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199 > Image 199 of Fairs and fair makers of Kentucky. Volume I

Part of Kentucky Works Progress Administration Publications

188 .- ..-.._...-....-......._.......,......-....F;.IR"l.*El..Eii@&l*lE It is with Churchill Downs, Kentucky track home of the Thoroughbred, home of the great three-year-old classic, the Kentucky Derby, that the story is chiefly concerned, for it was thehorsemen who, after a century of friendly rivalry with the cattlemen of the State, threw open the gates of Churchill Downs for the 1902 meeting of the Kentucky State Fair. A _ INDUSTRIAL EXPOSITIONS In the long story of the fairs of Kentucky during the nineteenth century, fi mention must be made, though not in the detail that befits their importance, of the great industrial expositions originating in Louisville that paved the way for the wellrounded State Fairs of the present time. In the l850s and l840s Louisville forged ahead of other industrial centers in the Commonwealth, both as a commercial and manufacturing center. Well located as a distribution point, the city attached to itself many manufacturing indus- tries closely associated with agriculture. Prominent arena these were flour milling, meat packing, and the manufacture of necessities ;,;# red in farming, ` such as plows and other tillage tools, grain drills and harvcezing machinery, al- so barn and household equiprent. Food processing was early added. Textiles and clothing, lumber and wcoduorking assumed an important place in the broadening manufacturing and markebing stene. At an early day the city became a leading to- bacco market; later it became a great center of tobacco products manufacturing. For all this varied output the inner marketing area was Kentucky, Indiana, Tenn- essee, and the States of the Deep South. Louisvilles great competitors were Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, St. Louis, and New Orleans. During the seventies, upon completion of the network of railways spreading out fanwise into its hinterland, Louisville staged a series of expositions, re- 3, peated during the l880s, that greatly extended in sales importance its marketing area. The experience gained by public spirited businessmen convinced then that a Stateewide agricultural fair would work to the well~being of both city and State. ALDEW CENTURY DAWNS 8 When, in l90l, the livestock breeders of the State surveyed the improving e- conomic situation, they took counsel with the businessmen of Louisville and it was agreed that, if the breeders went forward with their plans for the holding of a State fair, they would receive the backing, both in the legislature and there- after, of the State's leaders in manufacturing,wholesaling, and retailing. As a result of this assurance, Abram Renick, noted Shorthorn breeder of Clark County, introduced a bill in the Kentucky Legislature, during the session of l90l, pr0 viding for the creation of the Kentucky Livestock Breeders' Association, to be composed of men from every part of the State interested in the maintenance and further development of the livestock industry. The measure became law, and the charter membership of this organization, comprised of men whose fortunes were tied in with various breeding enterprises, indissolubly links the historic past of Kentucky's livestock industry and of its agricultural and mechanical societies with the Kentucky State Fair of the present time. *` A The immediate purpose of this organization was to create a quasi-public bo- dy, similar to the State-chartered third Kentucky Agricultural Society, with es- pecial powers and privileges, including financial assistance given by the State, which would enable it to carry on continuously over the years a series of fairs L adequately representative of the State's agricultural and industrial development.