August 1, 1790, the 1st recorded duel in Kentucky took place, two years before Kentucky became a state. Capt. James Strong and Henry Craig met at sunrise. The two lined up facing each other armed with clumsy flintlock pistols of large caliber. According to the Kentucky Gazette, “Captain Strong was mortally wounded; the ball entered his right groin and passed just below his left hip. Mr. Craig suffered a right thigh wound.” The cause of the duel was unknown. Famous Kentucky Duels by J. Winston Coleman, Jr.; pg: 3
Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to David Rice Atchison, born in 1807 in Frogtown (later Kirklevington), which is now part of Lexington. Historians, constitutional scholars and biographers all dismiss the claim that he was president for a day between the Polk and Taylor administrations.
On August 1, 1883, The Southern Exposition in Louisville opened with great fanfare. Over 4,600 “Edison lights” illuminated opening night, the 1st such fair to be so electrified. President Chester A. Arthur spoke at the opening ceremonies and praised “the splendid triumph of American genius, activity, and skill which are arranged within these walls.” The exposition finished its 1st year with a total attendance of 770,048.
August 1, 1917, Lynch, described as the largest coal camp in the world, began construction after U.S. Coal and Coke Company, a subsidiary of U.S. Steel, purchased nearly 19,000 acres of land just upstream from Benham in Harlan County.
August 1, 1930, sabers flashed in the bright August sun as the 123d Cavalry Kentucky Guard passed in review at Camp Knox before Governor Sampson as part of Governor Day at the camp. A horse show followed the military review with 1,500 spectators attending.
On August 1, 1941, Louisville officials announced they would be lenient for one more week. Approximately 74,000 citizens stood in line to get the license; however, there were 125,000 drivers. Upset at the numbers, Circuit Court Clerk John Alsmiller emphasized there was no valid reason for an individual not to have theirs, and after the week, police would begin checking.
August 1, 1956, the Kentucky Turnpike, stretching 39 miles from Louisville to Elizabethtown, opened as the 1st section of a future interstate highway connecting the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico. Under construction for just under two years, the modern roadway cost $33.2 million.
On August 1, 1971, a man drove into the Louisville Zoo in a zebra-striped panel truck. He offered to give the zoo three Canadian lynx and an otter if the zoo would give him two lion clubs and a serval. The man drove off with the cubs and serval but the zoo never saw him again. At the time, it was not unheard of to make instant trades in the industry, and many zoos got burned in similar deals.
August 1, 1982, MLB inducted Happy Chandler into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Though he served just one six-year term as commissioner, he oversaw significant changes in the game. He succeeded Kennesaw Mountain Landis as baseball’s 2nd commissioner in 1945. Governor Chandler became a leading candidate for the job after advocating for the continuation of play during World War II. During the 1947 World Series, Chandler moved the two alternate umpires in each crew from the sidelines to the foul lines, a positioning that is still used today.
On August 1, 1992, Democratic VP nominee Al Gore spoke at the Fancy Farm Political Picnic. About 50 people carrying Bush-Quayle signs stood directly in front of him and shouted taunts as the senator spoke. Gore arrived by motorcade and entered the Paul Simon tune You Can Call Me Al.
August 1, 1998, U.S. Rep. Scotty Baesler, D-Lexington, held a pair of shoes that belonged to retiring U.S. Sen. Wendell Ford that he said he intended to fill if he won Ford’s seat. Baesler, speaking at the Fancy Farm picnic ran against fellow U.S. Rep. Jim Bunning, R-Fort Henry. Bunning narrowly defeated Baesler in the general election.
August 1, 2000, E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. reached a $1.5 million settlement with the Department of Justice and the EPA concerning a 1995 chemical release in Eastern Kentucky that forced the evacuation of several communities surrounding the plant. DuPont paid an $850,000 penalty and spent $650,000 to create an emergency notification system for a 10-county region of Kentucky.
On August 1, 2013, Michael Benson enjoyed his 1st day as the 12th president of Eastern Kentucky University. His $400,000 annual salary, house allowance, car, and deferred compensation raised some eyebrows. Outgoing President Doug Whitlock earned $250,000 a year.
August 1, 2015, Matt Bevin, Tim Conway, Andy Beshear, Ryan Quarles, Alison Lundergan Grimes, and others each had four minutes on the stump at the 135th annual Fancy Farm political picnic hosted by Matt Jones.
August 1, 2019, a natural gas pipeline exploded in Moreland and unleashed a giant ball of “sheer heat” that killed a woman and sent her neighbors fleeing in panic. The flames that destroyed her Lincoln County home reached 300 feet high, as tall as the Statue of Liberty.
As of August 1, 2020, at least 30,151 coronavirus cases and 735 deaths had occurred. July incurred more positive cases than May and June combined, forcing Governor A. Beshear to bring back restrictions. These included mask mandates, closed bars, reduced restaurant capacity, and two-week travel quarantines.
Sunday night, August 1, 2021, UK track and field alumnae Jasmine Camacho-Quinn of Team Puerto Rico and Team USA’s Keni Harrison swept gold and silver in the Olympic 100-meter hurdles on day four of the track & field competition.
August 1, 2022, @BGPolitics tweeted out that U.S. Rep. Andy Barr, in his latest fundraising letter, told his constituents that he was “falling behind” and needed more money right away. As of June 30, Barr reported $2.35M cash on hand to his Democratic challenger’s zero.