Kentucky
 
 
 
 
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Learn before you travel. This section of Fun Easy English focuses on facts and other cool stuff about your favorite U.S. state. This is great English reading practice. This page focuses on the state of Kentucky.
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Kentucky

Daniel Boone and other frontiersmen settled in Kentucky, the "Bluegrass State," in 1769. Its name comes from the Iroquois Indian word "Ken-tah-ten," or "land of tomorrow." Admitted into the Union in 1792, Kentucky is the 15th state and the first state west of the Appalachian Mountains. Today, Kentucky is associated with coal mines and horse farms and racing. America's most prestigious horse race, the Kentucky Derby, is held in Louisville annually. The state flower is the goldenrod, the cardinal is the state bird and Frankfort is the capital.
Flag of KentuckyKentucky State Flag


The Kentucky state flag was adopted in 1962. The state seal design is featured in the center, with the state motto: United We stand, Divided We Fall.

Pledge of Allegiance to State Flag of Kentucky

I pledge allegiance to the Kentucky flag,
and to the Sovereign State for which it stands,
one Commonwealth, blessed with diversity,
natural wealth, beauty, and grace from on High.
Source: State Symbols USA
 
The great seal of the state of KentuckyKentucky State Facts

Picture: state seal of Kentucky
State Capital Frankfort
Nickname Bluegrass State
Motto United we stand, divided we fall
Statehood June 1, 1792 (15th)
Origin of Name Based on the Iroquois Indian word "Ken-tah-ten," meaning "land of tomorrow." or "dark and bloody ground"
Largest Cities Louisville
Border States Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia
Area 39,732 sq. mi.; 36th largest
State Bird Cardinal
State Flower Goldenrod (solidago altissima)
State Tree Tulip Poplar
State Song My Old Kentucky Home, Blue Moon of Kentucky (bluegrass song)
Map showing the location of KentuckyTravel and tourism site for Kentucky - This state travel and territorial tourism site provides ideas for your vacations, meetings, and more.
Kentucky Stories
 
Churchill Downs

Name America's most famous horse race. If you said the Kentucky Derby, you'd be right! But do you know where the race is held? Every year since 1875, this race has been held at Churchill Downs racetrack in Louisville, Kentucky.

Horse breeding and racing are extremely popular in Kentucky. Horse racing in Louisville dates back to 1789, when races were held down Market Street. During a trip abroad in 1872-1873, 26-year-old Colonel M. Lewis Clark came up with a plan to create the Louisville Jockey Club for conducting race meets, after meeting with prominent racing leaders in France and England. When he returned, Clark developed a racetrack, which would become known as Churchill Downs and would showcase Kentucky's breeding industry.

The Kentucky Derby, held the first Saturday in May, is the first "leg," or competition, of horse racing's "Triple Crown." Can you name the other two races? They are the Preakness Stakes in Maryland and the Belmont Stakes in New York.
 
W.C. Young Community Center

You probably have heard of Cesar Chavez (an "Amazing American"), a famous labor leader who fought for rights for his fellow farm workers. But have you ever heard of W.C. Young?

Like Chavez, Young worked on issues of poverty and injustice with honesty, understanding and nonviolent actions. He started a community center in 1976, the Paducah Community Center, to help the people of Paducah, Kentucky, overcome poverty and obtain decent housing. Twenty years later, in 1996, it was renamed the W.C. Young Community Center to honor its founder.

The W.C. Young Community Center is the home of the annual Eighth of August Emancipation Celebration, an event that honors the slaves who were emancipated (set free) in southwestern Kentucky after the Civil War. Activities include a memorial service, a parade, and a picnic. Different states celebrate Emancipation Day on different days, often depending on when the Union Army arrived to enforce Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, in which he stated that all slaves should be free.
 
Trail of Tears Powwow

In 1828, gold was discovered on land belonging to the Cherokee Indians in Georgia. This made the land even more desirable to white settlers who had begun expanding south and westward. In the fall and winter of 1838-1839, 15,000 Cherokees were forced out of their ancestral lands to make room for those settlers. They were made to move to what is now Oklahoma, a journey of 1,200 miles. About 4,000 Cherokees died on the way.

The route that they followed is known as "The Trail of Tears" or "The Trail Where They Cried" because of how much they suffered on the way. Hopkinsville, Kentucky, was a stopping point on that journey. In 1993, the Trail of Tears Commemorative Park opened in Hopkinsville to honor the Cherokees and all Indians, the original inhabitants of America.

Every September, there is a powwow in the park. This is a gathering of Native Americans and those who enjoy or want to learn more about Native American culture and traditions. Dancing in native costume, singing, storytelling, and craft demonstrations are all part of the celebration. Thousands of people come from all over the country to participate.
 
