TODAY IN KENTUCKY HISTORY

Thank You For Visiting

May 31, 1797, the Kentucky Gazette ran an announcement for the first public amusement in Central Kentucky.  “A room for exhibition purposes has been erected for tumbling, balancing on slack wire, slack rope walking and dancing.  Admission to pit, 2 shillings; to gallery, 2 shillings and 2 pence.  Doors  open at sunset, performance begins at dark.”
The Squire’ Sketches of Lexington by J. Winston Coleman, Jr.; pg: 23

May 31, 1879, Charles S. Morehead was reburied in the Frankfort Cemetery.  At the end of his life, Morehead, our 20th Governor (1855-59), traveled the Americas fearing rearrest for siding with the Confederate cause.  He died in Mississippi after stays in Canada and Mexico.

May 31, 1892, Wick Willis, a black male, was lynched in Adair County for an attempted rape.

May 31, 1913, the New York Times reported the return of racing to Belmont Park after three years.  The track opened with an agreement there would be no gambling.  “Degambelized horse racing was placed on trial yesterday at Belmont Park, after three years of enforced idleness on the metropolitan tracks.  Almost 30,000 spectators participated in the trial, in which they occupied the position of quasi-defendants with the officials of the Westchester Racing Association, who had covenanted [promised] to insure a day of clean sport.”

May 31, 1940, Layton Rouse #10, a 6’1” guard from Ludlow had his jersey retired by UK basketball program.

May 31, 1948, thirteen Sunday-School picnickers were seriously injured when a bridge over a ravine in Carter County State Park collapsed, dropping them 30 feet.

May 31, 1951, Army PVT Elmo Bullock from Henderson, Army CPL Andrew J. Christian from Rowan County and Army PFC Ebb L. Tarry from Barren County, all died in the Korean War.

May 31, 1959, California Golfer Don Whitt, 23, wins the 3rd Annual Kentucky Derby Golf Tournament with a 274 to equal Gary Player’s record set the previous year.  Mr. Whit won $2,800.

Kentucky Trivia:  The Kentucky Derby Open was a PGA Tour event played at Seneca Golf Course in Louisville in the late 1950s.  Gary Player won his first PGA Tour event at this tournament in April 1958.

May 31, 1967, Army SGT Dennie Neace from Bonnyman in Perry County died in the Vietnam War.

May 31, 1968, Army 1SG O.L. Midkiff from Dundee in Ohio County, Marine Corps CPL Charles L. Coleman from Louisville, Marine Corps LCPL Thomas L. Loschiavo from Covington, Army CPL Donald R. Miller from Henderson, Army CPL Jeff Mulkey from Banner in Floyd County, died in the Vietnam War.

May 31, 1969, Army SP5 Billy J. Martin from Owensboro died in the Vietnam War.

May 31, 1975, Ruffian wins the Mother Goose (GI).

May 31, 1982, comedian Bob Hope attracted the largest crowd at Louisville’s Foster Brooks Pro-Celebrity tournament at Hurstbourne Country Club, which drew up to 18,000.

May 31, 1988, Franklin County circuit court judge Ray Corns issued a ruling in the case of Council for Better Education v. Collins, et al., stating that Kentucky’s school financing system was unconstitutional.  The suit began with Martha Layne Collins, who just entered private life, several members of the state government, and a group of poor school districts to equalize funding for all the state’s school districts.

May 31, 1993, an amateur spelunker died in Buzzard Roost Cave in Cave City after he plunged 30 feet and then became wedged in a narrow passage.  Two members of his exploring party exited the cave after being rescued and enduring a 17-hour ordeal.

May 31, 1994, to eliminate paper government checks and food stamps, Kentucky became one of 10 states to experiment with electronic access to government benefits.  The electronic delivery system planned to go online nationwide in 1999.

May 31, 2002, government efforts to restrict access to online pornography received another setback when a panel of federal judges struck down a federal law requiring public libraries to install internet filters to block access to such sites. 

May 31, 2002, Clark County’s beleaguered jail received another obstacle with another federal lawsuit claiming that their $25 processing fee, paid by inmates, is illegal.

May 31, 2007, despite stricter laws for safer riding, deaths from All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) accidents continued to rise in Kentucky, the nation’s leader in ATV deaths.  For the year, 17 Kentuckians died already, almost three times the number reported by the end of May 2006.

May 31, 2012, a group of pharmaceutical companies trying to protect over-the-counter sales of cold medicines containing pseudoephedrine shattered its spending record for lobbying during Kentucky’s 2012 legislative session.

May 31, 2013, Morgantown native Keith Butler made his MLB debut with the St. Louis Cardinals.

May 31, 2017, an appeal began of the property valuation of Governor Bevin’s Anchorage home.  The controversy started when the $1.6 million house and ten acres seemed well below a $2,134,780 figure based on surrounding properties.

May 31, 2018, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority gave Louisville and the new professional soccer team $21.7 million in incentives to help build their new soccer stadium in Butchertown.

May 31, 2019, Lt. Governor Jenean Hampton asked Kentuckians for prayers against “Dark Forces” inside Governor Bevin’s administration after a second member of her staff received termination papers.

May 31, 2020, UK’s Kirwan-Blanding Towers, a fixture on campus for 50 years, continues to lose one floor per week.  Meanwhile, just a few miles away towards downtown, protestors turn out for a second night against police violence.  In Louisville, the National Guard patrol Louisville’s downtown.