Cities Near Henderson, KY
Local city information for Henderson, KY
is a city in Henderson County, Kentucky, United States, along the Ohio River in the western part of the state. The population was 27,373 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Evansville, Indiana metropolitan area.
The city has been called home by ornithologist, naturalist, and painter John James Audubon as well as blues legend W.C. Handy. For more than 100 years the city has been home to the Southern Cherokee Nation.
Henderson has its roots in an small, block-wide strip of land high above the Ohio River, currently the site of Audubon Mill Park (directly south of the city's riverfront boat dock). A frontier village on this site was called "Red Banks" by the native Americans who originally lived and hunted there, because of the reddish clay soil on the tall banks of the river. In the early and mid 1790's, Red Banks featured a tavern and was home to several white settlers.
Henderson's roots lie in a scheme by a North Carolina judge, Colonel Richard Henderson, and a group of investors who sought to buy much of modern-day Kentucky and Tennessee from 1,200 Cherokee Indians gathered at Sycamore Shoals (located at present day Elizabethton, Tennessee) and later resell these frontier lands to settlers.
Henderson's group, the Transylvania Company, hired Daniel Boone to help settle the region. The Virginia General Assembly ultimately voided the deal, but granted Richard Henderson & Company 200,000 acres (800 km²) in exchange for their efforts in developing the wilderness region. That ground was located where the Green River flows into the Ohio River. Richard Henderson died years before the site was developed. On behalf of other investors and their heirs, Gen. Samuel Hopkins and a surveyor named Thomas Allin in 1797 visited Red Banks and laid out plans for a town, which was named Henderson.
A distinguishing characteristic of their efforts were unusually wide streets, reportedly to prevent a fire in one block from easily spreading to another. Those streets are so wide that today even with diagonal parking spaces downtown, there is still enough space to allow delivery trucks to park in the center of the street without interfering with two-way traffic. An historic walking tour of the greater downtown area has been organized by the Downtown Henderson Project.
In the latter half of the 19th century, Henderson County became a major producer of tobacco, much of which was exported to Great Britain. Henderson was reported to be the largest dark tobacco producer in the world with large tobacco warehouses and stemmeries dotting the downtown area. Picture postcards from the era show long lines of horse/mule-drawn wagons piled high with tobacco, waiting their turn to unload. Some tobacco processors accumulated considerable fortunes. Undocumented claims have persisted that in 1860 Henderson ranked second only to Heidelberg, Germany, in terms of per capita wealth and that shortly before World War I it was home to more millionaires than any city in the world for its size. But Great Britain imposed a high tariff on imported tobacco after World War I, wrecking Henderson's export market. Tobacco warehouses and plants closed, and the community's economic fortunes reversed. The last tobacco facility, the Soaper Tobacco Warehouse on Pennell Street, closed in 1984.
While many cities were inundated during the devastation during the Ohio River flood of 1937, the city of Henderson, because of its position on a bluff above the river, was spared much of the damage that Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Louisville, Evansville, Paducah and others suffered. That prompted Leigh Harris, publisher of the Henderson Gleaner and Evening Journal newspapers, to boast: "Henderson is on the river but never in it!" That helped prompt industrialization of the city.
On June 25, 2008, a worker at the Atlantis Plastics plant shot six people, killing five and wounding another, before killing himself. The shooting stemmed from a dispute between the shooter and a supervisor.
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