Fact Check: Bourbon County, Kentucky, Is NOT Dry -- List Of Such Kentucky 'Facts' Is Mix of True/False/Unresolved

Fact Check

  • by: Marlo Lee
Fact Check: Bourbon County, Kentucky, Is NOT Dry -- List Of Such Kentucky 'Facts' Is Mix of True/False/Unresolved Some Are True

Is it against the law to sell alcohol in Bourbon County, Kentucky, which would make it "dry"? And is Christian County, Kentucky "wet"? No, that's only partly true: A map by the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development titled, "Alcoholic Beverage Sales in Kentucky" shows that both Bourbon County and Christian County are "wet."

This claim appeared in a Facebook post (archived here) on April 3, 2022, along with a multitude of other "facts" about Kentucky. In this article, Lead Stories separated the fact from the fiction.

The post opens:

For those of you who live in Kentucky you might find this interesting.

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:

Screen Shot 2022-04-12 at 10.12.41 AM.png

Facebook screenshot(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Tue Apr 12 14:28:02 2022 UTC)

The claims that didn't pan out

1. The bloodiest civil war battle was fought in Perryville, Kentucky.

According to history.com, the bloodiest battle of the Civil War was during the Battle of Gettysburg, when "Union casualties in the battle numbered 23,000, while the Confederates had lost some 28,000 men." During the Battle of Perryville, more than 7,600 men killed, wounded or missing, according to parks.ky.gov.

2. The first town in the United States to be named for the first president was Washington, Kentucky. It was named in 1780.

The first town to be named after George Washington was first called Forks of the Tar, North Carolina, according to washingtonnc.gov. They changed their town name to Washington in 1776 to honor the general.
3. The first American performance of a Beethoven symphony was in Lexington in 1817.
Musicology professor Michael Broyles, author of a book on Beethoven, says his first American performance was in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1805, right before Easter.
4. The first commercial oil well was on the Cumberland River in McCreary County, begun in 1819.
The American Chemical Society writes that the first commercial oil well was in Pennsylvania, drilled in 1859.
5. In 1873, Louisville druggist John Colgan invented chewing gum.
In 1848, John B. Curtis invented chewing gum, according to The Star Tribune and the website chewinggumfacts.com. Colgan is credited with inventing flavored chewing gum in 1880, accoding to the Smithsonian.
6. The first electric lightbulb was shown in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1883 by Thomas Alva Edison at the Southern Exposition.
Edison gave the first public demonstration of the electric lightbulb in 1879 in Menlo, New Jersey, according to americaslibrary.gov.
7. Mother's Day was first observed in Henderson, Kentucky, by teacher Mary S. Wilson in 1887. It became a national holiday in 1916.
Anna Jarvis from Philadelphia originated Mother's Day on May 12, 1907, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica. President Woodrow Wilson made it a national holiday in 1914.
8. Pike County, the world's largest producer of coal, is famous for the Hatfield-McCoy feud, an Appalachian vendetta that lasted from the Civil War to the 1890s.
Pike County, Kentucky, is not the world's largest producer of coal. That title goes to China, which produced about 46 percent of global coal production in 2019, according to the International Energy Agency. The Hatfield-McCoy feud did take place in Pike County.
9. The first (known) set of all-male quintuplets was born in Paducah.
The first set of all-male quintuplets in the U.S. were born in Montgomery, Alabama, on August 8, 1996, according to The Associated Press.
10. The world's largest crucifix, standing at 60 feet tall, is in Bardstown, Kentucky, in Nelson County.
According to Aleteia, a Christian media outlet based in Rome, the world's largest crucifix is in Huila, Colombia. It is 262 feet long.
11. Kentucky has more resort parks than any other state in the nation.
It's hard to know what the claim means by "resort parks," so Lead Stories decided to interpret this multiple ways. The state with the most ski resorts is New York, according to snowbrains.com. The state with the most national parks is California, according to worldatlas.com. Several states have more state parks than Kentucky, according to americasstateparks.org.
12. Middlesboro is the only U.S. city built inside a meteor crater.
A sign in Middlesboro, Kentucky, reads, "Middlesboro is one of only a few cities on the North American continent located in the basin of a meteorite impact structure." The sign in the city says "one of only a few," it doesn't support the claim of "only," and the claim doesn't cite any source.
13. Cumberland is the only waterfall in the world to regularly display a Moonbow. It is located just southwest of Corbin in Cumberland Falls State Park.
Kentuckytourism.com says Cumberland Falls is one of the few places -- but not the only place -- to regularly produce a moonbow, a rainbow created with moonlight and water droplets.
14. Thunder Over Louisville is the opening ceremony for the Kentucky Derby Festival and is the largest fireworks display in the U.S.
Many believe Macy's 4th of July fireworks display is the largest in the U.S. A Macy's spokesperson told Lead Stories in a April 13, 2022 email that the number of shells and effects used in the show is anywhere from 60,000 to 80,000. Colorado had the world's largest fireworks display in February 2020, according to a CNN article.
15. Post-It Notes are made exclusively in Cynthiana, Kentucky.
It is not true that all Post-It Notes sold around the world are made in Cynthiana, Kentucky. According to a spokesperson from 3M, the parent company that owns Post-It Notes, Post-It Notes that are sold in the United States are made in Cynthiana. However, Post-It Notes have other locations around the world that sell them to local markets.
16. Shaker Village (Pleasant Hill) is the largest historic community of its kind in the U.S.
The National Park Service sent Lead Stories an email on April 18, 2022, saying that Shaker Village/Pleasant Hill is not the largest historic community in the U.S.
The claims that are true
1. Kentucky was the first state on the western frontier to join the Union in 1792.
Kentucky was the westernmost state when it was admitted to the United States on June 1, 1792.
2. More than half of all Americans killed in action in the War of 1812 were Kentuckians.
According to Kentucky National Guard History, 64% of Americans killed during the War of 1812 were from Kentucky.
3. Mammoth Cave, with 336+ miles of mapped passages, is the world's longest cave. It is 379 feet deep and contains at least 5 levels of passages. It's second only to Niagara Falls as the most popular tourist attraction in the US. It became a National Park on July 1, 1941.
Near Brownsville, Kentucky, Mammoth Cave is the world's longest cave system, with five distinct levels. Its lowest elevation is 412 feet, not 379 feet. It did become a national park on July 1, 1941, but opinions differ on its relative popularity.
4. Abraham Lincoln, president of the union, and Jefferson Davis, president of the confederacy, were born less than one hundred miles and one year apart.
This is partly true. Lincoln was born in Hardin County (now Larue County), Kentucky, in 1809. Davis was born in Christian County (now Fairview), Kentucky, in 1808, according to The Encyclopedia Britannica. The two counties are more than 100 miles apart.
5. The radio was invented by Nathan B. Stubblefield of Murray, Kentucky in 1892. It was three years before Marconi made his claim to the invention.
Stubblefield is credited as creating an early form of the radio.
6. "Happy Birthday to You," probably the most sung song in the world, was written by two Louisville sisters, Mildred and Patricia Hill.
Copyright.gov writes that the melody for "Happy Birthday" was first copyrighted to sisters Mildred J. Hill and Patty S. Hill in 1893. We reached out to the Guinness Book of World Records to ask if it's the most sung song in the world. Guinness replied in an email on April 13, 2022, that they no longer monitor the most sung song.
7. Bibb lettuce was first cultivated by Jack Bibb in Frankfort, Kentucky in the late 19th century.
Bibb was born in Virginia, but moved to Kentucky, where he developed his lettuce, first called limestone lettuce.
8. Carrie Nation, the spokesperson against rum, tobacco, pornography, and corsets, was born near Lancaster in Garrard County.
Carry Nation was born in Garrard County, Kentucky.
9. A Hot Brown is a hot sandwich originally created at the Brown Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky, by Fred K. Schmidt in 1926.
That's all true.
10. The first Wigwam Village Motel, with units in the shape of a "teepee," was built by Frank A. Redford in Cave City, Kentucky in 1937.
That's all true.
11. The world's largest baseball bat, a full 120 feet tall and weighing 68,000 pounds, can be seen at the Louisville Slugger Museum in Louisville.
12. Chevrolet Corvettes are manufactured only in Bowling Green.
This is true.
13. The JIF plant in Lexington is the world's largest peanut butter producing facility.
This is true.
14. Newport is home to The World Peace Bell, the world's largest free-swinging bell.
This is true.
15. The Lost River Cave and Valley Bowling Green includes a cave with the shortest and deepest underground river in the world. It contains the largest cave opening east of the Mississippi.
The Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet cite "Ripley's Believe It Or Not" as proof.
16. The Kentucky Derby is the oldest continuously held horse race in the country. It is held at Churchill Downs in Louisville on the first Saturday in May.
This is partly true. The Belmont Stakes is the oldest held horse race in the United States. The Kentucky Derby does take place at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday of May each year.
17. Muhammed Ali, The Greatest and most recognized face in the world was born in Louisville, KY.
Muhammad Ali was in fact born in Louisville, according to numerous biographical sources include britannica.com. His stature as "The Greatest and most recognized face in the world" falls in the realm of opinion.

