Owensboro History, Kentucky
It was 1970s when the first signs of human settlement were seen on this land. William Bill Smeathers, the frontiersman, was responsible for starting this settlement. The famous riverfront park of Owensboro was named in his memory. A historical marker of Kentucky with the number 744 was built in this park to honor the memory of William Bill Smeathers. This newly started settlement was named Yellow Banks due to the color of the Ohio River banks which are in the proximity.
In 1817 Yellow Banks was tagged city and named Owensborough in the memory of Abraham Owen, the famous colonel who had fought many wars for the U.S. Army. In1893 the city name was shortened to Owensboro, which is currently being used.
It was 1887 when the first factory was started here. It was a carriage Woodstock Company ran under the supervision of Frederick Ames who had come to the city from Washington, Pennsylvania. His company used to repair horse-drawn carriages. By the year 1910 he had progressed into another business which was manufacturing automobiles under the brand name of Ames. By the year 1912 Vincent Bendix, a famous industrialist, joined this company and it was named Ames Motor Car Co.
The company launched a car which was to be sold at the price of $1500. A car dealer from Texas tagged this car the best $1500 car, yet the company decided to cease the production of this model in 1915. By the year 1922 this company was again manufacturing various kinds of furniture under the brand name of Ames Corporation. They couldn’t afford this continuous swing in business for long and by 1970 the company was sold to Whitehall Furniture.
In 1936 the downtown of Owensboro witnessed the last of the public hangings in the United States of America. This act helped the city gain national recognition. The person hanged was Rainey Bethea who had raped a 70 year-old lady.
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