William Goebel had been a figure in Kentucky politics for years. Like all politicians, he had enemies. However, what perhaps pushed them to resort to assassination was the fact that he initially lost the 1899 election for governor. His many supporters then demanded thousands of ballots to be thrown out and convinced Goebel to ask for a recount. After the recount and decision from two committees, Goebel was decided to be the winner. This angered his opposition and so he received multiple death threats, but chose to ignore them. The morning of January 30th he was walking with friends outside the Old Capitol when he was shot. There is some debate as to what happened next, such as how many times he was shot and how he reacted to the assassination attempt. He was rushed to the hospital, but it did no good. The next day he was sworn in as governor and died.
The High Bridge was finished and opened to the public February 20th, 1877 following about 20 years of on-off construction. It was originally designed as a suspension bridge by John Roebling, who was famous for designing the Brooklyn Bridge. Construction of the bridge began in the 1850s but was halted during the Civil War. At that time, only the towers used to hold the cables had built. Following the end of the war, the project was picked up by the Cincinnati Southern Railway, hoping to reconnect the South with the North, following the war’s aftermath. The bridge was re-designed by Charles Shaler Smith, changing it from a suspension bridge to a cantilever bridge. Due to this, it became the first cantilever bridge and the highest existing railroad bridge built in the USA. As a result of its qualifications, it became a big tourist attraction. In 1879, President Rutherford B. Hayes, came to dedicate it. It has long been considered an engineering feat of the time, although it’s not as popular now as compared to the time of its creation. The railroad was strengthened in 1911 and double-tracked in 1929. Today the 275/308-foot tall and 1,125-foot long bridge is used to cross the Kentucky River and connects Jessamine County to Mercer County. Tourists are still able to visit the historic bridge to this very day.
~ Kelly Chen
On the thirteenth of February, 1981, a series of sewer explosions destroyed street systems in Louisville, Kentucky. At 5:16 a.m., the explosions began, eventually destroying over 2 miles of streets, and 13 miles of railroad lines. It was even said that the initial explosion threw a passenger car into a explosion formed crater. A police helicopter also viewed explosions beginning at the railroad underpass on Hill Street. The explosions resulted in collapse of the concrete roads, and the formation of multiple craters, which reached up to thirty-eight feet deep. The shock caused many building evacuations, as well as house evacuations from the raw sewage that seeped up from the system.
It was eventually discovered that it was hexane, a chemical solvent, released from the Ralston-Purina soybean processing plant which, once ignited, caused the explosions which ripped apart the roads. Officials speculated that the cause of the ignition was a passing car that happened to light hexane fumes that came from the manholes.
~ Cici Mao
William Goebel is best remembered for being the only state governor in the United States to be assassinated while serving in office. He was born in Pennsylvania to immigrants from Germany and moved to Covington, Kentucky (Kenton County) in 1863. Goebel was a German ethnic leader based in Covington before being elected to a vacant seat in the Kentucky Senate.
Controversy erupted after Goebel created an election law that gave the control of vote counting to the General Assembly. Republican William S. Taylor originally defeated Goebel in the 1899 gubernatorial election, but the Board of Elections eventually decided Goebel had won the most votes. Angry Republicans and nervous Democrats almost declared a civil war in Frankfort.
Despite the risk of being killed, Goebel walked in front of the Old State Capitol on January 30th and was shot in the chest multiple times. He was officially sworn in a day after being shot and died on February 3rd. The identity of the assassin is unknown, but most historians believe radical supporters of William S. Taylor plotted the assassination.
- Zsombor Gal
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