Happy birthday to you, Kentucky. Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough candles to adorn a cake for your 231st year, but we do have some celebratory history and events for you to unwrap on your special day — which you also share with celebs like Morgan Freeman, Alanis Morissette, and Andy Griffith. Go, Geminis.
The commonwealth’s first birthday
On June 1, 1792, Kentucky was granted statehood and became the 15th state to join the Union. It was the first state west of the Appalachian Mountains, and in 1775, explorer Daniel Boone created the Wilderness Road trail that would become the main route settlers used to reach Kentucky from the east. Bonus: June 7 is Daniel Boone Day. Consider visiting Red River Gorge in the Daniel Boone National Forest — about a two-hour drive from Louisville to explore its trails, arches, and rock climbing.
A song written for you in LOU
That’s right. “Happy Birthday to You,” one of the most famous songs in the world, was written by two Louisvillians. Sisters Mildred and Patty Hill wrote the tune in the 1890s. Listen to this three-minute NPR podcast about the song’s full history.
Two ways to celebrate
This Saturday, June 3, the Frazier History Museum is throwing a Happy Birthday, Kentucky! party from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Here’s what’s happening:
- Pay-as-you-wish admission to the museum — typically, admission is $14
- Updated tours of the “Cool Kentucky” exhibit
- A scavenger hunt
- Trivia with prizes
- Presentations of “Kentucky Stories and Song,” an interactive program about notable Kentuckians — like the aforementioned Hill sisters