Claims currently not resolved by neutral sources:

1. The first enamel bathtub was made in Louisville, Kentucky in 1856.
2. Cheeseburgers were first tasted at Kaelin's Restaurant in Louisville, Kentucky in 1934.
3. The "Old Fashion" drink was created in Louisville, Kentucky.
4. Covington is home to the world's largest hand-blown stained glass window in existence at St. Mary's Cathedral-Basilica of the Assumption. It measures an astounding 24 feet by 67 feet and contains 117 different figures.
5. Fort Knox holds more than $6 billion worth of gold - the largest amount stored anywhere in the world.
Some sources say the Federal Reserve Bank of New York has the most gold stored. The U.S. Mint responded to our inquiry on April 13, 2022, with, "The Fort Knox Bullion Depository is a classified facility. As a matter of policy, we do not discuss this facility."
6. Barren County has the most fertile land in the state.
7. Kentucky is best known for its beautiful blue grass.
This is an opinion, which cannot be fact checked. However, Kentucky's nickname is the Bluegrass State.
8. The only monument south of the Ohio River dedicated to Union Soldiers who died in the Civil War is located in Vanceburg.
9. High Bridge located near Nicholasville is the highest railroad bridge over navigable water in the United States.
10. Kentucky is the horse capitol of the world.
11. There are only three things that matter in the state of Kentucky : (to some people) Bourbon, Basketball, and Horseracing.
These are opinions. We cannot fact check this.
12. Pikeville annually leads the nation (per capita) in consumption of Pepsi-Cola.

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Marlo Lee is a fact checker at Lead Stories. She is a graduate of Howard University with a B.S. in Biology. Her interest in fact checking started in college, when she realized how important it became in American politics. She lives in Maryland.

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