Kentucky Horse Country

Kentucky is a state that is known for its horses. For more than 100 years horse breeding, shows, and racing have been popular in Kentucky. The state's many grassy farms are considered by many to be the best place to raise and breed horses. Horses have been an important part of Kentucky since the early frontiersmen came on horseback through the Cumberland Gap. Early on, the settlers began racing and breeding their horses. Many early races were on straight quarter-mile roads or paths. By the 1780s, the first-known circular horse racing track had been constructed in Kentucky. The most famous horse race in the United States is the Kentucky Derby. It has been held at Churchill Downs in Louisville every May since 1875. Can you name any horses that have won the race? One of the greatest was named Secretariat.
 
Trigg County Country Ham Festival

Where can you go to eat the world's largest country ham and biscuit and to kiss a pig, all in the same day?

The Trigg County Country Ham Festival! Trigg County, Kentucky, has been holding the festival every year since 1977. Each October, tens of thousands of people from all over the country come to sample the county's famous country cured hams, see arts and crafts, listen to music performances, and of course watch the parade to see "Ms. Triggy."

The world's largest country ham and biscuit is made here each year as part of the festivities, and many contests are held, including the pig derby, a greased-pig catching contest, and a kiss a pig contest. Just hope it doesn't kiss back!
 
Tater Day Festival

Festivals devoted to foods like garlic, strawberries and pumpkins are held all over the United States.

The Tater Day Festival, which may be the world's only festival devoted to sweet potatoes, is held in Benton, Kentucky.
The three-day Tater Day Festival had its beginnings in 1843. Farmers from the countryside would bring their products to the town square to sell or trade on county court days. One of the things they would bring is sweet potatoes, which grow well in the Southern climate. "Tater" is a nickname for potato.

In Benton, this eventually turned into an annual festival honoring the sweet potato, complete with a parade, carnival, fiddling contest, gospel singing, and baking and canning competitions, beginning on the first Monday in April. Did you know that sweet potatoes are not related to the common white potatoes? They are actually related to the Morning Glory vine. Have you ever tried sweet potatoes? They tend to be a popular dish at Thanksgiving.
 
National Thumb Pickers Hall of Fame

Have you ever heard of thumb-picking? It is a style of guitar playing in which the fingers pick out a melody and the thumb picks out bass notes. Have you listened to folk musicians such as Jewel, James Taylor or Paul Simon? All of these artists have used thumb-picking on their recordings.

One form of thumb-picking developed in Muhlenberg County, Kentucky, back in the 1920s and was made famous by guitarists such as Merle Travis and Chet Atkins. In Muhlenberg, this particular style of guitar playing is so popular that there is even a Thumb Pickers Hall of Fame and an annual Thumb Picking Contest!

Most thumb-pickers use a flexible plastic pick on their thumb to pluck the strings. The effect makes it sound as though two guitars are being played at once -- a rhythm guitar and a lead guitar. This style of playing was first heard in country music in the 1920s, and was passed down from generation to generation. Its popularity grew, and today many players of rock and folk also use this style.
Source: Library of Congress
National Forests, Parks, and Monuments of Kentucky

The following is a description of national forests, parks, and monuments in the state of Kentucky. If you plan to visit or live in Kentucky for awhile then you should definitely plan to visit some of these fantastic places.
 
National Forests
Daniel Boone

Encompassing part of the Cumberland Plateau and Appalachian Mountains, Daniel Boone National Forest has two wilderness areas and several reservoirs. Scenic areas include Cumberland Falls, Red River Gorge, Yahoo Arch and many caves.
George Washington & Jefferson

In the Appalachian Mountains, the highest point of the forest is Mount Rogers, also the highest point in Virginia at 5,729 ft (1,746 m) in Mount Rogers National Recreation Area. There are 230,000 acres (93,000 ha) of old-growth forest here, and the Blue Ridge Parkway and Appalachian Trail both run through the forest. This national forest is also partially located in the states of Virginia and West Virginia.
Land Between The Lakes

Land Between The Lakes National Recreation area is located in Western Kentucky and Tennessee, and encompasses over 170,000 acres of forests, wetlands, and open lands on the largest inland peninsula in the United States. It is located between Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley. This recreation area is also partially located in the state of Tennessee.
 
National Parks
Mammoth Cave

With more than 400 miles (640 km) of passageways explored, Mammoth Cave is the world's longest known cave system. Subterranean wildlife includes eight bat species, Kentucky cave shrimp, Northern cavefish, and cave salamanders. Above ground, the park provides recreation on the Green River, 70 miles of hiking trails, and plenty of sinkholes and springs.
 
