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Three Perfect Days: Louisville

Louisville is best known for hosting the Kentucky Derby, famously dubbed “the most exciting two minutes in sports.” When you’re done with that, we’ve got a lot more to show you.

Author Amanda Petrusich Photography Sam Polcer

The zany interior of the Why Louisville T-shirt emporium

Picture 1 of 10

LOUISVILLE BY THE NUMBERS

Population
1.2 million

Professional boxing record of Louisville native Muhammad Ali
56-5

Roses used in the garland presented to the winner of the Kentucky Derby
554

Fastest running time for the Derby, by Secretariat in 1973
1 minute, 59.40 seconds

Percent of the world’s bourbon that is produced in Kentucky
95

Percent of the U.s.’s disco balls that are produced in Louisville
90

Amount, in tons, of fireworks used each year at Thunder Over Louisville, North America’s largest annual pyrotechnics show
60

Hit Parade

How Louisville became home to the world’s most famous baseball bat In 1880, a young baseball nut named Bud Hillerich got a job as an apprentice in his father’s woodworking shop, and whenever he could find time, he would craft baseball bats from white ash for himself and his pals. Word got around, and legend has it the then-17-year-old Bud eventually made a bat for a celebrated local player named Pete Browning. Browning became famous as the Louisville Slugger, and the name eventually came to refer to his bat. Later, in the hands of Babe Ruth, Ted Williams and Hank Aaron, that Slugger became synonymous with baseball royalty. By 1923, with Bud in charge, the company was making a million bats a year. In 1996, with Hillerich’s grandson at the helm, the company opened the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory, which is currently home to the World’s Biggest Baseball Bat, a 120-foot steel replica of Babe Ruth’s Slugger that leans casually against the side of the museum. – – – – – – –

LOCAL KNOWLEDGE

The inside scoop from those in the know pic1

Gil D. Reyes
Co-Artistic Director, Theatre [502]
“I always take out-of-town guests to Hillbilly Tea for an artsy-Kentucky ambiance, innovative food and clever tea cocktails. While there, see if owner and operator Karter Louis will sing a tune or two.” pic2

Lara Kelland
Assistant Professor of Public History, University of Louisville
“Louisville isn’t the most haunted city, but it’s got a wonderful spectral energy. I love to dart from its friendly streets into Cave Hill Cemetery—a sprawling city of the dead. The corpse of Colonel Sanders, stunning funerary art, more than 500 tree species—I adore it.” pic3

Jeffrey Lee Puckett
Music Reporter, Louisville Courier-Journal
“Freddie’s Bar & Lounge is not just a glorious dive bar, it’s a glorious boxing dive bar in a town that has produced four heavyweight champions. The joint was opened in 1962 by Freddie Scarlott, who, at 93, is still serving the most entertaining clientele in town.”

Headshots by Peter Field



One Response to “Three Perfect Days: Louisville”

  1. Tammy Madigan Says:
    February 4th, 2015 at 4:28 pm

    I hope you enjoyed the landmarked Hogan’s Fountain Pavilion (known locally as “the TeePee”) on your run through Cherokee Park. It’s a delightfully whimsical and eclectic part of the park and it’s really hard to miss. Our organization has been working to restore this city gem.

    Great article, btw, and it sounds like you had a great time in our little berg.

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