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Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to our 16th governor, William Owsley, born in 1782.  Education made progress during Owsley’s tenure as a Whig, largely due to his appointment of Robert J. Breckinridge as public-school superintendent in 1847.  History credits Breckinridge as the architect of Kentucky’s antebellum educational system.

On March 24, 1834, Kentucky received its 1st large lot of goods from Philadelphia.  The merchandise started in the Pennsylvania canals and then railroaded over the Allegany Mountains to Pittsburg in 13 days.  It then took three days to reach Maysville.

On May 24-25, 1840, around 7,000 to 10,000 people, 3,000 of whom were ladies, attended a Fort Boonesborough celebration, where Governor Wickliff reviewed 11 military companies.  Mrs. French, the daughter of Richard Calloway and her female servant, who were present in the siege of 1777, and other pioneers attended.

March 24, 1893, the famous St. Clair Street Singing Bridge opened for traffic.  The open grate floor created a variety of musical pitches as vehicles passed over.  Engineers built a solid floor in 1937.

March 24, 1894, Harper & Brothers published A Kentucky Cardinal by James Lane Allen.  His 3rd novel gave him instant fame and ushered him into the upper fortress of American literature.  Described as Kentucky’s 1st novelist, he graduated from Transylvania in 1872.

On March 24, 1898, the U.S. Navy launched the USS Kentucky (BB-6).  Twenty-five years later, on the same day, they scrapped her.

March 24, 1907, an electric street railway system made its 1st run in Somerset, operated by the Somerset Water, Light & Traction Company.  It Happened Today in Kentucky History by Robert A. Powell pg: 34

March 24, 1908, Kentucky enacted the landmark education law, titled Government and Regulation of the State’s Common Schools.  It mandated an almost complete reform of the Kentucky public school system.  It is commonly known as the Sullivan Law in honor of its sponsor, Sen. Jere A. Sullivan of Madison County.  The Sullivan Law’s blueprint for restructuring the school system marked a distinct end to the one-room district school era, burdened by the infamous three-trustee system.

On March 24, 1923, the Navy sold the grand battleship, the USS Kentucky (BB-6), for scrap in Philadelphia.  Her 1st voyage in 1900 started in New York and then to the Far East during the Boxer Rebellion.  The U.S. Navy’s compliance with the newly-signed Washington Naval Treaty required her destruction.

USS Kentucky circa 1905-1908

Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Kentucky bred Count Fleet, born on Stoner Creek Stud Farm in Paris in 1940.  He became the 6th Triple Crown winner when he won the Belmont Stakes by a then-record margin of twenty-five lengths.

On March 24, 1942, local farmers learned how to grow hemp, which required a federal permit.  The county’s quota was 2,500 acres; by May 10, they exceeded it by 10.

March 24, 1947, before a Madison Square Garden record crowd of 18,493, Wat Misaka held Ralph Beard to two points, and Utah ended the Wildcats bid for back-to-back National Invitational Tournament (NIT) Championships.

On March 24, 1949, Deputy Sheriff Grover Dewey Kennedy, McCreary County Sheriff’s Office, died in an ambush while on patrol.  An occupant driving past his location opened fire on him, fatally wounding him.  They never apprehended the suspects.

March 24, 1951, Kentucky defeated Illinois 76-74 for NCAA’s East Regional finals, their last game in the old Madison Square Garden on 50th Street and 8th Avenue, New York, NY.  It was also known as Madison Square Garden III.  Kentucky won 24 games and lost 10 in the famed facility.

March 24, 1956, Louisville defeated the favorite Dayton 93-80 to win the NIT in Madison Square Garden.  In Louisville’s biggest basketball prize to date, they set a team point total record for the final game.

On the evening of March 24, 1965, a crowd of 10,000 in Montgomery, AL. heard Peter, Paul and Mary sing, How many roads must a man walk down…  Not only had the group joined the Selma March, but Mary Travers had brought along her mother. “She went to all the big marches with us,” Travers said.

On March 24, 1961, Johnny Longden, 54-year-old grandfather and the world’s winningest jockey, won his 5,500th race at Golden Gate Fields.  His last winning effort was the $100,000 added Santa Anita Derby on March 4.  He ended his career with 6,032 victories.

March 24, 1968, Army SP4 John B. Weill from Owensboro died in the Vietnam War.

March 24, 1980, the Louisville Cardinals won their 1st NCAA National Championship with a 59–54 victory over UCLA in Indianapolis’s Market Square Arena.  Denny Crum’s team, led by Darrell Griffith, aka Dr. Dunkenstein, earned Most Outstanding Player honors.  Structurally speaking, this was the 1st tournament of the modern era.  For the 1st time: 1) an unlimited number of at-large teams could come from any conference.  2) they seeded the bracket to make each region as evenly competitive as possible.  Previously, geographic considerations had trumped this.  3) They seeded all teams solely based on the subjective judgment of the committee.

Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Bowling Green native Jon Corey Hart, born in 1982.

On March 24, 1989, less than a week after Discovery landed, the 1st space-flown egg hatched.  The 1.5-ounce (41.8-g) male chick named Kentucky broke through its shell at KFC’s headquarters (Colonel Sanders Technical Center) in Louisville.

March 24, 1990, Fairdale defeated Holmes 77-73 in their hometown for the 1st of three KHSAA Boys’ State Basketball Sweet 16 State Championships.  Freedom Hall hosted 16,565 spectators for the final game and 123,688 for the tournament.  The Bulldogs won again the following year and in 1994.

March 24, 1993, Brown & Williamson Tobacco Company fired J. Stephen Wigand.  Jeffrey claimed whistleblower status because he knew that high-ranking corporate executives knowingly approved carcinogenic additives to their cigarettes.  The 1999 film The Insider portrayed his story.

March 24, 1998, the 4th week of March each year shall be Commonwealth Cleanup Week, culminating with a statewide cleanup day on the Saturday of that week.  This week shall provide an opportunity for Kentucky communities, in partnership with local, regional, and state entities, to clean and display the natural beauty of the Commonwealth.

March 24, 2001, Lexington Catholic hit a last-second shot to win the Girls’ Sweet 16 Basketball Championship over DuPont Manuel 36-34.  When Lafayette beat Male High School, it marked the 1st time Lexington captured girls’ and boys’ championships in the same year.

On March 24, 2007, Scott County defeated Louisville’s Ballard Bruins to win their 2nd KHSAA Boys’ State Basketball Sweet 16 Tournament in Rupp with 18,377 spectators.  Scott County star Bud Mackey scored 20 of his 22 points in the 2nd half with 11 in the 4th quarter to rally the Cardinals.

March 24, 2012, Rick Pitino’s Cardinals advanced to the Final Four with a victory over Florida in Phoenix 72-68.

March 24, 2018, the GI $1,000,000 Louisiana Derby is a Keeneland graduate trifecta.

March 24, 2021, Senator R. Paul and Dr. A. Fauci engaged in a heated exchange on the Senate floor over masks.  Kentucky continued its accelerated rollout of the vaccine while reporting more people died of covid-19 than previously thought; they added 25 to the death toll.

March 24, 2022, Kentucky colleges worked together to combat the teacher shortage crisis in the state.  Kentucky had 42,300 teachers and 648,000 students.  Frankfort addressed the problem again in 2023.