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Curious Louisville: What's On Shippingport Island?

Photo by J. Tyler Franklin

Over the past month, Curious Louisville listeners have voted on which question they wanted most to hear answered next. And the winner was pretty clear.

With 34 percent of the vote, people wanted to know what was on Shippingport Island.

The answer — not too much.

Shippingport now feels largely abandoned. It’s partially a wild tangle of foliage, and partially industrial — which makes sense since it is largely owned by the Army Corps of Engineers and LG&E.

But in the 1800s, Shippingport was booming. At the time, "Shippingport Island" was still "Shippingport Peninsula," jutting out from the Southern banks of the Ohio River. Its location on the river, as well as the natural obstruction of the Falls of the Ohio River — with its exposed fossil beds that were difficult to traverse — made it a stopping point for cargo boats. This allowed the small town to prosper.

We looked into the history of the island and took a visit. You can hear more in the audio player above, and ask a question of your own in the form below, or at curiouslouisville.org.

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