National Monuments
Camp Nelson

Established in 1863 as a depot for the Union Army during the Civil War, Camp Nelson became a large recruitment center for African American Union soldiers: a key site of emancipation for those soldiers and a refugee camp for their families.
 
Travel America
Mammoth Cave National Park
(Beginner - Listening, reading)

A video lesson which shows you an interesting place in America.
The English is spoken at 75% of normal speed.
Great English listening and reading practice.
This video is all about Mammoth Cave National Park.
Cool America
About the U.S.A.

About the U.S.A. is an American Studies reader that examines the customs, government, and history of the United States of America. The text provides a wealth of information on U.S. geography and history; the roles of local, state, and federal government; national holidays and symbols; the Constitution; and citizenship. The book, which was written for intermediate to advanced learners of English, contains a range of activities for language students to practice listening, speaking, reading, and writing. (opens to a new PDF window) Great English reading practice.
About America

Learn about the fascinating history and government of the United States of America. Lessons include content on American Government, American History, and Integrated Civics. Handouts with interactive games and student-centered activities encompass all four language skills: speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Great English reading practice for beginning to intermediate students.
American Teens Talk!

Americans Teens Talk! is a collection of interviews of American high school students. Each interview is accompanied by vocabulary notes and discussion questions. The interviews in American Teens Talk! give learners a view into the lives of adolescents in the U.S. Through the written format of the interviews, learners are able to increase their vocabulary, practice their reading and listening skills, engage in discussions, and learn more about U.S. culture. These interviews come with audio programs. Great English listening and reading
Sing Out Loud Children's Songs

Sing Out Loud Children's Songs includes popular children's songs in the U.S.A. Posters accompany the individual Sing Out Loud Children's Songs. These songs come with audio programs. Great English listening and reading practice.
Sing Out Loud Traditional Songs

The Sing Out Loud Traditional Songs collection contains 13 traditional American folk songs and song lyrics. Listen to the songs online, read the lyrics, and collect the posters that accompany the songs. These songs come with audio programs. Great English listening and reading practice.
Sing Out Loud American Rhythms

Do you love music? Want to use it to learn English? Check out the hip-hop inspired song "Peace" from Sing Out Loud American Rhythms. American Rhythms includes a variety of musical genres from many different artists in the U.S.A. These songs will appeal to teens and young adults. These songs come with audio programs. Great English listening and reading practice.
Route 66 - Famous American Road

U.S. Route 66 (US 66 or Route 66), also known as the Will Rogers Highway, the Main Street of America or the Mother Road, was one of the original highways in the U.S. Highway System. The highway, which became one of the most famous roads in the United States, originally ran from Chicago, Illinois, through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona before ending in Santa Monica, California, near Los Angeles, covering a total of 2,448 miles (3,940 km). It was recognized in popular culture by both the hit song "(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66" and the Route 66 television show in the 1960s.
Route 66: The Highway That's the Best
(Beginner - Listening)

A video lesson which shows you an interesting place in America.
The English is spoken at 75% of normal speed.
Great English listening practice.
This video shows travel along Route 66, the most famous road in America.
Chicago: The Start of Route 66
(Beginner - Listening)

A video lesson which shows you an interesting place in America.
The English is spoken at 75% of normal speed.
Great English listening practice.
This video shows travel along Route 66, the most famous road in America.
Going West for Decades on Route 66
(Beginner - Listening)

A video lesson which shows you an interesting place in America.
The English is spoken at 75% of normal speed.
Great English listening practice.
This video shows travel along Route 66, the most famous road in America.
Arizona: The Spirit of Route 66
(Beginner - Listening)

A video lesson which shows you an interesting place in America.
The English is spoken at 75% of normal speed.
Great English listening practice.
This video shows travel along Route 66, the most famous road in America.
Route 66 California: The End of the Trail
(Beginner - Listening)

A video lesson which shows you an interesting place in America.
The English is spoken at 75% of normal speed.
Great English listening practice.
This video shows travel along Route 66, the most famous road in America.
Ten Must-See Route 66 Attractions
(Beginner - Listening)

A video lesson which shows you an interesting place in America.
The English is spoken at 75% of normal speed.
Great English listening practice.
This video shows travel along Route 66, the most famous road in America.
Four Famous Foods On Route 66
(Beginner - Listening)

A video lesson which shows you an interesting place in America.
The English is spoken at 75% of normal speed.
Great English listening practice.
This video shows travel along Route 66, the most famous road in America.
International Tourists Drawn to Route 66
(Beginner - Listening)

A video lesson which shows you an interesting place in America.
The English is spoken at 75% of normal speed.
Great English listening practice.
This video shows travel along Route 66, the most famous road in America.
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