Saturday night, August 4, 1849, 13 enslaved people escaped to Ohio from a Lewisburg neighborhood in Mason County. That same night, 42 enslaved people in Fayette and Bourbon counties attempted to escape. However, after traveling 38 miles to Claysville in Harrison County, a gun battle broke out, and all 42 men were captured and brought back to Fayette County.
On August 4, 1907, Lexington’s Union Station on Main Street opened with great fanfare with the arrival of C&O passenger train No. 24. A crowd of 3,000 people met the train. The terminal fronted Main Street, just west of Walnut Street, which the city renamed Martin Luther King Boulevard.
Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Winchester native Helen Thomas, born in 1920. The “First Lady of the Press,” also known as the “Sitting Buddha,” covered every U.S. President from Kennedy to Obama.
8:05 a.m., August 4, 1930, Delaware Senator T. Coleman du Pont’s representatives, including his son and three sons-in-law, arrived in Lexington to inspect and oversee the future purchase of the Cumberland Falls property for a state park. Unfortunately, the senator was unable to travel due to illness.
On August 4, 1969, Ford Motor Company opened its largest operation worldwide. The $100 million truck plant in Eastern Jefferson County had three million square feet. Its cutting-edge technology enabled Ford to grab market share from Peterbilt and Kenworth.
August 4, 1973, a record crowd of 30,119 gathered at Saratoga to watch Secretariat run in the Whitney Handicap. The fans made him the 1-10 favorite, with Onion as the 5-1 second choice, and the outcome was legendary.
Saturday, August 4, 1990, the five likely candidates for governor traded barbs at the 110th Fancy Farm; Gatewood Galbraith, Martha Wilkinson, Lt. Governor Brereton Jones, Scotty Baesler, and Dr. Floyd G. Poore.
August 4, 1996, James Paul David Bunning, from Southgate, became a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame. Jim Bunning, Bill Foster, Ned Hanlon, and Earl Weaver made up the 58th induction class. “I am most proud of the fact I went through nearly 11 years without missing a start. Bunning won 224 games, an eight-time All-Star, one 20-win season, but would win 19 games four times and have one perfect game. Besides throwing no-hitters in the American and National leagues, Bunning was also the 2nd pitcher behind Hall of Famer Cy Young to win 100 games and collect 1,000 strikeouts in both circuits. When Bunning retired, he was 2nd on the all-time strikeouts list to Walter Johnson with 2,855.
Kentucky Trivia: Bunning is one of only seven pitchers to throw both a perfect game and an additional no-hitter, the others being Randy Johnson, Sandy Koufax, Addie Joss, Cy Young, Mark Burlie, and fellow Phillie Roy Halladay. He also became the first of only five players to throw a no-hitter in both leagues, the others being Young, Johnson, Nolan Ryan, and Hideo Nomo.
August 4, 1997, Governor Nunn wrote a two-page letter to his son Steve Nunn accusing him of mental and physical abuse, both to him and other family members. The letter, written over a decade before he committed murder, stated that you would wake up and be all alone one day, and God will humble you.
August 4, 2000, Churchill Downs announced a Derby post time of 6:04 p.m. That is 30 minutes later than what had become a tradition and was the latest start in Derby history at the time. The move was the most significant post time change since 1969. NBC requested a 6:30 p.m. post.
August 4, 2009, record-breaking rains fell in Jefferson County. Officially at the Louisville airport, 4.53 inches of rain fell, which broke the old record for the highest rainfall in a single day, set in August 1879. In some places, rainfall fell up to an astounding 8.80 inches per hour! As a result, Interstates 65 and 264 were closed. In addition, it prompted the evacuation of more than 40 horses from three barns from Churchill, and the Derby Museum reported $4 million in damages and shut down for a year for repairs.
Saturday, August 4, 2012, the non-attendees, Governor S. Beshear, Lt. Governor S. Abramson, Jack Conway, Adam Edelen, and Todd Hollenbach, all missed the Obama bashing at the Fancy Farm political picnic. The only democrat to attend, Greg Stumbo, replied to the attacks, “If ever there is a worse president than George W. Bush, I want to know who it is.”
On August 4, 2019, a 24-year-old man shot and killed nine people and wounded 17 others in Dayton, OH. Police officers shot him dead soon afterward. Again, the Democrats called for more gun laws, and the Republicans offered prayers.
August 4, 2020, the state announced 700 new cases and seven new deaths (45, 50, 53,69, 70, 81, 95). Kentucky totals: positive cases 32,197/ deaths 751. Indiana totals: positive cases 69,255 / deaths 2,794.
On August 4, 2021, UK Healthcare and CHI St. Joseph, both in Lexington, became the latest hospitals in the state to mandate the vaccine to their employees due to the Delta variant. Meanwhile, Dr. Fauci warned the public that a worse variant than the delta was coming.
On August 4, 2022, the U.S. Attorney charged four current and former Louisville police officers in their role for the botched search warrant executed at 26-year-old Breonna Taylor’ apartment, resulting in her death in March 2020. They charged the officers with civil rights offenses, unconstitutional uses of force, obstruction, and conspiracy.