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196 > Image 196 of Fairs and fair makers of Kentucky. Volume I

Part of Kentucky Works Progress Administration Publications

OF KENTUCKY ` l' ` ` "` " ` ` - 185 - Other figures gleaned from-the 1890 census amply support the livestock show- , ing of that time. The number of Kentucky farms. at this peak of Shorthorn greal,~ ness stood at 179,264, having an average size of 119 acres. The number of large farms-- farms of over 1,000 acres-- was only 958. ~Farms of 500 to 1,000 acres numbered 3,530; average size farms-- those from 50 to 500 acres-- numbered 121,144. Improved farm lands stood at.ll,8l8,882 acres. The value of all far; { lands and buildings amounted to more than-$546,000,000. Implements and machinery ` to equip this acreage was valued at slightly under $ll,OO0,000. The total value; of live-stocky-inclusive of all breeds" and kinds, was $70,924,400. The farm production for the, year was nearly $66,000,000. Threequarters of the farmers owned their own homes. FAIRS OF THE TENTH DECADE The opening years of the last decade of the century were full of promise. Industry had become mechanized. The livestock breeding industry was in good con- dition. Tobacco farming was displacing hemp as a cash crop. Market outlets for beef cattle, hogs and sheep were provided by near-by packing centers including Louisville and Cincinnati. The expanding demand of the prairies provided a market for Kentucky's mules. The State was recovering from the aftermath of the specula- tive boom of the seventies when the panic of 1895 swept across the Nation. Recov- ery from that setback was slow. A full decade elapsed before agriculture and in- ' dustry were again moving forward with confidence. In the meantime, America had fought the Spanish-Amprican War and had found itself a world power with colonial problems on its hands. The building of the Panama Canal had become a national ne- cessity. The automobile had already arrived. Great steam-powered tractors, fore- runnersof today's mobile gas-power farm units, were, by the end of the depressi- on, already in use on the Pacific coast. The tenth decade and its successor, the ,# first decade of the twentieth century, was the long twilight of the horse as the major motive power in the field and on the highway-- the dawn of the era of the I automobile, of the tractor, of hardsurfaced roads, of consolidated schools, of the extensive and intensive agricultural education programs of the present time. All through that twilight and on down to the present moved the sleek, beau- tiful forms of the Thoroughbred, the Standardbred, and the American saddle . horse, climaxing, in speed and performance, all the two hundred or more years of their development, out of the Godolphin Barb and other great sires in direct line of ancestry. q While the seventies and eighties were transitional in the industrial field, and were especially marked by great progress in the field of communications, the horse that had only recently replaced oxen in the field, and at the heavier tasks such as lumbering, was still supreme on the road; and increasingly important, as the mower, the binder and other equipment replaced hand labor on the farm. . THE TROTTER DOMINATES THE SCENE . h l For threequarters of a century, while Kentucky was filling up, while roads ' were being developed, the Thoroughbred had held the center of interest in horse breeding. In the l840's, with the improvement of roads and the development of the modern buggy, the desire for a wellgaited harness team grew more and more ` general, so that, prior to the War between the States the trots, as a means of testing road performance, had already become popular. Subsequent to that decade . the demand arose for a good all-purpose horse suitable to greatly improved farm and road conditions; and the fairground track was the proving place where pros- pective buyers or breeders of colts could see the prospective sire or his get in action. During the last quarter of the nineteenth century the half-mile trac?