Shippingport Island: From Boomtown To Nature Preserve

posted by Will Clark - 

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- An Ohio River island once housed a city that challenged Louisville's dominance.

 Shippingport Island is now overgrown and largely controlled by the Army Corps of Engineers and LG&E, but in the 1800's the island and the town of Shippingport were booming. At one point the island was home to a distillery and hosted horse races.

The town, then on a peninsula on the river, served as a transfer point around the Falls of the Ohio until the Louisville and Portland Canal was opened in 1825, making the city an island and eliminating its logistical advantage.

Shippingport gradually declined from a peak population of 600 in 1820 to just a handful when the Army Corps of Engineers evicted the remaining residents to expand the canal.

The island still has some permanent residents in packs of coyotes, deer and turkey, some of which employees at the McAlpine Lock and Dam sometimes see swimming across the river to get there.

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