When you live in Louisville for long enough, you start to see the same names popping up again and again.
Brown, Frazier, Breckenridge, Chenoweth. Whether they’re designating streets or are the namesake of popular cultural institutions, you’re bound to see a few of these well-known names.
So, today we’re digging up the history of one of these families, the Chenoweths, to learn how they came to be such predominant Louisvillans.
Who is the original Chenoweth?
Known as one of the seven founding fathers of Louisville, Capt. Richard Chenoweth was contracted by the state of Virginia to build Fort Nelson — which is now Fort Nelson Park downtown at 705 W. Main St.
He and his family made their way to the 502 from Frederick County, Virginia on the expedition with George Rogers Clark in 1778. Not long after arriving, he became the Jefferson County sheriff in 1781 + the Justice of the Peace of the Jefferson County Court in 1783. Though that all seems great, Chenoweth was plagued by financial issues — since he was never adequately compensated for his work on Fort Nelson — and his family fell victim to an attack known as the Chenoweth Massacre in 1789.
The site of the massacre, the Chenoweth Fort-Springhouse, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Though he died in debt in 1802, the Chenoweth name lives on most recognizably as the well-trafficked street Chenoweth Lane and shopping mall Chenoweth Square.
Bonus: Learn more about Chenoweth’s stomping ground at the Historic Middletown Museum at 11700 Main St.