On May 16, the Frazier International History Museum opens Fontaine Ferry, a 3,800 square foot exhibition that explores this integral part of Louisville’s history, just in time for the 40th anniversary of the park’s closing. The exhibition will explore the park’s beginnings as a boat landing in 1814, through the Great Depression and the Great Flood of 1937 to the 64-acre attraction’s demise amid the effects of urban flight and racial tensions of the civil rights movement.
Shippingport, Kentucky was given to John Campbell in 1785 for his service in the French and Indian War. At that time it became known as Campbell Town. It was sold in 1803 and renamed Shippingport.
The population grew from 98 to over 500 and at one time challenged the 4th Street Wharf in downtown Louisville. At that time a warehouse and mill was built on Shippingport and soon began to export their goods. Elm Tree Garden became a popular spot for horse-racing and was well known. In 1817 a six-story flour mill built because how successful Shippingport had become.
In 1825 the building of the Louisville and Portland Canal and made Shippingport into an island. It soon became known as Shippingport Island and is locally known by that name today.
Over the years the Louisville and Portland Canal was gradually widened to keep up with the steamboats and later barges that carried products from one end of the country to another. A hydroelectric plant was also built on the island as time changed. Slowly residents and businesses began to close and leave.
The area was devastated by the flood of 1937 when most of Louisville was under water. It forced the island to evacuate until the river returned to it’s banks. Many people never returned because their homes were completely destroyed.
In 1958 the government acquired the property by eminent domain to widen the canal. They evicted many families that had lived there for over a 100 years.
STREET NAMES OF SHIPPINGPORT
MC HARRY STREET
MC HARRY STREET
If you look closely you can see deer drinking from the Ohio River. When this picture was taken we saw about 15 deer.
Construction on the bridge began in August 1910 and was completed in November 1912.It cost over $2 million dollars. It was one of the heaviest and largest plain truss bridges on earth.
(In this vintage postcard you can see the K&I Bridge)
It was primarily designed to carry railroad traffic and is is 70 feet wide
It has wagon ways on each side. These were paved with heavy creosoted wood blocks and were intended primarily to accommodate horse and wagon traffic…which used the bridge on a toll basis. Cars and trucks replayed horse drawn vehicles.
The creosote paving blocks remained until 1952 they were replaced by steel grid work.
February 1979- a section of the roadbed broke under the weight of an overloaded gravel truck. Traffic has been closed since to any cars or trucks.