, near Germantown, holds the remains of many notable individuals from that…

Trainer and Jockey

Historical Marker #1475 in Jeffersontown notes the history of recognized jockey and horse trainer Roscoe Goose, who won the 1913 Kentucky Derby riding Donerail. Kentucky is known for producing the horses that win high-stakes races, but in…

Woodlawn Race Course

Historical Marker #1820 in Louisville notes the location of Woodlawn Race Course, sometimes referred to as the "Saratoga of the West." It was a track of major importance during the 1860s. Organized competitive horse racing in Kentucky was…

First Unitarian Church

Historical marker #2173 in Louisville acknowledges the contributions of the First Unitarian Church toward the civil rights and women's suffrage movements. The First Unitarian Church hosted Susan B. Anthony and Carrie Chapman Catt in January of…

Rosa Phillips Stonestreet, 1859-1936

Historical Marker #2196 in Louisville recognizes the achievements of pioneer educator Rosa Anna (Phillips) Stonestreet. Stonestreet was born in Jefferson County, Kentucky, on February 18, 1859. She died in Louisville on April 7, 1936, and is…

Rebecca Rosenthal Judah

Historical marker #2221 in Louisville recognizes the contributions of Rebecca Rosenthal Judah, who was a leader of the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW), and vice president and treasurer of the Kentucky Equal Rights Association (KERA). Judah…

Zion Baptist Church

Historical Marker #1657 notes the location and significance of the Zion Baptist Church in Louisville. A small number of African Americans left the York Street Baptist Church to begin their own congregation in 1877. For a year they rented the old…

Murray Atkins Walls (1899-1993)

Historical Marker #2134 in Louisville notes Murray Atkins Walls’ achievements as an educator and civil rights activist. Walls was born on December 22, 1899, in Indianapolis. She was the daughter of a physician, Calvin R. Atkins. While in Indiana,…

Union General Robert Anderson

Historical Marker #534 in Louisville notes the birthplace of Robert Anderson, the commander of Ft. Sumter and the "first Union hero of [the] Civil War." Born in 1805 at "Soldiers Retreat" in Jefferson County, Anderson was a West…

Governor Thomas E. Bramlette

Historical Marker #2234 in Louisville's Cave Hill Cemetery commemorates Kentucky Governor Thomas E. Bramlette, a Union veteran of the Civil War. Elected in 1863 after an active Civil War career as a Union colonel, Bramlette frequently tangled…

Farmington Historic Plantation

Historical Marker #2231 in Louisville denotes Farmington Historic Plantation, a fourteen-room Federal-style home built by John and Lucy Speed in 1816. The house was designed from plans drawn by Thomas Jefferson. For much of its existence,…

Louisville's Steamboat Era

Historical Marker #1681 interprets Louisville's steamboat era, highlighting the role that river navigation played in the city's history. Many notable visitors arrived at the Louisville wharf at 4th Street, including Abraham Lincoln, who…

Evan Williams, 1755-1810

Historical Marker #2445 commemorates Evan Williams (1755 – 1810), an early Kentucky whiskey distiller in Jefferson County. A native of Wales, Williams came to Kentucky around 1780. He settled in Louisville, which had been established two years…

Louisville Water Company

Historical Marker #2317 in Jefferson County commemorates the Louisville Water Company Filtration Plant, Reservoir, and Gatehouse. The Louisville Water Company was chartered by the Kentucky General Assembly on March 6, 1854. It became the…

The Bank of Louisville

Historical Marker #88 in Jefferson County celebrates the Old Bank of Louisville building. Constructed in 1837, this National Historic Landmark is an excellent example of the Greek Revival-style of architecture. Notable architect Gideon Shyrock…

Aero Club of Louisville

Historical Marker #2252 in Jefferson County commemorates the Aero Club of Louisville, the oldest continuously operating Aero Club in the United States. On October 26, 1922, eighteen men met in the offices of Mayor Huston Quinn to form the Aero Club…

Bowman Field- East

Historical Marker #1901in Louisville commemorates the importance of Bowman Field and aviation in Kentucky. The need for an airport began developing in 1910, when Glenn Curtiss flew a pusher-type aircraft from Louisville's Churchill Downs.…

Conrad-Caldwell House

Historical Marker #2426 in Louisville recognizes the Conrad-Caldwell House, a grand example of late Victorian architecture. The home is located in historic St. James Court which is distinguished by the diversity of the individual mansions. As…